These five pitchers use some of the strangest deliveries you'll see this year
Baseball is all about the small idiosyncrasies that differentiate players. Sock height, flip-up shades or eye-black. These are all the small fashion decisions that separate players on the field.
But players are also different on other levels -- all the way down to the very mechanics they use to succeed. Today, we're going to look at five of the strangest pitching deliveries in the Majors this year. That means we won't see
What we will see, though, are five pitchers who have managed to succeed by doing things few pitching coaches would likely instruct.
At first glance, Anderson's motion isn't all that strange. Sure, the Rockies starter gives a little kick and pump fake with his leg, but it's remarkably similar to Kershaw's mid-pitch hiccup:
But Anderson's motion is more unique than the Dodgers ace because he will also throw off the batter's timing by varying the leg kicks. He'll speed it up, like when he K'd Billy Hamilton:
Or he'll double or even triple pump his leg to get a batter off balance before throwing. It looks more like something you would do in your backyard than on a Major League field. Next time you're playing with your friends, remember: This could be you.
If we're going to discuss someone that varies their delivery, then we must include baseball's real dancing champ: Cueto and his shaking, corkscrewing hip gyrations.
He'll go slow:
He'll go really slow:
And then, just when you think he's gonna slow things way down, he'll speed it all up with the quick pitch:
He's a Rube Goldberg device. He's a broken gumball machine. He's a video game character glitching out until you shut down your system in anger. Simply put: There's no way to really describe what, exactly, Gant is doing on the mound.
With words not adequate, why not just take a look:
Raisel Iglesias doesn't have a strange tic like those above. Instead, he uses two deliveries.
When Iglesias first joined the Reds, his arm slot was like those sprinklers that oscillate back and forth. But now, the right-hander has simplified things. He'll use a three-quarters angle when throwing fastballs:
But when the count reaches two strikes, Iglesias often aims for the outside corner with his slider -- and drops down to the side. You would think batters would be prepared. After all, if they see the arm drop down, they know it's going to be a slider -- and chances are it's going to wind up outside the strike zone.
Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to help them. Batters are hitting just .079 off the pitch in 2017.
He may struggle to top 90 mph. He may not have much of a leg kick. He may even show the batter the ball for most of his delivery as he goes into a kind of bird-like 'M' shape:
And yet ... it works. Starting from a position with his arms in front as if he's reading from a choral book, Neshek loops his arm back and then whips it through to baffle batters with a sinker and slider.
11 seasons in, and batters have yet to solve it. Neshek's career 2.79 ERA ranks 17th among active relievers with at least 200 innings.