With the rates of home runs and offensive production increasing in the MLB year-by-year, Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander recently opened up to ESPN’s Jeff Passan about why he believes this is happening. In no uncertain terms, he pointed at the league’s practices in regards to their baseballs as the catalyst behind the surge.
“It’s a f—ing joke,” said Verlander. “Major League Baseball’s turning this game into a joke. They own Rawlings, and you’ve got Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the f—ing company. If any other $40 billion company bought out a $400 million company and the product changed dramatically, it’s not a guess as to what happened. We all know what happened. Manfred the first time he came in, what’d he say? He said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It’s not coincidence. We’re not idiots.”
Verlander had strong words towards MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, claiming that once Manfred wanted more runs, league-wide offensive production rose rapidly. Coincidence? Verlander believes not.
When asked specifically if he believes baseballs are being juiced, Verlander was quick to voice his confident opinion.
“Yes. 100 percent. They’ve been using juiced balls in the Home Run Derby forever. They know how to do it. It’s not coincidence. I find it really hard to believe that Major League Baseball owns Rawlings and just coincidentally the balls become juiced.”
Whether the balls are juiced or not, the timing between Manfred wanting more offensive production and the rapid increase in home runs throughout the league is quite interesting, to say the least.
Until the MLB comes out and admits to juicing balls or a conducted study proves it, let the speculation continue. Since neither is likely to happen anytime soon, speculate away, everyone.