A cutter, also known as a cut-fastball is very similar to a normal fastball except it will move a few inches. The grip is very similar to a fastball, but it is held and thrown in such a way to allow a slight spin on the ball which will cause the movement. The velocity of a cutter should be very close to that of a fastball.
To grip the cutter, take your normal fastball grip and move it slightly off-center. Some pitchers like to move their index and middle finger slightly towards the outside of the ball, and bring their thumb up near the inside. This grip will be a cross between a fastball and a slider.
When you release the pitch, you want to throw it like a fastball, but apply a side spin to the ball by adding pressure to the outside of the ball. If done correctly, the ball should move a few inches away from a right-handed hitter if you are a right-handed pitcher, and vice versa for a lefty.
This is a great pitch to throw in a tough situation when a curveball or other breaking ball might be difficult to control. The cutter is a fairly easy pitch to throw, and as a result is very accurate. A good pitcher can throw a cutter in almost any count, and locate it with fastball precision.
Like any pitch, the cutter requires practice. To practice the cutter, start with the grip. Find an effective grip that you fee comfortable with and practice throwing it when you are playing catch. Work on getting the proper spin and release with the ball.
Once you are comfortable with the grip, begin to throw it in your bullpen sessions. This is a good time to practice locating the pitch and to learn how much break you should give it in order to be most effective.
After you can comfortably throw the cutter in the bullpen, you can begin using it in game situations. The cutter is a great pitch to throw in a 3-2 or even a 3-1 count because the hitter is thinking that you will throw a fastball. When you throw the cutter, it will break away from their bat as they attempt to hit the “fastball” they thought you were throwing.
The more you throw the cutter, the more comfortable it will become. As you get more experience with it, you will understand when the best times are to throw it, and when not to throw it. Like any pitch however, the cutter needs to practiced in order to be effective. Good luck!
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