That Cutter Is a Slider Is a Cutter

Madison Bumgarner throws a pretty good something. Aside from his fastball, I mean. Some people call it a slider, and some people call it a cutter. From here, a month ago:

“I call it a cutter but I feel like it’s in between the two — I think people call it different things because I change speeds with it,” he said. “But I throw it the same.”

From Tuesday’s Game 1, we have Eric Hosmer talking to Mike Moustakas.

An attempted transcript:

Hosmer: Cutter’s slow, huh?
Moustakas: Yeah, it comes all the way across, too.
Hosmer: It’s a slider for sure.
Moustakas: Yeah I looked up at it, I was like, 86? Geez.
Hosmer: Yeah.
Moustakas: I wasn’t even close to it the first time.

We can infer a couple things. One, the Royals were tipped off about a cutter. Maybe a previous hitter talked about it. Two, Hosmer and Moustakas consider sliders and cutters different pitches — sliders would be slower, with more movement.

The first such pitch Moustakas saw was 86.5 miles per hour, and he held up a swing attempt:


Shortly thereafter, Bumgarner bumped it up to 88.7 miles per hour, and Moustakas whiffed in a 3-and-1 count:


It sounds like maybe Moustakas didn’t pick up on the speed difference, or maybe he was just so flabbergasted by the first offering. That same inning, with the bases loaded, Hosmer came up and put a first-pitch cutter or slider in play.


Hosmer was clearly ahead of it, thinking fastball or perhaps faster cutter. The pitch was 86.9 miles per hour, and it broke down more than the sliders to Moustakas, and a little more away. The three such pitches to Moustakas were around 0 in terms of horizontal movement; Hosmer’s pitch came in at -2.4 inches.

Then the next time Hosmer came up, he saw four pitches like this. They varied between 88-89 miles per hour. All had less horizontal movement than the first such pitch to Hosmer in the third inning. Hosmer was ahead of the last one again, although he managed to hit the ball decently up the middle:


Royals hitters saw cutters/sliders between 85.9 – 89.0 miles per hour. Hosmer and Moustakas agreed early on that the pitch is more of a slider than a cutter. I don’t know what difference it actually makes, but this speaks to Bumgarner’s ability to keep the pitch disguised and varied. He mixes it up such that labels might be more trouble than they’re worth. Does Madison Bumgarner throw a slider, or a cutter? The answer is yes.

Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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9 years ago

In SF, they call it his “slutter”.

Manny Ramirez
9 years ago
Reply to  Avattoir

Beaten to the punch. Well played, sir

9 years ago
Reply to  Avattoir

And in the stands at AT&T – not the luxury boxes, but where folks tend to cheer with, uh, wild, abandon, he’s not “MadBum”: he’s “Rocketman” or “Rocketeer”. And that’s not about his arm; there’s more than one Giants specialty shirt in those stands with this name on the back: “SNOTROCKET”. All you have to do is watch him on the mound when he’s trying to work out something.