Major League Baseball’s planned crackdown on pitchers using illegal substances has some hitters questioning which pitchers have been getting away with things for a while.
Minnesota Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson raised suspicion about New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, questioning whether a recent drop in the ace’s spin rate was linked to a report about minor leaguers being suspended for using illegal substances. According to Baseball Savant, Cole’s spin rate was down on Thursday on all his pitches, but most notably a 125-RPM decrease on his fastball.
“Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down after four minor leaguers got suspended for 10 games?” Donaldson said, via Dan Hayes of The Athletic. “Is that possible? I don’t know. Maybe. At the same time, with this situation, they’ve let guys do it.”
Cole has been linked to using illegal substances before, but there’s never been any proof. Still, if nothing else, this outlines the level of suspicion around the game among hitters. MLB is planning a serious crackdown on this, and it sounds like that will be welcomed by position players. That’s especially true if this level of suspicion is normal around the game.