The Best Pitches In The Big Leagues

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IJuly 28, 2008

Here is a look at a variety of Major League pitches, and the pitcher who is best at throwing it in today’s game. I believe I have included virtually every pitch officially used in baseball today. However, if I missed something, or if you simply disagree with any of my selections, feel free to let me know.


1)     4- Seam Fastball: Joba Chamberlain

Joba boasts a fastball that regularly exceeds 100 mph. In addition, his 4- Seamer has both superior movement and explosiveness out of his hands.

2)     2- Seam Fastball: Chien Ming Wang

Wang’s 2- Seamer is routinely thrown 95 mph, and has allowed Wang to induce more ground balls than just about anyone in the bigs; that is, when they hit it in the first place.

3)     Changeup: Edison Volquez

The rising star of the Cinncinati Reds may still be young, but his dangerous changeup is making him one of the most dominant pitchers in the Major Leagues.

4)     Circle Change: Johan Santana

Within the past several years, Johan Santana has arguably been the best pitcher in the Major Leagues; and his circle change is the reason why.

5)     Curveball: Tim Lincecum

This one was an incredibly hard decision to make, as the curveball is among the most commonly utilized pitches in the Major Leagues today. However, Tim Lincerum has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the league, and I believe a lot of his success has to be attributed to his devastating curveball.

6)     Knuckle Curve: Roy Holliday

“The Doc”, as he is known, is a pitcher who is truly in a league of his own. Holliday boasts a slew of nasty pitches, but his knuckle curve may be his best.

7)     Sinker: Brandon Webb

Brandon’s sinker is single handedly responsible for Webb’s great success over the past few years.

8)     Slider: Randy Johnson

He may be old, and his fastball may not be what it used to be. However, his incredible slider has allowed Johnson to continue his success in the Majors.

9)     Slurve: Kerry Wood

Kerry may have had more appearances on the disabled list than we would like to see, but no one could ever question how nasty his slurve could be.

10) Cutter: Mariano Rivera

Mariano’s cutter may be the one pitch in the history of baseball in which the batter knows it is coming, and yet they find themselves utterly unable to hit it.

11) Splitter: John Smoltz

John Smoltz has put together a hall of fame career, and his splitter is part of the reason why.

12)  Forkball: Jose Contreras

Not many Major Leaguers throw the forkball anymore, but Contreras throws it about as well as anyone.

13) Knuckleball: Tim Wakefield

Unfortunately, there are no more than two or three knuckle- ballers in the big leagues today. However, Tim Wakefield is truly a master of the pitch.

14) Screwball: Dallas Braden

The screwball appears to be all but extinct in contemporary baseball. However, the little known Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics is known to throw one every now and then.

15)  Ephus: Orlando Hernandez

The ephus is a trick pitch that is rarely seen at all in baseball. However, El Duque uses it as well as anyone in the history of the game.


    How the Hall of Fame Vote Is Expected to Go

    MLB logo

    How the Hall of Fame Vote Is Expected to Go

    via WSJ

    B/R's All-2000s MLB Team

    MLB logo

    B/R's All-2000s MLB Team

    Zachary D. Rymer
    via Bleacher Report

    Yanks and Astros Are Fighting for Control of MLB

    New York Yankees logo
    New York Yankees

    Yanks and Astros Are Fighting for Control of MLB

    Danny Knobler
    via Bleacher Report

    Predicting Offseason Decisions That Will Crash and Burn

    MLB logo

    Predicting Offseason Decisions That Will Crash and Burn

    Jacob Shafer
    via Bleacher Report