Hot GIF: The League’s Five Best Sliders

There are two sorts of sporting bloggers in this world: those who do, and those who do not, know how to make a GIF. Having recently joined the lowest rung of the former camp, I possess that zeal unique to converts.

In this edition of Hot GIF, I’ve endeavored to capture the league’s five best sliders. The idea, I suppose — although I can’t be certain, really — is to get a sense of what an excellent slider looks like. By “best,” in this case, I mean “the top-five sliders by runs above average per hundred thrown, with something like a hundred (or more) thrown” (which leaderboard you can see above and here).

When capturing the above footage, I’ve tried to meet the following criteria as closely as possible, so’s to limit any visual variables:

• Pitcher facing same-handed batter.
• Pitch receives swing and miss.
• Camera straight-on from center field.
• Footage as recent as possible.

After the jump, you can find the GIFs of each pitcher above throwing his slider. Give the page a bit to load, probably. And, click on any image to watch just that GIF by itself.


5. Todd Coffey: May 11th, at Atlanta, facing Joe Mather

4. Tyson Ross: April 11th, at Chicago (AL), facing Brent Morel

3. Sam LeCure: May 11th, at Houston, facing Chris Johnson

2. Jonny Venters: May 28th, vs. Cincinnati, facing Jay Bruce

1. Sergio Santos: April 21st, at Tampa Bay, facing Sean Rodriguez

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t those numbers measure the EFFECTIVENESS of a player’s slider, not the true “quality” of it?

For example, two pitchers throw the exact same slider, at the same velocity, with the same break, and the same release point…but one throws 95mph and one throws 85mph. The 95mph flamethrower is almost certainly going to have a better slider by the numbers listed above, simply because any breaking pitch is going to work better if the rest of the repertoire is more potent.

What I’m saying is — I don’t think this measures who has the best slider. It measures whose slider has been the most stifling in the context of that pitcher’s entire repertoire. I guess you could argue that there’s no practical difference, but it seems to me that when people say “best slider,” they’re talking about that pitch in complete isolation, against the same pitch thrown by other pitchers around the league.



Although, this is Notgraphs, and I am liking the addition of pitch gifs.