Sticky substances are the talk of baseball, and while none of it has resulted in any accusations directed towards the Mets clubhouse as of yet, nearly every star pitcher appears to be under suspicion.
So of course Jacob deGrom, arguably the best pitcher on the planet, will be watched closely as the league begins cracking down on substances like Spider Tack, which cause Yankees ace Gerrit Cole to stop in his tracks when asked if he has ever used the substance before.
But Mets manager Luis Rojas told Carton & Roberts he hasn’t seen any use of illegal substances from his pitching staff, despite it appearing to be a league-wide epidemic.
“No, not to my knowledge, or any of the guys here,” Rojas said. “I’m completely unaware of any of our guys here using any kind of stuff.”
Rojas also said he doesn’t feel it is something that needs to be brought up to his pitching staff.
“It’s not a conversation,” Rojas said. “There’s things in the rulebook I think every coach reads. I don’t how many players read it year to year, but I know coaches do with all the adjustments they make in there. but it’s in the rulebook. It’s not something that needs to be brought up to the guys.”
deGrom’s name may be brought up among baseball fans because of his remarkable performance so far this season, but in terms of spin rate, his numbers aren’t among the elite, and his average spin rate has increased by less than 100 rpm over the last two seasons, a number consistent with mechanical adjustments. Adding Spider Tack can boost a pitcher’s spin rate up to 300-400 rpm. So deGrom doesn’t find himself in the same camp as a Trevor Bauer, who saw his spin rate skyrocket in recent years after calling out the existence of a sticky substance epidemic in baseball.
“Yeah, I’m unaware, man,” Rojas said. “I just told you, I’m unaware of anything like that being used here. All I know is the guys are ready to pitch, they go out there and pitch, they compete. We’re having a good year pitching-wise. I’m unaware.”
While Major League Baseball formulates its plan to police the use of sticky substances and increases security against it, Rojas and the Mets will simply sit and wait to see what the league comes up with, confident that it won’t result in any changes on their end.
“It’s just what we’re seeing from afar that I can tell you,” Rojas said. “We’re just waiting for any type of memo, letter, anything…to come out, rather than what’s in the rulebook…We’re just waiting on MLB to release something on what the course of action is, other than the rulebook. How much the umpires are gonna be outgoing and everything about it. It’s just what we’re waiting for.”