As voted by MLB players, Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale’s slider was ranked as the no. 1 nastiest pitch to face.
MLB.com polled 85 different players, both hitters and pitchers from 28 different clubs, and 16 of them voted for Sale’s slider, the same pitch that Sale put Los Angeles Dodgers 3rd baseman Manny Machado on his knee with back in October during the World Series.
Chris Sale, Disgusting 84mph Slider. 😨😳
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 29, 2018
Here is what a couple of players said about Sale’s pitch via Anthony Castonvince’s article on the subject.
Washington Nationals catcher Yan Gomes:
“He’s throwing it from a completely different angle,” Gomes said. “You don’t see many lefties throwing it from second base, and then, the next thing you know, the ball is at first base, and then you take it, but it’s in the strike zone.”
St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong:
“Being a lefty and seeing that slider left-on-left, it’s one of the sliders that people try to explain, but until you face it and get a chance to see it, it’s hard to really talk about because it’s just so crazy of a pitch,” Wong said. “It honestly looks like a fastball out of his hand, and all of a sudden it looks like it’s coming across slightly the way you look at it on the TV, but it moves like three feet and you’re like, ‘How the [heck] am I even supposed to hit that?'”
Per Statcast, batters were 23-for-204 (.113 average) on at-bats that ended with a slider thrown by Sale. 57.4 percent of those at-bats ended in a strikeout.