There is not any pitch that defines fashionable baseball greater than the slider. Whereas high-ride four-seam fastballs get the headlines, slider utilization has been seen to extend by 29% on the main league stage since 2018. Practically 1 / 4 of all pitches thrown on the main league stage are labeled as sliders. The mastery of this pitch is turning into increasingly important for sustained main league success. Whereas sliders have seemingly grown in reputation, quite a lot of slider shapes have grow to be extra prevalent.
The heavy horizontal-breaking sweeper has seen its reputation sky rocket in recent times, with gamers in any respect ranges including sweepers to their arsenals. Hybrid cutter shapes have begun to achieve traction inside quite a few minor league techniques, and in some ways seem like the early favourite for the stylish slider form in 2023. Whereas the traditional slider with tight gyro spin has seen much less fanfare, it’s nonetheless an efficient pitch for pitchers in any respect ranges and is seemingly as in style amongst pitchers as ever.
Within the following article we’ll look at sliders which were standouts for every of those 5 pitchers all through the 2022 season. Information included beneath was sourced from entrance workplace contacts.
Brandon Walter, LHP, Purple Sox
A former Twenty sixth-round select of Delaware, Walter had an injury-plagued beginner profession, lacking all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgical procedure and making 37 begins for the Blue Hens over 4 seasons. Over the 2020 shutdown Walter reworked his arsenal and returned in 2021 a distinct pitcher. The largest improvement was the extra sweep Walter had added to his slider. When he debuted as knowledgeable his slider averaged eight to 9 inches of sweep. Getting back from the pandemic, Walter had added practically eight to 10 inches of horizontal break. Now sitting within the low 80s with on common 17 to 19 inches of horizontal break, Walter’s slider has developed into one of the efficient breaking balls within the recreation. In 2022 alone, Walter has generated whiffs on 58% of swings and chases on 35% of swings. Sitting 79-82 mph with little to no vertical motion and averaging 2,700 rpm of uncooked spin, Walter’s slider is a standout sweeper. Walter hasn’t pitched since June for Triple-A Worcester and was later shut down for the season with a cervical bulging disc.
Marco Raya, RHP, Twins
A fourth-round select of the Texas prep ranks through the shortened five-round 2020 draft, Raya made his skilled debut earlier this spring and has proven a standout pitch combine all through his appearances this season. Whereas Raya’s mid-90s four-seam fastball, high-80s changeup and curveball are all good pitches in their very own proper, his slider stands alone as his signature pitch. Grading out within the excessive 120s on Stuff+ fashions, Raya’s slider is a high-spin sweeper with above-average velocity. The pitch sits 83-85 mph, however includes a foot of horizontal break on common with some trip. Spinning the pitch at 2,700-2,800 rpm often, not solely does Raya show an elite mixture of energy and motion on his slider, he exhibits the power to command the pitch regardless of its heavy glove-side break. Raya’s 68% strike charge on the pitch is definitely the very best strike charge on a slider of gamers listed and would classify as an above-average strike charge on a fastball. It is this mix of command, energy and motion that makes Raya’s sweeper a standout.
Dahian Santos, RHP, Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have had a banner yr for pitching on the farm. Regardless of buying and selling away 2021 first-rounder and extremely regarded faculty starter Gunnar Hoglund, the Jays noticed a number of breakouts on the pitching aspect this season, highlighted by Ricky Tiedemann, Yosver Zulueta and Hayden Juenger. One of many brightest breakouts was the 19-year-old Santos. The righthander carried out effectively over 19 appearances with Low-A Dunedin earlier than seeing a late-season promotion to Excessive-A Vancouver. The undersized righthander has an uncommon operation and arm motion that permit his pitches to play up, significantly his slider. Santos makes use of a tall-and-fall operation with a low sidearm motion that performs up his horizontal motion upon launch. As you’ll anticipate from any low-slot slinger, Santos’ slider generates heavy sweep. Sitting 80-82 mph with 2,700-2,800 rpm of uncooked spin, Santos generates on common 14 to fifteen inches of sweep with little or no to no vertical break. The pitch is Santos’ go-to providing, seeing practically an identical utilization to that of his fastball from him. Whereas nonetheless studying to command the pitch, Santos generates whiffs on 57% of swings and chases on 35% of swings. In a breakout season for Santos, his slider was the nucleus of his success.
Trent Palmer, RHP, Blue Jays
Drafted within the third spherical of the 2020 draft out of Jacksonville, Palmer tosses one of many filthiest sliders within the minors. The sweeper Palmer throws is uncommon as a result of quantity of vertical break he generates whereas concurrently getting on common 10 inches of horizontal break. Palmer makes use of a low sidearm motion that permits the ball to play up out of his hand from him. This works significantly effectively when Palmer throws his slider because it has components of its motion profile which are in-line with cutters whereas getting extra horizontal break than a cutter. It is a really distinctive pitch. Sitting 80-83 mph with spin charges within the 2,300-2,400 rpm vary, Palmer generates a foot of trip with 10 inches of horizontal break. That mixture of motion and distinctive launch traits drove success for Palmer’s slider in 2022. The righthander generated whiffs on 33% of swings in opposition to the pitch whereas getting chases at a median charge. Palmer’s slider graded out the very best of his pitches on Stuff+ fashions, with grades north of 140.
Will Warren, RHP, Yankees
Drafted within the eighth spherical in 2021 out of Southeastern Louisiana, Warren impressed in 2022, making 25 begins throughout two ranges of Class A in his debut. Warren has a deep arsenal of pitches, throwing a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, cutter, slider, curveball and changeup this season. Primarily a sinker and slider pitcher, Warren’s success is closely correlated to the standard of his slider. Sitting 83-85 mph with 3,000 rpm of uncooked spin, Warren generates on common 18 inches of horizontal break whereas getting trip. His slider on him has an identical form to Marco Raya’s, however with considerably extra sweep. Whereas Warren’s whiff and chase numbers are pretty pedestrian, the pitch grades out extremely on Stuff+ fashions, sitting within the upper-130 vary. Warren is a reputation to observe within the coming years due to his mixture of energy and motion.
Baseball America Prospect Report—September 16, 2021
Trent Palmer throws his second no-hitter of the season, Matt McLain hits his second skilled dwelling run and extra.