MLB To Test Out New "Enhanced-Grip" Baseballs

The MLB is continuing to explore potential solutions for enhancing pitcher grip without resorting to performance-enhancing "sticky stuff".

One solution being tested is a new version of a pre-tacked ball in the Double-A Southern League.

This follows a similar test that was canceled last year after the ball being tested was deemed unsuitable. Changes have been made based on player feedback, and the league hopes that this year's prototype will provide a better solution.

However, it remains uncertain whether a pre-tacked ball will be deemed suitable for use in the majors, as the league may decide that the traditional process of "muddying" the baseball is still better than any synthetic alternative.

Rawlings, which is owned by MLB and makes all the baseballs used in the league, produces balls that are too slick and shiny for game use. The traditional solution has been to have clubhouse attendants rub special mud onto each baseball.

However, in recent years, MLB has looked for a more standardized solution due to factors such as the use of illegal substances that give pitchers an added advantage over hitters and inconsistencies in the current baseballs.

While the league has experimented with pre-tacked baseballs and tested different post-manufacturing grips, it remains to be seen whether the enhanced-grip baseball being tested in the Double-A Southern League will be the solution that MLB is looking for. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports