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Angels pitcher Michael Lorenzen says MLB baseballs are too slick

Andrew Buller-Russ

Though MLB doesn’t want to discuss the subject in too much detail, several players aren’t afraid to admit the baseballs are a bit different this year. With scoring down across the league, it’s become impossible to ignore. Another way athletes have noticed a difference is the actual surface of the baseball, which Los Angeles Angels pitcher Michael Lorenzen claims is far too slick, and he’s not the first player to have this same complaint.

Michael Lorenzen beans Justin Upton, blames baseballs

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners
Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, June 17, Michael Lorenzen was pitching to Seattle Mariners outfielder/designated hitter Justin Upton, when the ball slipped out of his hand, drilling Upton in the head. It was a scary play, and certainly, one MLB has tried to avoid as much as possible.

The issue is, the balls the league is using are far too slick. As the games go on, with perspiration building, combined with the heat and humidity, excess moisture is naturally created on the hands of pitchers.

It doesn’t help that the baseballs being used are a bit slippery on the surface, and as Lorenzen recently noted, the baseballs are not being prepared properly. Here’s more on Lorenzen’s theory.

“I don’t know what Major League Baseball is playing with these baseballs, but that fully slipped out of my hand. It’s just crazy man. As a kid you think Major League Baseball is the greatest thing ever, and you get here and you realize, what are they doing? All of a sudden they’re going to change the baseballs. I know [Kevin] Gausman had an issue in Toronto. So it’s a league wide thing. These baseballs are slick. They did get someone hurt. So that’s on Major League Baseball for sure. I don’t know what’s going on. These baseball’s are straight out of the package.”

Michael Lorenzen

Lorenzen brings up a lot of good points. It’s clear that the MLB has a problem on its hands, but what will they do to correct the issue? Is it as simple as breaking them in more than they currently are? Or does the composition of the outer layer need to be reconstructed?

Chances are, MLB is already working to rectify the problem, but how fast changes are implemented could be a different story. Either way, it’s clear that it’s players are not happy about the current quality of the baseballs being used.

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Chris Bassitt also says MLB’s baseballs are bad

MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Mets
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned, Michael Lorenzen isn’t the first to knock the MLB over its baseball quality. Back in April New York Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt had similar issues, calling MLB’s baseballs ‘bad‘, and as he said, “the MLB doesn’t give a damn about it”.

If true, if MLB really doesn’t care, they could eventually have an even larger issue on their hands. Players can’t keep getting beaned just because the ball is less controllable than in recent past. It’s a clear safety issue, and players have tried to call the league out, we’ll see what their response is, if any.

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