On the eve of the Los Angeles Dodgers World Series ring ceremony a report surfaced that MLB was investigating Trevor Bauer and baseballs he used during a start against the Oakland Athletics.
That drew the ire of Bauer, who was critical of MLB and the report becoming public. It also upset Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who previously questioned how valuable MLB’s approach to analyzing baseballs would be.
The league’s policies have been in effect for all teams and games played thus far, which prompted Roberts to defend Bauer. “My understanding is that umpires collect baseballs from all pitchers and balls that were in play, to collect samples,” Roberts began.
“That’s kind of what I get from it. I just hope that our player is not singled out. That’s the one thing I want to guard against.”
Then when asked if he felt Bauer was being isolated from other pitchers and potentially made an example of, Roberts said, “At this point, yeah. That’s the only name I’ve heard floated around.”
MLB sent a memo to teams prior to the season that explained they would use Statcast data to analyze potential increases in spin rate. Increasing spin can be as simple as changing mechanics or building strength, but MLB suspects there are some illegally altering game balls to get more movement on their pitches.
Bauer’s spin rate increased during his Cy Young Award season in 2020, and he has regularly been critical of MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred, which could be a factor in the report going public.
Bauer has also strongly suggested the Houston Astros relied on foreign substances and other improper tactics to improve a pitcher’s spin rate.
Roberts: Dodgers would comply with MLB
Although Roberts wasn’t certain how MLB would be able to accurately deduce a reason behind improved spin rate, he nevertheless made it clear the Dodgers would operate within the rules.
“I think there’s a couple things. Obviously, is it performance-enhancing? Is it protect players as far as hitters, where pitchers have a better feel of the baseball?” Roberts said last month. “I really don’t know how they’re going to kind of monitor or manage and keep up with it.
“Obviously pitchers are using it. Not all pitchers. Fortunately, that’s not in my jurisdiction. I just know we’re going to adhere to whatever rules are set out by Major League Baseball.”
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