About a week ago, Clint Manry went into detail regarding Luke Jackson’s slider, which has become one of the more dominant offerings in baseball and is a primary reason why Jackson has put together the best season of his career. From Clint’s piece:
As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a “new” thing, either. Back in 2019, when he was mostly handling the ninth inning for the Braves, Jackson’s slider ranked sixth among MLB relievers according to FanGraphs Pitch Value. This year, his slide piece is third on that same leaderboard, and if he qualified in terms of innings, it would rank sixth among ALL pitchers (including starters).
But Jackson’s slider isn’t just helping him rack up strikeouts. The sliderman’s go-to offering is also being taught by the Braves throughout the lower levels of the minors and is referred to as the “death pitch.” It’s how they taught Huascar Ynoa, who now has one of the filthiest sliders in baseball, and it’s what they used to mold Spencer Strider‘s breaking ball, resulting in him making his major league debut in his first professional season.
Within the Braves org, Luke's slider model is called the "death pitch" or "death slider". Thrown at least 87 mph, with late downward break. Strider learned is this year; Ynoa last year. It's little wonder why: Luke Jackson leads all of MLB in slider run value, at -17 runs.
— dupu (@dupu) October 1, 2021
Jackson’s received a lot of unnecessary hate from Braves fans over the years. He saved the team’s ass in 2019, serving as the closer, but admittedly, 2020 was a year to forget. However, the sample size was minuscule, and Jackson has bounced back with by far the best season of his career. It’s also pretty cool to see his pitch being used to mold some of the younger arms, so it will be interesting to see what other Braves pitching prospects attempt to replicate it as they come up the system.