Josh donaldson makes Gerrit Cole face MLB cheating scandal, but he says there are plenty more worthy of this label.
If Donaldson wanted to impersonate Oprah Winfrey, he could take the stage and yell at a crowd of pitchers, “You get punishment! You get a punishment! Everyone gets a punishment! “
Four days after Donaldson pointed to the decline in Cole’s turnover rate during his last start as evidence pitchers are directly spooked by the looming MLB crackdown on illegally traffic baseball who started with four minor-league suspensions, the Twins slugger was in the lineup Wednesday against Cole and the Yankees.
“I don’t regret it,” Donaldson said before the game. “When I say something, it’s thought of in advance. It is not on a whim. I’ll say this: Gerrit Cole was the first guy to pitch since the suspensions came in and he was the first guy whose turnover rates we could see go down. Since Gerrit launched, there have already been 12 or more guys whose turnover rates dropped significantly last week. So it’s not just Gerrit.
The spinning speed of a pitcher is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM) and can be increased if the ball is sticky. Cole’s four main pitches on Thursday against the Rays were down from the season averages of 125 rpm on the four-seam fastball, 78 rpm on the hitting curve, 77 rpm / min on the shift and 48 rpm on the slider, according to Baseball Savant.
With an offense at record levels and strikeouts on the rise, Donaldson lit a powder keg when he wondered aloud if this was “a coincidence” or if something fishy was going on. Cole then stuttered to respond directly if he had ever used Spider Tack pantyhose on the mound, which caught Donaldson’s attention.
“It’s not for me to judge,” he said. “It’s him and his camp. Time will tell what happens. I’m out of place, so I don’t have to wear clothes if I can sleep at night.
He set high alerts for Wednesday’s game and whether Cole could send a message with a fastball in the ribs.
“I’m not in his brain,” Donaldson said. “If he decides to do what he wants, do it.”
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli had no intention of monitoring every time Cole touched his hat, pocket or belt and hired the referees to check for substances.
“I’ll be very clear that there are pitchers who don’t hide what they’re doing very well – almost like they’re not trying to hide it at all,” Baldelli said. “And that’s the only time we end up discussing it. Under normal circumstances, almost every other game that we play, we worry about a lot of other things and talk about what’s going on strategically trying to win the game.
Donaldson was armed on Wednesday with a doctoral thesis on the kind of difference turnover rates make. The former MVP spoke to MLB officials.
“If you can’t hit a fastball right in the middle, how much harder does it get?” Donaldson said. “To me, it’s gotten out of hand that if you give $ 100 in counterfeit money to an experienced bank teller, you’ll know right away that it’s not real money. Think about how many pitches I’ve seen in my career.
Donaldson said he and Dodgers right-hander Trevor Bauer had analytical conversations about RPM as teammates with the Indians. Bauer just happens to be Cole’s former teammate at UCLA and they aren’t on good terms, with Bauer subtly suggesting Cole as a cheater in the past.
Baldelli spent seven seasons (2003-10) as an MLB outfielder, but Donaldson’s research suggests the surge in RPMs began after 2017.
“I think our game has adjustments that need to be made,” said Baldelli. “It’s more of a simple question of application because the rules have always been what they are. I still think pitchers should have the ability to master baseball… but when you allow something like that, you also open the door for people to enjoy it in different ways.
“For those who gain a pretty huge competitive advantage, I think that’s wrong. We will all be relying on Major League Baseball and their guidance to a large extent. I think it’s about time. I think almost everyone in the game is going to welcome the changes that come from top to bottom. “