How To Throw A Cut Fastball
By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
A baseball pitcher needs to be able to throw more than just a fastball in order to be effective. A simple, safe, and easy to learn pitch is a cut fastball. The cut fastball is very similar to a normal fastball, but will offer a slight and sudden break that can fool even the best hitters.
A cut fastball is a pitch that has a slight side spin which allows it to move a few inches. The movement is similar to that of a slider, but is usually a smaller breaking distance. A cut fastball's velocity is very close to a normal fastball, typically only a few miles per hour less.
To grip a "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.
Releasing the cut fastball is very similar to the fastball. It is important to not snap or turn the wrist like you would with a curve or slider. Instead, think to yourself "fastball" as you release the pitch. Your arm movement should mimic that of your fastball. The pressure you apply 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 idea behind the cutter is to make the hitter hit just enough of the ball to result in a ground out. Don't expect the cutter to be your strikeout pitch.
Like any pitch, the cut fastball takes a lot of practice to master. To become more comfortable with the pitch, practice throwing it while playing catch and in bullpens. Eventually you will be able to throw the cutter with enough command to get even the best hitters out.
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