MLB hitters are so good that they are prepared to hit high velocity.
That’s why location and pitch movement are so crucial these days: it takes more than a middle-middle fastball to fool an MLB batter, even if it’s thrown at 100 mph.
Imagine standing there in the batter’s box and having to make contact with a 100-mph cutter.
It’s actually unfair.
Clase can throw the ball at a really high velocity, but in addition to that, the ball actually has some sick horizontal and vertical movement that effectively makes it a really fast slider, without the sharp break associated with that pitch but extremely hard to hit, let alone square.
Here is Clase’s cutter.
Emmanuel Clase has thrown almost ONE THOUSAND 99+ MPH cutters since the start of 2020. 😬 I'd love to throw just one. https://t.co/DqGxEjw4MQ
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) August 15, 2022
Yes, both of those pitches were balls, but that’s not the point: we are here to tell you not to worry about Clase’s control.
Clase’s Incredible Cutter Is His Bread And Butter
At 3.4 percent, he has the lowest walk rate in the majors, so yeah: don’t worry about those pitches being balls and just admire the sheer velocity and break they have.
Now, let’s see the results.
The cutter has produced a .175 batting average and a .227 slugging percentage in 2022.
Not only that, but batters have a -2 degrees average launch angle against it: they can’t lift it.
As you probably know, ground balls usually lead to success for MLB pitchers.
Clase has a video-game-like 1.29 ERA in 48.2 frames.
He got the last out of the All-Star Game, which probably tells you everything you need to know about him: he earned his place among the elite, and he was the trusted option to get the last out.
He is a stud.