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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Cards’ front office says playoff baseballs have lost juice

The St. Louis Cardinals’ front office says baseballs have suddenly lost their juice this postseason, supporting a claim from a prominent data scientist that the balls have changed following a historic, homer-friendly regular season.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Saturday that St. Louis’ analytics department has found the ball is flying 4 ½ fewer feet on average in the postseason. Players in both leagues have been stunned when hard-hit balls have fallen on the warning track this month, raising more questions about the makeup of the baseballs after hitters clubbed a record 6,776 home runs in the regular season — a rise attributed to unusually far-flying balls.

“I mean there’s probably all kind of different theories behind that that I won’t really get into,” Shildt said before a 3-1 loss to Washington in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series. “Just the fact of the matter, it could be any number of things.”

The numbers don’t leave much doubt, says data journalist Rob Arthur. He was among the first to suggest tweaks to the ball may have caused home runs to spike as early as 2015, and he thinks something is off with this year’s October model, too.

So, where were these balls during the regular season, and what do we do to have them used during it?

 

QLE Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:25 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, juiced baseballs, playoffs

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   1. The Duke Posted: October 13, 2019 at 08:07 AM (#5890054)
The comments write themselves
   2. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: October 13, 2019 at 08:58 AM (#5890061)
Whine some more. They won't luck themselves into the World Series against the Nationals.
   3. Captain Supporter Posted: October 13, 2019 at 09:30 AM (#5890062)
Hopefully, the balls are somehow back to where they were. Or maybe its just the colder weather. But in either case, I noticed a lack of popup home runs before reading about this, and it has looked a bit more like baseball the way it ought to be.
   4. DL from MN Posted: October 13, 2019 at 10:51 AM (#5890067)
cue Lizzo
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:02 PM (#5890082)
About damn time.
   6. . Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5890086)
Actually doing it right before the postseason isn't the time; in fact, making dramatic changes to the equipment right before the postseason after everyone has played the season and built their offenses and rosters around it makes the sport look utterly minor league and ridiculous.
   7. The Duke Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5890087)
Completely agree with 6. I hate the home run derby stuff but that’s what this season is so why not play it out and change the ball in spring training. I’m disappointed they stopped there. Could have brought all the Atlantic league rules into play as well.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 13, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5890096)
[6] [7]

Couldn't disagree more. Now is always the right time to fix a mistake.

They introduced the rabbit ball in the middle of the season. The ball has been massively inconsistent over the last decade. There's no argument that teams have been able to plan for any particular ball type. Any playoffs played with a real baseball are more legitimate than one played with the joke they were using this season.

Just look at the games. They've been close, well pitched, tense affairs. Much better than the home run derby we saw all year.
   9. salvomania Posted: October 13, 2019 at 02:33 PM (#5890100)
Whine some more. They won't luck themselves into the World Series against the Nationals.

Who's whining---did I miss something?
   10. Anonymous Observer Posted: October 13, 2019 at 04:41 PM (#5890113)
Who's whining---did I miss something?


No you didn't. I have seen it for years. When someone has an animosity against a team, their reading comprehension in regards to said team tends to go out the window. In this case, Mike Schildt made a simple observation. But, some nimrod takes it as whining.

If I had to guess, they're a disgruntled Braves fan.
   11. spycake Posted: October 13, 2019 at 05:28 PM (#5890124)
The numbers don’t leave much doubt, says data journalist Rob Arthur. He was among the first to suggest tweaks to the ball may have caused home runs to spike as early as 2015


Isn't 2015 when Statcast started? Maybe there has always been some volatility in air resistance numbers but we just didn't have the data to show it?

I notice this author, on Twitter, also said he found a change in the other direction for the 2018 postseason. And noted that postseason balls are produced separately (probably so they can add a different logo), and that being produced/stored separately could have an effect.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: October 14, 2019 at 09:01 PM (#5890512)
Just look at the games. They've been close, well pitched, tense affairs. Much better than the home run derby we saw all year.

I don't have time to go through them all but here's the NL postseason so far (through game 2 of Nats-Cards):

IP K BB HR RSHR tms
8.5 18 4 3 4/7 N-Br
8.5 25 10 2 2/6 N-D1
9 22 4 1 1/6 N-D2
9 21 12 4 8/14 N-D3
8.5 13 8 2 4/7 N-D4
10 25 6 5 9/10 N-D5
9 18 6 0 0/2 N-C1
9 26 3 1 1/4 N-C2
9 11 10 3 4/13 C-B1
8.5 21 1 1 2/3 C-B2
9 18 6 0 0/4 C-B3
10 21 9 4 5/9 C-B4
9 22 6 0 0/14 C-B5

118 IP (x2), 261 K, 85 BB, 26 HR, only 99 runs scored (7.6 per game) but 40 of 99 runs scored on HRs ... it's 40 of 85 if we drop the Braves meltdown game.

47 run differential in 13 games, average winning margin of 3.3 (still 35/12 if we drop the last Cards-Braves) ... 5 of 13 decided by more than 3 runs although one of those was the extra-innings Nats-Dodgers finale. There have been 6 saves in 13 games.

That is about 9 fewer HR than we'd have gotten in 13 regular season NL games. It's about 32 more Ks and about 26 fewer runs. (Basically exactly the same number of walks.)

Certainly a great postseason if you love Ks, hate runs but still like to generate runs mostly through HR.
   13. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 15, 2019 at 12:06 PM (#5890683)
In this case, Mike Schildt made a simple observation. But, some nimrod takes it as whining


Granted it is not as bad as the Houston Rockets' whining in last year's playoffs, but it's a little weird coming from the manager. Especially after the Cardinals only made four hits in the first two games.
   14. Sunday silence Posted: October 15, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5890735)

That is about 9 fewer HR than we'd have gotten in 13 regular season NL games. It's about 32 more Ks and about 26 fewer runs. (Basically exactly the same number of walks.)


OK but are you going to respond to snapper's observation that the games have been tense well played affairs? Cause i thought that is what you were responding to.

I thought you were going to get to some conclusion that the avg run differential is greater or lesser or abot the same as it was during Oafball era. Isnt that the pt. you were responding to? Else what is the pt of posting all that data?

Personally I dont see how the number of HRs KOs would impact on the closeneess of games or how well they are played. I mean why should it? you can still hit HRs and KO people out and still have good games..Isn that what the Astros world series win was all about?
   15. Sunday silence Posted: October 15, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5890746)


Isn't 2015 when Statcast started? Maybe there has always been some volatility in air resistance numbers but we just didn't have the data to show it?


I dont think that's it. There was a published study that was fairly convincing in showing that the ball was more lively starting in mid 2015. I tried to post that story but somehow didnt make it, so I sort of gave up trying to post any story here.

the pt. it seems fairly well documented that new lively ball arrived in mid 2015. So far at least on these boards ,no one seems to have challenged that notion. Doesnt prove definitively but I think the conventional wisdom has sort of accepted it.
   16. Sunday silence Posted: October 15, 2019 at 03:47 PM (#5890747)

Couldn't disagree more. Now is always the right time to fix a mistake.


Snapper: you always semm like a very principled person. Like most of your arguments start out with some basic premise that seem logical and then you go from there. How then do you justify this? how can you essentialy change the equipment for the playoffs. That seems insane and unfair.

Would this be your default position if say in the NFL they suddenly changed the texture on footballs? or ran the clock differently? this just doesnt seem like any sort of logical argument to take a stand on principles...


They introduced the rabbit ball in the middle of the season.


Right, and your pt. is....?
   17. bunyon Posted: October 15, 2019 at 03:58 PM (#5890749)
Right, and your pt. is....?

That you can't object to changing the ball before the postseason because they used a different ball in the regular season. They used a couple different kind of balls in the regular season. Once you change midseason, you can change anytime.

And they were bound to, anyway, and have changed every year. They use a different batch of balls in the postseason because they want a different logo. Dumb and venal, sure. But every year, the ball is different in the postseason.
   18. The Mighty Quintana Posted: October 15, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5890759)
Sure looked like it had a little juice left when it bounced off Ozuna's glove :)
   19. Sunday silence Posted: October 15, 2019 at 10:01 PM (#5890923)

That you can't object to changing the ball before the postseason because they used a different ball in the regular season. They used a couple different kind of balls in the regular season. Once you change midseason, you can change anytime.


CHanging it in mid season is just as wrong as changing it now. How do two wrongs make a right? I mean he's like justifying the recent change cause another change was done in mid season. What sort of principal is that?

isnt the more principled position that you dont make changes in the middle of a season? isnt that a principle worth fighting for?

I mean I guess I could see making mid season changes if something really eff'd up was happening. Like if players were getting killed or maimed by the ball or something. sure you make a change like that because safety is more important than being consistent.

But here the big objection is: "We dont like the aesthetics of Oafball.." sure I dont like Oafball either. But that's not a compelling reason to change the rules/equipment in the middle of the season. That seems like a childish reason: we dont like how it looks.

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