With six no-hitters this season and a record-breaking strikeout rate, pitchers are having one of their best seasons in Major League Baseball history. While the reasons could range from the deadening of baseballs to launch-angle-obsessed hitters, the conversation has changed to how pitchers are doctoring the baseball.
After Minnesota Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson stated on Friday that he has "an entire catalog" of pitchers cheating, Rocco Baldelli acknowledged the issue before the Twins' opened their weekend series with the Kansas City Royals.
"The effect that some of these things have, apparently it's monumental," Baldelli said. "Apparently, it changes the game in a big, big way,"
The conversation with this issue intensified when St. Louis Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos was forced to change his hat during Thursday's game with the Chicago White Sox.
While pitchers have used rosin bags, sweat and other legal substances to get a better grip on the ball, other substances have been used such as sunscreen and pine tar to increase spin rate.
The Washington Post reported in March that MLB would be cracking down on doctored baseballs and would collect balls for analysis. Per the MLB rule book, the penalty for doctoring the baseball with a foreign substance is ejection and an automatic 10 game suspension.
While Baldelli said he didn't know exactly what substances pitchers are using, he said the Twins aren't concerned with the issue and it's MLB's job to enforce the rule.
"We have to go out there and play every day, compete and also not make excuses or be paranoid anyway when we take the field," Baldelli said. "This is not a conversation the vast majority of the time."