MLB fans know the basic pitches: fastball, splitter, slider, curveball, and even knuckleball and eephus.
Meet the Sweeper now, the latest addition for fans to enjoy this season.
The sweeper has been reported to be a new pitch used by some of the best pitchers in MLB. In a year where so much has changed, from universal DH to Pitchcom technology, it’s not hard to believe that another revolutionary measure has been introduced to the game we love.
What is the Sweeper and who can you expect to see in MLB this year?
The primary goal of baseball is for the pitcher to confuse, confuse, and overtake the batter. Because of this goal, several different pitches have been invented over the years. From Knuckleball championed by RA Dickey to LaLob pioneered by Dave LaRoche.
“Phil Maton’s alternating slider shapes. The first has a HIGHER spin rate of over 250 rpm…the second has more horizontal disruption (sweeper). It’s pitch design. Not “sticky stuff.” – @Rob Friedman
The latest idea is the Sweeper, which is essentially an over-the-top slider. Yahoo Sports has reported that the sweeper is attempting to dramatically shift horizontally and manipulate a curveball intended to sink.
The sweeper is apparently nothing new to the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, Japan’s national baseball league. San Diego Padres starter Yu Darvish, a veteran of the NPB, has begun using a more accented version of his slider, now dubbed the Sweeper.
“ICYMI took down Mitch Keller’s new sweeper pitch yesterday…” – @Rob Biertempfel
In addition, aces like Corey Kluber, Julio Urias and Gerrit Cole have also dabbled in it. In fact, it was the Pitching Czars in the LA Dodgers organization that originally coined the new term, Yahoo also reported.
The New York Yankees reportedly experimented with the field towards the end of last season. At the time it was referred to as Whirly.
Like many pitches, the sweeper might not be as recognizable as you might think when watching the game. The quality of sliders and two-seam fastballs being thrown in MLB today makes them virtually indistinguishable.
Regardless of whether this versatile playing field goes mainstream or not, there’s another fun thing for baseball fans to watch out for this season!