A former MVP is pointing his finger at Gerrit Cole’s supposedly sticky hands.
As MLB threatens to crack down on the illegal use of sticky substances by pitchers whose spin rates are up as offensive numbers plummet, Twins slugger Josh Donaldson called out the Yankees ace.
“Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down (Thursday) after four minor-leaguers got suspended for 10 games?” Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP with the Blue Jays, said, according to The Athletic. “Is that possible? I don’t know. Maybe. At the same time, with this situation, they’ve let guys do it.”
A pitcher’s spin rate is measured in revolutions per minute (RPMs) and can be increased if the ball is sticky and allows for a better grip.
MLB last week suspended four minor-leaguers who were caught using foreign substances to doctor baseballs, in what was considered a warning shot that similar punishments could filter up to the majors. Two days after the minor-league suspensions, Cole was knocked around for five runs on five hits in five innings by the Rays — tied for the most runs he’s given up in 12 starts this season.
In that start, the spin rate decreased on Cole’s four primary pitches: By 125 RPMs on the four-seam fastball, 78 RPMs on the knock curve, 77 RPMs on the change up and 48 RPMs on the slider, according to Baseball Savant, as highlighted in The Athletic’s report.
Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer has raised a cloud of suspicion around Cole, regarding sticky substances, in the past. The two were teammates at UCLA and have had a shaky relationship.
Donaldson said he has spoken with MLB officials about the sticky substances epidemic, which he considers “the next steroids of baseball ordeal.”
He suggested umpires inspect pitchers every half-inning.
“What these guys are doing now (is) performance-enhancing, to where it is an actual superglue-type of ordeal,” Donaldson said. “It’s not about command. Now, it’s about who’s throwing the nastiest pitches, the more unhittable pitches. It’s proven.”