By David Vassegh
A theme of frustration for my partner Kevin Kennedy on "Dodger Talk" during the 2012 season, was the use of the cut fastball or "cutter" as most people in baseball call it now. It isn't that Kevin Kennedy doesn't think it shouldn't be used in a pitchers repetoire of pitches, but could be used too much by pitchers that can throw a 2 seam or 4 seam fastball north of 95 mph.
There is fact that if a pitcher throws the "cutter" too much it will take away velocity from his fastball. Mariano Rivera is the reason why so many pitchers now have incorporated the cut fastball in to their bag of pitches, but Rivera's cutter is a natural pitch for him because his fingers are so long that it creates the natural movement of that pitch. Other pitchers are not physically blessed to get the same consistent results as the Yankee closer.
I interviewed some of the most respected pitching and baseball minds in MLB over the last 9 months, here's their thoughts on the "cutter"...
Padres Manager and former Angels pitching coach, Bud Black conceded there is a place for the cutter, but agreed with Kennedy, it could be over used. Bud Black
Former Yankees star pitcher and now one of the best pitching coaches in the majors for the SF Giants, Dave Righetti does think pitchers do fall in love with the "cutter" because they get addicted to seeing the ball move.
2 Time World Series Championship Manager, Terry Francona, now manager of the Cleveland Indians, brought up the point that the cut fastball can take away from a pitchers 2 seam and/or 4 seam fastball...
It seems like Black, Righetti and Francona all agree with Kevin Kennedy on how the cut fastball should be used, it will interesting to see if we see less of the cutter in 2013. One thing is for sure, we'll be seeing the last of the master of the cutter with Mariona Rivera, since he'll be retiring at the end of the 2013 season.