Oh That's Nasty Week 3: Stephen Strasburg
Stephen Strasburg has been dazzling scouts and fans alike since college, and has some truly nasty stuff.
He was drafted 1st overall by the Nationals in 2009 out of San Diego State University and has been dominant in his time in the major leagues. During his second season he was forced to have had Tommy John surgery but has bounced back to become a three-time All-Star.
His changeup will be the focus of this weeks Oh That's Nasty column for reasons that will be very clear very soon.
That's. Just. Nasty.
Add in the fact that he throws it at 89.4 mph, the equivalent to some major league fastballs, and you have the making of some filthy stuff.
With anywhere from three to five inches of vertical break and eight to ten inches of horizontal arm-side break, Strasburg's changeup can look almost like a reverse slider at some times.
Not only can most hitters not touch it, usually they look silly in the process of trying.
The pitch has a 26.6% whiff rate since the start of 2016, and opposing batters are averaging a measly .105 against it. Strasburg's victims have an equally-embarrassing .193 BABIP -- meaning even when they do get the pitch in play, it's usually not a hit.
Righties in particular clearly have trouble with the down-and-in movement of the pitch, they hit an embarrassing .059 against the pitch and have just one home run against it since 2016.
A moment of silence for that poor Marlins hitter....
Not only does the pitch meet the eye test, but the advanced stats agree with its dominance.
Strasburg has the 6th highest valued changeup per Fangraphs.com, and had the highest whiff per swing rate of any changeup in baseball per Baseball Prospectus. Over half of the time opposing hitters swung at that nasty pitch, they missed.
And if you don't believe me that it's hard to hit, just ask All-Star and World Series Champion Anthony Rizzo...
I rest my case.
If you have any suggestions for future editions of Oh That's Nasty feel free to hit me up on Twitter @RealCamNewell
Gifs provided by pitcherslist.com, gifycat, Grantland, and Fangraphs.com