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TonySoprano

Are Baseballs "Juiced" This Season?

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Many of us are thinking about ways to go back to historically non-obscene levels of homers. But what if MLB is asking themselves how to duplicate AAA baseball in the majors?  What if we see a 58% increase in homers in the majors next year?  Is it really that far-fetched?  Could a team hit/allow 400 or even 500 homers next year?  

Maybe baseball doesn't care about historical norms and strategies, but about what might excite the coming generations of fans who never have seen a season where 36 homers leads the league.  Long periods without any balls in play just might provide the opportunities for more advertising and revenues.

Reggie Jackson led the AL in slugging at .502 in his only season as an Oriole in 1976. I would prefer that version of baseball over MLB trying to turn every game into home run derby. Worst part is I don’t doubt MLB is thinking of ways to further increase the number of home runs. A Yankees team hitting 350 home runs in 2020 doesn’t seem that far fetched.

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9 minutes ago, OsFanSinceThe80s said:

Reggie Jackson led the AL in slugging at .502 in his only season as an Oriole in 1976. I would prefer that version of baseball over MLB trying to turn every game into home run derby. Worst part is I don’t doubt MLB is thinking of ways to further increase the number of home runs. A Yankees team hitting 350 home runs in 2020 doesn’t seem that far fetched.

MLB thinks the long ball will save the game, theyve felt that way for quite a while

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On 9/1/2019 at 2:07 PM, El Gordo said:

Great: article: “If they had given me just three of these baseballs back in January,” Dr. Meredith Wills is saying, “I could have told them in five minutes that home runs would go up and that pitchers would have problems. It’s that obvious.” “Well, first off you have to understand something,” Dr. Wills is saying. “Until the home run committee last year, there was no such thing as aerodynamic testing for baseballs. Now you tell me: How in the heck are you going to make a baseball with no aerodynamic testing?”https://joeposnanski.substack.com/p/juiced-baseballs-a-history

Yes. I liked that article too. Very long, but good history. What I don't get is why people misunderstand the ignorance about manufacturing baseballs. See this:

Quote

 

“Do you really think,” I ask, “that this could just happens? I mean, golf spends impossible sums of money every year to make the ball more aerodynamic? Do you think it’s possible that baseball could have made a more aerodynamic baseball by accident?”

She pauses to think about this one.

“It’s a great question,” she says. “But I think when it comes to the baseballs, they’ve just been throwing things against the wall to see what sticks.”

 

 

There's a very simple difference. There are essentially a few manufacturers and a couple of powerful buyers of baseballs. Golf has much more market competition. It has driven the science of golf balls. I don't really think MLB is very expert about baseball science relative to what has happened in golf. The comparison itself is pretty interesting. Like baseball, golf really has changed a lot because of the distance added to balls. They've embraced the changes and cut their grass different (e.g., longer holes) to account for it. Baseball doesn't react to better baseball manufacturing science by changing the dimensions of ballparks. They really cannot, so some kind of standards around exit velocity, drag, seam height, etc., that attempt to control distance and allow pitchers to spin the ball probably is what needs to happen. The same goes for bats, which I think may be in place already. 

 

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One of my frustrations about the current all-or-nothing, home run heavy, strikeout circus state of the game, is the way it's perceived by little ball players.  As a little league coach, my boys (10 yr olds going on 11) are all enamored with hitting home runs, and striking out everyone when pitching, because that's the game they see and hear.  The inverse lesson they are learning is that if they are not hitting home runs or striking out batters, they are somehow inferior players.  And the reality is that, at this age and most certainly at later ages, many of these kids won't have the power to hit lots of home runs or strike out lots of hitters.  At the MLB level, the game has so heavily de-emphasized the subtler skills of bat control, speed and defense that many kids get frustrated and quit the game.  My own son, who went 2-3 last weekend with two singles (and who, like his dad, is not a prodigious physical specimen - my frame is much more akin to Harry Dean Stanton than Giancarlo Stanton!), was long-faced in the car, bemoaning his lack of power.  The kid is hitting .450!  And he's bummed.

When I was in little league, though, and through HS into college, a had a good eye, was a solid gap-to-gap hitter who might get into an inside fastball once or twice a season, and if the porch was short, might be rewarded with an HR.  But my bat control and defense allowed me to be an important and contributing member to a lot of pretty good baseball teams.  I was able to ENJOY playing the game for a long time primarily because I had a couple of skills that were valued and important to every team I played on.  And without being too hyperbolic, I just don't see that too much anymore.  Every kid is stepping to the plate and trying to hit it out of the park.  Lost is the art of hitting behind a runner, shortening up at the plate with two strikes, or working the count in your favor...  or heaven forbid, just putting the ball in play and running hard out of the box. The list goes on and on.  A kid makes an error on an easy two-hop ground ball and he shrugs it off. But if he grounds out on a two-hopper, he's coming back to the dugout with tears coming down his face... 

I certainly understand how analytics has changed the game, and that numbers don't lie.  I am now just beginning to teach launch angle and keeping the bat barrel in zone for as long as possible with good mechanics, primarily because the state of the game demands it (as well as a few parents!).  But analytics are lost on the younger kids, who are just starting their baseball journeys, and who, from my perspective, feel as if they have to excel in one or two aspects of the game, or they are simply not playing it well enough to keep doing it.  And that's a shame in my book.  Baseball needs to, once again, spread its joy and rewards more democratically among a wider set of skills and diverse talents.

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Flyball % has remained about the same, but more of them are going for HRs.

Season    BABIP    FB%    HR/FB
2014    0.299    34.4%    9.5%
2015    0.299    33.8%    11.4%
2016    0.300    34.6%    12.8%
2017    0.300    35.5%    13.7%
2018    0.296    35.4%    12.7%
2019    0.299    35.7%    15.4%

 

source - fangraphs - https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=2&season=2019&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2014-01-01&enddate=2019-12-31

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5 minutes ago, TonySoprano said:

Flyball % has remained about the same, but more of them are going for HRs.

Season    BABIP    FB%    HR/FB
2014    0.299    34.4%    9.5%
2015    0.299    33.8%    11.4%
2016    0.300    34.6%    12.8%
2017    0.300    35.5%    13.7%
2018    0.296    35.4%    12.7%
2019    0.299    35.7%    15.4%

 

source - fangraphs - https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=2&season=2019&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2014-01-01&enddate=2019-12-31

So if the seams was smaller on the ball, and less drag, then in theory the same hit in the air fly, could carry up and over the wall for a HR?

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3 hours ago, jjnono said:

The inverse lesson they are learning is that if they are not hitting home runs or striking out batters, they are somehow inferior players.

 

They are.

 

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You're welcome.  When your calling card in life is the pride you take in being the smuggest, most self-conceited member of a discussion board dedicated to the second worst team in baseball, you're entitled to your accolades.

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6 minutes ago, jjnono said:

You're welcome.  When your calling card in life is the pride you take in being the smuggest, most self-conceited member of a discussion board dedicated to the second worst team in baseball, you're entitled to your accolades.

Naw, this is just what I do in my down time.

 

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46 minutes ago, jjnono said:

You're a national treasure.  May you be buried deep.

 

37 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

Ahh, thanks. 

From the oldies but goldies file.  

 

nvKF21U.jpg

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20 minutes ago, jjnono said:

You're welcome.  When your calling card in life is the pride you take in being the smuggest, most self-conceited member of a discussion board dedicated to the second worst team in baseball, you're entitled to your accolades.

At least, unlike the kids you teach, I'm actually the best at something.

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2 hours ago, jjnono said:

You're welcome.  When your calling card in life is the pride you take in being the smuggest, most self-conceited member of a discussion board dedicated to the second worst team in baseball, you're entitled to your accolades.

He is just a troll. He doesn’t go to the games.  Put him on ignore.

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