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Dodgers: MLB Experts Weigh In on MLB’s Warning Shot to Cheating Pitchers

ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield and Buster Olney reacted to the report that the MLB will begin using analytics to monitor pitchers using foreign substances.



Major League Baseball is attempting to crack down on cheating. In an article by the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, MLB sent a memo to all teams that they will be monitoring Statcast data closely to identify would-be cheaters. 

ESPN’s Buster Olney elaborated on Wednesday’s episode of Baseball Tonight.

The way they do that potentially is if they see a spike in spin rate then that will make those players candidates for being potential violaters of MLB’s foreign substance rule.

MLB foreign substance or doctoring the baseball rule states “No player is permitted to intentionally damage, deface or discolor the baseball by rubbing it with any type of foreign item or substance, including dirt or saliva.”

Related: MLB to Crack Down Hard on Pitchers Using Foreign Substances in 2021

According to Sherman, MLB will collect baseballs to test for foreign substances. A third party company will test those baseballs and report any findings.

MLB also communicated that players can be punished “regardless of whether evidence of the violation has been discovered during or following a game.”

Olney’s guest Dave Schoenfield cited the use of pine tar and other substances by pitchers as main contributor to the lack of offense in the game.

“I think this is a huge reason why we see some of these ungodly breaking balls that pitchers throw these days,combined with their increased velocity, is making hitting very very hard.”

Olney rebuked the notion that Statcast will solve the problem.

“I don’t think baseball necessarily needs analytics. It needs an enforcement arm because to this point, the way they’ve enforced this rule is to ask the managers to go out and challenge and to ask the pitchers to be checked. Unless they basically tell the umpires ‘look, it’s on you to enforce the rules’,  this is kind of eyewash.”

On top of being a rule violation, MLB hopes that minimizing a pitcher’s advantage will result in fewer strikeouts and more runs. They believe more offense will bring in more fans.

“That’s their goal is to help offenses by taking foreign substances out of the game.”

Moreover, this memo could be a step in returning baseball to the forefront of the American sports universe. If it’s enforced by the umpires.

Most importantly, MLB sent a message. Cheating will be…less tolerated than before.

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Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.

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  1. Keep teams from using off field signals like beating trashcans & let pitchers use whatever they want. Years ago you already lowered the mound. Give us a break/brake…….PLAY BALL. If Manfred doesn’t like it let’s get rid of him. Give him a broom & he can sneak up on the trashcan beaters.

  2. Quit with the stupidity of pitching rules in MLB. Concentrate on the off the field cheating like trashcan beating. You already years ago lowered the mound. If there aren’t enough good hitters give Manfred a new job of trying to sneak up on the trashcan beaters & leave our pitchers alone. Let them use Brylcream or any substance they choose. The little babies hitters will have to become men.

  3. It’s unfortunate that MLB did not take cheating to win a world series by a whole team as seriously as it is this perceived problem which according to what I just read is more of a theory than a fact.
    Not severely punishing the Astros plays involved in the cheating is inexcusable. A far more serious offense than pitchers maybe using a foreign substance……I am not impressed with our current commissioner.

  4. In the Bleacher Report of the same topic, Zachary Rymer noted:

    “It’s therefore fair game to have suspicions about every pitcher, but perhaps especially guys who are known for high spin rates. That particular description matches some of the biggest names in the sport, including Trevor Bauer, Walker Buehler, Sonny Gray, Yu Darvish, Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Glasnow, Dinelson Lamet and Gerrit Cole.”

    The link with the highest spin rate stats from Baseballsavant.mlb.com is here:

    https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/statcast_search?hfPT=&hfAB=&hfGT=R%7C&hfPR=&hfZ=&stadium=&hfBBL=&hfNewZones=&hfPull=&hfC=&hfSea=2020%7C&hfSit=&player_type=pitcher&hfOuts=&opponent=&pitcher_throws=&batter_stands=&hfSA=&game_date_gt=&game_date_lt=&hfInfield=&team=&position=&hfOutfield=&hfRO=&home_road=&hfFlag=&hfBBT=&metric_1=&hfInn=&min_pitches=500&min_results=0&group_by=name&sort_col=spin_rate&player_event_sort=api_p_release_speed&sort_order=desc&min_pas=0&chk_stats_spin_rate=on#results

    Trevor Bauer is ranked #1, with Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, 2 Ex-Dodgers Darvish and Rich Hill rounding up the Top 10. So perhaps there is something or some type of foreign substance (pine tar or whatever else) that Dodger pitchers are accustomed to using.

    So far in this spring training; Bauer, Walker and Kershaw have been the worst performing pitchers on the Dodgers. As I’m sitting here typing, Trevor Bauer just got pulled in the 1st inning after giving up 3 runs against the Indians. Maybe there new surveillance monitoring pitchers is forcing them to stop using pine tar? Consequently affecting their pitches?? Perhaps there might be some truths to this, just saying.

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