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What makes a good cutter so effective is its late movement—it looks like a fastball, then darts for the outer reaches of the strike zone or off the plate. That effectiveness can be tracked with a heat map, a color-coded graphic that shows how productive batters are when a pitch hits a certain spot. Areas in dark red are hitter-friendly, with pitches there belted at a .500 clip; dark blue represents a batting average of .100; green areas are around .300. The following pages show cutter heat maps for seven pitchers who rely heavily on the pitch. (Pitch frequency data from Fangraphs.com.)
Heat graphs and data analysis provided by TruMedia Networks. Visit BaseballAnalytics.org for more.
AVERAGE MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHER
When batters put the typical big league hurler's cutter in play they hit .254, or 40 points below the overall average on balls put in play.
No one throws the cutter more (89% of his pitches this season); since the '08 season the batting average against his cutter is .186.