Pair of Mariners crack MLB insider's exclusive list of baseballs best new pitches

Jeff Passan recently discussed some of his favorite pitches in today's game and shouted out two of Seattle's best arms for their impressive arsenal
Seattle Mariners v Detroit Tigers
Seattle Mariners v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages
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Pitch #2: Logan Gilbert's Cutter

Logan Gilbert has added a new pitch to his arsenal every year that he's been in the big leagues. After his debut in 2021, he toyed with adding a sinker in 2022. In 2023, he started throwing a splitter that was his best pitch by batting average. In 2024, he has now added a cutter.

So how is this new pitch faring so far? Well, based on the high-level numbers, it's alright. It's got a .244 batting average, a whiff rate of 23.8%, and a strikeout rate of 17.8%. These numbers are satisfactory but why did Passan feel that this pitch wasn't just good but one of the best in baseball?

There are two ways to look at a pitch. One can look at the results, which we just did above, or one can look at the intrinsic qualities of the pitch. People have started to focus more on the latter which may tell a more accurate story and the popular overarching stat used is appropriately called "Stuff+". The Athletic wrote an in-depth article about the stat in 2021 and Driveline Baseball published a similar article discussing what goes into placing a number on things.

This brings us back to Logan Gilbert who currently has the highest Stuff+ metric for his cutter at 130. This is a higher rating than elite pitchers like Corbin Burnes (128), Marcus Stroman (116), and Dylan Cease (116). Gilbert's cutter averages 92.0 mph with 20.5 inches of drop. All well and good, but the location is a big factor as well. He's been using it to dot edges and corners, painting the strike zone like a taller more athletic Michaelangelo.

So if the Stuff+ is so good, why are the numbers not better? Well, first of all, it's a new pitch. He's still probably trying to figure out the best time and place to use it. Sequencing is an extremely important part of pitching and after taking a look at his Pitcher Plinko on Baseball Savant, it seems that he tends to use it more frequently when in hitter's counts, leaning more on the splitter and four-seam fastball in pitcher's counts. Thus, it makes sense for hitters to be doing a little better off of it.

But this is an easy problem to fix, if it's even a problem at all. He's almost entirely retired his sinker (which was never that great anyway) and will likely keep messing around with his approach as the season goes on and he gets more comfortable with the pitch. Don't worry though, his fastball and slider are here to stay, along with his now iconic splitter.