Gerrit Cole Spin Rate Drops After Josh Donaldson Call Out, The Yankees Should Be Terrified

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Major League Baseball released a statement last week that they’re now cracking down on substances pitchers use to increase grip, and more importantly, spin rate.

A few days ago, Twins third baseman called out Yankees ace Gerrit Cole for using sticky stuff.

“Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down (Thursday) after four minor-leaguers got suspended for 10 games?” Donaldson said to The Athletic. “Is that possible? I don’t know. Maybe. At the same time, with this situation, they’ve let guys do it.”

Before these suspensions, Gerrit Cole was arguably as dominant as any pitcher in the game, outside of Mets ace Jacob deGrom. He was wiping out hitters with ease and with historic levels of control. As a matter of fact, he set a record for the most consecutive strikeouts before surrendering a walk (61) earlier this season.

A couple minor leaguers face monster suspensions, and now suddenly Gerrit Cole is getting rocked? As Donaldson put it, that is an incredible coincidence. He didn’t claim to know what’s going on. He’s simply observing the data.

In his last start, Cole gave up five earned runs in five innings of work, which for him, never happens. His last two starts came against the Tigers, who stink, and the Chicago White Sox, whom Cole carved up like a pumpkin on Halloween. Completely dominant with alien-like stuff — until Major League Baseball decided to nix the sticky stuff.

So what do the Yankees do?

Well, Gerrit Cole starts tomorrow night against the Minnesota Twins, and all eyes should be on him. If he dominates, then the Yankees can breathe again. But if Cole goes out there and stinks up the joint? This Yankees front office and fan base should panic.

Here’s some context, per Danny Vietti of CBS Sports, as to how much Gerrit Cole’s spin rate dropped in his previous start:

Despite his dominance all season long (2.24 ERA), the Yankees are still a healthy 6.5 games behind last year’s AL champion Tampa Bay Rays in the standings. Let the Yankees find out Gerrit Cole is nothing but a product of pine tar — they just may become sellers at the trade deadline.


Gerrit Cole was asked about his involvement with sticky substances, and his response was less than ideal for the Yankees:

What’s clear is that the Yankees PR team should’ve spoken with Cole on how he would attack this question. Rather than getting a straight forward answer, he gave a backwards riddle that made no sense. 

The takeaway: He was using substances and he’s looking forward to proving he can pitch without them. 

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr


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  1. For me as a Dodger fan — where Bauer and other Dodger pitchers are accused of using sticky — I hope the crackdown has a balancing effect. Our offense has been on a season long slump, especially Mookie. The Dodgers have the depth to overcome the rash of injuries, but not the harder fastballs and sharper breaking balls apparently. A decline in pitcher stats(WHIP, ERA) hopefully includes an equal increase in the long ball, which the Dodgers have relied on in recent years.

  2. With the state of the game today maybe we “need” a league where there are no rules on taking PEDs, stealing signs, doctoring baseballs, getting tossed for hitting batters, any of the tertiary/edge case rules. Add robot umps too. Just throw open the gates on this baby and let it rip. It might make baseball entertaining again.

  3. Would this explain how he suddenly morphed from mostly a high-3, low-4 ERA pitcher with 8-9 K/9 to a consistent mid-2 ERA pitcher with 12-13 K/9 when he went from Pittsburgh to Houston? Verlander also had a sudden fountain of youth resurgence after joining Houston.

    Maybe Houston teaches / encourages their pitchers to use this? Not saying Houston is only team to do this; just another chapter in Houston’s run being tainted.

  4. Great article Gary. I gotta admit. I’m not overly concerned that the scales have tipped in favor of pitching, to a degree, for a change. Where were all these sluggers when the ballparks kept getting smaller, the balls were juiced, players were juiced and expansion pulled AA & AAA arms to major league mounds? The pitchers were bound to do something… I’m not saying MLB shouldn’t put a stop to it but some players have selective outrage.

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