In the game of baseball, defeating the batter is the key target. And cutter or a cut-fastball plays a very crucial role in this regard. This is a variation of a two-seam or four-seam fastball. In general, when thrown by a right handed pitcher, the cutter takes a turn from the right side to the left side of the pitcher. It behaves like a curveball or slider. But the motion here is much more compared to the motion of a slider. Now, this requires the pitchers to learn how to throw cutter.
Why the cutter is thrown such a way? When the batter hits the cutter pitch, most of the time it results in an edgy contact which eventually leads to an easy out. If the movement of the cutter is going outside the bat’s sweet point, it always becomes difficult to gauge the movement and creates confusion. The speed of a cutter is always 2 to 5 mph slower than that of a four-seam fastball.
Let’s have a look at the basics of how to throw cutter
Here we will learn the basics in three different steps. In the first step we will learn how to grip the two –seam cut fastball. In the second step we will learn the gripping style of four-seam cut fastball and in the third step we will learn how to deliver the pitch. So, are you guys ready? And before I start, I just want to tell you all that learning the technique is nothing difficult but applying the technique successfully requires lots of practice. This is not a technique that can be mastered overnight. I, myself have spend months and years to achieve the perfection. And when you become the master of this art, you will be able to swing the cutter the way you want.
Two-seam cut fastball grip
1. Grip the two-seam ball
First off, we will see how to grip a two-seam fastball. This is pretty easy. A two-seam fastball is normally gripped with two fingers; index and the middle finger. The fingers are placed on the seams of the baseball. And the thumb is normally placed in the downside holding the baseball.
2. Placement of your fingers
Now, if you want to achieve the swing, you need to move your fingers a little to the right. When your fingers are placed in the middle, it will become difficult to get the swing. So you need to move your fingers to the right. In this position, you need to place the two fingers close. Depending on the finger that will run the swing, you need to change the position. You can either use your middle finger to run the swing or use both the middle and index finger for the swing. You need to try both these positions and see what works best for you or what you are comfortable at.
3. Place your thumb properly
The placement of thumb is important and it can bring changes in the swing. Now, move your thumb in a position that it diametrically opposes the top fingers. Your thumb should be placed exactly beneath the top fingers. Now, what I mean by diametrically opposed is if the top fingers and the thumb are extended around the body of the ball in the same direction, it will form a circle.
4. Position of the wrist
The position of your wrist will depend largely on the position of your thumb. Your wrist should be turned slightly towards your thumb. So, if you are a right-handed pitcher, you need to turn your wrist slightly to your left and exactly the opposite if you are a left-handed pitcher.
5. Let the middle finger lead
When it comes to throw the two-seam fast ball, you should use your middle finger. Put extra pressure on the middle finger, it will help to create more natural spin.
Four-Seam Cut Fastball Grip
1. Grip the four-seam fastball
The gripping position with four-seam fastball will be a bit different than the two-seam fastball. Unlike the two-seam fastball, the index finger and the middle finger will be placed across the u shaped seam. The position will be perpendicular and the seam will be touched by the tip of the top fingers and at the bottom, by the tip of the thumb.
2. Placement of the top fingers
Move the two fingers close to each other and slightly to the right. Now, at the time of delivery put extra pressure on the middle finger. This will help to get extra cut since the last finger that will be touching the ball is the middle finger.
3. Thumb placement
Here the thumb will not be placed in a diametrically opposed position. Your thumb and the top fingers should be placed in a comfortable position.
Delivering the Pitch
Delivering the pitch is an art and you need to practice a lot to become confident with this art. You obviously would not like to show the pitch till the right moment. It will keep the batters in confusion. Showing off the pitch early may ruin the interest. At the time of the delivery you need to make sure that the arm-speed and the fastball speed is similar. And one more thing, extend your arm fully at the time of delivery.
Keeping these things in mind will help you achieve the excellence while delivering the pitch. So, now you know how to throw cutter. All you need to do is to practice these tricks again and again to master the art. If you become persistent with your practice, within a few weeks you will be able to control the cut.