Statistics Show Daniel Bard’s Slider, Jon Lester’s Cutter Rank Among Baseball’s Toughest to Hit

Statistics Show Daniel Bard's Slider, Jon Lester's Cutter Rank Among Baseball's Toughest to Hit Both Red Sox Nation and baseball fans everywhere know that Daniel Bard and Jon Lester are very talented pitchers. Perhaps the best indication of how good their stuff is, though, comes from their numbers.

ESPN.com's Buster Olney recently revealed which pitchers had the most effective and hardest-to-hit pitches in the entire league, and both Bard and Lester made the list.

Bard has a fastball that consistently touches 100 mph, a speed that makes the pitch nearly unhittable. However, according to Olney, Bard's fastball isn't even close to his most unhittable pitch, his slider.

The righty flamethrower's slider is freakishly good. The pitch holds opposing batters to a mere .085 batting average and .136 slugging percentage. These numbers prove how difficult it is to hit Bard's low-mid 90s slider.

On the other hand, Bard isn't the only Red Sox pitcher that has a pitch that tops the list.

Statistically, Lester has the best cutter in baseball, even better than Mariano Rivera's, which has backed his 559 career saves and 2.23 all-time ERA. The lefty's cutter, however, holds batters to a .166 batting average and a .201 slugging percentage, while batters hit .174 with a .234 slugging percentage against Rivera's version of the pitch. Lester may have only a career 3.55 ERA and be four World Series rings behind Rivera, but his cutter bests the all-time great's, at least statistically speaking.

On top of that, Lester has one of the best curveballs in the AL. The pitch holds hitters to a .136 batting average (three points higher than leader Ricky Romero) and a .196 slugging percentage.

Aside from those numbers, the two pitchers' best stats may be that Bard and Lester are only 25 and 27, respectively.

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