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Thursday, August 28, 2014

McCoy: Bryan Price sees throwback style in current state of baseball

You haven’t lived…until you live through a Sonny Ruberto Era.

Price then became philosophic about the way the game is being played these days—much less offense, fewer home runs, fewer runs scored.

“It’s interesting in that the game seems to be trending back towards what we saw in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. We no longer have these grandiose offensive numbers. When I was in Seattle for my second year (as pitching coach) we were second in the league in earned run average with a 4.50. What is there, one team in the National League that has an ERA that high (Colorado 4.95)?”

Price didn’t mention that the Steroids Era is over, although many experts believe the steroids and PEDs helped pitchers as much as the hitters.

“What’s happening is phenomenal,” he said, after somebody mentioned that Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt led the league with 37 home runs last season and 37 home runs in 2000 would have tied him for 15th.

“It will be interesting to see if the game keeps moving its way back to the sacrifice bunt, the hit-and-run, the things that kind of fallen by the wayside. You can no longer count on copious numbers of runs to be scored. You can no longer say, ‘Just hold on guys, we’ll have a four or five-run inning somewhere along he way and put this game away. It is something to see.”

But the strikeouts continue to pile up. It is no longer like 1941 when Joe DiMaggio put together his 56-game hitting streak and only struck out 13 times in 622 plate appearances. And that same year Ted Williams hit .406 and struck out 27 times in 606 plate appearances.

“The strikeout has become an acceptable part of the game, even with players who are not home run hitters,” said Price. “That’s the part to me that is really dangerous these days, all the empty at-bats.

When told of what DiMaggio and Williams did, Price shook his head and said, “That’s unbelievable, really unbelievable. It really is. It’s phenomenal.”

Repoz Posted: August 28, 2014 at 04:40 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, reds

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   1. SoCalDemon Posted: August 28, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4781108)
There are a lot more strikeouts than ever before. However, Ted Williams was not representative of anything. Barry Bonds had 41 SO and 45 HR in 2004. Pujols had 50 SO and 49 HR in 2006. All three were just incredibly good at baseball, and tell you about as much about how baseball was played in respective eras as Jim Brown tells you about football in 1960 or Magic Johnson tells you about what a point guard is.
   2. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 28, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4781158)
I wonder how much that declining steroid use has to do with this.
   3. silhouetted by the sea Posted: August 28, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4781176)
For years home run numbers exploded and everyone was wondered how they could be so off the charts of normal history. Then everyone decided it must be the steriods and it was a horrible thing and the ruination of baseball.
There used to be maybe 10 pitchers in each league who could throw 95. Now every team has 5 guys who can throw 95 and the people who were horrified and felt betrayed by steriods barely question what has changed.
   4. OCF Posted: August 28, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4781177)
Declining amphetamine use might make more difference, to things like batter alertness level and reaction time.
   5. Banta Posted: August 28, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4781231)
Doesn't it stand to reason that over time, pitchers will inevitably get to be better than hitters? With pitching, its the same drill every day at every level. You need to hit your spots. With batting, there are is a level of play that you simply can't prepare for until you are in the majors.

Pitchers can throw in the minors, or on their own, and its all up to them. Its them versus the strike zone and learning how to control and harnass their skills. You can practice the same, regardless of whoever is batting against you (or no one batting against you). As you move up levels, you're going to have less success, as batters are more competent, but structurally, you're still just replicating the same process. As a batter, your practice sample and your ability to improve your skill is dependent on the quality of pitcher you face. How does a 14 year old ever have a chance to learn to hit a 95 MPH fastball, 90 MPH sliders, and other off speed pitches with crazy movement when they can never consistently hope to practice against that?

We only see more homeruns now than in the past because ballparks are smaller, players are stronger, the ball is livelier, etc, etc. Given enough time, I would imagine that pitchers would dominate as pitching is almost an individual activity. Since the most dominant thing that a pitcher can do is strike someone out, I wouldn't be surprised if the natural evolution of baseball is a K/9 rate that steadily increases over time.
   6. Banta Posted: August 28, 2014 at 08:27 PM (#4781233)
This wasn't a double post, I swear.
   7. Banta Posted: August 28, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4781241)
To put another way, it would seem that projecting a pitcher with ML quality "stuff" is more exact than projecting a hitter who can successfully hit that major league quality "stuff." We'd see pitchers likely dominate even more, if not for the inherent fragility of the position.

Why does the edit only work intermittently?
   8. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 28, 2014 at 11:42 PM (#4781321)
For years home run numbers exploded and everyone was wondered how they could be so off the charts of normal history. Then everyone decided it must be the steriods and it was a horrible thing and the ruination of baseball.
There used to be maybe 10 pitchers in each league who could throw 95. Now every team has 5 guys who can throw 95 and the people who were horrified and felt betrayed by steriods barely question what has changed.


It's so obvious I can't believe no one here has mentioned it yet...

Only the pitchers are doing steroids now!

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