A Serious Question Concerning my Cutter

I’m known in the league as having a devastating “breaking pitch”- the best non-fastball out of the 13 year olds. Kids have called it a curve, slider, and sinker. While all it is is a cutter, I get such hard break on it, I’m worried I’m actually throwing something else. I get about fastball speed with a late 1-7 break (ala a Francisco Rodriguez slider.) I’m worried that I could potentially be hurting my arm with this pitch, even if it’s so effective. Could anyone help me and tell me what to do?

How do you throw it? That will make the determination, also how often do you throw it? Once an inning, once an appearance, once in a while, once per batter? From the sound of your break you sound like you’re throwing a slide piece, 13 isn’t the age I’d personally recommend using it regularly, but I would start developing it within a reasonable bull pen strategy. A slider is supposed to be a fb varient so having good speed is part of it.
I personally don’t see the slider as a pitch you should “fear”, but thrown incorrectly it can really hurt you (But so can incorrectly throwing any pitch make you subject to injury). A rule of thumb I usually go by is if you don’t lead the pitch with your pinky (Pure supination) and you understand how you throw a pitch and you properly condition and you work on mechanics that are proper, you are on track to pitch injury free and have a good run.
At 13 your best bet is becomming as accurate as can be with the fb (Location is the key), develop your breaking stuff, but don’t rely on it and learn how to change speeds, with an eye on learning and perfecting a real change-up before you play varsity. As far as a cutter or sinker, these are typically what I call pitches of subtlty, you have to understand finger pressure in regards to pitch movement, how to get movement on a fastball are upper level kind of pitches and though you may get that sort of late movement, unless you are just a freak it won’t be happening for you on command until later.

Well I get the part that’s most narrow on the ball and the two convexed seams are on the top and bottom (not on the sides) and place my middle finger on the right seam (I’m a righty). Then, I place my index finger about 1-1.5 inche(s) to the left of that. I apply pressure with my middle finger, throw it hard, and slightly tilt my hand clock-wise upon release. This doesn’t get the dot you see on a curveball, but it breaks really sharply.

I usually throw it 0-2 or 1-2, but first I develope the fastball and see how he reacts to it. If he’s a 15 year old cleanup hitter, I’ll probably pull the string or throw this pitch for a first or second strike. I practice it virtually every time I pitch.

You have very good grammar for a 13 yr old :slight_smile:

As long as your not turning or bending your wrist and it’s just finger pressure then you are fine.

Well I guess I do supinate a little. I mean, BEFORE I release, I turn my wrist clock-wise a bit. I don’t “snap” it, but when I point the ball to second base and begin to rotate, I don’t keep my wrist completely straight. Maybe I should get a picture, but I hope you get the point. What the result is that I end up pulling the ball down a bit with my middle finger.

“I do supinate a little. I mean, BEFORE I release, I turn my wrist clock-wise a bit. I don’t “snap” it, but when I point the ball to second base and begin to rotate, I don’t keep my wrist completely straight.” = Slider
It isn’t bad, it’s just what it is. Sounds effective but like I said don’t fall in love with it. IMO you’re throwing it too much if it’s your “go to” at this age.
You’ll find coaches that’ll let you throw it till your arm falls off…resist. Hitting your spots and using it to set-up all of the other stuff you have should be your goal now…once or twice an appearance at best. Do work on it in your bull pens but think long term arm health and how nice it’ll be to throw pain free as a senior.

Francisco Rodriguez does not throw a slider. The breaking pitch that you see him throw is a curveball. This is a common misconception, but the proof is in the pictures.

[quote=“RawTalent”]

As long as your not turning or bending your wrist and it’s just finger pressure then you are fine.[/quote]

I agree. But to get to college and pro ball, you’re going to need a good fastball, too. A good off-speed pitch, no matter how good, won’t cut it if you’re not throwing the ball with a little pop.

If you’re throwing a bunch of off-speed pitches in games, you’re going to really have to over-compensate in practices with your fastball … and throw it a lot. That’s how you develop it. Don’t neglect it.

Well I do pitch a bullpen session about 3-4 times a week, focusing on locating my fastball. I do throw the hardest of my age (technically I’m 12 but I’ve grown a habit of calling myself 13 because that’s what I’m called in Legion ball) but I think I can throw harder. It’s not like I focus on breaking pitches.

Supinate to set the angle before the arm starts forward - not just before release. Then, maintain the angle through release without supinating further as the arm goes forward. Finally, limit the number of these pitches that you throw to no more than 20% of your total pitch count. If you do these things, then you should stay healthy. Of course, there are no guarantees.

Yeah that’s what I do, I supinate before throwing, and I hold the angle there on my follow through. And lately I have been throwing it less and less in my bullpen sessions.