The most poisonous pitches among pitchers on the market

No matter what you’re looking for in a pitcher – a powerful fastball, a slider that moves like a Frisbee, a changeup that sinks at the plate – you can be sure you’ll find it on the free agent market.

So, we’re going to do that. Here are the pitchers in free agency who throw the best version of each type of pitch: four-seamer, sinker, cutter, slider, curveball, changeup and split-finger fastball.

One thing: We’re not targeting any pitcher for more than one shipment… so this isn’t just “Jacob deGrom” over and over again.

Four-seamer fastball: Carlos Rodón

This was a battle between Rodon and Justin Verlander, who can still hit 99 mph, even though he’s turning 40. Both four-seamer fastballs were among the MLB’s most valuable pitches in 2022. But Rodón’s fastball, who averaged a career-high 95.5 mph this season and continued to hit 100, is more effective at producing swings. Blank at this point in their respective careers. Rodón generated a 28% blank swing rate and 31% strikeout rate with his four-seamer in 2022, compared to 18% and 16%, respectively, for Verlander. Rodón led the majors with 273 swings hitting them with his fastball and finished tied for the MLB lead with 135 strikeouts with those swings.

Honorable Mentions: Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, Aroldis Chapman

The most unhittable sinker among free agents belongs to a reliever. Ottavino throws it over 95 mph the pitch moves a lot both ways, averaging 24.7 inches of drop and 16.4 inches of horizontal movement in 2022. It’s the perfect pitch to pair with his terrific slider.

Honorable Mentions: Chris Bassitt, Noah Syndergaard, Ross Stripling, Miguel Castro

One of the best cutters of this generation is available again, with Jansen in free agency for the second winter in a row. The veteran closer’s cutter was just as effective with the Braves in 2022 as he was during his prime years with the Dodgers, averaging 92.2 mph and 8.4 inches of horizontal movement. Jansen’s cutter “cut” more than any other cutter and moved 3.7 inches more horizontally than the major league average. Jansen made his signature pitch almost two-thirds of the time last season and struck out 52 batters with it, the second-most among relievers.

Honorable Mention: David Robertson, Corey Kluber, Evan Phillips, Erasmo Ramírez

deGrom’s 100 mph fastball is nasty. But his slider at 95 mph is even more poisonous. And that’s why he won the slider position in this ranking. deGrom’s slider is the best pitch from the best pitcher in the world. The two-time Cy Young Award winner with the Mets throws the slider at the fastest speed in the Major Leagues: He averaged 92.6 mph in 2022, harder than the fastballs of more than 200 pitchers. deGrom hit scoreless swings 54% of the time with his slider, and 54% of the plate appearances decided by his slider were strikeouts.

Honorable Mentions: Adam Ottavino, Evan Phillips, Alex Reyes

Taillon’s curveball, which uses his right hand to attack the bottom of the strike zone, pairs beautifully with his high fastball. With the Yankees in 2022, the curveball was Taillon’s best pitching. That twisting curve (2,734 rpm average) limited hitters to a .168 batting average and .228 slugging percentage. Taillon struck out 43 with his curveball and was hit with just three extra-base hits in 101 at-bats ending with that delivery.

Honorable Mentions: Craig Kimbrel, Seth Lugo, José Quintana, Justin Verlander, Zach Eflin

Kahnle’s changeup is so good that when he returned to the Dodgers from injury in mid-September, he used it 83% of the time, for just 17% of fastballs. The right-hander’s changeup is one of the fastest in the game (89.9 mph) and he averaged 31.4 inches of drop in 2022, 3.1 inches more than the MLB average changeup. The rivals went 3-for-32 with three singles and 12 strikeouts before the Kahnle trade in 2022.

Honorable Mention: Jacob deGrom, Matt Moore, Zach Davies

The best split-finger fastball arguably belongs to Kodai Senga, but we won’t be sure until the Japanese ace proves it in the big leagues. Among the free agents currently in MLB, the best splitter is Eovaldi’s. He used it 21% of the time in 2022 and is capable of hitting lefties and righties. Eovaldi’s split-fingered fastball moves a lot, dropping an average of 34.1 inches, more than 3.3 inches than the average splitter, and turning 12.4 inches horizontally. Rivals hit .181 against his split-finger fastball in 2022, with a 39% hit-hit rate and 33% strikeout rate.

Honorable Mention: Aroldis Chapman, Taijuan Walker, Hirokazu Sawamura, Chasen Shreve

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The most poisonous pitches among pitchers on the market