Imagine playing against MLB competition and standing in the batter’s box and trying to hit a 100-mph pitch.
Not easy, huh?
Now, add some slider-like movement to that pitch.
Even MLB-caliber hitters have problems just making contact with that pitch, let alone inflicting damage with it.
That pitch is Emmanuel Clase’s cutter.
It has been his bread and butter for a while, and it has helped him (and the Cleveland Guardians) reach new heights.
“Strikeouts via 100+ MPH cutters, entire Pitch Tracking era (2008-now): Emmanuel Clase, 𝟰𝟮; Everyone else combined, 16,” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Strikeouts via 100+ MPH cutters,
entire Pitch Tracking era (2008-now):
Emmanuel Clase, 𝟰𝟮 🔥✂️🔥
Everyone else combined, 16 https://t.co/wJHqsCo7S7
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) February 2, 2023
The pitch is a complete nightmare for batters from both sides.
It has slider-like action and fades away from right-handed hitters.
It often stuns left-handed hitters and freezes them for called strikes: they think they are seeing a fastball on the outside corner, only to watch the pitch enter the strike zone in a hurry.
The cutter has helped Clase post an unbelievable 1.47 ERA in 165.2 big league innings.
He was the star player going back to Cleveland in the Corey Kluber trade.
At the time, fans were critical of the transaction because they traded away an ace.
Time has proven the Guardians right, though, and he has blossomed into one of the best relievers in the game.
He is comfortably a top-five bullpen arm in MLB.
Over those 165.2 frames, he has struck out 172 hitters against just 32 walks; and he has induced ground balls at an excellent 65 percent rate.
Grounders are much easier to field than line drives and represent less of a threat than fly balls, so they are the ideal type of batted balls for pitchers.
All things considered, Clase’s cutter is in a class of its own.NEXT: Guardians Insider Notes The Immense Strength Of The Farm