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It took José Berríos one inning to bust his swooping curveball out for the Blue Jays. The pitch sank below the flailing barrel of Michael Taylor in the second frame as the Kansas City outfielder hacked through air in the box.

It was a pitch Toronto fans became quickly accustomed to and a weapon the Blue Jays starter has used for strikeouts and swings-and-misses his entire career. But, is it the best pitch in the Blue Jays staff? 

Weighing swinging-strike percentage, called-strike plus whiff percentage, wOBA, pitch value, and usage, here are the five best weapons Toronto's pitchers have to offer:

5. Hyun Jin Ryu's Changeup

2021 Stats: 25.3 CSW%, 14.7 SwStr%, .310 wOBA, .3 Pitch Value, 25.5% Usage

These rankings begin with some potential controversy, but Ryu’s signature dagger deserves a career achievement award and place on this list, regardless of 2021 results.

Sitting at 80 MPH and posting near-average break, Ryu’s changeup embodies his success as a major league starter. He lives on the black with the delivery, hitting the edges of the zone nearly half the time and earning a strike at a 68.8% rate in 2021.

In 2019 and 2020, Ryu’s change was his most used pitch. He struggled to locate it at times last year, and it fell behind the curveball and four-seamer as the lefty’s most effective weapon for the first time in years. Last season was the first since 2017 in which batters posted a wOBA against Ryu's changeup higher than .222.

4. Alek Manoah's Slider

33.5 CSW%, 17.8 SwStr%, .238 wOBA, 6.3 Pitch Value, 26.6% Usage

Manoah's four-seamer and sinker both earned consideration, but the rookie's swooping slider reigns supreme. Dropping it in for strikes or yanking it off the plate for whiffs, opponents hit just .146 against Manoah's hook in 2021.

In his best start of the season, a dominant eight shutout innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 13th, the righty induced 17 whiffs, 13 of which came from the slide piece.

“I wanted to come in tonight, let that slider set up the heater instead of the other way around,” Manoah said after the start. “Keep throwing it until they hit it.”

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3. José Berríos' Curveball

34.5 CSW%, 14.6 SwStr%, .245 wOBA, 1.5 Pitch Value, 30.5% Usage

Berríos flashed his breaking ball often after joining the Jays. In his first start against the Royals, he earned nine of his 11 whiffs from the curveball and posted a 43% whiff rate on the pitch. It was his put-away weapon on that July day and it's played that role his entire career.

Berríos has had issues hanging the pitch before, allowing 10 homers off the curve in both 2018 and 2019, but it's always been his top swing-and-miss pitch, inducing a 34.4% whiff rate in 2021. In 2020, Berrios' curve had the fifth-best run value of all curveballs in baseball, per Baseball Savant.

While FanGraphs' pitch value didn't love Berríos' curve in 2021 (down from 6.6 in 2020), he earned 96 of his 204 strikeouts on the pitch last year. He also did a good job limiting the hangers, allowing just 17 extra-base hits on the curve despite throwing the pitch 30.5% of the time.

2. Jordan Romano's Fastball

28.8 CSW%, 14.7 SwStr%, .234 wOBA, 10.0 Pitch Value, 63.2% Usage

Against Jordan Romano's four-seam fastball last year, opponents posted a .139 batting average, 53 wRC+, and rocked a 35.5 K%. Oh, and it wasn't even the best we've seen of it.

Romano's high-90s fastball was dominant in 2021, but in the shortened 2020 it was even better. Romano let up one (yes, one) hit on the four-seamer in 2020 and flashed a 56.5% strikeout rate on the pitch. It was just 14.2 innings of work, but Romano backed up the breakout in 2021. 

Leaning on the pitch about two-thirds of the time, Romano found more velocity and more spin on the heater in 2021. He posted the fourth-lowest expected batting average on a four-seam fastball in baseball last year (minimum 100 PA), sitting atop the leaderboard alongside guys like Josh Hader, Jacob deGrom, and Craig Kimbrel.

If there's one flaw in relying so heavily on a 'here it is' fastball, it's the opportunity for homers. Long balls occasionally bit Romano in 2021, but his fastball was so otherwise dominant it's easy to stomach a few home runs.

1. Kevin Gausman's Splitter

31.7 CSW%, 24.3 SwStr%, .189 wOBA, 17.5 Pitch Value, 40.9% Usage

The legend of Gausman's splitter seems to grow by the day. I've broken down the newest Blue Jays' arsenal, with a focus on his signature pitch, but Gausman's splitter deserves a little more attention.

One of the few splits left in the game, Gausman's best pitch ducks, dips, dives, and dodges below opposition bats, sinking with some of the most horizontal drop in baseball. The splitter was the third-best pitch in the game last year, providing -23 run value per Baseball Savant. Opponents hit .133 against the pitch with a .224 slugging, whiffing nearly half the time. 

Relying on essentially two pitches is hard to do in the modern starting pitching landscape. Gausman's splitter makes it easy.

Honorable mentions: Tim Mayza's Two-Seamer, Ross Stripling's Changeup, Nate Pearson's fastball, Yimi García's slider