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NFT: SI Article on Sticky Stuff on Baseballs

Mike from SI : 6/5/2021 1:17 pm
Not sure whether this is behind a paywall or not, but the article postulates that 80-90% of pitchers are using foreign substances to increase spin rate, which is leading to the abysmal hitting this year.

It seems like MLB is going to pay more attention soon, based on this article and some other things I've read. A reckoning may be coming.
Link - ( New Window )
Bill James has written that the  
81_Great_Dane : 6/5/2021 2:35 pm : link
"live ball" era (following the "dead ball" era of the early 20th century) was really the "clean ball" era — MLB stopped allowing spitballs and kept a new ball in play all the time. Hitting took off. We may be near a similar change. A jump in hitting would be welcome.

Funny that both slippery substances and sticky substances give the pitcher an advantage.
Any sort of mucking about with the ball is going to be disadvantageous  
glowrider : 6/5/2021 3:03 pm : link
To the batter. Sticky, slippy, slimy, roughed up/cut up, etc. as it alters the anticipated trajectory of the ball and can introduce unnatural spin patterns. It’s been known for some time that many pitchers pick teams based on the chemistry sets and compounds clubs have concocted. Career rebirths are not unheard of…

The “clean ball,” as it were, is the only way a batter has a level playing field with the pitcher.
Bill James can go eff himself  
HomerJones45 : 6/6/2021 7:19 am : link
The abysmal hitting is the direct result of his horseshit "analysis" that the home run and the walk are the hitters best results. You have a generation of hitters who have thrown out a century of experience (take a level swing, hit the ball where it is pitched) and take pitches, including multiple called strikes, every swing is for the fences, trying to achieve the right launch angle (it's tough enough to hit a baseball without taking an angle), and foregoing the bunt, steal and hit and run to pressure the defense and manufacture runs.
RE: Bill James can go eff himself  
section125 : 6/6/2021 7:44 am : link
In comment 15280784 HomerJones45 said:
Quote:
The abysmal hitting is the direct result of his horseshit "analysis" that the home run and the walk are the hitters best results. You have a generation of hitters who have thrown out a century of experience (take a level swing, hit the ball where it is pitched) and take pitches, including multiple called strikes, every swing is for the fences, trying to achieve the right launch angle (it's tough enough to hit a baseball without taking an angle), and foregoing the bunt, steal and hit and run to pressure the defense and manufacture runs.


Do you remember that Earl Weaver played for the 3 run homer back in the 60's and 70's? So it is not new.
Yes on it's face I agree with you that hitting approach now leads to some of the lack of hitting. But letting the pitchers tamper with the ball is probably the larger reason.
As usual, Home has it wrong  
rich in DC : 6/6/2021 9:31 am : link
Loading up the ball isn’t done in a vacuum- the whole team knows who and what they are suing. They also know it is because the ball in harder to hit- that’s why the spitball was outlawed decades ago.

Knowing that the ball is harder to hit than ever, the hitters responded with the best remaining solution- if you are going to get a hit, go for the HR. As noted since teams are increasingly struggling to even make contact (K’s are at an all time high, as noted in the above article, due to ridiculous movement), you can no longer count on being able to manufacture runs the “old fashioned” way.

It is increasingly difficult to string together 4-5 hits needed to score a bunch of runs in an inning before 3 K’s. The only solution is to hit HR. That way, you get runs on the board while not worrying about stringing together hits.

Yes, launch angle is intentional among hitters- but again- not in a vacuum and not due to analytics. It is simply the best response hitters have to pitchers having such an extraordinary advantage. Until MLB gets rid of the loading up of balls by the pitcher, hitters will swing for the fences.

As the article above correctly notes, batters have memorized, based on their experiences, where a certain pitch is expected to go. They know where a slider, 4 seamer, 2 seamer, change-up, etc. will likely be- and have been taught to swing for that spot through muscle memory. Now that where that balls ends up has changed, that “data” no longer exists- and they are guessing- sometimes successfully (see HR), but usually not (increased K’s).
Swinging for a HR with 2 strikes  
Csonka : 6/6/2021 3:04 pm : link
isn't working, even though analytics said to do it.

As for adding resin to balls, everyone watches the pitcher. Nobody watches the catcher.
Some batters have mentioned they...  
bw in dc : 6/6/2021 3:25 pm : link
are okay with pitchers using some substance because that helps them control the ball better. And reduces those situations where a slick ball gets away and hits a batter...
RE: Swinging for a HR with 2 strikes  
CooperDash : 6/6/2021 3:53 pm : link
In comment 15280969 Csonka said:
Quote:
isn't working, even though analytics said to do it.

As for adding resin to balls, everyone watches the pitcher. Nobody watches the catcher.


I think most of these pitchers are doing it themselves. They wear darker gloves and put the substance on the inside to conceal it. And they are kinda arrogant about it. John Means had stuff on the inside of his glove and there’s video of his fingers that were literally stuck to his glove.

And all of the spikes in performance for all these pitchers...it’s crazy. If this were hitters, people would be going nuts.
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