The MLB plans to slightly adjust the balls used in games for 2021 and so far Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole approves.
Last month, the MLB sent a memo to all 30 clubs citing an independent lab that found the new balls will fly one to two feet shorter on balls hit over 375 feet, the Associated Press reports.
Cole said he had been working with the balls most of the spring and has noticed more “consistency.” He said the new balls have been integrated into the pitchers throwing routines, the Daily News reports.
“I haven’t thrown in a game where I’m really going through like four or five boxes of balls, but I would say that [I’ve] noticed that they’re consistent. I’m not seeing as much inconsistency in the seams,” Cole said. “They’ve been relatively consistent.”
Cole said the inconsistent seams were noticeable in the old balls and said he is comfortable with the new baseballs and finds the grip to be good.
Baseball manufacturer Rawlings — which MLB holds a majority stake in — has loosened the tension on the first of three wool wrappings within the ball. The balls are hand-sewn by workers at the Rawlings factory in Costa Rica, which may have been why there were minor deviations in production, the Daily News reports.
The company’s research shows the adjustment will bring down the “bounce” slightly, makes the ball 2.8 grams lighter, but is the same size.
MLB does not anticipate the weight change to impact pitchers’ velocity, the article details.
Last month, Cole said he was glad that MLB was finally up-front about the changes in the baseball after years of players doing their own research, but said he just wants to get back to throwing the balls and not talking about them.
“I hope I don’t have to keep answering questions about it but I mean because … the landscape’s never been unfair, right? We’re all playing with the same thing,” Cole said. “I’m certainly not the only guy that has noticed stuff in the last few years. And in my short experience right now, I just haven’t come across anything strikingly weird … So that’s a small sample size. That’s all I got for now.”