Former All-Star Pitcher: Justin Verlander Is Right

Four-time World Series champion Jeff Nelson believes balls are juiced and that offensive numbers are artificially inflated

Zach Gelb
July 10, 2019 - 10:28 am
Justin Verlander

USA Today Images


Justin Verlander has his story, and he’s sticking to it. The former MVP and Cy Young winner says that Major League Baseball is “100 percent” using juiced balls to increase offense.

Verlander has allowed a major league-high 26 home runs this season. Overall, MLB hitters are on pace to hit 6,668 home runs, which would annihilate the record 6,105 hit in 2017.

Is Verlander on to something here?

“Yeah, I’m going to go with Justin Verlander because something is going on, especially when the Triple-A leagues are (experiencing) it as well,” former All-Star pitcher and four-time World Series champion Jeff Nelson told Zach Gelb, who was filling in as host of Reiter Than You. “I think they were (on pace for) three or four times the amount of home runs that they had hit last year, and this was maybe in May or June. So something is going on.”

If the ball is juiced, Verlander would at least like Major League Baseball to acknowledge it.

“I know the commissioner wants offense,” Nelson said. “With the shifts and analytics, they want more excitement in the game. But speaking as a former pitcher, I think the numbers are inflated. I agree with Verlander. Something is going on, whether it’s wound tighter – they’re doing something to the baseball, Rawlings is. Guys that are hitting 20, 25 home runs – a couple years ago were maybe hitting five or six. So it is a little bit strange.”

Click below to listen to Nelson’s interview in its entirety.