Say Hello to Adbert Alzolay’s Disgusting New Slider

I had to go to the bathroom to splash some water in my face after I saw Adbert Alzolay stifle Pirates batter with what the broadcast said was a curveball. Except it wasn’t actually a curveball. Alzolay had instead whipped out a brand new pitch that is actually a slider.

According to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, one of the best Cubs follows on Twitter, Alzolay recently tweaked his grip with pitching director Craig Breslow and other Cubs coaches. This allowed the righty to generate sharper horizontal breaking action with greater velocity than his curveball and it showed Tuesday as he was throwing these sliders around 85 mph against the Pirates.

Here’s an example of his slider Pitching Ninja highlighted. Pay no attention to his caption, since this was confirmed to be a slider.

And when his new slider is overlayed with his new sinker, it’s a work of art.

Alzolay didn’t just add a pedestrian pitch, though. Preliminary data suggests his new breaking ball has more horizontal movement than 90% of big leaguers with a higher spin rate than 80% of right-handed pitchers. Notice in the graph below how Alzolay’s average slider RPM hovered near 3000.

Even better, that spin is translating to movement, which is what we want to see.

Basically, Alzolay just developed two new pitches since spring training, implementing a sinker and now this brand new slider that looks absolutely lethal. Adding two new pitches at all in such short order is wild for a young pitcher, but to have both be good? That’s really special.

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