A cutter is also sometimes referred to as a cut fastball. A pitcher can use different methods to grip a cutter.
Let’s dive into the different cut fastball grip methods.
The Cut Fastball Grip
As you learn how to throw a cutter, you can train in two cutter grips – gripping like a two-seam fastball or a four-seam fastball.
Grip Like a Two-Seam Fastball
Start by gripping the ball like a 2-seam fastball. Place your index and middle fingers on the two narrow seams of the baseball. Then, adjust the two fingers slightly off center. The pitcher needs to ensure that the fingers are relatively close together.
Also, you can position your middle finger such that it runs along the seam or let the seam run directly in the middle of the index and middle fingers. Place the fingers and the ball in the manner you feel is most comfortable for you.
Move your thumb over such that it forms a circle with your middle and index fingers. This is possible if you extend the two fingers in the same direction. To get it right, let’s have an illustration of a clock. On a normal two-seam grip, your thumb would be at 6 o’clock but on a cut fastball grip, place it at 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock.
Finally, adjust your wrist slightly to the direction of your thumb. For the left-handed pitchers, this means turning your wrist slightly to the right. While for the right-handed pitchers, your wrist would move slightly to the left.
Check out Yu Darvish’s Cutter and Two Seam Grips Video
Grip Like a Four-Seam Fastball
It is referred to as a four-seam fastball because you touch the ball in four places in total – the middle and index fingers touch two places each. To begin with, place the two fingers perpendicularly across the ball on the U-shaped seam.
Second, move the fingers just as the way you did for a two-seam fastball. Let the fingers be close together and slide them to the right. Also, add extra pressure on the middle finger because it will be the last finger to touch the ball before releasing it. Hence, the extra force will help to create the cut.
Finally, position your thumb properly. When gripping a cutter like a four-seam fastball, league pitchers place the thumb at the bottom of the baseball to anchor the grip. Also, you don’t have to place the thumb as the two-seam fastball version in this type of grip. You only need to make sure it is slightly off center. Have a grip that you are most comfortable throwing the cutter like a pro pitcher.
How to Throw a Cutter
Here are guidelines on how to throw a cutter – the cutter grip, position, and releasing.
League pitchers should release a cutter as they would a fastball. You shouldn’t snap the wrist as with a slider or a curveball.
Also, your arm action needs to be like that of a fastball pitch. The pressure you apply to the outside of the ball using the middle finger should cause natural spins that will help it cut.
Once you attain the correct grip of your cutter, it is time to wind up and throw it like Mariano Rivera. Whenever you are playing baseball, do not expose your pitching grips until releasing the ball.
As you release the pitch, ensure that your arm’s speed is like that of a fastball speed because a cutter is a fastball. Also, extend your arm fully as you throw a sinker.
If you want to throw a cutter like Mariano Rivera, follow through as you release your pitch and snap your wrist down as you apply some pressure with your middle finger to achieve a slight spin.
Check this video for and get demonstrations from Mariano Rivera himself!
Throwing a Cutter – No Matter What Grip You Use
As a pitcher, you can grip your cutter in different ways. Whether you choose a two-seam or four-seam fastball pitching method, hide your pitch using the glove. Please don’t allow the hitter to see it because it will be easier to predict where the ball is likely to end.
It is easy for a batter to spot your pitch because the middle and index fingers are close together, and the thumb is off to the side. Therefore, be careful.
As pitchers throw cutters, it is crucial to keep in mind that you are throwing a fastball pitch. Make your motion straightforward, having no spin or snap on your wrist. Also, ensure that your arm speed is equal to that of a two-seam or four-seam fastball.
As the cutter pitcher, snap your wrist down as you release the pitch. Also, apply extra pressure with your middle finger to produce a slight spin on the ball that will cause a late-breaking movement from side to side. A cutter moves depending on the arm side of the pitcher.
Finally, league pitchers follow through the pitch while throwing a cutter, and the arm goes all the way down. Also, the body crosses to your opposite knee to ensure you release the baseball at the appropriate speed.
Watch this video to analyze how Mariano Rivera throws his cutter
Throwing an effective cutter puts a smile on the pitcher. Here are answers to some questions you might have concerning how to throw a cutter.
How did Mariano Rivera throw his cutter?
Rivera is known for his nasty cut fastball pitch. He gripped by placing the middle and pointer finger together over the ball’s seam. According to Rivera, put pressure on your middle finger to have a perfect pitch.
The cut fastball pitch needs to have a four-seam fastball rotation, and you don’t have to grip the pitch too hard. When you do it right, you will throw the cutter like Mariano.
Is a cutter the same as a two seam fastball?
You can grip a cutter as a two-seam fastball. However, the pitch breaks in the opposite direction of a two-seam fastball, and the breaking movement happens late as the ball nears the home plate.
What type of pitch is a cutter?
A cut fastball falls under the category of fastball pitches. It moves at a velocity (95 to 105 miles per hour), just like a fastball. Besides, a cutter upholds the gripping method of four-seam and two-seam fastballs.
Is a cutter safe to throw?
Yes, it is safe to throw a cutter-both young and old pitcher. It is a clean throw, and you won’t hurt your wrist or fingers, which are the most involved parts of the body when throwing it. You only need to master how to throw the cutter correctly, and your hand will be safe.
Getting the trick of how to throw a cutter like Mariano Rivera can get easy when you practice. Once you master the gripping method and you are comfortable with and release the ball correctly, you will enjoy this type of pitching. You will become one of the best pitchers using it in baseball leagues.