Today’s MASH Report is being brought to you by Ryan Butcher and Wade Davis. The pair were given a few days off recently to get themselves back together. Butcher was sent to the minor and Davis to the DL. While both may have needed a break, one interesting note exists about them missing time, both pitchers experienced a drop in their fastball spin rate right before the decision was made
These are the first two times I have seen a major league team admit that a pitcher’s spin was used to decide on how they handle a pitcher. It has been known for a while that changes in spin rate can help detect injuries. Eno Sarris talked to FanGraphs friend, Kyle Boddy about this issue.
From that discovery flowed others. “Spin-rate changes are actually one of the best predictors of injury,” pointed out Boddy, a fact that was confirmed as a known within many parts of the baseball community by multiple sources. At Driveline, pitchers have their spin rates monitored constantly for the earliest signs of unhealthy fatigue.
The problem for the general public, we have not had good access to pitch spin data until StatCast began releasing data last year. Here is a detailed look at the two pitchers whose spin rate change cause their team to act and can we make any conclusion from them.