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Do you know how to throw a cut fastball?
In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about throwing a cutter that goes beyond "dirty" or "nasty" and usually involves embarrassing the batter...
But first, check out one of the prettiest cutters I've seen in a long time from the Pirates' closer Mark Melancon:
In the GIF above, the hitter Skip Schumaker doesn't have a chance as that pitch from Melancon breaks at the knees at 91 mph.
The cutter can be described as half fastball and half slider and moves horizontally to the pitching arm side of the plate, or ‘cuts'—and therefore is known by its two names: cutter and cut fastball.
It's useful for jamming hitters.
So what's the secret to a good cutter?
Let's take a closer look at how to grip and throw the cutter...
- Take your normal fastball grip and shift it slightly off center to apply more pressure to the outside edge of the baseball. Some pitchers like to move their thumb up to the inside of the baseball, similar to a slider. When thrown correctly, a cutter will be similar to a slider, but, with sharper movement.
- Release the cut fastball as you would the fastball. Do not snap or turn the wrist as done with a curve or slider.
- Your arm movement should mimic that of your fastball. The pressure applied to the outside of the ball should naturally cause the spin needed to create the movement.
If thrown correctly, the cut fastball should produce a few inches of late movement that will break away from a right handed hitter when thrown from a right handed pitcher.
The delivery intent of the cutter is to make the hitter hit a ground out; don't expect the cutter to be your strikeout pitch.
More images of cutter grips
My favorite GIF of throwing a cutter
Put it all together, and it looks like this...
Here's a great cut fastball from pitcher Kenley Jansen:
Just plain wow, right?
It may be tough to pick up in this GIF, so take a few watches—check out the subtle movement this 94 mph pitch has as it darts away from Jean Segura.
Now that's an unhittable cutter.
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What do you think?
Now it's time to hear from you:
Are there any cutter grips, tips or techniques that I missed?
Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this article even better.
Either way, leave a comment and let me know.
Before you do, make sure you download the free PDF "cheat sheet" that shows you exactly how to throw a cutter.
It has 3 additional cutter grips that I didn't have room to include in this article, and it's an invaluable reference for coaches and pitchers at all levels who are learning or fine-tuning the pitch.
Click the link below for instant access:
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