A cut fastball may be more difficult to hit today, but it will impair a pitcher's ability to command the zone while decreasing pitch velocity. Therefore, a cut fastball is not as effective a weapon as it was in the past.
Batters are used to either straight four-seam fastballs or two-seam fastballs that break to the pitcher's arm side. The cutter breaks in the opposite way of a two-seamer, and it does so late in the game. It is used by some major league pitchers as a secondary pitch.
The cutter was originally a splitter that few batters could handle because it broke so much to the opposite field. Today, most cutters still have some movement to them, but they are easy pitches to hit because they come at you so quickly.
Cutters can be used as a changeup or a curveball, depending on what kind of spin is put on the ball. A pitcher who uses the cutter well can keep the batter off balance with different pitches. This makes it harder for hitters to pick up signals and adjust their approaches from one pitch to the next.
Use of the cutter has declined greatly in recent years, probably due to the increase in speed on the baseball. However, it remains important for any pitcher looking to add a second swing-and-miss pitch to his arsenal.
All major league batters can hit a fastball, but only the best can hit a curveball. No one can hit the magnificent curveball—the low and away pitch of the hall of fame pitcher. Nobody can hit the unhittable curveball. Not even the best hitters in the world can do it all the time.
The ability to hit a curveball is called "curveball skill". Most players learn how to hit curves as teenagers. However, some adult players who have never seen much success at the game develop this skill late in their careers. These players sometimes show great improvement by switching from an overhand swing style used when they were younger to a more balanced swing style used by modern day hitting coaches.
You can't really teach curveball skill. Once you know how to hit curves, you can keep learning new ways to throw them for years to come. But you can learn some simple rules that will help you improve your curveball skills. First, practice makes perfect. Second, don't swing through balls and strikes on purpose. And last, take regular breaks during games or practice sessions.
Here are some famous baseball players who have excelled at hitting curves: Eddie Mathews, Dale Murphy, Dave Winfield, and Mike Scioscia. All of these players were among the best hitters in their leagues for many years.
Movement. Because it goes vertically and has no horizontal break, the 12 to 6 curveball is the most difficult to hit. If a pitcher uses a fastball correctly in a throwing sequence, the difference in speed and break makes the pitch tough to hit. However, if a hitter sees the ball well, he can adjust his stance or use a swing change to deal with this type of pitch.
The harder the ball is thrown, the more force is applied to the ball's surface. This creates friction that allows the ball to roll more when it hits the ground. A low-velocity ball tends to skid across the grass rather than rise up high because there is less friction at play. A high-velocity ball will keep its shape better as it travels through the air.
Breaking balls are classified by how much side-to-side movement they have: 0-15 degrees for flatters, 15-30 for hooks, and more than 30 for sliders. Although all three types of breaking balls are difficult to hit, some pitchers have their own specialty - which helps them decide when to use which one during games. For example, a pitcher might mix in a few slider pitches here and there to wear down an opponent.
It's also helpful when trying to figure out how to hit a particular pitch to know the type of move the pitcher uses to create it.
Aroldis Chapman threw the fastest recorded pitch in big league history on August 24, 2010. His 105.1 mph fastball breached the 105 mph mark for the first time. It wasn't quite Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, but it was close. However, Major League Baseball officially considers that pitch to be a 105.8 mph fastball. Regardless of what kind of speed it was at when it left Chapman's hand, that's what they record as.
Chapman's record was soon to be challenged by Eric Milton of the Houston Astros. On April 17, 2011, Milton threw a pitch 102.4 mph, which was confirmed by multiple sources across all of baseball.
The next day, Chapman returned to the mound for a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He did not allow an earned run and struck out nine batters during his seven-plus innings of work. After the game, it was reported that he had thrown 104.9 mph (according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand). This made him only the second pitcher in major league history (along with Milton) to throw a ball 102 mph or faster.
On September 1, 2011, Chapman again took the mound for the Astros. This time, he pitched a perfect game against the San Diego Padres. In the process, he became only the third pitcher in major league history (after Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson) to strike out the entire Houston Astros lineup twice in one game.