Despite becoming famed for his cut fastball, Rivera did not solely throw it. According to a 2011 analysis by Marc Carig, 85.6 percent of Rivera's pitches were cutters. His four-seam fastball cuts barely little, but the cutter has a five-inch longer horizontal action. This makes it harder to hit and allows Rivera to use it more often as a putout tool.
Rivera used the pitch against both left-handed and right-handed hitters. However, he tended to favor right-handers with the cutter, throwing it 49 times vs. 26 left-handers. Against lefties, he threw his four-seamer 37 times.
With his number 1 retired by the Yankees and the Hall of Fame voting currently underway, here is how many votes Rivera has from the Baseball Writers' Association of America: 99.9 percent.
Fastball cut Rivera's primary pitch was a fast, mid-90s mile-per-hour cut fastball that routinely shattered batters' bats and gave him a reputation as one of the league's most difficult pitches to hit. When combined with his other pitches, which included a slider, circle change-up, and splitter, this made Rivera one of the greatest closers in baseball history.
Baseball has not been the same since Mariano Rivera retired after the 2015 season. The New York Yankees decided not to bring him back for another season despite rumors that they would like to have him work in their front office. Instead, they brought in Brad Ausmus to be their new manager. Under Ausmus, the Yankees did not make the playoffs for the first time since 2009 when Rivera was named the MVP of the series against the Detroit Tigers.
Rivera's retirement marks the end of an era because he was the last remaining player from the Steroid Era. From 1998 to 2015, there were reports of players using performance-enhancing drugs during this time. Baseball has not been the same since Rivera retired and will not be until more players come forward and admit to using steroids.
Rivera was born on January 4, 1969 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Of course, Rivera's cut fastball wasn't the only reason. However, in the three seasons after Rivera's assistance, Halladay used the cutter on 40% of his pitches, more than any other starter in baseball. The sinker, his second favorite pitch, traveled in the opposite way. It was used on 20% of Halladay's pitches in 2010, but that number dropped to 9% in 2011 and 4% in 2012.
To this day, there are still pitchers who try to imitate Rivera's cutter by throwing fastballs that break away from left-handed hitters or sliders that bite back over the plate. But others have tried to copy his sinker and have had little success. In fact, according to research conducted at the University of Florida, no pitcher has been able to make money with the same pitch twice in MLB history.
From 1996-2001, Andy Pettitte averaged about 250 innings per season while posting an ERA of 3.38. In 2002, however, Pettitte increased his workload to 300 innings and his ERA rose to 4.20. After two more years in New York where he pitched only once, Pettitte returned to Texas in 2005 and experienced similar problems: He went 200 miles per hour on the gun, but his ERA was 5.13.
In 2008, Roy Halladay threw 219 2/3 innings while posting a 2.45 ERA.
He hadn't changed his delivery intentionally, but his cut fastball became practically unhittable, and Rivera shot to prominence. Throwing almost solely the cutter, he led the American League in saves three times (1999, 2001, and 2004) and was chosen an All-Star 13 times during his career.
His dominance turned much of the baseball world against him when he retired after the 2009 season with a record of 60-41 with 502 strikeouts and 19 saves in 513 games. He had four straight seasons with 20 or more saves before Joe Nathan broke this mark in 2012. Rivera's 65 saves in 2008 are still a Major League record.
Overall, from 1997 to 2009, Rivera saved or participated in a save game every single day of the year except for five days: September 17, 1998; July 14, 1999; August 4, 2001; April 6, 2002; and May 23, 2009. His last official game was on September 26, 2009, when he recorded his 600th strikeout against Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester.
In addition to his work in saving games, Rivera also played an important role in several other aspects of the Yankees' success during his time with the club. From 1996-2009, he only allowed 42 home runs while pitching in New York/Newark. The most recent one he prevented was David Ortiz's hit on June 9, 2009.
Pitching strategy Wilson threw a four-seam fastball (90-93 mph), a two-seam fastball (90-93), a cutter (88-91), a slider (83-85), a curveball (77-80), and a changeup (84-87) from a 3/4 arm angle. He also featured a 12-6-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 51 innings of work.
Wilson's pitch repertoire is very similar to that of another big southpaw, Josh Beckett of the Boston Red Sox. Both pitchers have a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, cutter, slider, and occasionally a changeup. However, where Beckett uses his slider as his main out pitch, Wilson relies more on his cutter which is considered by many to be the best cutters in baseball today.
In addition to being one of the most successful pitchers in MLB history, Wilson has also been named an all-star five times. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2001 when he led the AL in wins with 23 and had three straight 20-win seasons from 2003-2005 before getting hurt in 2006. When he returned in 2007, he went 15-3 with a 2.64 ERA to lead the Angels back to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. In 2008, he finished with 19 wins again but this time lost his no-hit bid against the Detroit Tigers after allowing a single through eight full innings.