Pitchers are always trying to get an edge in a game in which is seemingly dominated by hitters. They experiment with new pitches all the time to try and get an edge when they face the world’s best hitters. Some pitches are a lot easier to hit than others, some still are even illegal to throw, but some pitchers get away with it. This is not a list in which different pitchers are named, such as Mariano Rivera’s cutter, or Nolan Ryan’s fastball, or Randy Johnson slider, this is a simple comprehensive list about the nastiest pitches in baseball. Here is a list of the ten hardest pitches to hit in baseball, some you may know, some you may not.
10. The eephus. The eephus is a rarity in baseball and I personally have not seen it thrown since Alex Rodriguez took Orlando Hernandez deep after he threw two in a row. The eephus pitch is a looping pitch that comes in around 50-60 mph and its goal is to surprise the hitter and get a cheap strike. It is most commonly used in Japan.
9. The shuuto. This is another popular Japanese pitch that could be attributed to Greg Maddux. It is a form of a change-up that breaks more unexpectedly. It combines the speed of a change-up and the action of a screwball.
8. The curveball. One of the most popular off speed pitches in baseball, the curveball is best used in situations in which the batter is not expecting one. The normal curveball goes from 12 to 6, while other pitches have implemented a type of Slurve in which the curveball breaks less but slides more.
7. The change-up. A devastating pitch if a pitcher has a good fastball, the change-up appears to be a fastball and dies by the time it reaches the plate. There are several variations of the change-up, and the most common one to throw is the circle change.
6. The slider. The slider is a favorite among Wiffleball fans and Randy Johnson. The slider looks like it will go too far outside and breaks in or looks like it will take a piece of your hip and breaks in. It is difficult to throw overhead so a lot of pitchers like to drop their arm angle to get this pitch in the zone.
5. The two-seam fastball. The fastball is the most used pitch in baseball and there are three variations, the four seam, two seam and split finger. The two seam and the split finger are the most dangerous because of the late breaking action on the pitch.
4. The screwball. The screwball is one of the best pitches in baseball because it is rarely thrown and the breaking action is hard to accomplish. The ball is thrown at the speed of a slider but breaks in the opposite direction, for righties it breaks to the right, lefties to left. It will surprise any hitter who is not ready for it.
3. The splitter. Roger Clemens’ bread and butter pitch is simply nasty. The ball starts up in the zone and looks like a normal four seam fastball and at the very last instance, drops off the table. It is the most devastating common place pitch in the game today.
2. The knuckleball. Just a few players in history have mastered the art of throwing the knuckleball. Even fewer have mastered the art of hitting one. Fewer still have mastered the art of catching it. The knuckleball floats in toward the plate with virtually no spin and literally dances, making it impossible to know where it will go leaving the hitters to guess or wait for one that tumbles.
1. The spitball. Probably the nastiest pitch ever brought to the game. The way to throw it is exactly as it sounds, you have to lube up the ball with spit or other liquid to make the ball asymmetrical. The ball becomes virtually impossible to hit, but it was banned from the game a long time ago.