Chaz Roe has one of the most exciting sliders in all of baseball. With an average spin rate of over 2,800 RPM, Roe’s sliders have real zip to them.
I’ve embarked on a journey to look for Roe’s best sliders from the 2018 season and find out which one was his best.
Searching for sliders
Beginning my journey with Baseball Savant, I went on the mission of narrowing down each pitch that Roe threw on the season. Roe threw over 750 pitches in 2018, and the first task at hand was getting rid of every pitch that wasn’t slider. After removing 372 pitches, I was left with 402 sliders.
The next step was removing every pitch that was a ball and every pitch that was hit, and that left me with 210 strikes. Foul balls were the next thing to be removed, leaving me with 145 strikes.
At this point, I turned to Brooks Baseball and their fantastic game logs, throwing each game Roe pitched in into an Excel spreadsheet. Attached below is what Roe’s 145 strikes looked like in said spreadsheet.
Narrowing down the field
In Excel, I narrowed down all of Roe’s sliders to ones that had at least 13 inches of horizontal movement, giving me 28 pitches to work with. This much smaller sample size allowed me to watch video on each of these pitches.
After watching each individual pitch, I picked two that I thought looked the best, and added those with the top eight pitches in horizontal movement. With ten pitches to pick from, the narrowing became more difficult.
Removing pitches like one to Whit Merrifield, where it was a solid knee-buckler but didn’t have much movement, to pitches like one to Greg Allen that had a lot of movement but was egregiously and incorrectly called a strike by the umpire, was not an easy task.
Eventually, however, I did trim the pitches down to five. Thanks to help from our JT Morgan, the pitch that ranked fifth was selected. After the fifth-best pitch was decided, I put up a poll on Twitter for people to vote on their favorite pitch from the remaining four.
I used the results from the poll to decide the rankings, and after 83 votes, the results were in. Let’s take a look at Chaz Roe’s five best sliders from 2018.
The final five
5. March 31 - JD Martinez
Landing in the fifth spot of these rankings is this slider from the opening series on the season. With two runners on and two outs in the sixth, Chaz Roe came through in the clutch, striking out JD Martinez looking. Laz Diaz helped out Roe here, but this slider and its 13.7 inches of horizontal movement were good enough to get the Rays out of the inning.
4. June 8 - Guillermo Heredia
Roe unleashed a great slider against Guillermo Heredia to open the ninth inning with a strikeout. Roe’s fastest slider of the season (83.5 mph), Heredia stood no chance against the combination of speed and late breaking action from Roe’s breaking ball, just like many of the batters who faced this pitch.
3. September 29 - Randal Grichuk
Chaz Roe fooled Randal Grichuk with this excellent two-strike, front door slider that was correctly called strike three. The slider with the second-best horizontal movement, Grichuk had no choice but to jump back a bit when the pitch left Roe’s hand.
2. September 11 - Edwin Encarnacion
Similar to the slider that Heredia struck out on, this pitch had solid vertical movement in addition to fantastic horizontal movement, both of which were greater than the pitch to Heredia. Although there weren’t any outs at this point, eliminating a hitter as dangerous as Encarnacion was still pretty clutch from Roe.
1. June 17 - Aaron Judge
If the people voted this slider to be the best one, I would’ve picked this pitch regardless. Facing Aaron Judge with a 2-1 count, Chaz Roe threw this phenomenal slider to fool Judge and even the count, eventually striking him out to end the inning.
At 14.5 inches of horizontal movement, this was the greatest pitch in that category among these top five, and the second best horizontally-moving pitch Roe threw on the season. Also ranking second in vertical movement among every pitch Roe threw, this slider was a no-doubter in my mind. The Yankee Stadium camera angles don’t do this slider justice, because it really was an unbelievable pitch.
Chaz Roe’s electric slider brought many “ooh’s” and “aah’s” this year, creating some of the best pitches baseball saw in 2018. With fantastic horizontal movement and a high spin rate, Roe’s breaking pitch was a reliable source of whiffs, strikeouts and quality entertainment.