Gerrit Cole has been outspoken on the inconsistencies of MLB’s baseballs in recent years, with research showing that newer baseball designs led to increased power numbers, but the Yankee ace seems more pleased with the 2021 product.
MLB announced before spring training that it had adjusted its baseball construction to decrease the “bounciness” of the ball, which led to many, including Cole, speaking out on the previous changes to the baseballs that MLB denied in 2019 and 2020, but Cole is finding the new versions to be much more consistent.
“I haven’t thrown in a game where I’m going through like four or five boxes of balls, but I’ve noticed that they’re consistent,” Cole said. “I’m not seeing as much inconsistency in the seams. They’ve been relatively consistent.”
Cole spoke on the baseball situation last week, saying he wanted the league to be “a little more honest about that kind of stuff,” but he said he was told shortly after those comments that the new baseballs were with the team in camp, and Cole has been using them ever since. He threw a live BP on Saturday and has made one spring training outing so far, and has liked the feel of the ball compared to previous seasons.
“We were seeing seams that were pulled apart by the leather…or a large seam or even a deviation in the horseshoe…and I haven’t come across anything strikingly weird, which is new,” Cole said. “I’m finding them more comfortable and the grip is consistent.”
Many other pitchers, including Justin Verlander, spoke out on the differences in the baseballs dating back to 2019, when balls were leaving the park at a historic rate (a record 6,776 home runs were hit that season), but Cole hopes that is now behind the league.
“I hope I don’t have to keep answering questions about it,” Cole said. “The landscape has never been unfair; we were all playing with the same thing. But I’m certainly not the only guy who has noticed stuff in the last few years, and in my short experience right now, I haven’t come across anything strikingly weird. And I have come across that before. Small sample size, but that’s all I got for now.”
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