Astros scandal dwarfed by MLB-wide sticky substance use

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 28: Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. speaks to the media during a press conference prior to game four of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park on October 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 28: Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. speaks to the media during a press conference prior to game four of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park on October 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

The Dodgers’ Glass House

Dodgers fans (and some Dodgers players) have been the most vocal critics of the Astros since news of the sign stealing scandal broke. They continually insist that the 2017 World Series title was stolen from them because Houston cheated. But SI’s analysis clearly identifies the Dodgers as MLB’s most spin-happy pitching staff this season.

Specifically, the Dodgers by far have the “highest year-to-year increase of any club in spin rate on four-seam fastballs,” and the team’s collective spin rate on four-seamers “is higher than that of any other team in the Statcast era.” The article specifically examined the case of Trevor Bauer, who’s been a particularly vocal critic of the Astros.

Despite Bauer’s past criticisms of using foreign substances, it certainly appears he decided to join the fray, as his spin rates made a sharp jump beginning in Sept. 2019 and have continued to rise. His numbers prior to 2020 indicated he was about an average pitcher, but seemingly overnight he’s turned himself into the $40 million man.

As much as I dislike Bauer personally, I don’t blame him if he did indeed begin using sticky stuff. I don’t blame any pitcher for it. If many others are doing it, and MLB refuses to police it, then many who don’t use it are at a competitive disadvantage. When you’re constantly pitching for your job, you really can’t afford to be behind the eight-ball.

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