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Five things we’ve learned about Elias after two drafts

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5 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

I don't know that we really know the impact of the height of the mound.  There's the standard story that a high mound greatly benefits the pitcher.  Maybe that's true.  But...in 1969 the mound was lowered five inches (and presumably more than that in some cases because they really didn't enforce the old rules) and shrunk the strike zone a bit at the edges.  The K rate went from 5.89 to 5.77.  That's barely measurable, you have bigger swings year-to-year from random noise.  Although it didn't stop there.  Here's where I don't know the causal factors: In the 1970s strikeouts fell from that number near six to 5.4 in '71, to 5.01 in '74, and in a few fits and starts down to as low as 4.75 in '81.  There were no obvious rules changes in that period besides the DH, but the fall in strikeouts doesn't really seem to have any inflection point in '73.  

This is something I'd be very interested in getting to the root cause.  More-or-less from the start of the live ball era in 1920 until today strikeouts have done nothing but go up.  Not every year, but probably if you averaged every five year period over a century.  Except the 1970s.  Maybe if we understood that era a bit better we could start to solve the problems of the 2020s.

One contributing factor might be that the DH led to different pitcher use patterns.  AL teams did see a small uptick in complete games in '73, so maybe leaving starters in longer led to fewer strikeouts.  So that may be some evidence in favor of my idea of limiting teams to nine pitchers on the roster.  They'd have to pace, each pitcher would have to pitch more often, and strikeouts would have to go down.

Were there any philosophical changes or movements in management/instruction around that time (similar to the swing plane/launch angle revolution)? Was there perhaps an increased emphasis on choking up on the bat with two strikes and putting the ball in play that came more into vogue at that time? 

Any chance that MLB adding 4 new teams in 1969 via expansion impacted those trends?

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4 minutes ago, BohKnowsBmore said:

Were there any philosophical changes or movements in management/instruction around that time (similar to the swing plane/launch angle revolution)? Was there perhaps an increased emphasis on choking up on the bat with two strikes and putting the ball in play that came more into vogue at that time? 

Any chance that MLB adding 4 new teams in 1969 via expansion impacted those trends?

Philosophy: I don't know.  We were in the middle of that strange era where it seemed like half the teams in baseball had a (or several) little middle infielders who hit .241 with a .298 OBP and 33 steals and led off 150 times.  Possibly the wholesale acceptance of little guys who stole bases but didn't really hit at all had an impact.  They were probably mostly contact hitters.

Expansion: Maybe.  Although I don't usually buy that there is an imbalanced impact to expansion, only a slight, short-term overall decline in quality of play.  We used to hear that "expansion killed pitching".  I never bought into that idea, and we don't hear that so much any more now that every team has 14 guys who can throw 98 mph.

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55 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Philosophy: I don't know.  We were in the middle of that strange era where it seemed like half the teams in baseball had a (or several) little middle infielders who hit .241 with a .298 OBP and 33 steals and led off 150 times.  Possibly the wholesale acceptance of little guys who stole bases but didn't really hit at all had an impact.  They were probably mostly contact hitters.

Expansion: Maybe.  Although I don't usually buy that there is an imbalanced impact to expansion, only a slight, short-term overall decline in quality of play.  We used to hear that "expansion killed pitching".  I never bought into that idea, and we don't hear that so much any more now that every team has 14 guys who can throw 98 mph.

Maybe combine the ideas? Perhaps later I will look to see if it's possible these expansion teams embraced an offensive philosophy that reduced strikeouts. 20 -> 24 teams isn't nothing, by the way, it's an additional 20%.

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8 hours ago, DrungoHazewood said:

  So that may be some evidence in favor of my idea of limiting teams to nine pitchers on the roster.  They'd have to pace, each pitcher would have to pitch more often, and strikeouts would have to go down.

THAT is an idea I can totally get behind.

I  doubt the players will agree to a limit on pitchers, especially with a 26-man roster.

but it’s a great idea, which is probably why The Powers will ignore it.

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