Sticky Stuff Roundup: Strikeouts Down in 2021

It was the controversy that consumed the sport for a couple of months this season, and now that the regular season is over, the overall effects of the crackdown on pitchers using illegal substances can be tallied. And it apparently did have an impact. The nearly 15-year trend of strikeout records has finally been halted.

According to baseball insider Bob Nightengale, strikeouts per game decreased for the first time in eight years. And after 13 consecutive seasons of a new strikeout rate record being set every year (since 2007), that mind-boggling run finally ended. 

And there's more: Per Bleacher Report, offensive numbers rose after the sticky stuff crackdown went into effect on June 21st. Before that date, hitters were slashing .239/.313/.400 with 23.9K%; After: .248/.320/.419 with 22.6 K%.

The article also pointed out that there were six true no-hitters (as in: one pitcher, complete game) by May 19th. There was only one of those after that day (though six other "combined" no-nos, featuring a number of different pitchers to get the job done).

The sticky stuff spot checks provided some entertainment at first (see: Max Scherzer, Sergio Romo), and two pitchers did get tossed and suspended. But the most important aspect is that spin rates—and therefore strikeout rates—were brought back down to earth, at least just a bit. 

Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports