Jenkins: Why are sliders so hard to hit?

From Wes Jenkins at The Hardball Times on November 27, 2018:

If you were to line up all the pitchers in baseball by the number of pitches they threw in 2018, starting with those who threw the most and ending with those who threw the least, you’d learn something about the various strata of major league pitchers, but it’s something you likely already knew.

It starts with the aces, the workhorses, the perennial Cy Young contenders. At some point after Blake Snell, you start getting to the “good but often hurt” pitchers, mixed in with the “always healthy but are they good?” That layer goes on for a while, eventually hitting Homer Bailey and the rest of the “Wow, we need five starters? Are you sure?” pitchers. The starter list ends with elite relievers, before transitioning to mop-up men, then role-specific relievers, and then the odds and ends who always populate the back end of baseball leader boards and Wednesday night trivia questions.

It’s a relaxing exercise because it convinces you that you understand baseball, or at least pitching, and the sorts of people the occupation molds.

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Originally published: November 27, 2018. Last Updated: November 27, 2018.