The 2019 season was a rough one for most pitchers: MLB used “juiced” balls that left bats in a hurry, and run-scoring numbers were inflated.
Milwaukee Brewers righty Corbin Burnes had an 8.82 ERA that year, in 49 innings.
However, underlying numbers suggested a much better performance.
Thanks to the implementation of his cutter as a new weapon, Burnes took a step forward and contended for the National League Cy Young award in 2020.
He took home the award in 2021 with a masterful performance (2.43 ERA) and was almost as good in 2022 (2.94 ERA).
In fact, nobody in MLB has struck out more hitters using cutters.
Look at these numbers:
“Most strikeouts with cutters, last two MLB regular seasons: Corbin Burnes, 𝟐𝟐𝟖; Luis Garcia, 127; Kenley Jansen, 89; Tyler Anderson, 87; Madison Bumgarner, 86,” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Most strikeouts with cutters,
last two MLB regular seasons:
Corbin Burnes, 𝟐𝟐𝟖 😮
Luis Garcia, 127
Kenley Jansen, 89
Tyler Anderson, 87
Madison Bumgarner, 86 https://t.co/YsDmDIBXr7
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) January 11, 2023
We really hoped you enjoyed the 90 seconds of Burnes’ back-door cutters.
They are called “back-door cutters” because they enter the strike zone unexpectedly and suddenly, through the “back door”.
This pitch can reach home plate at 97 or 98 mph, but it’s far from straight: just before reaching the zone, it cuts back in to left-handed hitters and it moves away from right-handers.
It’s like a slider, but with less movement and much, much faster.
That’s why the pitch is so hard to square up.
Burnes throws arguably the best cutter in baseball, and you could say with confidence that it is the pitch that fueled his breakout in 2020.
When many pitchers were sitting on their couches during the pandemic, he was putting in the work to succeed.
It is now paying off.