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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Trevor Bauer insinuates there’s something fishy going on with Astros pitchers and MLB rules

Trevor Bauer hardly feels like the most trustworthy whistleblower, but…

As noted, though Bauer doesn’t straight up say, “the Astros are cheating,” the totality of the message is just that. He’s saying Astros pitchers are using sticky, foreign substances to increase their spin rate, which helps with breaking stuff and velocity, among other things. Let’s take a look.

With fastballs, Justin Verlander is first in spin rate among starting pitchers. On curveballs, Charlie Morton is second among qualified starters after Garrett Richards while Verlander is in the top 10.

Baldrick Posted: May 01, 2018 at 02:30 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cheating, houston astros, spin rate, trevor bauer

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   1. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:20 PM (#5663788)
Someone should check Bauer for "foreign substances".
   2. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5663792)
Thank you for posting this. It seems like sour grapes; but Bauer has pitched well so far this year.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:28 PM (#5663796)
Doesn't he have a drone to fly or some rhymes to bust or something?
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5663797)
Why would this surprise us, if true? Pitchers have been trying to doctor the ball for 150 years.
   5. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5663798)
And the league has been overtly favoring some teams over others for over 20 years.
   6. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5663802)
And the league has been overtly favoring some teams over others for over 20 years.


The Yankees and the Red Sox, right? The league hasn't forced them to share nearly enough, giving them a huge advantage over small markets like Cincinnati.
   7. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5663805)
Yes comrade, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need. Now get back to the intersection before some other bum takes your prime panhandling spot.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5663806)
Well, that didn't take long.
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:53 PM (#5663813)
Have we ever spent some time appreciating the fact that Hal Steinbrenner is a primate?

Anyway as for the article, I mean that's a spectacular lack of class from Bauer. To accuse people of cheating with zero evidence is a scummy thing to do. If he has something more concrete than "really good team is really good" then have the balls to out it. If not then it's just sour grapes.

   10. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:57 PM (#5663818)
Sooo anyway. Yeah, it wouldn't surprise me if pitchers were doctoring the ball. Isn't this something pretty much everyone does? Trevor Bauer never fails to bring the crazy though, does he?
   11. PreservedFish Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:57 PM (#5663819)
The spin rate numbers are supposed to be the evidence.
   12. jmurph Posted: May 01, 2018 at 03:58 PM (#5663820)
To accuse people of cheating with zero evidence is a scummy thing to do. If he has something more concrete than "really good team is really good" then have the balls to out it. If not then it's just sour grapes.

In other tweets he insinuated he did have the dirt and would out it in due time- it was unclear from his ramblings if he was serious, though.
   13. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 01, 2018 at 04:04 PM (#5663825)
Did he know that Justin Verlander was really good before he came to Houston? And yeah Gerrit Cole has been great so far but it's been like 40 innings and he's been good before. He's also been a pretty good pitcher in the past and is in his 27 year old season.
   14. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 01, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5663847)
Did he know that Justin Verlander was really good before he came to Houston? And yeah Gerrit Cole has been great so far but it's been like 40 innings and he's been good before. He's also been a pretty good pitcher in the past and is in his 27 year old season.


Yup. And the mention of Charlie Morton is another sample size thing.
   15. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 01, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5663849)
Alex Bregman @ABREG_1 1h1 hour ago

Relax Tyler ... those World Series balls spin a little different....
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: May 01, 2018 at 04:21 PM (#5663856)
Relax Tyler ... those World Series balls spin a little different....


I love that he used the wrong name, especially since Tyler, Trevor, what's the difference?
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: May 01, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5663863)
Bauer and Gerrit Cole were college teammates, and they openly hated each other then and now....
   18. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 01, 2018 at 04:30 PM (#5663870)
I get the feeling lots of people don't like Tyler Bauer, and even less people like Trevor Bauer.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: May 01, 2018 at 04:40 PM (#5663879)
The other "evidence" would be Charlie Morton's K-rate at 10/9 last year and 11/9 so far this year after a previous career rate of 6.3 ... although his brief 17-inning stint in Philly in 2016 featured 19 Ks so maybe he figured out how to cheat there.

And in a world where the Australian cricket team doctors the ball, how can any of us have faith in our fellow humans?
   20. Baldrick Posted: May 01, 2018 at 04:48 PM (#5663886)
they're good pitchers Brent
   21. -- Posted: May 01, 2018 at 05:07 PM (#5663897)
Bauer is right up there with Bryce Harper in the Biggest Douche in Baseball sweepstakes. He's kind of one of those guys that all he has to do is stand on the mound and you think, "Douche." Then a few gesticulations, a pitch or two, and ... confirmation.

It's quite a talent.
   22. perros Posted: May 01, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5663909)
Where is Mike Scott hiding these days?

Also, Velrlander's career ERA+ in Detroit was 123. So far in Houston, it's 326.

   23. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 01, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5663913)
Point taken, but I'm sure if we could isolate like 73 IP of some other point in his career, you could find a similar stretch. Also his FIP with the Astros is a more pedestrian 2.77
   24. perros Posted: May 01, 2018 at 05:39 PM (#5663918)
Point taken, but I'm sure if we could isolate like 73 IP of some other point in his career, you could find a similar stretch.

If you go back half a decade. I agree we need more sample, but they're doing cutting-edge work in Houston these days.
   25. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: May 01, 2018 at 05:59 PM (#5663936)
It's not just that Verlander was already good; his spin rate on fastballs was already the highest before he got to Houston. Unless Bauer is suggesting that Verlander brought his ball-doctoring ways with him (after not sharing them with his teammates in Detroit).
   26. spycake Posted: May 01, 2018 at 06:30 PM (#5663952)
They should call them the Spin Doctors!
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 01, 2018 at 07:11 PM (#5663970)
They should call them the Spin Doctors!
The lead singer used to play for the Astros, but now he's with San Francisco.
   28. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: May 01, 2018 at 07:46 PM (#5663983)
Bauer is the spin-rate generation’s Curt Schilling.
   29. The Duke Posted: May 01, 2018 at 09:31 PM (#5664066)
Interestingly the spin rate for all the cardinal pitchers has increased markedly in 2018
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 01, 2018 at 10:46 PM (#5664132)
Interestingly the spin rate for all the cardinal pitchers has increased markedly in 2018

This is a well known statistical artifact. If you start measuring something, and giving importance to it, it will increase. Whether that increase is productive or not.

Once pitchers hear that teams are scouting for spin rate, spin rate will go up.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: May 01, 2018 at 10:57 PM (#5664149)

This is a well known statistical artifact.


No, that was a well-known joke.
   32. Blastin Posted: May 02, 2018 at 08:54 AM (#5664240)
Bauer is the type of guy who literally went home and blocked people on twitter after pitching poorly in the ALDS. This is not an adult man.
   33. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 02, 2018 at 10:30 AM (#5664331)
Once pitchers hear that teams are scouting for spin rate, spin rate will go up.


This makes a lot of sense. Spin rate doesn't mean much if a guy can't throw strikes though. The Cubs added Tyler Chatwood because they liked his spin rate, and yeah he pitched a gem the other day, but he has a ghastly walk rate that can't be sustainable. Same for the Mets with Lugo, if the guy spins the ball really well but it doesn't go into the strike zone, I don't see how he can succeed either in the pen or in the rotation.
   34. JAHV Posted: May 02, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5664347)
They should call them the Spin Doctors!


Well now, isn't Bauer little miss can't be wrong?
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 02, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5664398)
This makes a lot of sense. Spin rate doesn't mean much if a guy can't throw strikes though. The Cubs added Tyler Chatwood because they liked his spin rate, and yeah he pitched a gem the other day, but he has a ghastly walk rate that can't be sustainable. Same for the Mets with Lugo, if the guy spins the ball really well but it doesn't go into the strike zone, I don't see how he can succeed either in the pen or in the rotation.

True, long term. But, if the short term, a pitcher can earn many millions of dollars by making teams think he's fixable.

Chatwood, without the high spin rate, get's like 2/15 instead of 3/39. Regardless of your other skills, spin rate makes you more attractive in today's market.

So, pitchers will sell out for spin rate, even if it doesn't help their performance. Because it still helps them get paid.
   36. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 02, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5664415)
So, pitchers will sell out for spin rate, even if it doesn't help their performance. Because it still helps them get paid.


Right. Agreed. I guess my point is that it's hard for teams to "fix" guys who don't throw strikes and that is a pretty essential part of pitching effectively. But yeah agree 100% with what you said.
   37. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: May 02, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5664495)
[24]
they're doing cutting-edge work in Houston these days.

Excellent.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2018 at 08:41 PM (#5664912)
Chatwood did have a bit more than that going for him. Just 300 innings but a 116 ERA+ over the last two years. Sub-par K-rate but (given Coors) a pretty solid HR rate. My quickie FIP+ calculation puts him at 107 over the last two years, walks and all. So far this year, the BB rate is atrocious but the K-rate is up and the HR-rate is excellent (small sample) and it's still a 95 FIP+. Given what some of the other pitchers ended up having to settle for, 3/$39 was generous but how much was spin rate vs. how much was the Cubs mis-reading the market and jumping early is hard to say.

Certainly for April and May 2, Chatwood is not the Cubs FA pitcher that I am worried about.
   39. manchestermets Posted: May 03, 2018 at 09:08 AM (#5665053)
In other tweets he insinuated he did have the dirt and would out it in due time- it was unclear from his ramblings if he was serious, though.


In any field, where someone makes an accusation and says that they'll show you the evidence not now but later, does that ever actually happen?
   40. jmurph Posted: May 03, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5665109)
In any field, where someone makes an accusation and says that they'll show you the evidence not now but later, does that ever actually happen?

Ha, probably not. And if this promise is made on twitter, the odds of it happening must fall all the way to zero.
   41. Rally Posted: May 03, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5665171)
Chatwood did have a bit more than that going for him.


Part of the appeal of Chatwood is getting the guy out of Coors field. He has a good fastball and curve. You hope that he can improve his control by feeling more comfortable challenging hitters when he's not in a place where the ball travels an extra 10%. Also, if you are picking among the starters who are not top of the rotation and hope you can catch a breakout, better to take a chance on a 28 year old than a 33 year old.

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