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Imagine the perfect pitcher in your mind. What type of pitches would he throw? How fast? How intimidating? How smart?

If I was able to pick and choose pitches and intangibles from starting pitchers in the MLB, this is the perfect pitcher I would imagine. The pitcher is only allowed to have 4 pitches, which is generally the average for a pitcher in the MLB. Let’s not let your imagination get carried away here.

The perfect pitcher would have:

  • Mariano Rivera’s Cutter-Yankees– Everybody knows this pitch is coming, but they can’t do anything about trying to hit it. He throws it at about 93 mph with dart like control. The pitch breaks more bats than Carlos Zambrano does in anger management. He can paint the outside corner or handcuff a lefty. Or he can start the pitch on a righty and have it cut onto the inside corner. He is one of the few pitchers who receive interviews from other pitchers in the league that are trying to attain a pitch as successful as his cutter. The deceptiveness of the pitch, which looks like a slider at first glance then swiftly cuts through the strike zone, is a nightmare for opposing hitters.

-Honorable Mention Cutters- Cliff Lee-Rangers, Andy Pettitte-Yankees, Jon Lester-Red Sox, Evan Meek-Pirates, Dan Haren-Angels, Jon Danks-White Sox.

  • Aroldis Chapman’s Fastball-Reds Chapman broke the record this year for the fastest pitch ever thrown by a pitcher at 105 mph. He is almost touching the sky with a height of 6’4, which makes for one nasty angle for a pitch to soar towards the plate. Imagine the type of action he can get on a pitch, from that height, at a speed averaging around 100 mph every pitch. His long left arm creates an enormous whip on the ball that makes the ball blurry, making it hard for opposing hitters to see the ball effectively. His control is good, with a k/bb ratio of 19/5 in 13.1 innings. He averaged more than 1 strikeout every inning in his rookie year with the Reds. Give me that pitch any day of the week.

-Honorable Mention-Felix Hernandex-Mariners, Tim Lincecum-Giants, Stephen Strasburgh-Nationals, Ubaldo Jimenez-Rockies

  • Johan Santana’s Changeup-Mets-The changeup is one of the most effective pitches, especially if it set up correctly by the pitcher. It is most effective when thrown in a count a hitter is expecting a fastball because the arm motions for both pitches resemble each other. The only difference lies in the ball grip. With the changeup grip the baseball is tucked deep into the palm with either four fingers or three fingers accompanied by a small circle formed between the thumb and index finger. The pitch comes out of the hand slower, even though the arm whips through like a fastball, disguising a nasty-nose diving pitch that resembles the Japanese kamikaze. Johan Santana’s changeup is the most brutal one in the MLB. He has perfected the arm motion and can throw it with pin-point accuracy.  

Honarable Mention-Tim Lincecum-Giants-Pedro Martinez-Retired

  • Zack Greinke’s Curveball-Royals- This pitch could probably be classified as a slurve. The slurve is a slow curveball, usually clocked between 65-mph and 75 mph. It is filthy and drops like a ball that has fell off a table. It’s much different than a power curve. Greinke relies on his deceptiveness in which he keeps the same arm angle throughout all of his pitches. If my perfect pitcher was to throw Chapman’s 100mph fastball followed by a Greinke slurve, the hitter’s knees would buckle.

Honorable Mention-Roy Halladay-Phillies, AJ Burnett-Yankees, Tim Lincecum-Giants, Ubaldo Jimenez-Rockies, Stephen Strasburgh-Nationals

Intangibles-

Roy Halladay’s brains-Phillies-He is like a professor out on that mound. Knows how and when to use his pitches. Sets up guys to fail at the plate more than anyone I’ve ever see.

Brian Wilson’s IntimidationGiants– One of the best closers in the game. His veins are filled with ice. He laughs at the concept of fear.

Mariano Rivera’s calmness-Yankees– The bases can be loaded with no outs and you won’t see a drip of sweat fall from his head. Looks like he is doing a sermon from out there on the mound.

 

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