How To Throw A Cut Fastball

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Mark Melancon cutter
Mark Melancon throws a cutter. In this article, you'll learn how to throw a cutter.

Everyone wants to learn how to throw a cut fastball just like Mariano Rivera because of the great success he's had with this pitching grip throughout his career. No other pitcher can throw a cut fastball with his movement, accuracy, and deceptiveness. This pitch is similar to a slider, except it is thrown with more velocity, and tends to have sharper and later break.

The cutter is an advanced baseball pitching grip, and will require a significant amount of practice to perfect. Youth pitchers should be especially careful when throwing this pitch because there is a tendency to over rotate the hand which can put strain on the elbow.

Here's what a cutter grip looks like:

Cutter grip
Cutter grip images

How to throw a cut fastball the best way

The cutter grip is similar to a four seam fastball grip, but your fingers will be slightly off-centered on the outer half of the ball.

This allows for the pitcher to get side spin the baseball, but also make the pitch maintain that four seam look.

There are several ways to grip the cut fastball, and it's purely preferential. To create that desired side spin, you will need to apply pressure with the middle finger so that the ball spins off correctly.

Mariano Rivera achieves his incredible movement by applying pressure with his middle finger.

By examining the picture above, you can see Rivera holds his cutter almost identical to a four seam fastball.

However, you can see that his grip is middle finger dominant. One of the reasons why his cut fastball is so effective is because it has almost the identical rotation of a four seam fastball.

Just like every other pitch, you must throw the cutter with the same arm speed as your fastball.

Since it's not a traditional off-speed pitch, there is no reason that you should slow your body down or reduce stride length as a means of reducing velocity.

Throw it hard, just like your fastball.


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Can anyone throw a cut fastball?

Typically, this is a good pitch for individuals who have higher arm slots because they will have less of a tendency to over-rotate their wrist.

Sidearm or 3/4 pitchers are likely to over rotate on this pitch, and as a result, the pitch simply becomes a slider instead of a cut fastball.

The cutter is most effective when a right-handed pitcher starts it behind the right handed batter making the batter produce a weak ground ball off the hands. Or you can throw the pitch so that it starts down the middle of the plate, and breaks away sharply which will produce hits off the end of the bat or strikeouts.

Left-handed hitters face the biggest challenge against the cut fastball because it will run inside against them. The purpose of the pitch is not to fool the batter, but rather to eliminate a batter's ability to barrel up on the pitch. If you throw the cutter correctly, there is no doubt that this will be the result.

The best way to master throwing a cut fastball is by taking baby steps.

Start off by applying pressure with your middle finger, and see what type of movement you are getting. If you're having a hard time getting it to break, then you can either apply more pressure or move your fingers further towards the outside of the baseball.

I hope this gave you better understanding on how to throw a cut fastball. This pitching grip takes a significant amount of practice, but stay determined and you will see some excellent results.

Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.

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