How Does Corey Kluber Throw His Slider?

Kevin Smith

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corey kluber throw his slider

Corey Kluber is one of the most successful pitchers in baseball, with two Cy Young awards and a reputation as a fierce competitor. A big part of Kluber’s success comes from his mastery of the slider, one of the most effective pitches in his arsenal.

We’ll explore how Kluber throws his slider, breaking down the mechanics and techniques that make it such a devastating pitch.

Whether you’re a casual fan looking to learn more about the game or an aspiring pitcher hoping to improve your skills, understanding the secrets of Corey Kluber’s slider is a great place to start.

What is a slider?

A slider is a breaking ball pitch that is thrown with a combination of wrist snap and forearm pronation to create horizontal movement as it approaches the plate.

The pitch is typically thrown with a fastball grip, with the pitcher’s index and middle fingers placed along the horseshoe seam of the baseball.

Compared to other breaking balls, such as curveballs and cutters, a slider typically has less vertical drop and more horizontal movement.

This makes it a popular pitch for inducing weak contact or getting swings-and-misses, especially against same-handed batters.

A curveball, by contrast, typically has more downward movement and is thrown with a different grip (often involving the pitcher’s middle finger).

A cutter, on the other hand, is thrown with a fastball grip and is designed to move slightly in on same-handed batters or away from opposite-handed batters.

While there is some overlap in the movement and mechanics of these pitches, each breaking ball has its own distinct characteristics and can be effective in different situations depending on the pitcher’s skill and the batter’s tendencies.

The slider, in particular, is a versatile pitch that can be used in a variety of counts and situations to keep batters off balance and generate outs.

The grip

Corey Kluber’s slider grip is likely similar to that of most pitchers who throw the pitch. To throw a slider, Kluber probably places his index and middle fingers on top of the ball, with his fingers slightly off-center and his thumb underneath.

This creates a slight tilt to the ball, with the horseshoe seam running from the top left to the bottom right (if he’s a right-handed pitcher).

Different pitchers may use slightly different grips to achieve different types of movement or spin on the ball. For example, some pitchers may grip the ball more tightly or loosely, which can affect the amount of break on the pitch.

Others may adjust their finger placement or thumb pressure to create a different axis of rotation, which can change the direction or shape of the slider’s movement.

One common variation on the slider grip is the “spike slider,” in which the pitcher uses a slightly different finger placement to create a sharper, more downward break on the pitch.

To throw a spike slider, the pitcher places their index and middle fingers slightly further up the horseshoe seam, with the index finger pushing down and the middle finger pressing up. This creates a more pronounced tilt to the ball and can make it drop more sharply as it approaches the plate.

Ultimately, the grip a pitcher uses for their slider will depend on their personal preferences and the type of movement they want to achieve. Mastery of the slider grip is an important step towards developing a reliable and effective pitch.

The mechanics

Corey Kluber generates the necessary spin and movement on his slider through a combination of wrist snap and forearm pronation. After gripping the ball, Kluber likely uses a quick, powerful wrist snap to impart spin on the ball as it leaves his hand.

This spin, combined with the tilt created by his grip, causes the ball to break horizontally as it approaches the plate.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how Kluber likely throws his slider:

  • Begin with a high leg kick, lifting his left leg towards his chest as he begins his delivery.

  • As he brings his leg back down, Kluber pivots on his back foot and begins to rotate his hips and torso towards home plate.

  • As his throwing arm begins to come forward, Kluber begins to snap his wrist and pronate his forearm, creating the spin and movement on the slider.

  • At his release point, Kluber likely releases the ball with a high three-quarters arm angle, with his fingers pointed towards the plate and his elbow extended.

  • As the ball leaves his hand, Kluber follows through with his throwing arm, continuing to rotate his body towards the plate and finishing with his chest and shoulders facing the hitter.

The combination of Kluber’s grip, wrist snap, and forearm pronation allows him to throw a slider with a sharp, late break that can fool even the best hitters.

By repeating this motion with consistency and precision, Kluber has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game today.

Variations on the slider

Like many pitchers, Corey Kluber likely varies the velocity and break of his slider in order to keep batters guessing and prevent them from getting too comfortable at the plate.

For example, he may throw a harder, tighter slider to get ahead in the count or generate swings-and-misses, while using a slower, more loopy slider to induce weak contact or get batters to chase pitches out of the zone.

Kluber might also adjust his approach to the slider depending on the situation or count. For example, he may be more likely to throw the pitch early in the count to establish it as a weapon and keep batters from sitting on his fastball.

Later in the count, he may use the slider as a putaway pitch, either by throwing it out of the zone to get a swinging strike or by burying it in the dirt to induce a weakly hit ground ball. Another way that Kluber may vary his slider is by changing the location of the pitch.

While most sliders are thrown low and away to same-handed batters (and high and in to opposite-handed batters), Kluber may mix in sliders that break in on the hands or backdoor sliders that start off the plate before breaking back over the corner.

This can help him keep batters off balance and prevent them from getting comfortable with a certain pitch location.

Ultimately, the key to Kluber’s success with the slider (and any pitch) is his ability to adjust his approach to the situation at hand.

By using different variations on the pitch and adjusting his location and velocity as needed, he can keep batters off balance and generate outs in a variety of situations.


How long did it take Kluber to develop his slider?

There’s no definitive answer to this question, as every pitcher’s development process is different. However, it’s likely that Kluber spent years refining his slider grip, mechanics, and approach before he became comfortable throwing it at the Major League level. Many young pitchers experiment with different grips and mechanics in the minor leagues before settling on a pitch that works for them.

How does Kluber’s slider compare to other elite sliders in the game today?

There are many great sliders being thrown in baseball today, and it’s difficult to compare them directly. However, Kluber’s slider is widely regarded as one of the best in the game due to its sharp, late break and his ability to locate it effectively. Other pitchers with elite sliders include Jacob deGrom, Chris Sale, and Max Scherzer, among others.

Does Kluber ever use his slider as a first pitch?

It’s possible that Kluber will use his slider as a first pitch in certain situations, although it’s more common for pitchers to start off with a fastball or changeup in order to establish the strike zone. Kluber may be more likely to use his slider early in the count if he knows that a batter is particularly vulnerable to breaking pitches, or if he wants to mix up his approach and keep the hitter guessing.

How does Kluber’s slider differ from his curveball?

Kluber’s curveball is a slower, loopy pitch that he uses primarily to get ahead in the count or induce weak contact. While it also has significant movement and can be effective in its own right, the curveball typically breaks more vertically than the slider and is thrown with a different grip and release point. By contrast, Kluber’s slider is a harder, tighter pitch that he uses to generate swings-and-misses or induce ground balls.


Corey Kluber’s slider is a devastating pitch that has helped him become one of the best pitchers in the game today. By using a combination of wrist snap and forearm pronation, he is able to generate sharp, late breaks on the pitch that can fool even the best hitters.

Kluber also varies the velocity, break, and location of his slider to keep batters guessing and adjust to different situations and counts.

Whether he’s throwing a hard, tight slider for a strikeout or a slow, loopy slider to induce weak contact, Kluber’s mastery of the pitch is a key reason why he is among the game’s elite pitchers.

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Kevin Smith

I am a dedicated learner who is constantly pursuing my dreams in many areas of life. I am a Finance major at the University of Maryland, a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner of my personal brand, Elevate Baseball. I hope to inspire younger learners of all sports and interests to tirelessly pursue their dreams, whatever that may be. LinkedIn

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