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Masahiro Tanaka's Splitter and the 10 Best Strikeout Pitches of MLB

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Masahiro Tanaka's Splitter and the 10 Best Strikeout Pitches of MLB
USA TODAY Sports

If you haven't been keeping track, yes, Major League Baseball is on track for yet another record-high strikeout rate in 2014.

According to FanGraphs, pitchers are striking out 7.76 batters per nine innings this year. That's quite a raise over last year's rate of 7.57 batters per nine innings.

I feel an urge to blame Masahiro Tanaka. More specifically, to blame his splitter. It's gotten the bulk of the New York Yankees ace's 113 strikeouts, putting it among the best strikeout pitches in baseball alongside...

Uh, that's actually a good question. With so many pitchers striking out so many batters, there are a lot of elite strikeout pitches to choose from.

But I think we can narrow it down to 10 pitches, and we'll try to strike a balance between their general statistical dominance and their aesthetic appeal in ranking 'em.

 

Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted/linked, and are current as of the start of play on Thursday, June 19.

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