Dodgers News: Jimmy Nelson Finding Success With New Baseballs

Amid a years-long surge in home runs, Major League Baseball reportedly made some changes to the game balls for the 2021 season.

The league specifically instructed Rawlings to loosen the tension on the first of three wool windings within the baseballs, which reduced its weight without changing the size.

MLB expected the changes to be subtle and not have an effect on pitchers’ velocities. “I noticed a difference in Spring Training the last couple weeks, which I think affects spin as well,” Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jimmy Nelson shared.

“I feel I’ve been able to spin my curveball and slider better, and really all of them better, because the seams feel a little bit bigger. They’re raised just a little bit more than they were just a few years ago.

“Whenever they are a little looser, the ball almost feels bigger. The ball actually feels bigger in your hand, because obviously the tighter it is, it’s going to make the ball smaller and harder.

“I’ve noticed — not necessarily any difference from the hardness of the ball — but it feels a little bit bigger and the seams to me feel a little bit easier to grip.”

One concern about MLB raising the seams on the balls is that it could lead to more blister issues for pitchers. Nelson doesn’t believe this will affect him as he historically has been able to avoid them.

“My whole career, I think I’ve dealt with a blister one time,” Nelson said. “It just pushed my start back a few days in that instance. As somebody that’s thrown a lot of breaking stuff, if it was going to affect me, it would’ve been in Arizona.”

Nelson re-signed with the Dodgers on a Minor League contract last December and turned an impressive spring into a spot on the Opening Day roster as a reliever.

Across four appearances thus far, he has allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits over 3.1 innings of work.

Muncy calls MLB deadening baseballs ‘heartbreaking’

While Nelson is a fan of the new baseballs, Max Muncy and other position players around the league are on the opposite side. “Does them deadening it mean pitchers don’t throw 100 mph also?” Muncy said during Spring Training. “That’s my only question.

“I feel like the whole game is kind of triggered against the offense, and now they’re taking the one advantage we had. Maybe or maybe not the ball was a little juiced. They obviously have never confirmed that, but them saying they’re going to deaden the ball was kind of heartbreaking. But you’ve got to go out there and get around it somehow.

“We’ll see how it goes during spring. Hopefully we have the baseballs now and we can start seeing how they fly. It will be interesting to see how much of a difference it actually is.”

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