Duquette just have forgotten that Jason Hammel is on his DL…The O’s owe several wins (and maybe a Wild Card) to that pitch this season…
Comment by LuckyStrikes — August 16, 2012 @ 2:13 pm
Duquette must have forgotten that Jason Hammel is on his DL…The O’s owe several wins (and maybe a Wild Card) to that pitch this season…
Comment by LuckyStrikes — August 16, 2012 @ 2:13 pm
Andy Pettitte made excellent use of a cutter when he was in his prime. I recall when he was with the Astros that he tried to teach the cutter to Wandy Rodriguez.
Comment by CJ in Austin, TX — August 16, 2012 @ 2:15 pm
I don’t understand this at all. The cutter is an incredibly effective pitch when used with the fastball. Look at a guy like Jon Lester. He has plus velocity and used his fastball/cutter/curve to keep hitters guessing. But the cutter is unique because it’s breaking nature and tendency to induce ground balls, pitchers without tons of velocity ( Dan Haren, Cliff Lee, Holladay) can use it instead of a 4 seam becuse throwing 90 mph fastball primarily isn’t going to work.
Comment by GilaMonster — August 16, 2012 @ 2:18 pm
Since Duquette has just been there a year, I don’t think you can blame him for the last five years. For all we know This is a break with previous policies.
Comment by Stats newbie — August 16, 2012 @ 2:29 pm
That would be a two-seamer, not a cutter, that Hammel has found this year. Right?
Comment by dan the man — August 16, 2012 @ 2:30 pm
“Except that the Orioles have a prospect named Dylan Bundy who throws his fastball in the upper nineties and thrives with a cut fastball as part of his arsenal. If the Orioles forbid him from throwing the pitch, they may be taking this philosophy too far.”
Just wanted to note that the Orioles HAVE to this point forbidden Bundy from throwing the cutter, and all the thriving he’s been doing to this point in his professional career has been accomplished without the cutter in his arsenal. The question facing the Orioles vis-a-vis Bundy and the cutter is not whether to tell him to stop throwing it, but whether to tell him he can start incorporating it again.
I guess you’re not aware that this is Duquette’s first season with Baltimore, as is the player development staff. I would have to say that this isn’t the same philosophy as the last 5-6 years and you have no basis to make that argument.
Dealing in absolutes is never a good policy in baseball development.
Also if I would be worried if I was an O’s fan about the front offices seemingly misuage of pitch f/x data. New information and technology does nothing for an organization if they don’t know how to interpret it.
Jason Hammel doesn’t throw a cutter. His breakout this season has been largely the result of the development of and increased reliance on his 2-seam fastball. Plenty of good examples that would aid an attempt to disprove Duquette’s statements — Hammel isn’t one.
You can’t really take anything Double D says at face value. If he doesn’t feel like answering a question (for whatever reason), he’ll still give an answer. But that answer may be anything from a smokescreen to a snarky question in return to a joke so dry that could be interpreted as truth/lie.
Melewski recently confirmed that Bundy has been throwing his cutter in side sessions. Bundy isn’t forbidden from throwing it at all, just in game situations.
*Also, you mention that it was his best pitch in college. It may have been if he went to college, even for a day, but since he was drafted out of high school, it’s highly unlikely.
Comment by Chris in Birdland — August 16, 2012 @ 2:56 pm
why is BABIP better in this context than just wOBA against or something? Doesn’t the ability to throw for strikes and missing bats matter, too?
The Orioles allow Tillman, Hunter, and others in the majors to throw the cutter. DD said that no good pitcher “primarily” uses the cutter. Of course, Halladay is one that he fails to mention. But, I think the larger point is that they don’t want their young pitchers falling in love with the cutter to the detriment of their other pitches. Some think that this is Lester’s problem. Al Leiter says that the cutter screwed up his fastball command at times.
Once Bundy gets to the majors, he will be allowed to throw his cutter. They just don’t want him throwing it primarily, which given the history of the splitter, may be right on target.
the way Mariano throws his cutter is different to say the way Hamels throws his.. Marianos is more of a “reverse two seamer” the angle and different pressure he puts on the seams and the angle of his wrist when he releases the ball, where as coles is more of a slider thrown without as much snap on it. so in a sense I don’t think he’s actually that crazy in that particular instance. but yeah he is crazy of course it can be a successful pitch!
Sorry but that didn’t make much sense to me. The cutter is supposed to move away from opposite-handed batters or in to same-handed batters while a slider is like any normal breaking pitch and moves away from same-handed batters and in to opposite-handed batters. maybe you meant a different pitch?
Rivera throws his cutter with a four-seam grip. He occasionally throws a two-seam sinking fastball.
If Hamels is snapping his wrist, then he’s throwing a slider not a cutter.
A number of pitchers call their sliders cutters. For example, in 2011 Phillip Hughes abandoned the four-seam cutter he learned from Mariano Rivera because the pitch was not very effective for him. He switched to a slider, but he still calls it a cutter because as he described it, “If I call it a cutter, I will throw it with more conviciton. If I call it a slider, I might get lazy with it.” That may not be a quote for the ages, but I think I understand him. A cutter has a better connotation now than a slider, thanks to Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay, and so more pitchers are calling their sliders cutters.
I wonder what would happen if they acquire a pitcher via trade, etc that uses the cutter as his prime pitch. Are they not going to do that trade, or are they going to forbid him using it. To clarify him as opposed to Bundy etc is that said pitcher in example ALREADY has had some MLB success with it. What then?
I don’t think he’s saying that the cutter lessens arm strength. That doesn’t even make sense. I believe the point he’s making is that pitchers who throw the cutter are susceptible to losing the proper release on their 4 seam fastball. Essentially, instead of pushing through the middle of the ball with their fingers at release, they end up coming slightly around the side, which does cost velocity.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 16, 2012 @ 4:57 pm
If we want to go back to his time with Boston, this assertion is correct, but he has only been with the Orioles for a year. I can’t name a decent pitching prospect he produced with the Red Sox.
I’ll give Duquette the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s speaking to the fact that Rivera actually gets significantly more positive Z movement on his cutter than he does on his “regular” fastball. That is relatively unique among guys who regularly throw a cutter.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 16, 2012 @ 5:38 pm
In fairness to Duquette, just because pitch f/x classifies a pitch one way doesn’t mean that’s actually the pitch being thrown. I mean they still classify Kimbrel’s breaking ball as a slider, even through its actually a knuckle curve that’s just thrown really hard.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 16, 2012 @ 5:42 pm
No, Maddux did regularly cut and sink his fastball depending on what he wanted it to do. I’m pretty sure Duquette would classify his a fastball with movement to, just like Maddux always did. There are different ways of throwing a cutter.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 16, 2012 @ 5:43 pm
watching a lot of phillies games, as eno pointed out–the phillies certainly throw the cutter a ton to the point that it seems like an organizational rule. kind of interesting to see two teams employing opposite strategies when it comes to a pitch.
I think it’s quite clear that Duquette was speaking purely in a nautical sense. After all, has Mariano Rivera ever thrown a single-masted, fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessel? Of course he hasn’t, that would just be silly.
Duquette is a clown. Always has been, always will be. Do people think it’s a coincidence that he was out of baseball for over a decade, and the only job he could get was one that other people were literally TURNING DOWN?
You cant call it a cutter if you’re already predisposed to disliking the cutter and someone mentions that, “oh by the way, Mariano Rivera throws a cutter.” Thus, it’s a fastball that cuts, not a cutter. Cutters are bad. His “cut fastball, as everyone knows, is very good.”
You know, I really don’t think he’s talking about the pitch f/x cutter here. The way i read his comments he would consider any pitch thrown with fastball grip and arm action to be a fastball even if it cuts. I think the pitch he’s worried about is -5 mph baby slider that seems to be growing in popularity.
Think about all those guys who got named in the article, all of them throw a fastball with cutting movement, what the media (and pitch f/x) calls a cutter. I cannot think of a guy who throws the baby slider version who’s really that successful. I’d be willing to bet he puts all pitches with four and two seem grip under the umbrella of fastball.
Deadpool hit the nail on the head. This is what happens when people assume that GMs are just dumb instead of considering the possibility that they don’t understand what’s being said. It’s easy to laugh at Duquette for saying Rivera throws a 4 seam FB with movement instead of a cutter when you can look at pitch f/x and it disagrees with him, but maybe pitch f/x isn’t as refined as what Baltimore is looking at. The truth of the matter is that Duquette’s description of Rivera’s cutter is entirely accurate. Check out the pic of his grip in the link:
That’s a slightly off-axis 4 seam grip. This is what Duquette is talking means when he talks about Rivera throwing a 4 seam fastball with movement. They don’t classify that pitch as a cutter and that’s not the pitch Dylan Bundy apparently throws. When Duquette is talking about a cutter, he really means the more modern short slider that’s essentially a hybrid between a slider and a traditional cut fastball.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 12:52 am
You actually used BACON as a baseball statistic. This is an awesome development, which should be met with many more posts on its genius.
Forget whatever the actual post was about (I didn’t read it because I saw BACON.)! BACON is clearly what matters from it!
(Just to note: I am joking. I read the post. I just thought a stat called BACON was too funny not to comment about it.)
Comment by Eno is a Genius — August 17, 2012 @ 1:30 am
I’ll accept this point of view as possible. I’ll remain skeptical that this is probable.
Why don’t you think it is probable? He clearly makes a distinction between an off-axis 4 seamer (Rivera) and the cutter he’s talking about. What other conclusion is there to draw? Basically you can either believe that Duquette might know a little more about baseball than you or that he’s just an idiot he is too dumb to understand pitch f/x. As much as everyone here would like to believe it’s the latter, it is pretty obviously the former. Seriously, look at the grip Rivera uses for his cutter. It is really, really obvious why Duquette calls it a 4 seamer with movement.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 10:05 am
You’re right. I bet you understand pitch f/x far better than the entire Orioles front office.
It’s a type of a cutter, yes, but it doesn’t seem to be the one that Duquette is talking about. He seems to be referring to the short slider that’s more of a hybrid between a cut fastball and a slider. A cutter like Rivera’s moves because of the grip. It’s thrown just like a normal fastball otherwise. The short slider includes the pitcher actively trying to make the pitch move at release by altering his wrist action.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 10:56 am
The entire discussion is about Bundy’s cutter though. If Bundy in fact throws the “hard slider,” and not a true cut fastball, it’s probably easier to say what he did then try to explain all the differences to a pool of reporters. He’s been getting these same questions for months now. I get the feeling he’s getting just a little bit sick of it. What does he care if the media or fans understand his point?
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 10:58 am
Perhaps we should just differentiate between them by calling the off-axis 4 seam FB a cut-fastball and the baby slider a cutter. Despite the fact that pitch f/x categorizes are of them as the same pitch, that doesn’t actually make them the same pitch.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 11:00 am
What kind of “cutter” does Bundy throw? is there a scout in the house? do they have pitch f/x for high school yet?
I’m not trying to take the position that I’m smarter than him, considering my conclusion was that this is not a big deal and that most other teams agree in some fashion or another, so this isn’t about me making fun of him. I just think that there’s a more-or-less accepted pitch that is about grip and not release that’s called a cutter across most of baseball. Maybe he was in a bad mood or just being snarky and short, but without a description of what he’s talking about, we have to go with the pitch baseball calls a cutter.
There are two pitches that regularly get called cutters. I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that there is only one. There is one that is based purely on grip, but there is also the more modern pitch that Duquette is quite obviously talking about, where the pitcher actively tries to increase the spin. IMO, your argument is akin to saying there is only one type of change-up or one type of curveball when there are clearly different ways of throwing it. Yes, Duquette wasn’t clear in his comments, but based on what he says of Rivera, it’s pretty clear that, in his mind, he is differentiating between the two different types of cutters. It seems that Bundy throws the modern hybrid pitch, not the true cut-fastball. Honestly, what reason do you have to believe this is not the case? The two options are that Duquette is actually informed and what I’m saying is correct, or that Duquette is just an idiot who doesn’t know anything about baseball.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 11:43 am
Which pitch are other teams also not teaching at an org-wide level then.
and I reject the notion that it’s an either/or situation. He could have an opinion about Mariano’s fastball in particular — there are some unique things that Mariano does with it — and still be talking about the Majority Cutter.
Since I’m having trouble making this clear let me try to simplify. There are two possible conclusions.
1. Duquette is differentiating between the two types of cutters without adequately explaining the differences, and Bundy throws a different type of cutter then guys like Rivera and Halladay.
2. Duquette doesn’t know that Rivera, along with many other successful pitchers, throws a cutter and just has an irrational hatred for them.
These 2 conclusions have different implications as well
1. Duquette is more knowledgeable about baseball and Bundy repertoire than we do.
2. Duquette is an idiot and we could probably run a team better than him
I honestly believe those are the only two conclusions that can be drawn from Duquette’s comment. It’s your contention that 1 is possible, but you remain skeptical that it is probable. I’m saying there is absolutely no reason to think that 2 is more likely than 1. What reason do you have for believing that 2 is more likely?
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 11:51 am
Other teams aren’t teaching either pitch at an organizational wide level. I honestly don’t see how that is at all relevant to the discussion at hand. Which version pitchers are taught is likely a function of the pitching coach and his beliefs or simply which of the two is more effective for the particular pitcher.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 11:53 am
Again, Enos, there isn’t some “majority” cutter. What you are calling a cutter is what pitch f/x calls a cutter. It is making that call based solely on movement profile, not on how the pitch is thrown. It also calls circle and straight changes the same pitch even though they clearly aren’t. What you’re saying is akin to talking about a “majority” change-up.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 11:55 am
1a) Mariano and Roy throw slightly different variations of the same pitch, and if he’d thought of Roy or been asked about it, he would have admitted to it, but we don’t know.
1b) It looks like Hamels throws the baby slider, so either way, there’s someone out there succeeding with the pitch and his absolutist statements still don’t fly.
My name is clearly Eno. And yes, when we do research and talk about pitches, we lump pitches together. We’ve found some evidence that a lot of curveballs lead to more injuries. There are many different curveballs. Anytime we talk about a pitch, we’re talking about the majority version.
Rivera and Halladay essentially the exact same variation of a 4 seam grip on their cutters. The difference in the movement profiles of the two pitches is because of their differing arm slots, not because they throw the pitch in a different way.
What is the basis for saying Hamels throws a different type of cutter than the other two? If you have a picture of his grip or something where he talks about that, than I will concede you are right on him throwing the baby slider. You can’t however make that determination solely on pitch f/x movement profile. I’m pretty sure Duquette would disagree with Hamels either way because he only throws it ~10% of the time. Duquette is against using the cutter as a primary pitch, not its more general use. There are quite a few guys on the Orioles who regularly throw one or the other version of the cutter.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 12:03 pm
Also: all could be saved by another word or two from him. Let’s say he tells his pitching coaches not to teach the cutter in a missive or meeting. They immediately know what he’s saying, or they throw up a hand and ask ‘is that the cut fastball or the baby slider?’ I would submit that it’s come up before, and therefore, he knows that what he’s saying is loaded. And yet he doesn’t offer up any more explanation. So it’s either a media-handling failure, or a case of confounding the cutters, and that’s an either/or that’s not flattering to him.
“Anytime we talk about a pitch, we’re talking about the majority version.”
Who is we? That may be true of FG writers like yourself, but don’t you think teams are also interested in the different versions of each pitch type and how they might lead to different results?
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 12:06 pm
What reason does he have to go into great detail explaining the differences between the baby slider and the cut fastball to the media? So that people on sites like Fangraphs won’t skewer him? Why would he care about that?
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 12:08 pm
Also on the part of the story of not explaining it fully to the media, keep in mind that Duquette has been asked about this constantly for months. They are clearly asking him about Bundy’s cutter. He responds with his thoughts on said cutter. They try and tell him Rivera throws a cutter when he knows its a different pitch than what Bundy throws and he tells them as much. At that point, as frustrated as he is, what reason does he have to give the media a lesson on the intricacies of different cutters?
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 12:11 pm
We as a baseball writing monolith. if you hear ‘curve’ it’s the majority curve, and if you hear ‘knuckle curve’ or ‘spike curve’ or ‘slurve’ it’s obviously something else. So if you hear cutter without hearing ‘cut fastball’ or ‘baby slider,’ there is some sort of monolith/majority cutter, even if there are different variations. I’m not saying anything crazy about writers, it’s just unclear what Duquette is talking about. For what it’s worth, am talking to Pavlidis on twitter about this now, and he thinks that this isn’t really a reason to have different classifications for these, even if it would not be impossible to pull it out. Sounds to me like a Majority Cutter with two variations, which means you can still talk about a Cutter, in my mind. Pavlidis also said that he hoped DD was talking about the baby cutter, but was concerned that he was confounding the two. Maybe that’s the better way to describe my feelings?
There’s always a reason to be as clear as possible with the media. And fielding the same question over and over is the job of the GM. Not just FanGraphs, knowledgeable fans everywhere are going to latch on to what he says. Not a job to be short or snarky, that’s the writer’s job.
And just for clarification, I was never saying you were making fun of Duquette. I was talking about the comments in this thread that are clearly making fun of Duquette because they think he’s an idiot who doesn’t know Rivera throws a cutter and when it’s pointed out to him just spews off some terrible reasoning (when that reasoning is actually completely correct if you know what you’re talking about).
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 12:14 pm
But what does he stand to gain from explaining it? As long as everyone in the organization knows what he’s talking about, that’s all that matters. Who cares if the media and fans don’t understand and call him an idiot? How is that going to affect how he can do his job in anyway?
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 12:16 pm
I see where you’re coming from on pitch classifications and I can understand why it might not be worthwhile in most cases to split up the data to a greater degree. I do think it’s something that teams should investigate as the different types of each pitch can have slightly different movement profiles relative to a 4 seam FB.
A circle change will tend to have more fade and drop than a straight change, but it can also be easier for a hitter to differentiate. In general, it may be that one of the two pitches is more effective. It may even be that certain hitters struggle more with one than the other.
With the cutter, it’s also worth mentioning the potential difference in injury issues. The cut fastball shouldn’t be much of an injury issue since it’s essentially thrown the same as a fastball, while the baby slider can include supination through release. If a team were able to show that pitchers who threw the latter were injured more often than the former, it would certainly be worthwhile knowledge to have.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 12:23 pm
Shoot, forgot to mention something. Time to go for a 4th straight reply…is that a record or something?
I personally think it’s clear that Duquette isn’t confounding the cut fastball (off-axis 4 seamer) with the baby slider since he correctly identifies the pitch that Rivera is throwing. Unless he doesn’t know which version Bundy throws (and that would obviously be a huge issue), I’m not sure I see any reason to think that.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 12:25 pm
I see your link to Mo’s grip and have read your comments. I understand much of what you’re saying, but are you entirely certain that Mo doesn’t have any wrist/elbow action upon release? Just seeing his grip as an off-axis 4 seamer doesn’t guarantee that he doesn’t supinate whatsoever.
I’m pretty sure he’s talked about how he just throws it like a fastball, but I don’t have any good video of it (I’ll link a discussion of it though). I can show you video of Halladay throwing his cutter (which is essentially the same pitch) without supinating. You don’t need to supinate to get spin anyhow, that’s the whole idea behind pronated curves and sliders. You can create similar spin through well timed pronation.
Will just say this: there is definitely something to be gained with being clear with the media (imo, of course, and tainted by my inclusion therein). One of the reasons Omar Minaya was let go was his terrible relationship with the media.
Comment by John Goodman, Al Roker, and those twins on motorcycles from the '88 Guinness Book — August 17, 2012 @ 4:48 pm
Oh I certainly understand your position on it, I can just see why Duquette wouldn’t care at all either. Minaya’s relationship with the media certainly didn’t help him, but if the team had been performing well it wouldn’t have been nearly as big of an issue. And to be honest, if anything, Duquette being unclear has made this a far more interesting story for the media to cover than it would have been otherwise, so maybe you guys should be thanking him ;)
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 17, 2012 @ 5:00 pm
Totally agree with this assessment.
DD’s logic: “Master the fastball, than learn the cutter.”
From a training POV, it makes FAR more sense to learn fundamentals (4-seamer) before making adjustments to fundamentals (adding cut to a 4-seamer). If you have a weak 4-seamer, your cutter will likely be weak as well. But you can have a weak cutter, while having a strong 4-seamer.
DD is using a semantic trick that coaches/management play all the time to set the mindset of their younger players. “X great player is throwing Y pitch, not Z pitch [despite what reality shows], therefore to be great you master Y pitch as well.”
Or just being more knowledgeable than casual fans. Go look at the grip Rivera uses. It’s an off-axis 4 seam FB. That’s the most accurate way of describing it. Simply calling it a cutter is applying a generic term to multiple different types of pitches with relatively similar movement profiles. Duquette is more knowledgeable than you when it comes to baseball, as hard as that may be to believe.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 18, 2012 @ 1:52 pm
Lester has stopped throwing the Cutter significantly in favor of whatis being classified as a 2-seamer or a Sinker.