Price’s backdoor cutter

David Price’s pitching repertoire has gone through quite a transformation over his big league career, as Mike Fast explained after the 2010 season. In 2011, Price made a further change to his repertoire by adding a cut fastball to the mix.

In 2008, when Price first reached the majors, he threw a hard slider. Since then, however, he’s essentially replaced it with a cutter that is about three miles per hour faster than the ’08 slider. Price says that he first used the cutter in a game on April 18 against the White Sox. Looking at his location with both the slider and cutter on the following graph, you can see that he’s taken a different approach in strikeout situations with his new pitch (the black bars represent the edges of an approximate 24-inch strike zone).

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The slider was used to induce batters to chase pitches out of the zone, while Price adopted the cutter as a pitch that he can backdoor on right-handed hitters. To further illustrate this, here are his two-strike cutter locations to right-handed batters only.

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Price has typically been relying on fastballs in the mid-90s to pick up swinging strikes. It’ll be interesting to see if he continues to develop his cutter as a finesse pitch to offset his power arsenal.

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