Carlos Rodon unlocks next-level, razor-sharp cutter with help of modern tech

Yankees' pitcher Carlos Rodon is throwing his cutter and modern tech used to hone his skills.

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Carlos Rodon turned in a masterful performance on Saturday night, stifling the Milwaukee Brewers’ offense and propelling the New York Yankees to a resounding 15-3 victory. The 31-year-old left-hander pitched six dominant innings, allowing just two hits (a solo home run by Rhys Hoskins and a leadoff double by Joey Ortiz) and one run. He struck out eight batters while issuing only one walk, improving his record to 2-1 for the season.

While Carlos Rodon’s performance was undeniably impressive, Yankees manager Aaron Boone highlighted the pitcher’s ability to adapt his pitching approach based on his repertoire. Notably, the Yankees manager pointed out the way Carlos Rodon’s pitch quality and effectiveness increased as the game progressed.

For MLB fans and analysts, on that day, Carlos Rodon’s devastating cutter stood out.

Carlos Rodon’s cutter turns razor sharp thanks to technology

New York Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodón throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Milwaukee.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

New York Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodon has unveiled a secret weapon in 2024: a cutter. Debuting the pitch even before spring training began, he has quickly transformed it into a key component of his arsenal.

Traditionally known for relying on his fastball-slider combo, Carlos Rodon now throws the cutter as his third main offering. It’s already proving its worth. Used in over 15% of his pitches prior to facing the Brewers on Saturday, the cutter has held opponents to a measly .125 batting average and slugging percentage. It’s even more effective in generating strikeouts, boasting a 15.4% rate that surpasses his traditional four-seam fastball.

Despite the cutter’s early success (contributing to a 2.70 ERA in five starts), Carlos Rodon acknowledges room for improvement. However, the rapid development of this pitch is particularly impressive considering the short timeframe.

Carlos Rodon attributes this accelerated learning curve to several factors. He admits that earlier in his career, he lacked the maturity and patience necessary to master a new pitch and understand the intricate biomechanics involved, such as proprioception and kinematics. The starting pitcher also highlights the importance of technological advancements that weren’t available during his 2015 debut. These advancements significantly enhanced his learning process.

Carlos Rodon believes that without today’s cutting-edge tools and innovations, mastering a new pitch at a young age (like 22) would have been much more difficult. His experience underscores the critical role modern technology plays in accelerating player development and refining pitching techniques. The Yankees, and baseball as a whole, are benefiting from Carlos Rodon’s dedication and the ever-evolving world of pitching analytics.

How tech turbocharged pitching in Rodon’s era

Marques Gagner

Carlos Rodon’s ten-year MLB career provides a fascinating window into the dramatic advancements in pitching technology. Recalling his early days, the pitcher remembers only using Rapsodo cameras and radar technology by his third season – a technology that has seen significant upgrades even within that relatively short timeframe.

Today, pitchers like Carlos Rodon benefit from far more sophisticated tools. TrackMan, for example, allows teams to analyze a pitcher’s arsenal in incredible detail, capturing pitch trajectory and spin rates. Edgertronic high-speed cameras, which weren’t even available during his early years, provide another layer of analysis.

In his younger days, assessments were far more subjective. Bullpen sessions relied heavily on the “eye test,” lacking the data-driven approach that’s become standard practice today.

Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake emphasizes the transformative role of Edgertronic cameras and TrackMan. These tools have created a much tighter feedback loop for pitchers, allowing them to refine their craft with greater precision. TrackMan provides crucial data on a pitch’s behavior, while high-speed cameras from Edgertronic capture spin effects in detail. This comprehensive approach empowers pitchers to understand the nuances of spin and make necessary adjustments more efficiently.

In essence, advanced analytics and technology have completely reshaped the world of pitching. Pitchers like Carlos Rodon now have access to a wealth of information that accelerates their development and unlocks their full potential. This technological revolution has undoubtedly contributed to the dominance of modern pitching, and it will continue to shape the future of the game.


The entire baseball industry has become engrossed with maximizing measurable factors like velocity, spin rate, and pitch movement. This relentless pursuit, often leading to the invention of new pitches, is driven by the need to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving game.

While the use of advanced analytics is now standard practice, there’s still an ongoing debate about its impact. Some argue that teams might be prioritizing statistics over other crucial aspects of the game. The future of baseball will likely see this conversation continue as the role of data continues to evolve.

A double-edged sword?

Charles Wenzelberg/NYP

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole ignited a crucial conversation in early April, sparking discussion around the growing number of elbow injuries plaguing pitchers this season. While acknowledging the positive impact of improved teaching methods, allowing pitchers to quickly expand their arsenals, Cole expressed concern about the potential long-term effects.

He highlighted the lack of historical data. In the past, when injuries were less frequent, pitchers didn’t have access to sophisticated “pitching labs” where they could develop and integrate new pitches rapidly. Cole suggested that this rapid integration, without proper training and adaptation, could be a contributing factor, though a definitive link hasn’t been established.

Cole’s own experience with incorporating a cutter into his repertoire over the past two seasons served as a case study. However, he acknowledged other factors that might be influencing the injury trend. These include the increased focus on maximizing velocity and spin rate, the recently implemented pitch clock, and the disruption caused by the recent work stoppage. Pitching coach Matt Blake echoed these concerns, particularly regarding the potential risks associated with hasty adoption of new pitches.

Similar to any training program, Blake emphasized the importance of gradually increasing stress on the body. He advocated for a cautious approach when introducing new pitches, ensuring repetition levels don’t exceed the pitcher’s natural capabilities and lead to overuse injuries.

However, creating a foolproof plan to shield pitchers from the rigors of competition remains a challenge. Both Cole and Blake acknowledged the difficulty of regulating the learning curve for new pitches or limiting intensity during games.

Reflecting on the situation, Blake made a thought-provoking analogy. For him, the current state of baseball is akin to “Jurassic Park,” where advancements in technology and training methods haven’t been fully evaluated for potential drawbacks. He stressed the need for a comprehensive approach, urging both the Yankees organization and Major League Baseball as a whole to examine how these technologies are being used and ensure responsible implementation.

The question of how to balance innovation with player health remains unanswered, posing a significant challenge for the baseball industry. Finding a solution will require collaboration and responsible use of technology to ensure the health and longevity of pitchers while allowing the game to evolve.

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