As pitchers have come to learn how to improve their grip and spin rates, its effect on defensive performance has become much more obvious. The increased number of strikeouts led to a league intervention.
The MLB stated pitchers caught using illegal foreign substances will be ejected from and suspended for 10 games.
The league will allow the continued use of rosin. However, combining it with sunscreen or other substances is prohibited.
According to the official MLB website, they announced that this new protocol has provided guidance to all 30 clubs and to the umpires. This has been implemented to serve as “a uniform standard for the consistent application of the rules…”
Even without request by opposing teams, starting pitchers will have more than one mandatory check per game. Inspections will take place between innings or during pitching changes to give the umpires substantial time to perform a thorough check without disrupting the game.
Affecting the Players
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow addressed this new change and believes it has something to do with his partially torn elbow ligament. Glasnow explains why he believes changing things now is a bad idea and shows his frustration.
After pitching for the Nationals following this new rule, Glasnow says that he was “sore in places I didn’t even know I had muscles in.” Glasnow explains what substances he used, and how he had to change his fast and curveball grip during the game.
On the other hand, Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell spoke to reporters about the league’s crackdown.
In fact, according to the official MLB website, Bill Miller, president of the Major League Umpires Association, issued a statement in support of MLB’s decision.
“The integrity of the competition is of utmost importance to us,” Miller said. “We have worked diligently with MLB to develop an enforcement system that will treat all players and clubs equally.”
What to Expect
Furthermore, some pitchers will adapt. Some will have trouble figuring it out. MLB will closely monitor the effect of this policy on competition and on player health.