by Howie Karpin, The NY Extra/thenyextra.com
So a twitter user posts a video and accuses Jacob deGrom of doctoring the baseballs and the world goes spinning off its axis. Not really, but the fallout from this is ludicrous.
A source who has no credibility gets some cheap publicity, while deGrom’s teammates needlessly had to come to his defense. This irrelevant person, who is apparently a Dodgers fan, claims the video proves deGrom is doctoring the baseballs. “Jacob Decheats or since it’s not Bauer or Cole, we don’t care? Lol,” this clown posted.
deGrom is a great pitcher who doesn’t need defending, but it was good to see that his teammates have his back. Both catchers were quick to come to their teammates’ defense, as were a number of other players. It tells you that this is a close knit team.
The 32-year old is putting up historic numbers because he’s maximizing his potential. If they wanted to build a robotic pitcher, they would model it after deGrom.
This ridiculous accusation came about as a result of MLB announcing that they will crack down on the pitchers’ use of foreign substances. A number of big name pitchers were already “fingered” before this deGrom nonsense.
Twins third-baseman Josh Donaldson didn’t hold back on naming Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer as two of the pitchers who are “cheating.” According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Donaldson cited Cole’s spin rate when he said, “Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down yesterday after four minor league pitchers got suspended for 10 games?”
Donaldson was referring to Cole’s last outing on Thursday against Tampa Bay. From those who track these sort of things, Cole’s spin rate on his fastball against the Rays was down to 2,436 RPM on his four seam fastball. It was reported to be Cole’s lowest spin rate on the pitch since September, 2018.
If Cole or Bauer has a poor outing, they’ll focus on the spin rates of both pitchers and that will feed the narrative that one, or both of them were getting hitters out because they were putting some “funny stuff” on the baseballs. Maybe Donaldson was trying to get into Cole’s head because they are scheduled to face each other on Wednesday when the Yanks visit Minnesota. That will spark some interest in a series that pits two of the underachievers in the American League.
The way the baseball is constructed could also be a factor in favoring the pitchers. There was much discussion about “juiced baseballs” in recent seasons so the balls are built differently this year. Scouts say, when the seams on a baseball are raised, pitchers can use that to their advantage by creating more movement.
Another factor is the approach of the hitters. You think the stock market has some wild swings. Many hitters swing for the fences every time, which opens “holes” for pitchers to exploit. When there is a walk off situation, where only a single or a fly ball is needed to win the game, watch how many hitters fail because they’re trying to launch a walk off home run. You cut down your swing, you increase your chances of getting the job done.
The new technology has created a whole new way of analyzing baseball, but you can’t ignore the fundamentals that have helped teams win since the sport debuted in the 19th century.