I have an unhealthy obsession with Sergio Romo and his slider. Our support group — Sliders Anonymous, co-chaired by Aaron Rowand — meets on Thursdays. The obsession might sound weird, but can you really blame me? It’s a pitch that defies logic. It’s a pitch that Romo throws with impunity, batters can’t touch it. It’s a pitch that makes hitters take some of the most goofy, bent-armed swings I’ve ever seen. It’s a pitch that has quickly become one of the best pitches in baseball.
It’s a great freaking pitch.
I decided that while I’ve written a lot on Romo and why I enjoy watching him do his thing, I haven’t written a lot about his main weapon — the slider. Oh, that devastating slider.
To remedy such an injustice, I present, in bullet point fashion: Romo Slider Facts.
- The Pitch F/X system tracked 656 pitches from Romo in the 2011 season; 354 of those pitches were sliders. That’s a slider percentage of 53.9%.
- Romo’s average slider speed was just a hair over 79 miles per hour.
- Of the 354 sliders Romo threw, batters took a cut 185 times. Of those 185 swings, batters completely missed the pitch 94 times. That’s a whiff percentage (94/185) of 50.8%.
- The league average slider has a whiff rate of 32.7%. Romo’s slider got an additional 13.6% whiff rate over the league average slider.
- Which batter had the most swings and misses against Romo’s slider? Matt Kemp took seven swings against the slider. He missed five times.
- Matt Kemp is really freaking good at baseball.
- He couldn’t hit Romo’s slider last season.
- Romo gave up just two home runs all year on his slider. Dan Uggla hit one and Alexi Casilla hit the other. (Casilla only hit two home runs all season, and he hit one on one of the toughest pitches in baseball. Go figure.)
- Romo has been historically very tough on right-handed batters, largely due to the natural movement and break of the slider. He owns a career K/9 of 12.62 against them. In 2011, only 10 times did a RHB put one of Romo’s sliders into play as a base hit.
I could go on for hours about this stuff. If you have a specific slider fact that you’d like to share, please post it in the comments.
And finally, this wouldn’t be a slider post if I didn’t include at least one slider.gif of Romo making someone look completely helpless at the dish.
This sustains me.