Major League Baseball issued a statement Thursday denying the baseballs being used in the 2019 playoffs are different than those used in regular-season play.
The statement comes amid concerns MLB changed its baseballs for the playoffs following a regular season that saw record power surges across the majors. Earlier Thursday, Baseball Prospectus' Robert Arthur and Fangraphs' Jay Jaffe both published articles examining a general decrease in power during the postseason and questioning whether the league is indeed using different balls in October.
"The baseballs used in Major League Baseball are manufactured in batches," read the statement obtained by Forbes' Maury Brown. "Balls that are used in the postseason are pulled from the same batches as balls used in the regular season. Regular-season and postseason balls are manufactured with the same material and under the same process. The only difference is the postseason stamp that is placed on the ball.
"As has been previously acknowledged, however, the drag of the baseball can vary over different time periods."
Possible changes to the baseball have been a hot topic throughout a 2019 season that featured a record number of home runs.
Twenty-four of MLB's 30 teams hit 200 homers this season, with the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins both belting 300 - a first in MLB history. Twenty-five teams allowed at least 200 homers, with the Baltimore Orioles giving up a record 305 big flies.
Through 19 playoff games, though, there have been 49 homers hit, and some series - most notably the St. Louis Cardinals-Atlanta Braves NLDS - have featured several low-scoring, pitching-dominated contests.
During the regular season, some observers - including Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander - openly questioned whether MLB had intentionally "juiced" or altered the baseballs to increase power. Commissioner Rob Manfred has repeatedly denied the implementation of such changes, though he recently acknowledged the league would explore solutions to correct the offensive surge.
"We have reconvened the group of scientists that worked with us before (on the initial study)," Manfred said in September. "We've asked them to take a fresh look at everything that is occurring with the baseball. We expect to get this new report shortly after the World Series."