A pitcher in baseball should be capable of throwing various types of baseball pitches. Of all the different types of baseball pitches, the most important one is undoubtedly the fastball. The fastball, though, is further subdivided into different styles, and today we take a look at one of the most important styles of the fastball, the cutter, or in baseball terms, the fastball cutter. The ability to throw a cutter is probably the most important ingredient to become a successful pitcher. This type of fastball gives a slight change in direction along with speed. The movement of a cutter is somewhat similar to the slider, but with a shorter breaking distance. If you throw a cutter pitch correctly, it will move away slightly from the hitter. As in the case of all the pitches, the grip is very important in the cutter ball. Now we will see exactly how to throw a cutter fastball correctly so that you get the hitter out.
How to Throw a Cutter in Baseball
The two most important things in learning how to throw a cutter ball is learning the grip, and learning how to release the pitch. If your grip is straight, the ball will go straight. You need to grip the ball with your fingers on the sides of the seam, so that the ball is imparted with some movement. Let’s take a step by step look of how to throw a cutter ball.
The first step in learning how to throw a cutter is all about gripping the ball right. There are a number of different baseball pitching grips, used for throwing different types of pitches. The one we are using, or rather the grip needed to throw a cutter will be to hold the ball in your fingers such that your fingers are perpendicular to the horseshoe end of the seam, with your middle finger near the closer side of the seam.
In a normal fastball the thumb holds the ball from below, and this gives speed to the ball. To throw a cutter ball, the position of the thumb should be at the side of the ball. This positioning of the thumb will bring some balance to the grip. The ring finger holds the ball from the other side and provides even more balance.
The next thing is the pitch delivery. Throw the ball just like a normal fastball. The speed also should be like the usual fastball. The trick is to press the ball with the middle finger in the throwing action. Doing this will give the ball the required swing or cut, and the ball will deceive the hitter by going away from him.
The release of the ball is as important as the rest of the process. Practice the release with different degrees of pressure on the ball with your middle finger. Maintaining the speed is also important. Only with regular practice can you develop your own style of throwing a cutter.
How to Throw a Cutter like Mariano Rivera
Mariano is the undisputed king of the cutter. The reason his cutter is so good and fools the best of hitters, is that the swing of the ball takes place late and the hitter has almost no time to interpret it. His secret is in the twist of his wrist at the time of the release. Of course, just by twisting your wrist, you won’t master the pitch like Rivera, it takes years and years of practice and baseball training to be able to throw a cutter like greats such as Rivera. You can try practicing by keeping your fingers a little off-center and turning your wrist at the time of release. Do not get discouraged if you are met with little success on your first few tries, remember it takes a lot of practice till you can develop your own way of throwing a cutter. If you are serious about becoming a pitcher, or if you just want to add the cutter to your repertoire of pitching skills for those weekend games, practice is the best solution. Stick with it and after some time you will be rewarded by even the best hitters finding it difficult to face your pitches.
Learning how to throw a cutter pitch is somewhat similar to learning how to throw a sinker or any other baseball pitch for that matter. What is important to make your pitch a good pitch is that the hitter should not be able to read your intentions. Another important thing is the follow through which can be the difference between a cutter and a perfect cutter. As they say, ‘practice makes man perfect’, so go ahead and use these tips and perfect your fastball cutter.