Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dave Stieb believes that the current crop of players have taken baseball onto a whole new level.
Stieb was widely viewed as one of the best pitchers around during the 1980s and early 1990s, helping the Blue Jays climb up the ranks in MLB.
However, in a recent interview with Betway Insider, Stieb was full of praise for how the modern generation of players have moved things forward.
“Look at (Max) Scherzer, (Gerrit) Cole, (Jacob) deGrom, (Shane) Bieber, (Walker) Buehler,” he said. “These guys – just wow.
“Without overstating it, they’re devastating. I’d love to say I threw like them when I was playing, but these guys just seem way better than me.”
Stieb probably does himself a disservice by underplaying his talent, particularly when considering his ability to throw different types of pitches.
His fastball and slider were fearsome weapons for the Blue Jays, contributing massively to their transition from also-rans to World Series winners.
One area where people believe pitching has changed is speed, with many of the current crop of players regularly throwing 100 mph fastballs.
Stieb believes that advancements in technology have played a part in this, and insisted that his own fastball was on a par with the modern era of pitchers.
“The thing is, the radar guns when I pitched weren’t as accurate as they are now,” he added. “That’s why everyone is throwing 99, 100.
“In my day I was throwing 92 to 95, 96, so I have to believe that if I used one of these guns back then I would have been clocked at 100.
“It just makes it more sensationalised now with these guys throwing 101, 102. It makes them seem like Superman.”
Speed is not the only element that has changed in baseball in recent years, with many pitchers now achieving much greater levels of spin than their predecessors.
This has caused plenty of controversy, as some players have used illegal sticky substances to significantly boost their spin rate.
MLB bosses have recently moved to eradicate this from the sport, instructing umpires to conduct in-game checks and banning pitchers who break the rules.
While Stieb is pleased to see action being taken, he is eager to see stronger sanctions issued to players who cheat.
“It makes sense to me to ban this stuff, because these are foreign substances,” he said. “I do think they need to be checking pitchers when they come into the game, though.
“If I’m a batter and I strike out on a nasty pitch, but he gets busted for sticky stuff, I don’t get my pitch back. I struck out, but he cheated.
“They should be checking pitchers when they come in the game, not after. Because that’s beside the point. That’s after the fact.
“It’s sad that they have to even do that. You’ve got to have integrity in this game, you’ve got to have respect. You can’t try to find a way to cheat and succeed.
“If you’re the kind of guy that will cheat to succeed, you don’t belong in baseball.”