Identifying the nastiest pitch for every team

February 17th, 2024

Now that Spring Training is here, we'll be getting our first look at what all 30 MLB pitching staffs can do this season. And there are going to be nasty pitches all over the place.

But who has the nastiest pitch on every team entering 2024? Here are our picks, division by division.


Blue Jays: 's splitter

Gausman's splitter got the second-most strikeouts (127) and fifth-most swings and misses (261) of any individual pitch type in the Majors last season.

Honorable mention: Trevor Richards' changeup

Orioles: ' cutter

The new ace in Baltimore dominates the strike zone with this pitch -- Burnes' cutter was the fourth-most valuable in-zone pitch in baseball in 2023 (+31 runs prevented).

Honorable mention: Yennier Canó's sinker

Rays: ' slider

The Rays' closer has an explosive 100 mph fastball, but he also has the sharpest down-breaking slider in MLB. It generates over nine extra inches of drop compared to an average slider.

Honorable mention: Jason Adam's sweeper

Red Sox: 's slider

Houck had a rough season but his "righty Chris Sale" slider is still a great pitch, holding hitters to a .178 batting average with vertical drop that's four inches above average and horizontal break that's five inches above average.

Honorable mention: Kenley Jansen's cutter

Yankees: 's 4-seamer

Sometimes, you just want a good old power fastball. That's what Cole has. Cole's four-seamer was MLB's most valuable pitch in 2023, and he's gotten over 100 strikeouts with it in each of his three full seasons with the Yankees.

Honorable mention: Carlos Rodón's slider


Guardians: 's cutter

Clase's cutter is one of MLB's unique pitches, because it's a 100 mph cutter. Since his Guardians debut in 2021, he's reached triple digits with his cutter 834 times, the most by any pitcher on a single pitch type over that span.

Honorable mention: James Karinchak's curveball

Royals: ' 4-seamer

The southpaw's breakout run in Kansas City was driven by his fastball, which jumped over four mph from 2022 with the Rangers (92.1 mph) to 2023 with the Royals (96.7 mph). Ragans even maxed out at 101 mph.

Honorable mention: Seth Lugo's curveball

Tigers: 's changeup

Skubal looks like a Cy Young contender after his dominant return for Detroit, and the lefty's changeup is his most dominant pitch, generating a 51% swing-and-miss rate and putting the hitter away 31% of the time when he threw it with two strikes.

Honorable mention: Alex Lange's curveball

Twins: 's "splinker"

Duran's splitter, aka the splinker (because it's half splitter, half sinker), is one of a kind -- an "offspeed" pitch that averages 98.4 mph and has reached up to 101.9 mph, making it the only non-fastball pitch type in the entire pitch tracking era to be thrown in triple digits.

Honorable mention: Pablo López's changeup

White Sox: 's slider

Cease is still the White Sox ace as camp begins, and his slider is still one of baseball's nastiest pitches, helping him to the top of Statcast's new "swords" leaderboard that tracks the most awkward swings a pitcher induces.

Honorable mention: Garrett Crochet's 4-seamer


A's: 's 4-seamer

The rookie showed explosive stuff in 2023, and his rising fastball, which averaged 98.3 mph and topped out at 102.5 mph, could play up even more if he's in the bullpen full-time in 2024.

Honorable mention: Joe Boyle's 4-seamer

Angels: 's cutter

Stephenson's addition of a new cutter last June turned him into one of baseball's best relievers down the stretch with the Rays. That cutter generated a 60% whiff rate, 51% strikeout rate and 46% putaway rate with two strikes, all among the best marks for any pitch type in 2023.

Honorable mention: Ben Joyce's 4-seamer

Astros: 's sinker

Hader throws his fastball nearly three quarters of the time and hitters still can't touch it. No reliever has more fastball K's than Hader's 454 since he came into the league in 2017.

Honorable mention: Ryan Pressly's curveball

Mariners: 's slider

The Mariners pitching staff is full of nasty stuff, but Brash's slider looks like a Wiffle ball. He throws it 89 mph, it gets over seven inches more break than an average slider, and it's the biggest reason he reached 100 K's as a reliever last year (71 of his 107 were on sliders).

Honorable mention: Luis Castillo's 4-seamer

Rangers: 's splitter

The ace of the World Series champions' pitching staff used his splitter to get the biggest outs of the 2023 season. Eovaldi's 16 splitter K's and 42 splitter whiffs in the postseason were the most by any pitcher on any pitch type.

Honorable mention: Josh Sborz's 4-seamer


Braves: 's slider

Strider's slider is the No. 1 wipeout pitch in baseball -- 139 of his MLB-leading 281 strikeouts in 2023 came via the slider, and those 139 were the most by any pitcher on a single pitch type.

Honorable mention: Max Fried's curveball

Marlins: 's slider

Luzardo's long-awaited breakout came on the back of his lefty power slider, which generated a 52% swing-and-miss rate and produced 106 of his 208 strikeouts last season.

Honorable mention: Eury Pérez's curveball

Mets: 's ghost fork

Senga's forkball lived up to all the mystique in his big league debut. It was one of baseball's most unhittable pitches -- opponents batted just .110 against the ghost fork with 110 K's in 188 plate appearances and a 60% swing-and-miss rate.

Honorable mention: Edwin Díaz's slider

Nationals: 's 4-seamer

The 24-year-old is still more potential than results, but when you have a left-hander who's sitting 95 mph with above-average rise on his fastball, that's a good start. Gore's 75 four-seamer K's were third-most among lefty starters in 2023.

Honorable mention: Josiah Gray's sweeper

Phillies: 's sweeper

Kerkering didn't debut until Sept. 24, but his sweeper quickly became one of the most fun pitches to watch down the stretch and into the postseason. The pitch is hard (86 mph) with boomerang movement (19 inches of horizontal break). We want more in 2024.

Honorable mention: José Alvarado's cutter


Brewers: ' "airbender"

Williams' "airbender" changeup is as ridiculous as ever, holding hitters to an .097 batting average in 2023 while averaging 41 inches of drop and 20 inches of horizontal break, the most of any changeup.

Honorable mention: Abner Uribe's sinker

Cardinals: 's sweeper

The Cards will be happy to have Gray's sweeper, which was the most valuable sweeper in baseball last season and a top-10 pitch overall. Opponents batted .097 with 108 strikeouts and not a single home run against it.

Honorable mention: Ryan Helsley's 4-seamer

Cubs: 's 4-seamer

Here's a wild card pick. Imanaga will be making his MLB debut, but the World Baseball Classic gave us a preview of the lefty's stuff, and we already know he's got an excellent rising fastball. Hopefully it's even better than advertised.

Honorable mention: Julian Merryweather's slider

Pirates: 's slider

Moreta's slider breaks like a screwball -- yes, it moves in the wrong direction for a slider, toward his arm side instead of his glove side. But that's exactly what makes it so difficult to hit.

Honorable mention: Mitch Keller's sweeper

Reds: 's curveball

Lodolo's back-foot breaking balls, with their huge sweeping action (15 inches of horizontal break, six inches above average), are his most powerful weapon, and the biggest reason we're excited to see him back on the mound for Cincinnati.

Honorable mention: Fernando Cruz's splitter


D-backs: 's knuckle-curve

Gallen pitched the D-backs to the National League pennant with his lethal combo of fastballs at the top of the zone and knuckle-curves at the bottom of the zone. His 14 K's on the knuckle-curve in the playoffs were the most on one pitch type by any NL pitcher.

Honorable mention: Kevin Ginkel's slider

Dodgers: 's curveball

It doesn't matter that Yamamoto hasn't pitched a day in the Major Leagues. The Dodgers know the Japanese ace has Cy Young-caliber stuff, and Yamamoto's curveball is his most beautiful pitch (even though we could have easily picked his splitter here, too.)

Honorable mention: Tyler Glasnow's curveball

Giants: 's changeup

Webb's sinker and changeup are both great, but the fall-off-the-table changeup has really become the star of the show for the Giants ace. Webb's changeup was the most valuable pitch thrown by any NL pitcher in 2023, and second only to Gerrit Cole's fastball in the Majors.

Honorable mention: Jordan Hicks' sinker

Padres: 's sweeper

The Padres gave up Juan Soto to get King, who looked great in the Yankees' rotation down the stretch last year, especially thanks to a nasty sweeper that averages 18 inches of horizontal break, more than the full width of home plate.

Honorable mention: Matt Waldron's knuckleball

Rockies: 's sweeper

The sidearming reliever has a potent sinker-sweeper combo, with his sinker running 14 inches in one direction and his sweeper breaking 15 inches in the other. Lawrence's sweeper got 63 K's last season, third-most behind only Sonny Gray and Shohei Ohtani.

Honorable mention: Tyler Kinley's slider