Sports

Justin Verlander Leads Race AL Cy Young: Pitching Ninja’s Filthiest Pitch


Via Rob Friedman, aka “Pitching Ninja”
FOX Sports MLB Analyst

Last week, we focused on National League Young Candidates Cy. Now let’s look back at the American League race, which went back and forth for most of the season, with Shane McClanahan, Dylan stopped and Justin Verlander make their cases.

Each of them has shot well this year, but one pitcher has withdrawn from the group and established himself as the clear leader.

1. Ponce de León has nothing on Justin Verlander.

At 39 years old, playing in his 17th season and about to undergo surgery on Tommy John, Verlander will end his career. Verlander is one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation, but most of the baseball world questions whether he can return and be anywhere near the same pitcher as before. injury or not.

However, instead of dying, Verlander is probably having the best season of his career. He leads the major leagues with a 1.78 ERA, the lowest of any pitcher in the U.S. Championship with at least 157 games since Pedro Martinez’s 1.74 ERA in 2000 (considered one of the best). most dominant seasons by a player in major league history).

Relying mainly on his fast ball that still has plenty of power as well as his sinister slider and hammer ball, Verlander has three pitches that each have a hit average of less than 0.00.

For a so-called “old” pitcher, Verlander’s fast ball is still a weapon. In fact, his heater, which still hits 99 mph, ranks as the most valuable fast ball in baseball in terms of running value.

Verlander’s slider has a 35% spin rate and is an important part of his arsenal because of how well it works for his advanced fast ball. This overlay shows how difficult that combination is for the giants.

Finally, because Verlander likes to throw his fast ball up in the area, ball players must also respect his curve, which starts to look like a tall fast ball but can fall into the area due its huge 12 to 6 break.

This arsenal of excellent pitching, combined with Verlander’s brilliant strategic mind and seasoned experience, creates an elite pitcher who can attack ball players in many ways, that is. almost unfair to them. He can dissect the beaters with his monstrous command or simply overpower them – either way, he’ll beat them because, above all, Verlander loves to compete and win. .

2. Dylan Cease is the author of a true masterpiece.

Cease is the owner of the most valuable pitch in baseball: a nearly impossible to catchy slider. His slider is such an integral part of his turf arsenal that he wrote a poem about it, “O’ Slider Slide.”

Cease’s slider has a staggering 45.1% spin this season, and he throws it nearly 43% of the time – even more than his electric fast ball, which averages almost 97 mph and can hit 100.

Cease’s slider is simply vicious:

When you combine that ferocious slider with the quick ’90s ball on Cease, you almost feel sorry for the giants.

Cease’s knuckle curve is also a big part of his arsenal and he can use it to “tunnel” high-flying fast balls, even the last fast balls lying down. outside the area. This causes players to sometimes give up on the knuckle curve as it looks like a ball out of reach and then falls hard into the strike area.

Stop can also operate in an absurdly slow shift, 20 mph or so slower than his fast ball. Talk about bringing giants to the front!

This is Cease’s changing handle and the arrival of a guest by his cat.

You can see why Cease has an ERA of 2.16 this year and is third among all major tournament pitchers in the Baseball-Reference WAR (behind Sandy Alcantara and Maximum frying).

3. Shane McClanahan can draw with the best of them.

McClanahan had a breakout season for Light ray. Sugar Shane has an ERA of 2.13 and is second in baseball at WHIP with 0.86, just behind Verlander.

McClanahan has an overwhelmingly fast ball that hits 100 mph, but he’s more than just a pitcher. He can totally paint with a fireplace.

McClanahan doesn’t just throw diesels, but with his hammer curve (0.42 hit hit average), ferocious sliders (46.4% spin) and puzzling swings (hit rate). slightly 45.7%), he has one of the most unsurpassed yard arsenals in all of baseball.

McClanahan’s discomfort curve:

McClanahan’s stunning transformation:

And here’s an overlay to show how McClanahan’s sliders and changes work together to humiliate the fans.

Sugar Shane also has the ability to KO her opponent, just like another “Sugar Shane”:

4. Fabulous Frame is the new definition of quality.

Always dominate, Frame Valdez just set a major league record with a 25th consecutive quality start.

Framer’s curve is one of his keys to success. It’s one of the best curves in the game; hitters only hit 0.147 against it at more than 45% odds this season.

It’s a pitch that can completely confuse fans.

That curve is a big reason why Valdez is 16-5 this year with an ERA of 2.57.

Shohei Ohtani is a genre of its own.

Ohtani is a unicorn and, fittingly, he’s in the all-around category. He leads the experts in strike count per nine innings among those who start qualifying with 11.9 K/9 and have incredible stuff on the bump.

Ohtani’s pitch remains one of the most improbable throws in baseball, with a throw rate of 49.1%. You can see what makes this pitch so difficult when combined with his fast ball over 90/100 mph.

Shohei’s slider is the second most valuable pitch in baseball (after Cease’s slider) and has a video-game-like movement, averaging over 85 mph with nearly 14 inches of horizontal break.

And let’s not forget Shohei’s amazingly shiny new toy, a submersible turbocharger he somehow added mid-season. It was a yard so filthy that all Jose Altuve can do is laugh at how unfair it is.

So it’s no surprise that Ohtani won my Twitter poll of the AL starter with the dirtiest:

Rob Friedman is a FOX Sports MLB pitching analyst, whose work has been featured on numerous Major League Baseball broadcasts. Follow him on Twitter @Pitching Ninja.


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