Athletics

What makes A's starter Chris Bassitt's slow curveball so effective

Athletics

A’s starter Chris Bassitt has this long, slow curveball that throws hitters off, often causing them to swing and miss beautifully. It almost forces hitters out of their helmets. 

It’s a pitch that A’s manager Bob Melvin brings up periodically when asked about Bassitt, as it’s simply just fun to watch.

Viral pitching Twitter account Pitching Ninja has tweeted out GIFs or this particular pitch multiple times. So you know it’s good.

On Wednesday, during the A’s 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels, Bassitt even impressed himself with the way his curve was looking.

“I mean, I think I can up the usage more than what I have been, but I mean overall I think it’s good, it’s coming along very well,” Bassitt said after Wednesday’s victory. 

So far this season, he’s only thrown the curveball about 9.3 percent of the time. That's quite a downfall from previous seasons where, from 2014-19, he utilized it 14.4 percent of the time. 

But that might change with how it looked against the Halos on Wednesday.

“Today was by far the best I had it,” Bassitt added. “I probably should have thrown it more, it’s just yeah -- the third inning, I threw way too many fastballs. Looking back, I wish I threw a lot more curveballs or offspeed pitches, I was trying to set my curveball up to [Anthony] Rendon in the last batter, I just never got to it. Yeah, I like where it’s at right now.”

 

Bassitt smiled and laughed when told his 69 mph pitch made it to the Pitching Ninja account. 

"I like when I make that,” Bassitt said.

Pitching Ninja, or Rob Friedman, enjoyed it as well.

“There’s something about a slow curveball that exemplifies the beauty of pitching,” Friedman told NBC Sports California. “That and the fact that it was 69 mph makes it even sexier. Seriously, Bassitt’s ability to take that much off the (velocity) of the pitch as a guy who can throw in the mid-90s and float it in there is impressive and really keeps hitters off balance.”

[RELATED: Bassitt, Austin Allen bonding quickly on the mound]

That curve's velocity has slowed down quite a bit over the years, averaging around 70 mph this season. So knowing he could top out around 95 with his fastball and quickly take off more than 20 mph is why that pitch is worthy of an article ... and a few Pitching Ninja GIFs.

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