DW Garcia


Dakota W. Garcia. Montreat College, Lakeland, FL.

BACKGROUND: The use of foreign substances while pitching is one of the largest instances of cheating in major league baseball since the use of steroids in 2004. Baseball players face factors that affect grip strength such as weather, sweat, deformation of laces, and slickness of the leather. Spider tack enhances the feel of the ball to give a more consistent grip and allow pitchers to have more control despite the aforementioned factors. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the use of spider tack increases spin rate and ball drop while decreasing pitching velocity. METHODS: Three right-handed pitchers (ages 18-21 years) were recruited for this study. Spin rate, velocity, and break angle of each pitch were measured with a rapsodo machine. Each pitcher threw 15 pitches using spider tack and 15 pitches without any foreign substance. Data were collected in one pitching session with a break between conditions to ensure fatigue was not a factor. RESULTS: There was an increase in spin rate and ball movement, but little to no effect on pitch velocity. When spider tack was applied, the fastball increased from 30-100 RPM (Rotations Per Minute) at a consistent rate while the maximum RPM increased from an average of 79-200. Within their Pitches other than a fastball (off-speed pitches) all three pitchers had an increase (RPM) from 20-100 at a consistent rate and max (RPM) increased from an average of 70-150. CONCLUSION: The use of foreign substances can have little to no effect on velocity due to the amount of friction caused between the pitcher’s fingers and the leather of the baseball. However, we did see a significant increase in off-speed pitches in both vertical drop and RPM, suggesting that spider tack can provide an effective means for control when pitching.

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