Ausmus talks spin rate when discussing Ray

Ausmus talks spin rate when discussing Ray

BALTIMORE -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus bristles at the stereotype that he's a sabermetrics manager, though he will take advanced metrics into consideration when he's making his moves. On Monday, however, he might well have been the first Tigers manager to mention spin rate.

Yes, Ausmus mentioned the rate at which a pitch spins, in reference to one possible reason why hitters have seemingly struggled to track Robbie Ray's fastball.

"They do this whole spin-rate thing now, where [they measure] the number of revolutions the ball takes before it planes out," Ausmus said. "He might have a high spin rate."

The higher the spin rate, the theory goes, the more the fastball will retain its trajectory and velocity without dropping much in either. It's something hitters and catchers could notice when they're playing, Ausmus said, but now it's measurable through specialized radar guns.

It's something he became familiar with while with the Padres.

"It's interesting," Ausmus said. "I don't know if you could scout a guy just based on spin rate. Some sinkerballs are lower spin-rate guys."

The low spin rate would create more sink.

"I don't know how much you could use it as a scouting tool," Ausmus said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.