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TonySoprano

Are Baseballs "Juiced" This Season?

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7 hours ago, SurhoffRules said:

One last entry because I was pretty sure I screwed something up in my numbers and it was bothering me. Now I'm pretty confident you have indeed found the winner of this competition (looking at MLB seasons).

The 1884 Chicago colts are even worse if you compared them against the MLB HR/G figure of .22 (NL only was .35). A whopping 329% of the league average. 

If we restricted the criteria to only seasons where the league averaged more than .6 HR/G I come up with the '82 Twins. They yielded 1.28 HR/G to the league's .80 HR/G. Our 2019 Orioles rank 4th in that list behind the '64 Kansas City and the '47 Pittsburgh Pirates.

On the other end of the spectrum is the 1902 Pirates, who surrendered 2 HRs to the league average of 22. Finally, if we raise the criteria to only seasons with a lgHR/G greater than .9, we find the 2011 Giants, who gave up 96 HRs to the leagues 152. The staff gave up 37% less than the average that year.

Excellent.

I think this is a category where you have to break it into eras.  Prior to Ruth and the 1920s park effects were the single biggest factor.  Park effects and randomness.  There were a lot of years where homers were less frequent than triples are today, and they were clustered in a handful of weird, old parks that had either very short or very long fence distances.  I've done a little bit of research into inside-the-park homers, and prior to 1920 there were players and parks where 30, 40, 50% or more of the homers stayed inside the fences.  Jesse Burkett hit 75 career homers: 55 ISTP, 3 bounced over the fence, and 17 cleared the wall.

When you have that kind of environment you compare apples-to-apples with today.

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The final total for May was 1,135

Quote

All previous home run history is irrelevant

Wait. Did somebody just say something about “the way the ball is flying?” Good segue! I know it feels like I write about this every month, but is there ever a day that goes by when somebody doesn’t make home run history anymore? For instance …

At this pace, there will be 6,516 home runs hit this season. That would be nearly 1,000 more than last year, nearly 2,500 more than five years ago and, needless to say, the most in the history of this sport.

Before this season, exactly two teams in history had hit 90 homers in their first 50 games of any season. Then three teams did it (Twins, Astros, Mariners) this year alone.

Ten different teams are on pace to break their all-time franchise record for home runs in a season – and, with the summer heat kicking in, five more are so close that we could easily see half the clubs in baseball set team home run records in one year.

I hate to keep pounding on this drum, too, but I don’t know anybody who doesn’t think there’s an explanation that doesn’t include the, um, juiciness of the baseball. The rate of fly balls has ticked upward by just 5 percent over the past five years. But the percent of fly balls that now sail over fences, billboards, concession stands and nearby mountain ranges is up by 55 percent over the past five years. Oh, and down in the Pacific Coast League, which switched to the major-league baseball this year, home runs are up a mind-boggling 49 percent since last year.

“You can say it’s the players or the ballparks or launch angle, and it’s all of those things,” one of the execs quoted earlier said. “But all of those explanations go away when you look at the numbers in the PCL.”

“What’s going on in Triple A this year,” another exec said, “it’s utter insanity.”

 

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“What’s going on in Triple A this year,” another exec said, “it’s utter insanity.”

The Nofolk Tides, playing half their games in Harbor Park are averaging over a homer a game.  Their team OPS is .781.  They're a 22-30 team. Last year with the old balls they had a .701 OPS and were a .500 team.

2016 homers: 94
2017: 125
2018: 103

This year they're on pace for over 150, with a bad team and still playing in the stadium that people here have suggested the O's change affiliates because it's such a pitcher's park it supposedly distorts prospect development.

In the PCL the average team in on pace for 200 homers.  In a 140-game schedule.

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3 hours ago, DrungoHazewood said:

The Nofolk Tides, playing half their games in Harbor Park are averaging over a homer a game.  Their team OPS is .781.  They're a 22-30 team. Last year with the old balls they had a .701 OPS and were a .500 team.

2016 homers: 94
2017: 125
2018: 103

This year they're on pace for over 150, with a bad team and still playing in the stadium that people here have suggested the O's change affiliates because it's such a pitcher's park it supposedly distorts prospect development.

In the PCL the average team in on pace for 200 homers.  In a 140-game schedule.

Agree with all this, but they are not a bad hitting team by IL standards this year.    Their pitching bites.   

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I was at the Memorial Day game when "scrappy" Jonathan Villar hit a 455-foot HR to center field. That is just nine feet off the record for longest HR in the 27-year history of OPACY, and it was met with some polite applause and shrugs. It certainly didn't sound like an all-time moonshot off the bat. Obviously that's just an anecdote, not data, but still, something is going on.

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7 minutes ago, Moshagge3 said:

I was at the Memorial Day game when "scrappy" Jonathan Villar hit a 455-foot HR to center field. That is just nine feet off the record for longest HR in the 27-year history of OPACY, and it was met with some polite applause and shrugs. It certainly didn't sound like an all-time moonshot off the bat. Obviously that's just an anecdote, not data, but still, something is going on.

I think Keon Broxton’s first HR with us (first AB maybe) was the second longest in Oriole history behind Frank’s memorial stadium shot. I think that was in Petco maybe.

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Maybe someone in charge of MLB thinks lots of home runs will help with the dwindling attendance.😎

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56 minutes ago, Frobby said:

Agree with all this, but they are not a bad hitting team by IL standards this year.    Their pitching bites.   

Okay, sure.  This year they're slugging .440. 

2018, .381
2017, .401 
2016, .370 
2015, .353
2014, .375
2013, .396
2012, .381
2011, .376
2010, .385
2009, .389
2008, .376
2007, .380
2006, .346
2005, .418
2004, .400
2003, .382
2002, .397
2001, .386
2000, .386
1999, .426
1998, .402
1997, .410
1996, .411
1995, .383
1994, .360
1993, .365

It's just getting hot, and the Tides already have a slugging percentage .014 points higher than at any point since Harbor Park opened.  And .039 points higher than any year since becoming an Orioles' affiliate.

The International League as a whole as seen its slugging percentage go up 55 points this year.  The last time slugging went up that much in the majors was the 19th century, when they were still changing basic playing rules.

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

It's just getting hot, and the Tides already have a slugging percentage .014 points higher than at any point since Harbor Park opened.  And .039 points higher than any year since becoming an Orioles' affiliate.

Taken their total (Home/Away) and have them NO HIT for two games drops their Slugging .013 points.  Need to ask if its sustainable for a whole year when opponents pitchers get changed.

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I don't know about juiced balls. But it does seem like the powers that be have conspired unwittingly to make baseball just about the polar opposite of the game I grew up watching.

I really hate long games, pitchers that can't throw strikes half the time, and hitters that don't make much contact. If a league came along that went to two strikes, three balls and foul off more than four pitches and you're out. I think I'd be there in a second and wouldn't look back. (End vent)

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8 minutes ago, OsEatAlEast said:

I don't know about juiced balls. But it does seem like the powers that be have conspired unwittingly to make baseball just about the polar opposite of the game I grew up watching.

I really hate long games, pitchers that can't throw strikes half the time, and hitters that don't make much contact. If a league came along that went to two strikes, three balls and foul off more than four pitches and you're out. I think I'd be there in a second and wouldn't look back. (End vent)

I don't think this has gotten worse.  I think that overall command and control is at a pretty high level compared to when I was growing up.

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2 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

I don't think this has gotten worse.  I think that overall command and control is at a pretty high level compared to when I was growing up.

Admittedly my judgement is skewed because I only watch Oriole games.

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Pitchers are throwing harder than ever and hitters are swinging for the fences. When the latter make good contact (getting more and more rare) it's going to have a very good chance of getting out. Look at the ratio of HR/K and it will tell the story, no need to blame the baseballs.

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Just now, Uli2001 said:

Pitchers are throwing harder than ever and hitters are swinging for the fences. When the latter make good contact (getting more and more rare) it's going to have a very good chance of getting out. Look at the ratio of HR/K and it will tell the story, no need to blame the baseballs.

Except the part were the situation is being exacerbated by MLB messing with the balls. 

Looks at what is happening in AAA. 

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