Fastball – Justin Verlander, RHP, Tigers
His average fastball velocity is 95.0 this season and I have seen him hit 98 mph on the gun in the 9th inning this season. While others break 100 mph consistently, the fact that Verlander can maintain the velocity that he does at 90-110 pitches is incredible.
*Honorable Mention: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Nationals, 97.4 mph (career); Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Reds, 98.2 mph; Michael Pineda, RHP, Mariners, 94.3 mph; David Price, LHP, Rays, 94.7 mph; Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, Indians, 95.6 mph (career);
Curveball – Adam Wainwright, RHP, Cardinals
Sure, he isn’t pitching this year, but if he comes back with half of his usual stuff, it is filthy. His 91 mph fastball, 82 mph change and 74 mph curve give him enough to leave batters guessing and struggling.
* Honorable Mention: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Nationals (82.2 mph for his career, devastating power-curve); Gavin Floyd, RHP, White Sox; Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, Astros;
Slider – Zack Greinke, RHP, Brewers
Greinke’s 28.4% K-rate in 2011 is the best of his career and he is also throwing his slider a career high 19.1% of the time. Not a coincidence.
* Honorable Mention: Ryan Dempster, RHP, Cubs; Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Reds;
Cutter – Mariano Rivera, RHP, Yankees
Like it would be anyone else. No one else is going to be on this list. When a guy has ONE PITCH and they still can’t hit it, you know.
Change – Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants
Lincecum’s unique delivery and 9 mph difference between his fastball and change are part of the reason why he is 69-39 in his career.
* Honorable Mention: C.C. Sabathia, LHP, Yankees; James Shields, RHP, Rays; Johan Santana, LHP, Mets (would have ranked higher if his shoulder didn’t look like a butcher shop);
Knuckle/Knuckle-Curve – Tim Wakefield, RHP, Red Sox
He’s been doing it for 19 years and he has perfected it to win 200 games in his career. Wake has thrown his floater 93.4% of the time since the start of 2007.
*Honorable Mention: Roy Halladay (Knuckle-Curve), RHP, Phillies; R.A. Dickey, RHP, Mets;
Sinker/Splitter – Dan Haren, RHP, Angels
A 47.5% groundball rate over his career, Haren is different from other sinker/splitter pitchers in that he racks up a high number of strikeouts, too.
* Honorable Mention: Fausto Carmona, RHP, Indians; Justin Masterson, RHP, Indians; Chien-Ming Wang, RHP, Nationals;