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If you want to learn how to throw a cutter, you're going to love this article.
In this step-by-step guide, I'll show you how to grip a cut fastball with pictures and descriptions from MLB pitchers.
I'll also share some of my favorite cutter tips, tricks and techniques that I picked up along the way in the Chicago Cubs organization.
What is a cutter?
A cutter is a version of the fastball, designed to move slightly away from the pitcher's arm-side as it reaches home plate. 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.
Cutters are not thrown by a large portion of Major League pitchers, but for some of the pitchers who possess a cutter, it is one of their primary pitches.
A pitcher with an effective cutter can break many bats. When thrown from a right-handed pitcher to a left-handed hitter, or a lefty pitcher to a righty hitter, a cutter will quickly move in toward a hitter's hands. If the hitter swings, he often hits the ball on the smaller part -- or handle -- of the bat, causing it to break.
In rare cases, switch-hitters have been known to bat from the same side as the pitcher's throwing arm when that pitcher throws primarily cutters. (Typically, a switch-hitter will hit from the opposite side of a pitcher's throwing arm.) This is because the unique movement on the cutter causes hitters to get jammed when facing a pitcher of the opposite handedness.
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.
Average speed of a cutter
Average pitch speed for a cutter in Major League Baseball
MLB average velocity difference from fastball: 3.4 MPH
MLB average spin rate of cutter: 2185 rpm
MLB average strike percentage: 65.3%
What does a cutter look like?
How do you throw a cutter?
- Step 1: 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.
- Step 2: Release the cut fastball as you would the fastball. Do not snap or turn the wrist as done with a curve or slider.
- Step 3: 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.
One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not.
To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big League pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my pitching workouts for baseball pitchers.
What do you think?
Now it's time to hear from you:
How do you throw a cutter? Can you share a pic of your cutter grip?
Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this article even better.
Either way, leave a comment below and let me know.
You can also keep learning in these related articles:
- 13 Youth Pitching Grips For Little League Pitchers
- 8 Most Popular Baseball Pitches Explained (And How They Move)
- Pitching Grips 101 - Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Slider And More
- How To Throw A Change Up (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Curveball (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Cutter (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Fastball (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Forkball (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Four-Seam Fastball (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Sinker (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Slider (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Splitter (with Pics and GIFs)
- How To Throw A Two-Seam Fastball (with Pics and GIFs)
- Here's A Pitching Drill To Get More 12-6 Spin On Your Curveball