MLB Pitchers to Be Suspended for Using Foreign Substances – Is This the Right Approach?
The MLB took a massive step to get rid of foreign substances for pitchers. If a player is caught using foreign substances while pitching, they will automatically be ejected and suspended for 10 games.
This move has been extremely controversial, especially among players. Multiple players have spoken against the ban, citing injury risk and lack of clarity. The rule will be enforced starting June 21st.
There will reportedly be mandatory checks made by umpires throughout the game. The ban is focused on all foreign substances except for rosin. A lot of pitchers have been using rosin and combining it with other substances such as sunscreen.
Once the ban is enforced, it will be interesting to see the differences in RPMs among pitchers before and after it happens. There could also be an increase in injuries, as we have already seen with SP Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tyler Glasnow’s Recent Injury
If Glasnow’s injury is a sign of what is to come, MLB pitchers could be in serious trouble. It is hard to tell who exactly is using sticky stuff and who isn’t, but that all could come to light once pitchers start getting banned.
Glasnow stopped using rosin and sunscreen, which he was using the whole season, against the Nationals. You can see from his spin rate by game that, on June 8th against the Nationals, his spin rate dropped for every single one of his pitches.
Did Trevor Bauer Cause the New Rule?
Trevor Bauer has been the most vocal person in the entire league about sticky stuff. He said he has been trying to improve his spin rate for 8 seasons, and he concluded that sticky stuff is the only way to rapidly improve spin rate.
Bauer has pointed fingers and ruffled feathers for his opinions on sticky stuff, but it appears that his voice could be a big reason why this ban was put into place.
He also demonstrated how rosin and sweat makes the ball stick to your hand in general.
Hey @mlb I have a question for you. June 15, 2021
This whole topic of what is going to be legal versus illegal is interesting. Bauer said it was sweat and rosin, so what are the players supposed to do, not sweat? Glasnow said he was using sunscreen and rosin, how do you tell someone they can’t use sunscreen?
Rob Manfred and the MLB front office really made a questionable call after more than 60 games have been played already this season. There have been multiple ideas tried out in the minor leagues in previous years, but this just happened all so fast.
Other Players Against the Ban
Max Scherzer pointed out the fact that some teams have had the focus on making the ball spin and others have been focused on grip. The difference didn’t seem to be addressed in the ruling, and it appears pitchers won’t be able to have as much grip as before.
Pete Alonso was one of the hitters in the league to publicly defend the use of sticky stuff for pitchers. He cited his teammate’s injury as the reason he wants pitchers to use whatever they want.
Kevin Pillar was hit in the face earlier this season and suffered a broken nose. If you take away pitcher’s grip from them, this might be more of a regular occurrence.
Alonso stated that batters have a bunch of different substances and ways to help them grip the bat, but again, the ban is focused on the pitchers.
What is Manfred Doing?
Rob Manfred isn’t exactly known for making the right decisions. This one looks like it will be added to his list.
You can look at the sticky stuff issue any way you like, but one thing is for sure, this should’ve been done in the offseason.
There have been noticeable changes in spin rate throughout the league in recent years, and pitchers have been caught for using sticky stuff before. This problem has been going on for years and should not have been acted upon when a significant portion of the season has been played.
This looks like it is a lose-lose situation for the MLB.
The Future of Baseball
This year has been one of the most interesting years in baseball, for sure. We have seen a lot more of the “Three True Outcomes,” which are home runs, strikeouts, and walks.
This could be looked at in two different ways. From someone who understands baseball and how you do whatever you can to win, and the entertainment value.
If you are trying to grow your sport and showcase that it is exciting and full of action, then the Three True Outcomes are your enemy. If you are a data-minded fan or team, you might buy into the Three True Outcomes.
We have seen experiments done in the minor leagues, even backing up the mound. The mound has been the same difference from the plate since the year 1893.
I don’t think anyone in 1893 would have wanted to see an Aroldis Chapman fastball, but here we are today.
Over time, athletes naturally get better and better. We have seen pitchers be able to throw over 100 MPH more and more. The league’s best pitcher, Jacob deGrom routinely sits around 100 MPH with his fastball and hitters can’t seem to even touch him.
The struggle this season around the league was based on batting average, and if you back the mound up a short distance, the pitches won’t be as fast. This would reduce the number of strikeouts and increase the “action” in baseball.
In an article by the Washington Post, it states that moving the mound back 12 inches would make “…the reaction time for a 93.3-mph fastball, which was the major league-average velocity in 2020. The same pitch thrown from 61 feet 6 inches is approximately equivalent to a 91.6-mph fastball.”
This could be another change that we could see coming to the future of major league baseball. Hitters appear to be the winners of the new rules and teams might be scrambling to find ways to prevent runs.