Prediction: MLB Pitchers Will Dominate In 2021 | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
It’s always easy to say the best pitchers in MLB will, if healthy, have a great season, after all, even the best hitters are lucky to get a hit more than 30% of the time. This season, however, signs are pointing for an even more dominant season for pitches than baseball has seen in recent years; but not because those who toe the rubber are better, but because the diamond has become a level playing field again. How is this possible? MLB has made baseballs fair again.
Rob Manfred, when taking over for Bud Selig as Major League Baseball commissioner, said that the game needed more offense to appeal to fans that were into fantasy sports. One of the things Manfred did was convince franchise owners to buy a majority ownership stake in Rawlings, the company that makes baseballs for his sport. Shortly thereafter, home runs began to reach record-levels and rose year over year under Manfred’s leadership. The high-brow commissioner even went so far as to tell All-Star and future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander to shut up when he called out Manfred for wanting more offense in the game and how he went about doing it … altering the baseball to help them travel further and making it more difficult to throw with movement.
This past weekend ace starter Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees spoke about MLB’s claim that they were “taking the juice” out of baseball so they would not travel as far this season when compared to recent years. Speaking after a 50-pitch bullpen session Saturday, Cole said, “… I would say that [I’ve] noticed that (baseballs are) consistent. I’m not seeing as much inconsistency in the seams. They’ve been relatively consistent.”
Pitchers like Verlander were noticing how “bouncy” baseballs were off bats in recent years, with players not known for their home run power going to the opposite field for round-trippers and sluggers regularly reaching 450-500 feet with their home run swings.
With pitchers now more assured that baseballs are being made better, the fear of hanging an off-speed pitch or having an off the plate fastball taken over the fence will drop this season, allowing those on the mound to take back control of the game, keeping hitters in their place more often this season.
This is just another page in the failed leadership of Rob Manfred, who didn’t do enough when baseball was facing an electronic cheating scandal, and put his foot in his mouth when talking about the World Series trophy as a “hunk of metal.” Manfred was also the spearhead behind MLB taking over Rawlings and altering the baseball for several seasons, creating an era when walks, strikeouts, and home runs was all most fans saw during games rather than the little things that have made baseball so entertaining for over a century.
With all that said, and with the knowledge the MLB is not working against them anymore, the time for star pitchers to shine is back this season, with those that know how to dominate poised to have a great 2021. I would expect teams with great starting pitchers to see their rotations go deeper into games, and the depth of bullpens likely not needed as less pitchers will be needed to secure wins.
So, if your team has a decent pitching staff, look for them to do well, and if you are like the New York Yankees, who have one starter in Gerrit Cole and a bunch of low batting average sluggers, this may not be your year. In other words, baseball is going back to being played the way it should be, with runners in motion and more balls in play, just the way it was designed to be.
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Prediction: MLB Pitchers Will Dominate In 2021 | TooAthletic.com
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