Minnesota Twins slugger Josh Donaldson isn’t a fan of pitchers using illegal sticky substances to increase spin rate. He called out one pitcher in particular: Gerrit Cole.
Donaldson was only using Cole as an example, but the point remains that baseball does have an illegal substance problem. Whether it be pin tar or something else that increases grip, pitchers have an overwhelming advantage over hitters, which has lowered scores and ERAs across baseball.
“If you want to clean the game up — because to me, this is going to be the next steroids of baseball ordeal, because it is cheating and it is performance-enhancing — the only way they get it through and to get it out of the game is if they get checked every half-inning,” Donaldson said, per The Athletic’s Dan Hayes.
While Donaldson’s suggestion is on the extreme — as that would slow down the game tremendously — it does prove just how dire this situation is.
MLB news: Josh Donaldson singles out Gerrit Cole as an example
In Cole’s last start on the bump, he saw a significant drop in spin rate. This was just days after several minor leaguers were suspended for illegal substance use.
Donaldson assumes there’s a connection.
“Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down (Thursday) after four minor leaguers got suspended for 10 games?” Donaldson said. “Is that possible? I don’t know. Maybe. At the same time, with this situation, they’ve let guys do it.”
The answer could simply be more action from major-league umpires, which thus far have only acted on their suspicions in rare circumstances. There’s a chance Rob Manfred and Co. are testing this out at the minor-league level before penalizing their own, of course.
Either way, Cole is not alone. Pitchers across baseball use sticky substances. It’s a way of life, whether they want to admit it or not.