What's better than seeing a batter's knees buckle at the sight of a filthy breaking ball or watching a hitter swing through a changeup, only to find that the ball hasn't even reached the catcher's mitt yet?
Now that the 2012 MLB season has begun, it's time to take a look at some of the filthiest off-speed pitches thrown by starters last season.
For the purpose of this article, I used sabermetrics, as well as my own visual knowledge and opinion. The two main sabermetric statistics that I focused on were two different classifications of pitch-type linear weights.
The first is the total runs that a pitcher saved using a specific pitch—represented by wSL, wCB and wCH—and the second category measures how many runs a pitcher saved using a specific pitch over the course of throwing 100 of those specific pitches, shown as wSL/C, wCB/C and wCH/C.
Note that for the first pitch-type linear weight, anything better than 20 is above-average, and for the second, anything more than 1.5 is above-average.
Let's get into it.