A recent article at the Hardball Times ranked the best pitches in baseball based on linear weights (which takes into account what count they were thrown in and what happened to them). Allow me to raise the collective chorus of “Duh” when I point out that A.J’s Fastball and Curveball were right near the top. But then let us also cry “Buh?!” together at Shaun Marcum’s slider being tops in the league. I always thought his changeup was his out pitch, but he throws the slider more often in 2-strike counts and evidently nobody did nothin’ with it.
Of course, this has to be taken with a grain of salt…third on that list is Jesse Litch’s slider, and I’m very sure that’s just because his cutter breaks almost as much as a poor slider and is being misclassified. Still, it goes to show it’s a legitimately tough pitch to handle- if he can develop something consistent to back it up with (like the changeup that brought him on the scene in the first place), he won’t be in AAA for long.