Jack McDowell rages at state of baseball, analytics, front office groupthink


(670 The Score) Former White Sox ace and 1993 American League Cy Young winner Jack McDowell isn’t a fan of the state of baseball right now, to say the least.

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McDowell raged about an overreliance on technology – particularly for pitchers – and the groupthink in front offices across MLB during an entertaining appearance on the Parkins & Spiegel Show on Friday afternoon.

“It’s all about velocity, so they do all this stupid overweight lifting and all this stuff you’re not supposed to do if you’re a pitcher,” McDowell said. “And they’re doing it all, and that’s why the injury rate is up crazy every year now.

“What are they doing wrong? Over-lifting with their arms, trying to get strong. Everyone is throwing with the weighted balls. From high school and college and up now, I see all these guys throwing weighted balls and doing all this stuff. That is not the way to do stuff, but everyone thinks velocity is the main thing. It’s actually command and being able to pitch back and forth, up and down, in and out is how you get people out. It ain’t just you throw hard. But you know, it’s just the way things are going right now. All the metrics stuff, they think that’s so important that that’s what they’re jamming down everyone’s throats. So real pitchers that know how to pitch and get guys out that ain’t throwing 100 miles an hour with their new technology that they’re measuring with, they didn’t even get a chance to move forward.”

Click here to listen to McDowell's full interview.

McDowell was just getting warmed up in sounding off. Asked about analytics in baseball, he responded they’re a “joke.”

“Anything that’s not measured with technology nowadays is considered false,” McDowell said.

“If there was anything that actually helped the game and helped me coach people, that helped win games, that helped guys get better, I would definitely be into it. But there isn’t a single thing that they’ve come up with that actually does positivity toward anything in this game. (Technology) is actually taking away a lot of the positivity of a lot of things in the actual game of baseball.”

McDowell then shared further what he thought of technology in baseball.

“That’s just ridiculous,” McDowell said. “It’s increasing injuries, and it’s not maximizing on your best guys. And just listening to what you just said, you’re being dominated by the fake technology again. You think all these guys throw 10 miles an hour faster than we did back in the day? Just watch the videos. Watch videos of guys back in our day who were the hard-throwing guys compared to now. They are measuring fastballs and balls right out of the hand now … Back in the day, (it) measured as it crossed home plate. So there ain’t no difference.”

McDowell went on to criticize a reliance on launch angle, saying it isn’t good for the game. He also doesn’t like how the analytical mindset in MLB is applied when evaluating youngsters and prospects.

“The analytics guys have come out and said we can predetermine who big league players are going to be just by measuring their metrics in high school and college,” McDowell said. “That is not baseball, OK? That is not the truth as to what happens in baseball. The reason there was so many levels of professional baseball was because baseball is a sport of progression and adjustments. It’s not just talent and strength and arm strength and all this. It is a game that is complex and you need to be able to adjust your skills, move forward and all this. And that isn’t a measurable thing. That’s learn-able as you go.”

McDowell was then skeptical about the use of automated strike zones – or robot umpires, as the concept is commonly known. He believes it could lead to shenanigans.

“They can get into our technology from Russia,” McDowell said. “Well, you don’t think that a front office can get into the technology that’s running the strike zone at the home stadium?

“It wouldn’t be every pitch. It would be bases loaded, ‘We got to get this pitch right here.’

“That’s the kind of stuff I know that would happen.”