Beautiful Spin Rate on Orion Kerkering's Slider
If you watched Orion Kerkering’s Phillies debut on Sunday night, you saw him strike out a couple of Mets with that nasty slider. Super filthy, that pitch. It dips vertically, and sharply, but it also has a lot of spin on it, as minor league baseball reporter Sam Dykstra (not related to Nails) noted on
Orion Kerkering touched 99.8 mph on his fastball, averaged 3,046 rpm on his slider in his MLB debut.
— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) September 25, 2023
Elite spin and lots of sweep. Really it’s just a slider with some disgusting movement, though the term “sweeper” has become more popular recently. I was hoping to work the term “slutter” into this story, but it’s not really a slider/cutter, it’s mostly just the former, though David Murphy made this observation and wrote about it for the Inquirer:
Kerkering’s slider is a pitch unlike any that you will see at any level. He uses it more like a cutter than a slider. The 10 that he threw on Sunday had three times as much horizontal break as a league-average slider, per Statcast. To give you some idea, this season, Zack Wheeler’s slider has averaged 2.5 inches of horizontal movement. On Sunday, Kerkering’s averaged 16.5.
Here’s the front angle view, which gives you a better idea of the horizontal movement on the pitch:
Orion Kerkering, Slider Movement (front/hp view).
Good luck. pic.twitter.com/mKIlDFzWWw
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 25, 2023
Good stat in the Murphy paragraph, though it’s worth noting that Wheeler doesn’t throw the pitch that often. He’s throwing the four seam fastball and sinker more frequently than anything else.
We don’t have to get too deep in the weeds on that, but here’s a good comparison for what Orion did in his debut, as compared to the top of the league:
For those wondering if Kerkering is the real deal:
This is the top Avg RPM for sliders. Orion Averaged 3045RPM on his slider tonight. He is filthy. pic.twitter.com/b65IAHBf0z
— Brandon Whisman (@Bkwhiss) September 25, 2023
Pretty cool. We want to see more.