Tool Time: Top Sliders

The precipitous drop of a slider can get batters heaving bats into the stands. Diving out over the plate with one hand on the stick leaves the hitter in a precarious position – ground out weakly as they roll over on the pitch or swing and miss.

Mike Ekstrom

His ground ball ratio is a testament to a terrific slider, getting hitters to roll over on his darting slider down in the zone.

Hitters believe the pitch will be higher before the plunge begins, causing the batter to swing in miss or top the ball weakly to waiting fielders. The movement on Ekstrom's pitch – late drop – makes the groundout his preferred method of getting outs.

Paul Abraham

A hard slider compliments a hard fastball and his downward tailing action has hitters committing too early and being swept away.

His slue is a true swing-and-miss pitch that he uses to get right-handers leaning, coming back inside with a plus fastball or expanding the zone even further with the slider for a strikeout.

Jared Wells

With good tilting action on his slider, Wells is able to get hitters chasing outside of the zone when he is ahead in the count.

A tight spin that comes in hard, hitters are baffled by its quick movement away from the sweet spot. By the time hitters realize what they did wrong, they have committed and are swinging over the strikeout pitch.

Jon Ellis

A groundball machine, Ellis uses his slider to get out jams. Its bottom-dropped-out action down in the zone is different than the traditional slider, which moves down and across the zone but has similarly effective results.

When his fastball command is on, Ellis is extremely effective in getting ahead of hitters and dropping the slider in to get betters hitting weak ground balls – it is one reason he is called upon so often with men on base.

John Madden

Given his sidearm delivery and the natural movement on his sliders, right-handers rarely have a chance to connect on the slipping action of his nickel.

Because Madden comes out of left field with his slider, it sweeps across the zone, making it an extremely difficult pitch for right-handed hitters to pick and stay with – often getting them flailing.

Honorable mention:

Matt Buschmann

With his whipping action across his body from a three-quarters delivery, Buschmann's slider is more of a slurve. Keeping his arm slot and elbow up, it has sweeping action across the zone.

Neil Jamison

With his motion, Jamison induces a ton of ground ball outs due to the skidding action of his five-cent curve. Its ability to dive down in the zone gets a lot of hitters rolling over.

Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards

MadFriars Top Stories