Crizer: The cutter in the age of pitch design

From Zach Crizer at Baseball Prospectus on March 25, 2019:

In the 1990s, it was mythologized by Mariano Rivera. In the 2000s, it was adopted and spread by Roy Halladay. In 2011, it was hailed by Sports Illustrated as the “game changer.” In 2014, Buck Showalter called it “the great tiebreaker” tilting the scales toward pitchers.

It is the cutter, and by 2015 its reputation as a miracle drug was so entrenched that barely anyone bothered to distinguish between versions that veered from cut fastball to slutter. Instead, as Dan Rozenson wrote for BP at the time, cutters “play a more versatile role than most other pitch types. They are often pitches by design, individually tailored for a need and purpose.” And in this way, they feel current—one with the ethos of pitching in 2019.

Where Rozenson outlined soft and hard classifications of nominal cutters, there are perhaps even more ways to slice and dice the variations now.

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Originally published: March 27, 2019. Last Updated: March 27, 2019.