You know Corvelay, you might be onto something. I’m sure a number of scouts working in organizations this morning picked up the phone, called a friend in the industry, and said, “do you remember this Schwinden kid?”
If you look at the Mets organization this season, a number of pitchers previously considered non-prospects including Schwinden, Gorski, McHugh, etc. are having excellent seasons. If learning a cutter has allowed these pitchers to take huge leaps forward as command/control guys, it’s definitely worth noting.
“expect a number of other minor league development staff’s to begin incorporating the cutter into the repertoire’s of their soft-tossing organizational arms with a feel for pitching as well.”
With the success the pitch is having at the major league level and the ease with which is taught and mastered, I would expect that to have happened long ago. I’ve was baffled growing up why more pitchers didn’t use the cutter, it’s devastating.
I’m actually quite curious about the cutter. It has been blamed for a drop in velocity for legit guys like Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey who teams invest high draft picks and substantial signing bonuses in.
For late round command/control college picks who sign for a twelve pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon, organizations can churn and burn these guys through cutter use and it really doesn’t matter. The arms are expendable.
For these players, a handful of years as an up-and-down guy or middle/long reliever is worth millions and the potential for injury is well worth the time and money being in the show provides.
I’d be interested in seeing some empirical evidence that cutter use can lead to a loss of velocity with other fastballs.
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels all added cutters as major leaguers. Hamels velocity jumped last year along with his cutter use, and Lee’s seen modest gains in his fastball velocity even as he uses his cutter more and more frequently.
I think what we have here is a red herring. Or for us statistically inclined types, correlation without causation.
It deserves some study, but I can’t see how the argument that learning a cutter decreases fastball velocity can pass the smell test.
Love your stuff on Scouting The Sally, Mike. I never, ever praise pieces on here because I figure if somebody is writing for public consumption they know they are a good writer, what they need is thoughtful criticism. This piece is an exception. Well crafted, great story, great info, even some nice dramatic tension. I hope there are many more of these to come on FG.
Your report on Jose Altuve last December at Scouting the Sally should stand as perhaps the best example of why that site should be part of every baseball fan’s regular stops.
I agree Mike. There’s nothing to be gained and a lot to be lost from winning meaningless games in September. Because of the silly free agent compensation rules, the Mets have a lot of incentive to finish in the bottom half of MLB standings.
Thank you Paul for reading the piece, your response to the post, and for supporting Scouting The Sally. This Schwinden piece is something I’ve had in the back of my mind for quite awhile, but didn’t know if he would ever receive the call. One of the things about scouting is that it’s such an inexact science, there’s always something new to learn. Contacts I speak with actually get more out of the prospect misses I write about than the guys like Altuve who I wind up being a bit more bullish on than others. In Schwinden’s case, ignoring him (and pitchers like him) is something I should probably consider doing as I’m starting to think a feel for a changeup/breaking ball, even if they are average on a GREAT day, is enough to make me wonder if prospect Q could be something if he developed a cutter?