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Pitcher substances/spin rate crackdown


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8 minutes ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

Yeah the punishment is only 10 days?  And WITH pay?  Since teams like to rest starters by skipping a start or two during the season anyway this "punishment" seems like it won't do anything at all.  Not even a slap on the wrist.  More a tap on the wrist.

 

10 days per incident will add up in a hurry. Teams can't afford to have more than one or two guys use substances if umpires start checking arms multiple times a game. No bullpen or rotation is that deep.

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16 hours ago, shakestreet said:

IMO pitchers should be allowed to use that spider tack. If not wait batters are going to get hit more than usual.
 

anybody remember Tony Conigliaro? 

The spider tack is what the league should focus on, that stuff instantly gives you 500+ rpm. The rosin/sunscreen that pitchers have been using for decades gives a minimal bump in rpms but allows greater control which it appears that the hitters are ok with.

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8 hours ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

Yeah the punishment is only 10 days?  And WITH pay?  Since teams like to rest starters by skipping a start or two during the season anyway this "punishment" seems like it won't do anything at all.  Not even a slap on the wrist.  More a tap on the wrist.

Relief pitchers take a bigger hit.

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10 hours ago, StevieStats said:

Josh Donaldson actually spoke to the opposite of this, hit batters and walks have actually risen in recent years because the pitchers can't effectively control these pitches there's so much spin and movement created... So no, it's not about control, quite the opposite.

Josh Donaldson is just one, albeit salty, ball player and there is little distinction being given in this whole conversation between substances. Some new substances vastly increase spin rate (+500 rpms instantly) and therefore may be harder to control, others have been around for decades and give a slight bump in spin rate but mainly are effective for greater control. In my opinion, the league is too lazy and too scared to inject any nuance into the conversation because of the steroid scandal. 

The rash in HBP over the last several years cant be chalked up to grip enhancers alone when pitchers are flat out selling out for velocity over command. There is also data suggesting that an increase in body armor (elbow guards) lends itself to an increase in HBP. Could be an increase in batter confidence or even pitcher confidence that the hitters are better protected.

Edited by arthurpete
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10 minutes ago, arthurpete said:

Josh Donaldson is just one, albeit salty, ball player and there is little distinction being given in this whole conversation between substances. Some new substances vastly increase spin rate (+500 rpms instantly) and therefore may be harder to control, others have been around for decades and give a slight bump in spin rate but mainly are effective for greater control. In my opinion, the league is too lazy and too scared to inject any nuance into the conversation because of the steroid scandal. 

The rash in HBP over the last several years cant be chalked up to grip enhancers alone when pitchers are flat out selling out for velocity over command. There is also data suggesting that an increase in body armor (elbow guards) lends itself to an increase in HBP. Could be an increase in batter confidence or even pitcher confidence that the hitters are better protected.

Why is Donaldson "salty"? I would imagine he came out publicly what many players are saying privately. 

What others have been around for decades besides rosin which is legal?

 

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1 minute ago, arthurpete said:

Josh Donaldson is just one, albeit salty, ball player and there is little distinction being given in this whole conversation between substances. Some new substances vastly increase spin rate (+500 rpms instantly) and therefore may be harder to control, others have been around for decades and give a slight bump in spin rate but mainly are effective for greater control. In my opinion, the league is too lazy and too scared to inject any nuance into the conversation because of the steroid scandal. 

The rash in HBP over the last several years cant be chalked up to grip enhancers alone when pitchers are flat out selling out for velocity over command. There is also data suggesting that an increase in body armor (elbow guards) lends itself to an increase in HBP. Could be an increase in batter confidence or even pitcher confidence that the hitters are better protected.

You obviously didn't watch the interview because Josh Donaldson said exactly this. I mean he literally said exactly what you are saying in the first paragraph... He said that things like pine tar and traditional substances like that that have been used over the years to help with grip and help with control are all well and good and that hitters don't care about that they are okay with that... But it's these new substances that have nothing to do with control and are truly performance enhancing and just about throwing the nastiest pitches with no concern for control. 

Just looking at 2019 compared to 2012 there were 1,186 (8%) more walks, 246 (16%) more wild pitches, and 490 (33%) more hit batters... And 2021 is on pace for another 119 more walks, 130 more HBP, and 174 more WP on top of that... It's out of control... Literally.

Batter protection is virtually the same today as 2012... Only difference is the helmet ear coming down to the jaw. All three of these indicators are rising together -- BB, HBP, and WP... And the game isn't that different in approach from 2012 to 2019... 

I understand the fact that a certain level of grip is needed for control, but these newer substances are nothing about control, it's about enhancing spin, maximum movement, and control indicators have gone downhill.

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7 minutes ago, Low and Away said:

Why is Donaldson "salty"? I would imagine he came out publicly what many players are saying privately. 

What others have been around for decades besides rosin which is legal?

 

Im referring to the rosin/sunscreen which has been in general use forever.

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4 minutes ago, StevieStats said:

You obviously didn't watch the interview because Josh Donaldson said exactly this. I mean he literally said exactly what you are saying in the first paragraph... He said that things like pine tar and traditional substances like that that have been used over the years to help with grip and help with control are all well and good and that hitters don't care about that they are okay with that... But it's these new substances that have nothing to do with control and are truly performance enhancing and just about throwing the nastiest pitches with no concern for control. 

Just looking at 2019 compared to 2012 there were 1,186 (8%) more walks, 246 (16%) more wild pitches, and 490 (33%) more hit batters... And 2021 is on pace for another 119 more walks, 130 more HBP, and 174 more WP on top of that... It's out of control... Literally.

Batter protection is virtually the same today as 2012... Only difference is the helmet ear coming down to the jaw. All three of these indicators are rising together -- BB, HBP, and WP... And the game isn't that different in approach from 2012 to 2019... 

I understand the fact that a certain level of grip is needed for control, but these newer substances are nothing about control, it's about enhancing spin, maximum movement, and control indicators have gone downhill.

No, i didnt watch his interview but i will now. My comments were directed at the paraphrasing of Donaldson and the general conversation surrounding "foreign substance" which generally doesnt offer any distinction or nuance amongst substances. Now that you clarified Donaldson comments as having that distinction ill recant my salty curmudgeon reference.

I think we are roughly on the same page here but I would be curious to see how many guys are getting HBP from balls in the zone compared to previous years. And selling out for command has to account for the rise in HBP, sticky substance or not.

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15 minutes ago, Dylanfan66 said:

Is anyone trying to trade a pitcher because they fear a drop in performance due to all this?  If so which ones?

I'm really struggling with this and will likely stay in a holding pattern... If most pitchers are doing it than the drop in performance should be across the board. Pitchers that are actually good at pitchers and not just throwing should be effected less. 

I have a hard time gambling on who to deal unless I am trading pitching for hitting. Now is the time to strike with pitching for hitting off there is an owner willing to do so.

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3 hours ago, arthurpete said:

No, i didnt watch his interview but i will now. My comments were directed at the paraphrasing of Donaldson and the general conversation surrounding "foreign substance" which generally doesnt offer any distinction or nuance amongst substances. Now that you clarified Donaldson comments as having that distinction ill recant my salty curmudgeon reference.

I think we are roughly on the same page here but I would be curious to see how many guys are getting HBP from balls in the zone compared to previous years. And selling out for command has to account for the rise in HBP, sticky substance or not.

 

It's a good Q&A... Also, did you know...

In 2017 there were only 4 pitchers in league that had a fastball spin rate of 2400 RPMs or greater?... 2400 RPMs is now league average. Pitchers did not just start learning how to throw better fastballs from 2017 to now.

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Fully agree with Glasnow on this.

There have already been a ton of injuries this year and coming off the shortened season last year pitchers are more vulnerable to injuries this year. For MLB to enforce this now is incredibly short-sighted. This should’ve waited until the offseason giving pitchers plenty of time for their arms to get used to the changes.

It’s not very often when I am fully in agreement with Bauer:

 

Edited by meh2
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Tyler Glasnow whining about needing time to adjust to the enforcement of rules (the language of which he has been well aware of his entire career) is pretty hysterical.  

*Please, sir, allow me time to emotionally prepare for you to stop me from continuing to cheat ...*

Trevor Bauer's decision to take contract flexibility over maximum year/value (99.99% of premier free agents opt for the latter choice) is looking like one hell of a foolish gamble on his part.  If he reverts back to his earlier performance level it means he will have likely left 50-100 million on the table over the course of his career.  Of course, maybe everyone will start to suck now and not much will change, but still, who the hell was advising him on that one?

We may see a pitching apocalypse across the board.  As someone who has been utterly bewildered by the inexplicable performance spikes amongst pitchers over the past 2-4 seasons to the point where you feel like you have to spend multiple premier draft picks in order to simply compete I kind of welcome this rule.  I suspect lots of batters feel the same way ... they may have kept their mouths shut cause their teammates were using this stuff and they didn't want to throw anyone under the bus, but secretly they must have been pissed that their livelihoods were being affected by rampant unchecked cheating.

**With significantly less movement on pitches, particularly fastballs, velocity is going to become even more important.  

 

Edited by Overlord
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I don't know if Glasnow's explanation is legit.  He's probably really frustrated and saying whatever comes to mind regardless of whether there's any merit to it.  To the extent that the using the substances, not using the substances, or stopping using the substances has had any effect, it's probably a lot less than the effect of trying to throw the ball really hard with a lot of spin on it, because that helps him get batters out, and getting batters out his how he makes his living.

With that said, I don't think there's been been a suspension of a pitcher for using foreign substances since Michael Pineda in 2014.  If a rule on the books isn't enforced for 7 years, then it's only a rule in the most legalistic sense of the word.  If everyone's cheating, then no one's cheating, at least not in a meaningful sense.

Trevor Bauer made his original comments alluding to the use of foreign substances  in 2018.  It's three years later.  This arms race (no pun intended) has hurt the game by suppressing offense, and has possibly contributed to the increased number of pitcher injuries.  MLB should have already developed an approved substance that gives pitchers enough grip but doesn't lead to wiffle ball movement.

Glasnow can't rightly say he didn't know this could happen, but he certainly has a point when he talks about this edict coming down in the middle of a season and forcing pitchers to adjust to it in a way that risks injury -- not just injury to the pitchers, but to the batters who now have to stand in against a guy who might be re-learning how to locate their pitches under different conditions.  It's asinine, but why would anyone expect anything else from Manfred?

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29 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

I don't know if Glasnow's explanation is legit.  He's probably really frustrated and saying whatever comes to mind regardless of whether there's any merit to it.  To the extent that the using the substances, not using the substances, or stopping using the substances has had any effect, it's probably a lot less than the effect of trying to throw the ball really hard with a lot of spin on it, because that helps him get batters out, and getting batters out his how he makes his living.

With that said, I don't think there's been been a suspension of a pitcher for using foreign substances since Michael Pineda in 2014.  If a rule on the books isn't enforced for 7 years, then it's only a rule in the most legalistic sense of the word.  If everyone's cheating, then no one's cheating, at least not in a meaningful sense.

Trevor Bauer made his original comments alluding to the use of foreign substances  in 2018.  It's three years later.  This arms race (no pun intended) has hurt the game by suppressing offense, and has possibly contributed to the increased number of pitcher injuries.  MLB should have already developed an approved substance that gives pitchers enough grip but doesn't lead to wiffle ball movement.

Glasnow can't rightly say he didn't know this could happen, but he certainly has a point when he talks about this edict coming down in the middle of a season and forcing pitchers to adjust to it in a way that risks injury -- not just injury to the pitchers, but to the batters who now have to stand in against a guy who might be re-learning how to locate their pitches under different conditions.  It's asinine, but why would anyone expect anything else from Manfred?

I can’t wait to see what changes Manfred will institute next year when the net effect of this edict leads to more walks, higher pitch counts, more frequent pitching changes, and ultimately longer games. For the last few years all we hear about is pace of play and games taking too long. Imagine a cold, damp October Red Sox/Yankees game when pitchers can’t grip the ball and games last over 5 hours.

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10 minutes ago, meh2 said:

I can’t wait to see what changes Manfred will institute next year when the net effect of this edict leads to more walks, higher pitch counts, more frequent pitching changes, and ultimately longer games. For the last few years all we hear about is pace of play and games taking too long. Imagine a cold, damp October Red Sox/Yankees game when pitchers can’t grip the ball and games last over 5 hours.

Took the words...

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58 minutes ago, BMcP said:

I think Theo definitely deserves some share of the blame for this fiasco

Was thinking earlier what his role behind the scenes in all this is, you're probably right. Its mind-boggling that they aren't giving pitchers an MLB-approved substance to use. Poorly handled by MLB as always. Its going to be fun when someone has an actual panic attack and curls up into the fetal position on the mound with the bases loaded, no one outs 🙄

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2 minutes ago, Richard Kimble said:

Was thinking earlier what his role behind the scenes in all this is, you're probably right. Its mind-boggling that they aren't giving pitchers an MLB-approved substance to use. Poorly handled by MLB as always. Its going to be fun when someone has an actual panic attack and curls up into the fetal position on the mound with the bases loaded, no one outs 🙄

It’s like they just can’t get out of their own way - this was totally avoidable.  How many bullets left in that gun aimed at your foot?

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