A blazing fastball, a 12-6 hammer or a nasty slide piece? These pitches are down right “nasty”. But, what is the most dominating pitch in Major League Baseball? It depends on,
A. Who the pitcher is.
B. How much command he has of the pitch.
Experts say that a good fastball is the remedy to put hitters away. Yes and no. For example, if you get a hitter in an 0-2 hole, you pretty much have the hitter in the palm of your hand. A lot of pitchers these days from what I witness tend to “Waste” a couple pitches outside of the strike zone.
The problem is, these aren’t just any hitters.
These are world class hitters that feast on knowledge of the strike zone as well as mistakes. Pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, and Max Scherzer have an array of pitches to throw at you. Let’s take a look at three of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. We will sprinkle in some hurlers of the past as well.
Kershaw, is known for his pinpoint control, but his money maker is the 12-6 “Hammer” which we know as the curve ball. He has the ability to start it at the hitter’s helmet and with the blink of an eye it’s at the knees.
A world class pitch? Yep.
Kershaw’s slider is a pitch that has come along in recent years. He can throw it for a strike or a ball. It starts at the hip and takes a right turn just before it hits the zone. Incredible. I guess the command of these pitches explain why he’s a three-time CY Young award winner and 2014 NL MVP.
Kluber of the Cleveland Indians shows a similar repertoire of his slider. Only difference is the slider he throws can change slopes whenever he feels. It can be the nasty right to left tight spin, to a slower slurve type that’s more “1-8” tilt. Either way, he gets it done with his precise control.
Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals who is the reigning NL CY Young award winner, displays more arsenal in his pitches. A blazing 94-96 MPH fast ball along with a nice tight curve ball, Scherzer uses those two to get ahead of hitters.
The put away pitch?
His 83 MPH Change up that dies right in front of home plate to make hitters off balance and scratching their heads. The ultimate optical illusional pitch. Hitters gearing up for 96 MPH simply have no chance when they commit early. The change up is simply “Nasty”.
These types of pitchers compared to greats of the past have nearly matched the Nolan Ryan’s, Bob Gibson’s, and Sandy Koufax’s of the yesteryears. More modern pitchers like Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson, I believe took pitching to another level.
Blazing Fastballs and changing speeds were a work of art that changed the way pitchers think. More cerebral pitchers like Greg Maddux, And Tom Glavine used a more cerebral approach and relied on control.
The two – seam fastball is a pitch where Maddux made famous. Starting the pitch at the hitter’s hip, and letting the ball do its job and tail or sink back to the inside of the plate made hitters walk back to the dugout in frustration. The common denominator of all these pitchers and types of pitches they threw was quite easy to figure out. Changing speeds. Hitters eventually will get themselves out. It’s really common sense.
To sum it up, whether you have a Kershaw “Hammer”, a Scherzer changeup, or a Kluber slider, one thing is for sure, command and changing speeds will forever be taught in every league from youth baseball to the majors. Question remains?
What is the best strikeout pitch? Answer, a strike three swinging or strike three called pitch.