There’s a new name in the record books for the most career strikeouts in Ohio history.
On April 29, Edward Kutt IV broke Denny McGee’s 21-year-old record for the most career strikeouts when he earned strikeout number 262.
The honor came during the middle of Ohio’s game against Miami. While Kutt was excited to have broken the record, he was more focused on getting the next strikeout and winning the game.
After the inning was over, Kutt was greeted by handshakes and hugs from his teammates in the dugout.
“That was the moment it really kicked in,” Kutt said.
Kutt’s next-pitch mentality is what helped him break the record. He had heard about his proximity to breaking the record from a friend, but that wasn’t Kutt’s main goal. His main goal was to help his team win by pitching well, but Kutt also knew that if he kept pitching well, he’d have a chance at writing his name in the record books.
This season, Kutt has used a variation of pitches including fastballs, a sliders, a cutter and a changeups to fool batters and pick up strikeouts. With that combination, he’s racked up 61 strikeouts this season alone.
While most of Kutt’s pitches are traditional, there’s something special about his changeup. Rather than a classic circle change, Kutt uses a Vulcan change.
Named after the humanoid species featured in Star Trek, the Vulcan change is gripped with the hand in a “Vulcan salute” — a “V” made by the middle and ring fingers. The ball sits in between those two fingers.
Kutt learned of the pitch from his friend Dillon Dirksen when he was 10 years old. Dirksen modeled the grip after something he had seen a Major League Baseball pitcher throw. Kutt was intrigued by the pitch, so he gave it a go.
“He showed me it, but my hands were too small,” Kutt said. “I never really figured out how to throw it.”
Once Kutt got to high school, he decided to revisit the grip. He practiced throwing with it while warming up for a start to see if he could do it now that he was a little older. To Kutt’s surprise, the pitch was decent.
From then on, Kutt rolled with the Vulcan change.
Kutt spent time refining his changeup and overall pitch technique during his senior year of high school. He had been a two-way player up to that point, but an injury kept him from playing on the field. Rather than dwell on what he had lost, Kutt buckled down on the mound.
Kutt solidified the Vulcan change and the rest of his pitches to earn a spot on Ohio’s roster. Soon after, Kutt became one of Ohio’s best out of the bullpen.
Teams struggled against Kutt and his changeup during his freshman campaign. There wasn’t much information on the young righty, so he flew under the radar of many batters.
“Freshman year, no one really had a scouting report on my changeup,” Kutt said. “So, I could throw that just 80% of the time and be successful.”
At the end of his freshman season, Kutt had the fourth-most strikeouts on the Bobcats’ roster with 40 in 27 appearances. However, Kutt led the team with 67 strikeouts at the end of his sophomore season. There was no stopping the right-hander.
But soon, things changed. The more Kutt pitched, the more other teams could scout his abilities.
Kutt took a step back to work on developing his consistency with pitch location and spot recognition. He wanted to improve his overall execution, and working on those areas helped him become a more effective pitcher.
Kutt’s combination of experience and elevated pitching allows him to strike out batters and gives him confidence on the mound.
“I think it comes with a little bit of success,” Kutt says. “Looking back at previous outings, and if you do well on those.”
Each time Kutt gets a swing and miss or makes a batter look foolish, he finds a little piece of confidence that helps him attack the next batter. It has made Kutt one of the best pitchers to wear an Ohio uniform.
After all, he is the all-time strikeout leader.