MLB to begin using Statcast to catch cheating pitchers
Major League Baseball notified clubs on Tuesday of its plans to use Statcast to catch pitchers who cheat by doctoring baseballs with foreign substances, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.
The league intends to use Statcast data to analyze increased spin rate, specifically for pitchers suspected of doctoring baseballs.
Other items mentioned in the memo, which was sent to teams by MLB executive vice president of baseball operations and disciplinarian Michael Hill, include increased monitoring by compliance officers and inspection by a third-party laboratory of balls taken out of play.
"Players are subject to discipline ... regardless of whether evidence of the violation has been discovered during or following a game," the memo read.
Though doctoring a baseball with a foreign substance is against the rules, there appears to be a gentleman's agreement between clubs not to challenge each other's pitchers, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
This issue was recently brought to light after former Los Angeles Angels clubhouse manager Brian "Bubba" Harkins said he created a ball-doctoring substance for multiple pitchers around the league, including Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer, among others.
MLB initially planned to begin cracking down on foreign substance use during the 2020 season but was forced to handle more pressing issues because of the COVID-19 pandemic.