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Entries in Mariano Rivera (19)


Mo Makes Retirement after '13 official; Who's the next cutter king?

It's official: Mariano Rivera will retire following the 2013 season. The 43-year-old wants to go out hoisting his sixth World Series championship, not crumpling to the ground and tearing his ACL last while shagging fly balls in Kansas City. "The little gas I have left is for this year," Rivera told Jack Curry of YES Network. "After that, I have nothing left."

The story of how the undisputed cutter king discovered his deadly pitch has taken on mythological status. Rivera, playing catch with Ramiro Mendoza back in 1997, began putting bite on the ball that puzzled his fellow Panamanian. Since then, Mo has broken more timber than a Canadian lumberjack.

With Rivera set to check out after 2013, who among his late-inning brethren has the goods to be the next cutter king? Here are three such candidates.

  • Kenley Jansen throws the cutter almost exclusively (89% of his pitches in 2012), and he makes every opponent who gets the pitch look like he's swinging with balsa wood. Jansen held hitters to a MLB-worst .137 batting average and a .244 slugging percentage against his cutter last year. Hitters swung and missed 32% of the time against Jansen's cutter, also tops among relievers and far above the 23% big league average. One notable difference between Jansen and Mo: Pitch location. Rivera masterfully paints the corners with his cutter. Jansen, by contrast, says, "Here it is -- try and hit it."

Rivera's cutter location, 2010-12 


Jansen's cutter location, 2010-12

  • Rivera's set-up man has a not-too-shabby cutter of his own. David Robertson tossed the pitch about 54% of the time last season. He doesn't get near as many swings and misses with the cutter as Jansen (17.4%), but he pounds the zone. Robertson threw the pitch for a strike 68% of the time, well above the 64% average for relievers.
  • While Jason Motte isn't as much of a cutter connoisseur as Jansen and Robertson (he threw the pitch about 25% of the time last year), he's gradually relying more on the pitch to complement his upper-90s gas. He induced a swing and a miss 28% of the time with his cutter.


Interactive InfoGraphic: MLB Save Leaders Since 2008



Top 10 Most Saves 2008-12

Rk Player SV Tm
1 Jonathan Papelbon 185 BOS-PHI
2 Jose Valverde 179 HOU-DET
3 Mariano Rivera 165 NYY
4 Brian Wilson 164 SFG
5 Francisco Cordero 152 CIN-TOT
6 Heath Bell 151 SDP-MIA
7 Francisco Rodriguez 148 LAA-NYM-TOT-MIL
8 Joakim Soria 143 KCR
9 Joe Nathan 137 MIN-TEX
10 Huston Street 125 OAK-COL-SDP
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/14/2013.