The cut fastball can be a great change-of-pace pitch, especially for coaches wary of teaching the curve to young pitchers.
Here is a step-by-step approach to teaching this effective pitch to young hurlers of all ages.
What is the Cut Fastball?
While technically a variation of the fastball, the cut fastball's action resembles that of a slider.
However, the cut fastball is different from the slider because it doesn't break as much, and it will generally have more velocity. Also, the cut fastball should have less velocity than your regular fastball.
How to Teach the Cut Fastball
There are a few ways to teach this pitch, and I will share the one that I prefer and have had most success with.
Grip a ball along the most narrow seams, like a 2-seam fastball. Now move your index finger right next to your middle finger. Now put more pressure on the baseball with your middle finger and lessen the pressure with your index finger.
As you release the baseball, you are going to allow your fingers to slightly go along the side of the baseball. Unlike the fastball, where you try to stay behind it and release it off both the index and middle fingers, this pitch requires you to almost flick the ball.
Taking the Cut Fastball to the Next Level
I take this pitch a step further with my pitchers, and you can as well. I try to create some more break using some physics laws.
I have my athletes move their thumb about a half-inch towards their pinky. This puts more ball towards the inside and with the physics laws of centripetal and centrifugal forces, will create a little more break in your cut fastball.