Arizona Fall League Testing Baseballs With Sticky Substance Applied
General view of baseball
Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

This past season MLB decided to crack down on players using foreign substances on baseballs in effort to get an extra grip or further enhance their ability to spin and manipulate it.

Most pitchers were not happy about the midseason decision to change what so many believed to be permissible. However, the use of banned substances provided an advantage for pitchers to gain velocity with better grip and increased movement, which impacted offensive statistics.

Pitchers still want some kind of substance on the baseballs because they have a slick feel when they are brand new, so MLB began to test pre-tacked baseballs in Triple-A games.

MLB has continued their testing into the Arizona Fall League, with the second half of the season being played with balls that already have a substance applied to them, according to Josh Norris of Baseball America:

Before the Arizona Fall League began, players were informed over Zoom that the baseballs they’d be using would differ between the first and second halves of the season. Over the first three weeks, they’d use the standard-issue baseballs from the minor league regular season, rubbed with the same mud as always. With the first half in the books, the league has switched over to a baseball that comes with sticky substances already applied.

When the league started to enforce its rule against the use of foreign substances on baseballs, offense was at an all-time low, which MLB was focused on changing as a means of keeping the sport entertaining and growing in popularity.

Pitchers said the swift change could bring more injuries as they had to change how they held the ball and wanted MLB to wait until after the season. Tampa Bay Rays ace Tyler Glasnow, who was one of the most vocal players about the change, suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and blamed MLB for his injury.

It is important for MLB to find a way to make pitchers happy and healthy without limiting offensive numbers.

MLB may have new baseball for 2022

MLB’s baseballs that have pre-applied sticky substances on them could be ready for next season.

Nippon Professional Baseball and the KBO League already have a league-approved substance and use balls that are pre-coated with the substance.

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