Which starter has the very best pitch in the Majors? Vote in this bracket and find out
We need your help to figure out who has the very best pitch -- singular -- in baseball.
To figure out whose pitch is truly the best, we had to narrow down the field into a digestible bracket -- one which you'll vote on momentarily. First, we restricted the field just to starting pitchers. We wanted guys who needed to rely on that pitch multiple times through the order.
Second, we needed to narrow the list down to eight pitchers -- two for each of our four categories: Fastball, slider, curve and changeup. Debates were had.
Third, we wanted this to be a snapshot of a year. Who is the best right now? Sure, previous success may have won some tiebreakers, but we wanted this to be current.
With all that said, let's get to it. Help us figure out who has the very best pitch in 2016. Here's round one:
Armed with his mid-90s fastball, Scherzer is a strikeout monster. Beyond tying the Major League record with 20 Ks in a single-game, Scherzer has four 15-plus strikeout games. Not only is that a tie for 11th all-time, but the closest active pitcher? Kershaw,
Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Arrieta is no slouch, either. While he may not have a sub-2.00 ERA this year, he's holding steady at a 2.62 mark, and it's in large part thanks to his sinker. Loaded with arm-side run, just try to figure this thing out:
We take on the bracket with some serious 🔥🔥🔥.— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 24, 2016
Who do you think has the better fastball?
Given that Syndergaard runs his slider up to 93 mph, it's kind of surprising that it's not accompanied by a flash of lightning and the boom of thunder. His average velocity on the pitch is 90.7 mph, higher than 25 qualified starters' four-seam fastballs.
While Sale's slider doesn't have the kind of physics-breaking heat as Syndergaard's, he has impressive lateral sweeping movement. His slider travels across the zone as if it were guided by the hand of fate, with batters left doing their best David Byrne impression as they ask, "How did that get there?"
The slider is on the clock.— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 24, 2016
Lefty against righty, who’s moving on?
While King Felix's fastball may not have the same mid-90s heat it once had, that hasn't sapped the life out of his diving changeup. The pitch was already a strange case since it's nearly the same velocity as his heater, but batters are still are baffled by it when the bottom drops out.
Meanwhile, Kyle Hendricks could very well walk away with the NL Cy Young award thanks to his changeup. He was never considered to be a top-flight ace because of a fastball that rarely reaches 90 mph, but thanks to a change that behaves almost like a sinking cutter, batters are unable to do much of anything except hit weak grounders.
And, strike out of course:
It’s time to slow things down & change things up!— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 24, 2016
Which starter has a more unhittable changeup?
Kershaw has an argument for every single one of his pitches to be in this tournament, even though he's currently on the DL. In the end, we had to go with his looping curveball that Vin Scully once called "Public Enemy No. 1." Honestly, once batters see the ball looping up and then coming crashing back down to the Earth, they might as well want to give up.
Over in the American League, Corey Kluber has used his curveball to win one Cy Young Award and put himself in the conversation for another this year. With an impressive late-breaking sweeping motion, batters have been mostly powerless against the befuddling offering:
Our final matchup will make your knees buckle.— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 24, 2016
Which starter has the curveball of all curveballs?