The 22 nastiest pitches of '22

November 27th, 2022

Want to see the nastiest pitches of 2022? Look no further.

Let's use Statcast's pitch tracking data to find the very best pitches this season had to offer.

These pitches had it all. They're the ones with the most overpowering velocity. The most elite spin. The most extreme Wiffle ball movement. The most pinpoint command. Oh, and they look great, too.

Here are 22 of the nastiest pitches of '22.

1) Jhoan Duran -- 99.7 mph splitter, Aug. 29

Duran is the only pitcher in pitch-tracking history to throw a 100 mph "offspeed" pitch. His "splinker" -- a unique splitter/sinker hybrid that gets classified by Statcast as a splitter -- reached as high as 100.8 mph in this same game, but that one was a ball. This one from the Twins' electric rookie reliever, also touching 100, was a strikeout.

2) Ryan Helsley -- 103.2 mph 4-seamer, Sept. 22

The Cardinals' flamethrowing closer had the fastest strikeout pitch of 2022 (tied with another by Duran, on an actual fastball), and it was absolute paint. Helsley punched out Brandon Drury with a 103.2 mph four-seamer that carried perfectly onto the bottom edge of the strike zone thanks to its 2,659 rpm spin rate.

3) Jacob deGrom -- 95.7 mph slider, Aug. 7

Forget deGrom's 100 mph fastball. He's at his nastiest when he's breaking off 95 mph sliders. This one was close to 96 -- and still dropped nearly 23 inches -- to strike out Austin Riley in just deGrom's second start of the year. It was the fastest breaking ball K in the Majors this season.

4) Matt Brash -- 3,109 rpm knuckle-curve, Sept. 30

The Mariners rookie debuted with some of the most electric stuff in baseball in 2022. Here's an 87 mph curve with elite spin rate (over 3,000 rpm) that had 22.8 inches of horizontal break, nearly two full feet, to strike out Vimael Machin.

5) Dillon Tate -- changeup with 27.6 inches of horizontal movement, April 17

Tate's changeup has some ridiculous fade. This 83.8 mph offspeed pitch from the Orioles reliever broke well over two feet from left to right to fan Anthony Rizzo in Baltimore.

6) Scott Effross -- 90.7 mph sinker with 25.2 inches of horizontal break, May 11

How do you get a batter to swing at a pitch that literally hits him? Throw that pitch with over two feet of break. This one from the then-Cubs reliever made poor Jorge Alfaro look foolish.

7) Clayton Kershaw -- 74.4 mph curveball with 66 inches of drop, July 9

What would a nastiest pitches list be without one of Kershaw's iconic curveballs? This 74 mph beauty from the Dodgers' ace dropped 5 1/2 feet and landed perfectly on the low-inside corner to ring up Patrick Wisdom.

8) Sandy Alcantara -- 92.8 mph changeup with 20.4 inches of break, June 19

The NL Cy Young Award winner's changeup was one of the best pitches in baseball in 2022, and this one was as good as it gets. Alcantara broke off a 93 mph offspeed pitch that also moved over 20 inches away from Jeff McNeil, who's not easy to strike out but couldn't do much against the Marlins' ace here.

9) José Berríos -- 93.7 mph sinker with 25.2 inches of horizontal break, June 4

Which sinker was better, Effross' or Berríos'? They got the same insane amount of run, but while Effross' was a chase pitch way inside, Berríos' broke from the outside edge of the plate to the inside edge of the plate to strike out Jermaine Palacios.

10) Aníbal Sánchez -- 63.7 mph / 958 rpm changeup, Aug. 18

The slowest strikeout pitch by an actual pitcher all season (aka not a position player pitching), Sánchez's Bugs Bunny changeup fluttered in at under 64 mph with a spin rate of just 958 rpm and dropped 66 inches before Trent Grisham flailed at it for Strike 3.

11) Kyle Crick -- slider with 25.2 inches of horizontal break, April 20

Crick is always at the top of the slider movement leaderboards, and here the White Sox reliever got Oscar Mercado to chase way off the outside edge for Strike 3, thanks to the slider breaking over two feet.

12) Shohei Ohtani -- 91.1 mph splitter with 33.6 inches of drop, June 2

Ohtani's splitter is always one of the most unhittable pitches in baseball, and here's one that was just about perfect. It came in at over 90 mph but dropped nearly three feet, starting in the strike zone but crossing the plate just 0.66 feet off the ground to get DJ LeMahieu to swing over it badly and strike out.

13) Hunter Greene -- 102.4 mph / 2,504 rpm 4-seamer, Sept. 17

Here's a perfect high fastball. The fastest strikeout pitch by a starter all season, Greene's high spin rate also made this a prototypical "rising" fastball. It dropped only 9.6 inches and ended up 3.72 feet high. Even if Nolan Gorman could catch up, he'd still have swung under it.

14) Justin Verlander -- 99.2 mph / 2,507 rpm 4-seamer, July 23

Speaking of high fastballs, let the original high fastball king show you how it's done. Verlander dialed it up to 99 mph against Cal Raleigh for this strikeout that was 4.31 feet off the ground. The 39-year-old Astros ace reached his highest velocity since the 2018 season in this game, and this pitch was the fastest strikeout by a starting pitcher of his age in the pitch-tracking era.

15) Jacob deGrom -- 101.1 mph / 2,495 rpm 4-seamer, Aug. 13

A low fastball can be as good as a high fastball when you have deGrom's perfect command. To be able to locate a 101 mph fastball so perfectly on the corner of the strike zone is incredible.

16) Edwin Díaz -- 102.8 mph 4-seamer with 14.4 inches of run, Sept. 1

deGrom can't be the only Mets pitcher on this list when they had the most untouchable closer in baseball in Díaz. This fastball is just straight power. It's middle-middle in the strike zone, but it's so explosive that Gavin Lux can't touch it. It's 103 mph, but it seems even faster because Díaz releases it 7.3 feet in front of the rubber.

17) Edwin Díaz -- 93.9 mph slider with 7.3 feet of extension, June 16

Díaz's fastball is good. His slider is better. It's so hard and has such tight break that it's almost a cutter. He snapped this one off perfectly onto the corner at 94 mph against Christian Yelich to end the game.

18) Joe Kelly -- 89.8 mph / 3,287 rpm knuckle-curve, July 22

Kelly's curveball is unique for its velocity -- he can throw it over 90 mph -- and elite 3,000-plus rpm spin rate. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better one than this one, which snapped 49.2 inches straight down the outside edge of the plate and onto the corner for a punchout.

19) Aaron Bummer -- slider with 24 inches of horizontal break, June 7

Bummer has the classic lefty sweeping slider. This one from the White Sox sidearmer was released from 2.38 feet to the first-base side of the rubber and broke two full feet across the plate into Hanser Alberto's dead zone down-and-in for the K.

20) Framber Valdez -- 94.7 mph sinker with 21.6 inches of run, April 25

Valdez's curveball is his strikeout pitch, but his sinker is why he's a ground-ball machine. The average launch angle of batted balls against his sinker this season was negative-six degrees. But here's one that got a K, because it was 95 mph and broke nearly two feet.

21) Sandy Alcantara -- 100.6 mph sinker with 19.2 inches of run, Sept. 18

Alcantara's ability to maintain his velocity into the late innings was one of the biggest reasons he was such an elite workhorse in 2022. This 101 mph sinker -- which broke over a foot and a half -- came in the sixth inning of a complete game, but it could've just as easily been the first, or the ninth.

22) Shohei Ohtani -- 101.4 mph 4-seamer, Sept. 1

While you're watching Ohtani overpower Kyle Tucker with 101 mph gas for one of his 219 strikeouts as a pitcher, remember that he also had more home runs (34) than Tucker (30).