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MLB's attempts to crack down on foreign substances are outlined in a memo obtained by ESPN. Among the plans:  - Increased monitoring by compliance officers - Inspections of baseballs taken out of play that will use a third-party lab to check for substances - Spin-rate analysis

 

Compliance officers will monitor dugouts, clubhouses, tunnels, batting cages and bullpens. They will take a random sample of balls, and the lab will search not just for the substances themselves but the type being utilized. Statcast data will compare spin rate to career norms.

 

The memo, first reported by  @Joelsherman1 , says: “Players are subject to discipline by the Commissioner’s Office for violating the Official Baseball Rules regardless of whether evidence of the violation has been discovered during or following a game.”

 

So, it looks like baseball might actually try and crack down on spin rate.   They've been threatening to do this for ages but this is the first time I've actually had any belief they could really do something.  The thing about checking a random sample of balls and actually sending it to a lab at least sounds plausible.  

I thought it would be good to open a thread on this topic just to discuss the fantasy ramifications.  Obviously, if foreign substances are not used, this would have a drastic impact- spin rates are going to end up going down dramatically.  It's estimated that ~75% of pitchers (warning: paywall) use a foreign substance, so it's hard to predict exactly who would struggle the most.  

(Fwiw, some "known" users are: Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Trevor Bauer, but those are only the most famous examples.  Pretty sure all the high spin rate pitchers are using something)

 

 

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Only if you ignore the fact that MLB has used the same empty sternly-worded threat approach before but didn't do any enforcement.  This led to a loss in credibility, and a sense that MLB was just cove

"It's so hard to grip the ball," a frustrated Cole said after the New York Yankees' 3-2 win. "For Pete's sake, it's part of the reason why almost every player on the field has had something, regardles

I'm drafting all knuckleballers this year. 

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1 minute ago, B&F said:

Is pine tar one of those substances?

Yes, from what I understand it is pine tar and pine tar variants that they are cracking down, or similar substances that are allowing SP to get higher spin rates

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Just now, brockpapersizer said:

RIP Gerrit Cole. Not really, but I feel like he's the primary Ace who gets away with it.

Him, scherzer, and Bauer are the most famous people, but like I said, it's estimated that 75% of pitchers are using it.  I really don't think we'd see only the most famous/known cases struggling if they legitimately cracked down.  

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4 minutes ago, Fbaseballgod said:

Him, scherzer, and Bauer are the most famous people, but like I said, it's estimated that 75% of pitchers are using it.  I really don't think we'd see only the most famous/known cases struggling if they legitimately cracked down.  

Gerrit Cole's hair looks likely a foreign substance factory. He's the Samson of MLB.

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8 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

I'll be buying the discount, if any, that comes from people taking this too seriously.

Agreed. This smells like BS to me anyways (crackdown and whatnot). Esp with the fact that the ball might be slightly deadened this year and I have seen several pitchers claim that they feel the seams are more pronounced on the ST balls as well. I think a pretty high % of batters don't actual mind that pitchers get a better grip on the ball, esp in the early months of the season.

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There's going to be no discount, the season starts in a couple weeks. Most drafts have happened. Gerrit Cole might (but probably won't) be passed over by one person in your league and go a pick to three later. That's not a discount.

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Not interested in playing semantics, but in the first round, a pick or three later than someone would otherwise go is a discount.  It means you get a player you wouldn't have otherwise gotten in the same position.

And i'd be stunned if the statement "most drafts have happened" is true.  It might be true in expert / high stakes leagues, but Yahoo Pro leagues just opened, a lot of people do their drafts as close to opening day as possible to have the most information, etc.

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8 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

Not interested in playing semantics, but in the first round, a pick or three later than someone would otherwise go is a discount.  It means you get a player you wouldn't have otherwise gotten in the same position.

 

That's fine, but that happens in any league where someone with their first round pick doesnt want X because Y.  Maybe in your one league where you have the 9th pick you get Cole there instead of 7 because the guy there is worried about this.  You can call that a discount, sure. I don't see this news changing any meaningful trend to warrant a discount strategy, youre just getting your top player. To me a discount is getting player round or usually rounds later because of an actual trend in the overall consensus of a player, like Stanton going rounds later because of injury risk.

 

I don't believe this news will have any meaningful changes in price, if any at all.

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If they are looking at stat cast data for career norms (while using pine tar), then for a pitcher to keep using pine tar, that pitcher would likely go undetected.

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Should we be worried about all the new spinmasters on the Reds? I have Gray, Mahle and Antone all on one dynasty team. Lucas Sims has 100/100 for his FB/CV spin ratings. These guys look like they’re throwing frisbees out there. 
 

Derek Johnson has received high praise as the Reds pitching coach - maximizing spin rates across almost his entire staff...including Trevor Bauer...but maybe his secret is foreign substances?  It’s actually pretty ridiculous the spin rates that almost the entire staff has been putting up. 

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On March 31st, 2021, The MLB and MLBPA agreed to a deal for expanded playoffs for the 2021 season. Also in the agreement, universal DH and elimination of rule 6.02 of the CBA which prohibits the use of foreign substances on the baseball.

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1 minute ago, NoHablaIngles said:

On March 31st, 2021, The MLB and MLBPA agreed to a deal for expanded playoffs for the 2021 season. Also in the agreement, universal DH and elimination of rule 6.02 of the CBA which prohibits the use of foreign substances on the baseball.

should be in bold predictions, but I could see the playoffs/dh thing happening in a week. 

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4 hours ago, brockpapersizer said:

There's going to be no discount, the season starts in a couple weeks. Most drafts have happened. Gerrit Cole might (but probably won't) be passed over by one person in your league and go a pick to three later. That's not a discount.

Just to play devil's advocate, Gerrit "Sticky Hands" Cole's ADP is, what, late first rounder in 12-15 team leagues?  I would argue that going 1-3 picks later does represent a meaningful discount.  

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12 minutes ago, Overlord said:

Just to play devil's advocate, Gerrit "Sticky Hands" Cole's ADP is, what, late first rounder in 12-15 team leagues?  I would argue that going 1-3 picks later does represent a meaningful discount.  

I don't, but agree to disagree. He's 7th in average adp per nfbc. See what happens in 2 weeks. Like I would be taking Turner (8) ahead of Cole regardless of this news.

 

Am I getting Turner at a discount at 8 if I think he should be 6-7? Isn't everyone getting a discount on every pick assuming they think the guy should have been picked earlier? Nobody should be drafting straight b ADP.

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6 minutes ago, Dylanfan66 said:

Agreed.  Not drafting him or any astros pitcher now.

I just want to reiterate that it's estimated that 75% of pitchers are using substances.  The vast, vast majority are going to be impacted if they actually crack down and they actually make an impact in this department.  I know Cole is the poster child and the Astros are notorious, but excluding one particular player or team does not make sense based on this news.   I would expect huge, wide sweeping changes or nothing at all, if that makes any sense.  

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4 minutes ago, Ecofolux said:

Lack of foreign substances + deadened ball = similar results to previous years? 

Not necessarily. Pitchers not known for high spin rates would benefit on both of those fronts. Pitchers who are using substances will take a hit on spin but not the dead ball and might be neutral results. 
 

So the strategy might be to go target the boring statcast guys who get by on great location, gameplan, etc. like Nola. His spin numbers are below mediocrity but he’s clearly a stud. I’d bump guys like him up. 

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4 minutes ago, TheForearmShiver said:

Not necessarily. Pitchers not known for high spin rates would benefit on both of those fronts. Pitchers who are using substances will take a hit on spin but not the dead ball and might be neutral results. 
 

So the strategy might be to go target the boring statcast guys who get by on great location, gameplan, etc. like Nola. His spin numbers are below mediocrity but he’s clearly a stud. I’d bump guys like him up. 

Ian Anderson was the poster child of doing everything right except high spin rates. His Statcast is dead red everywhere but spin. 

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5 hours ago, tonycpsu said:

And i'd be stunned if the statement "most drafts have happened" is true.  It might be true in expert / high stakes leagues, but Yahoo Pro leagues just opened, a lot of people do their drafts as close to opening day as possible to have the most information, etc.

I have 6 drafts coming up, so I am also unsure where this is coming from.  
 
If this “discount” means someone can grab Cole late in the 1st, that’s something.  We’ll see though.. 

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