MLB reportedly used at least three different balls during 2022 season

By , Audacy Sports

The saga of Major League Baseball's ever-changing ball has taken yet another turn, according to a new report.

Podcast Episode
Locked On MLB - Daily Podcast On Major League Baseball
Fred McGriff is Hall of Fame Bound with Millard Thomas
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

At the All-Star Game in Denver, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred asserted that the league was using just one ball last season.

But according to analysis by a SABR researcher and astrophysicist, there were at least three balls in circulation, Insider's Bradford William Davis reported this week.

According to Davis, researcher Dr. Meredith Wills found that the league deployed all of a newer so-called "dead ball," an older, livelier "juiced ball," and something in between, which Wills dubbed a Goldilocks ball.

The dead balls were meant to be the lone ball in use, after the league acknowledged using different balls in preceding seasons, citing supply-chain issues owing to the global pandemic. The juiced balls were holdovers from 2021 and perhaps earlier, and were supposed to have been phased out.

Meanwhile, the third ball, the so-called Goldilocks balls, according to Wills, primarily bore the stamps of special occasions such as the Home Run Derby, All-Star Game, and the postseason -- with the only non-stamped balls apparently being used in Yankees games.

Wills' findings that more than one ball was used last season seems to comport with anecdotal reporting from players, as well as more empirical research.

Justin Verlander, then with the Astros, reportedly confronted an MLB official about it prior to a game against the Yankees in June, while Mets starter Chris Bassitt publicly expressed his frustration after a start against the Cardinals in April.

In June, an analytics-leaning Twitter account that tracks ballpark factors noted that there was a sharp uptick in home runs beginning in mid-May due to some kind of "clear change."

In response to Insider's reporting, MLB denied using multiple balls, while league-commissioned university researchers said that any variance between balls is not unusual and would be on account of a "hand-made product made from natural materials."

LISTEN on the Audacy App
Sign Up and Follow Audacy Sports
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty