Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

This is baseball’s home run breaking point | New York Post

Breaking point?

And this?

And, let’s not be naïve, chemists somewhere have cooked up strengthening concoctions that currently evade MLB’s testing for illegal performance enhancers.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 20, 2017 at 03:42 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: home runs

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. devo Posted: September 20, 2017 at 04:21 PM (#5535317)
I don't read the Post and yet somehow I get near-daily reminders of how tremendously stupid it is.
   2. Hotel Coral Esix Snead (tmutchell) Posted: September 20, 2017 at 04:33 PM (#5535329)
In a bit of irony fit for this season, Kansas City’s Alex Gordon hit the record shot at a time when he had the worst slugging percentage in the majors among qualifiers. It was a reminder that in 2017, everyone hits the ball over the fence.


As though Scooter Gennett hitting 4 bombs in a game were not though irony to that end.

Has all the one plus one plus one that has led to 5,707 and counting actually been good for the game?

The sport is still doing exceedingly well.


So..."yes" then?
   3. Bote Man Posted: September 20, 2017 at 04:52 PM (#5535345)
The author regrets that he has but two hands to wring over this intractable, destructive problem.
   4. Captain Supporter Posted: September 20, 2017 at 05:13 PM (#5535362)
I'm am aware that the majority of the posters here seem to find the notion of taking illegal substances to approve performance to be a boon to the game, and that they seem to somehow dismiss the idea that cheating by some is tremendously detrimental to the clean players (even if the clean players have lately started to have the temerity to complain about the cheaters). Nonetheless, the notion that this balanced, well written article is somehow "tremendously stupid", or the notion chemists are in fact developing concoctions to allow cheating is worthy of ridicule, both strike me as laughable.

Games can become unbalanced for a variety of reasons, and baseball has a long history of tinkering with the rules (and penalties) when this happens. As Sherman's article indicates, there may well be reason for doing that again.
   5. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: September 20, 2017 at 05:22 PM (#5535368)
I'm am aware that the majority of the posters here seem to find the notion of taking illegal substances to approve performance to be a boon to the game, and that they seem to somehow dismiss the idea that cheating by some is tremendously detrimental to the clean players (even if the clean players have lately started to have the temerity to complain about the cheaters). Nonetheless, the notion that this balanced, well written article is somehow "tremendously stupid", or the notion chemists are in fact developing concoctions to allow cheating is worthy of ridicule, both strike me as laughable.
No, what's laughable is thinking that players won't do exactly as much as they think they can get away with.

If a player thinks (a) something will help them, and (b) can't/won't be caught/get them in trouble, then he'll do it. Whether it's the "neighborhood play" at 2B, marking the ball, catcher framing, taking some substance, whatever - if he thinks the reward >= the risk, he'll do it.
   6. cmd600 Posted: September 20, 2017 at 05:27 PM (#5535373)
the notion chemists are in fact developing concoctions to allow cheating


What exactly is cheating beyond using substances explicitly banned? If a chemist comes up with a non-harmful process that increases protein synthesis, and isn't banned, should players still not be allowed to take it? The thing that is "tremendously stupid" is the woefully naivety that someone like Sherman has toward PEDs. Steroids that help you blow up your muscles are PEDs, but so are any number of substances that help you grow muscle, like creatine, or allow you to recover quicker or reduce pain, like caffeine and tylenol. It's a matter of what amount or kind of performance enhancement drugs we want to allow. All we do is get worked up into a tizzy when home run records fall, but we have no real consistent policy as to what is too much of an advantage.
   7. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: September 20, 2017 at 05:42 PM (#5535380)
I can think of few thing the aesthetics of the sport needed in 2016-17 more than homeruns rising to supra-Roid Era levels.

Sensation!

It's almost as if baseball is intentionally trying to ruin its product.
   8. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 20, 2017 at 06:13 PM (#5535396)
And, let’s not be naïve, chemists somewhere have cooked up strengthening concoctions that currently evade MLB’s testing for illegal performance enhancers.


Those damn juiced up balls sure are hard to capture with the testing they have these days!
   9. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 20, 2017 at 06:18 PM (#5535397)
I can think of few thing the aesthetics of the sport needed in 2016-17 more than homeruns rising to supra-Roid Era levels.

Sensation!

It's almost as if baseball is intentionally trying to ruin its product.


People love HRs. They just don't like anyone breaking the record of the venerated Saint Roger Maris. So as long as Stanton hits no more than 60 this year, it's all good.
   10. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:01 PM (#5535409)
I don't think undetectable steroids have caused the uptick in homers. If this were the case then you would have more players with tremendous single season home run totals, a' la the "steroid era". What has happened is that many more players have home runs totals in the twenties or thirties, which points to 1) a difference in batting approach (all or none swings as evidenced by all time high strike out totals) and a juiced ball.

Also, I think the most important point about steroid use in any sport often goes unmentioned- if you allow it, then it puts pressure on everyone to do it. Anabolic steroid use is not safe. No one should should feel pressured to use them in any work environment.
   11. Sunday silence Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:14 PM (#5535416)
I did send an article to the news desk about a study (fangraphs?) on the new balls and whether they are juiced. (yes they are a bit) but alas it didnt make it to the site...


I didnt think of the new HR explosion as a PED issue, but it did make me think that's theres too many. A few days ago the radio guy mentioned that BAL has allowed 49% of its runs allowed on HRs. It just seems way too many, that half of the runs in this league are coming on HRs. I just feels that way.

So its an issue that does seem timely to me, although not as a PED thing
   12. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:28 PM (#5535421)
I didnt think of the new HR explosion as a PED issue, but it did make me think that's theres too many.

Could it be an outgrowth of Statcast Powered By AWS™ providing hitters with quantitative data on how far their swing is from the ideal for exit velocity/launch angle combinations leading to more long flies, allowing them to optimize their pitch selection and swing parameters for more HR?
   13. Sunday silence Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:41 PM (#5535424)
the article I read concludes that the ball is tighter and they went through I think three or four parameters. I submitted it, it didnt make it, and I am too lazy to go find it again.
   14. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: September 20, 2017 at 07:41 PM (#5535425)
Could it be an outgrowth of Statcast Powered By AWS™ providing hitters with quantitative data on how far their swing is from the ideal for exit velocity/launch angle combinations leading to more long flies, allowing them to optimize their pitch selection and swing parameters for more HR?


I'm sure this is a big part of it. It's just another example of Big Data aiding and abetting hacking of the game, with deleterious aesthetic effects.

The game now is an aesthetic nightmare. It was never intended to be Three True Outcome Home Run Derby. Significant reforms are needed.

   15. Walt Davis Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:06 PM (#5535487)
Also, I think the most important point about steroid use in any sport often goes unmentioned- if you allow it, then it puts pressure on everyone to do it.

You think this goes unmentioned? It's the number one or number two argument in any anti-PED piece. It's in Captain Supporter's first sentence.

Anyway, the shift occurred in the middle of the 2015 season and it was leaguewide. That's a very odd thing to happen if it was driven by PEDs or Statcast. That jump almost had to be the baseball (it's hard to think of anything else that could have a mid-season, leaguewide, nearly instantaneous effect).

The further increase might be influenced by Statcast. That it is also leaguewide and seems to be affecting nearly every batter means it either has little to do with new (or old) PEDs or nearly everybody is using PEDs.

Almost certainly what we have seen is a general, progressive change in batter strategy ... which we'd likely have seen whether the ball got juiced or not. This seems especially true among younger players so the changing composition probably also explains some of it. In 1993 then even moreso 1994, we saw a jump in Ks but also a bigger jump in on-contact production, leading to a big jump in scoring. Eventually by whatever mix of pitcher strategy/training, baseballs, humidors, drug testing, we saw jumps in Ks while the on-contact production remained stable. That peaked in 2014 when finally there was a reduction in on-contact production, we saw record Ks and (by modern standards) very few HRs. That's kinda what the first half of 2015 looked like too.

People weren't very happy about that either. Since then what we've seen is K-rates continuing to go up (but not that quickly) while on-contact production has gone through the roof (in a relative sense), especially in ISO. So yes, everybody is swinging for the fences and, guess what, just as it always has been, this is the best way to produce runs.

I'll also note that Dave Winfield was listed at 6-6, 220 lbs and was considered massive. Winfield now plays SS (Seager, 6'4" 220 lbs; Correa 6'4" 215 lbs). What did you think was going to happen?

It's more coincidence than anything of course but in his two biggest seasons (ages 26-27), Winfield hit 308/381/529. For his career so far, Seager (at younger ages) has hit 307/376/504. This year, Correa is hitting 302/378/523.

Baseball is selecting many more big, strong players; they are encouraging them to add strength and hit flyballs; many, at least in their youth, are able to add sufficient speed and agility to play a defensive position. It would be neat if we could somehow measure the absolute (not relative) defensive difference between Seager/Correa and (say) Larry Bowa to see if teams are sacrificing anything there. (Obviously Correa and Seager generate way more overall value than Bowa ... I'm wondering what if anything is being lost defensively.)

Winfield gets whacked with -24 dWAR. If he'd been, say, a league-average SS for the first half then league-average 3B for most of the second half, he'd have been about a 95-WAR player -- same as Cal Ripken (Winfield better hitter, Cal better fielder).

I'm not sure what can stop this other than a deadened ball ... and I'm not sure how that reduces Ks. You can say the game wasn't meant for this style of play but this style of play has always been the most productive (see Babe Ruth), it's just that between the population distribution of strength/talent, MLB prejudice against the K, MLB prejudice against weight training very few players were capable.
   16. Bote Man Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:40 PM (#5535503)
So yes, everybody is swinging for the fences and, guess what, just as it always has been, this is the best way to produce runs.

Ian Desmond: a man ahead of his time.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:43 PM (#5535506)
In the first "half" of 2015, scoring averaged 8.21 R/G; in the second half that jumped to 8.86.

In 2016, scoring jumped to "just" 8.96, not a very big jump relative to 2nd half 2015. This year it's 9.32 which is a big jump.

2015 by month:

8.54
8.15
8.11
8.23
8.97
8.93

Playoffs: 8.72

Aug/Sept/Oct carried over to 2016.

That could have been an extra wacky fluke of course but it suggests a major, league-wide, "instantaneous" shift. Unless I missed the directive that all games were to be played at Coors or all OF walls moved in 20 feet, I don't know what could do that but the ball.

2015 HR/PA

1st half: 2.52%
2nd half: 2.85%

Apr: 2.40
May: 2.63
Jun: 2.54
Jul: 2.61
Aug: 2.88
Sep: 2.88

Playoffs ... 2.53 per game (not PA, I'm lazy). That compares with 1.90/game in the 1st half and 2.17 in the 2nd half.

Of course, underlying all of that, is that even in the horror of 2017, the HR/g rate is just 2.52. Now that's "crazy high" by historical standards or in percentage terms ... but again I ask, does one extra HR per game really destroy the aesthetics for you? About 80 guys come to the plate in a game and the fact that 2-3 of them hit a HR equates to "nothing but HRs" for you?
   18. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 20, 2017 at 09:44 PM (#5535507)
Anyway, the shift occurred in the middle of the 2015 season and it was leaguewide.
Not just midseason, but right at the All Star break. It's so clearly a juiced ball it isn't funny.
2013           253/318/396
2014           251
/314/386
2015 1st half  253
/314/396
2015 2nd half  256
/320/415
2016           255
/322/417   
2017           255
/325/427 
   19. Bote Man Posted: September 20, 2017 at 10:06 PM (#5535521)
but again I ask, does one extra HR per game really destroy the aesthetics for you?

It's *who* is hitting them.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 20, 2017 at 10:14 PM (#5535524)
. . . the notion chemists are in fact developing concoctions to allow cheating . . .

Like methylethylpropylbutyl?
   21. PreservedFish Posted: September 20, 2017 at 10:17 PM (#5535526)
I would think that Statcast would be more a boon to pitchers than hitters.

I thought we had an article or two that pretty conclusively showed that the ball was juiced.
   22. cmd600 Posted: September 20, 2017 at 11:32 PM (#5535573)
It would be neat if we could somehow measure the absolute (not relative) defensive difference between Seager/Correa and (say) Larry Bowa to see if teams are sacrificing anything there.


It would be neat, but it is almost certainly washed up in both how much more of run scoring/prevention is now on pitchers, with K's up and a higher percentage of runs coming from HRs, and how much more effort is put into positioning defenders better.
   23. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: September 21, 2017 at 12:39 AM (#5535591)
Easy fix- lower the mound (except in Colorado and maybe Arizona) and deaden the ball a bit. PROBLEM SOLVED.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: September 21, 2017 at 01:12 AM (#5535598)
Ian Desmond: a man ahead of his time.

More like Swish Nicholson a man ahead of his time. For god's sake, the man struck out 13% of the time!!!!

It's *who* is hitting them.

OK, who?

Is it that the 5'11" 200 lb Brian Dozier hits about as many as the 6'1" 175 lb Sandberg used to? Or is it the 5'10" 185 lb Scooter Gennett that irks you? Lou Whitaker had 4 20 HR seasons and averaged about 16 per full season, listed at 5'11", 160. Maybe it's the 5'11" 195, swing from the heels and usually hit nothing Rougned Odor that you don't expect to hit HRs?

Presumably it's not that the Dave Winfields at SS hit like Dave Winfield. Maybe I'm just remembering the young version as skinny as a rail but even Didi is listed at 6'3" 205.

Obviously listed heights and weights are highly questionable but I'm not sure there's any reason to believe the biases of today are different the ones of yesterday. But b-r lists 23 SS active in 2017 with at least 1000 PA and 75% games at SS who are at least 195 pounds. It lists just two such SS before Cal Ripken and 34 of the 37 debuted 1996 or later. 21 debuted 2005 or later.

Same search but for 2B turns up only 19 names. 17 of 19 debuted 1998 or later, 11 2005 or later, 13 currently active.

CF turns up 39 names, 20 currently active. 8 debuted before sillyball (Griffey in 1989), 20 have debuted since 2005.

# qualified batters >= 195 lbs, median # of HRs for selected years

1967 20 20 (players then HRs)
1977 40 23
1987 39 27
1997 51 23
2002 82 24
2007 123 21 (Nick Punto listed at 195)
2012 126 20
2016 127 23
2017 122 22.5 (with 2 weeks to go)

There's no major change in the weight-specific distribution but there are a lot more players listed at those weights.

Similar with # of 195-lb players with 20+ HR and # of players (any weight) with 20+ HRs

1967 10 30
1977 25 51
1987 28 69
1997 35 79
2002 52 76
2007 68 75
2012 64 66
2016 87 92
2017 79 86

So there you have it. We have shifted from a game where maybe 50% of guys who hit 20+ HR were 195+ lbs to a game where nearly everybody who does is 195+ lbs. And we have a lot more guys listed at 195+ lbs. Maybe today's weights are simply more honest than the old days but it's clear from those tables that the number of guys hitting a lot of HRs is largely a function of the number of big guys. And the big jump in the number of 20+ HR hitters between 2012 and 2016-7 is exactly matched by the number of 195+ guys hitting 20+ HRs.

Now it is true that in 2012 the number of big guys who hit 20+ was about 50% of all big guys while these last two years it's closer to 70%. But that 50% was low compared to most of the earlier years. I won't do the digging but I'll guess a chunk of that will be explained by looking at the number of (say) 215+ guys.

Meanwhile, the qualified batter weighing 190 or less is a vanishing beastie -- just 19 of them last year (up to 26 so far this year). In 1967 there were 78; in 1997 there were 92. That was down to 39 in 2007 and 18 in 2012.

Front offices dig the long ball!!

There are more big, strong players than there used to be. The median number of HRs hit by qualified batters of that size hasn't changed dramatically, the proportion who reach the 20-HR threshold might be at an historical high but is similar to 1987 and 1997. (Grrr ... 1987 is the wacky HR year isn't it?) So OK, maybe pre-sillyball it would have been more 50-60% of big guys would hit 20+ and now it's 70% ... still guessing a lot of that is due to more even bigger guys.
   25. Baldrick Posted: September 21, 2017 at 02:12 AM (#5535604)
but again I ask, does one extra HR per game really destroy the aesthetics for you? About 80 guys come to the plate in a game and the fact that 2-3 of them hit a HR equates to "nothing but HRs" for you?

Walt, you are a smart guy, so why do you say stuff like this?

One extra home run per game is a huge, massive, game-altering change. What's the difference between the dead ball era and the slugging 30s? Answer: less than one HR/game.

And you know full well that 'one extra per game' isn't distributed equally. Half the games end up pretty much the same, but you also get a lot with 2-3 more per game, and a decent number with 5-6 more. Those feel like a completely different game, and it's maddening when you gaslight people about it.

I went to a game on Sunday with six home runs. If I had gone to a game like that when I was a kid, it would have been NUTS. Now it's just a total ho-hum event. The game has changed, and maybe it doesn't matter much to some people, but it's a big difference.
   26. Bug Selig Posted: September 21, 2017 at 07:21 AM (#5535612)
Could it be an outgrowth of Statcast Powered By AWS™ providing hitters with quantitative data on how far their swing is from the ideal for exit velocity/launch angle combinations leading to more long flies, allowing them to optimize their pitch selection and swing parameters for more HR?
I sincerely hope hitting coaches didn't need to be convinced that hitting the ball hard in the air is good.
   27. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: September 21, 2017 at 07:44 AM (#5535615)
It's *who* is hitting them.


And it's the fact that everyone is trying to hit them, and the way they're going about it.

And the fact that every team approaches the game in pretty much exactly the same way. Every team hits the same way, uses the bullpen the same way, etc. It's an homogenized, slow, boring product.

How many games are now won without someone on the winning team hitting a home run? I'm too lazy to do the searching, but the number has to be down pretty dramatically.

(And here's a hint for all the "well, the players are bigger now" reductionists: Jose Altuve is a midget, and he's one of the best hitters in the game.)
   28. PreservedFish Posted: September 21, 2017 at 07:59 AM (#5535617)
I co-sign #25. Was also surprised to see Walt making that specious argument.
   29. Rally Posted: September 21, 2017 at 08:20 AM (#5535627)
Anyway, the shift occurred in the middle of the 2015 season and it was leaguewide. That's a very odd thing to happen if it was driven by PEDs or Statcast. That jump almost had to be the baseball (it's hard to think of anything else that could have a mid-season, leaguewide, nearly instantaneous effect).


Agree 100%

Looking at players who qualify for the batting title, 86 of the 148 have at least 20 homers. 137 players have at least 10. Only two of those players have less than 5 (Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton). Those two are the only speed specialists playing every day, and one of them is a busted steroid user.

Obviously listed heights and weights are highly questionable but I'm not sure there's any reason to believe the biases of today are different the ones of yesterday.


Yes there is. Accuracy is still highly in doubt but there appears to be at least an effort to update these weights now, an effort that did not exist even 20 years ago. Winfield was indeed massive. He probably weighed 220 when he was a college basketball player. Probably 250-275 later in his career. Don't think he was ever fat, he was just, well, massive.

Winfield at 220 is a bit more believable than to think little 165 pound Sammy Sosa cranked out 66 homers in 1998. Another Cub system product who would be listed at 165 or so had he come up in the 1990s is Starlin Castro. I'm pretty sure that's the weight or close to it that Baseball America prospect guides had him. Now at age 27 he's listed at 230.
   30. mathesond Posted: September 21, 2017 at 12:30 PM (#5535900)
1. Move the fences back significantly (30-40 feet if not more)

2. Add a 4th OF

3. Eliminate the DH

4. Pitchers don't have to bat, as there are 9 hitters in the field with the additional OF.

Solves so many problems!
   31. Booey Posted: September 21, 2017 at 01:13 PM (#5535954)
As always, if you're talking about problems with the current state of MLB, you should begin the conversation with K's. Strikeouts per game have now risen 12 straight years and set a new record 10 straight years. That's a much bigger aesthetics problem than breaking the all time HR record once is, IMO (break it again in each of the next 9 seasons and we'll talk).

Let's be honest though; 2013 and 2014 sucked. 2014 had the fewest dingers since the early 90's (k, I get why some people might think that's a good thing), but also the fewest runs per game since 1981 and the lowest overall batting avg since 1972. That's not so good. Something had to change. Problem is they changed the wrong thing; it would have been much more entertaining IMO if they'd done something to address the low batting averages/k's/balls in play issue rather than the HR one.

But even though people like to pretend otherwise now, sillyball was super popular. It wasn't until all the PED revelations came out years later that everyone retroactively decided it was terrible. Since...

HR's = awesome,

but

PED's = bad,

therefore

HR's while on PED's = super bad (after the fact).

However,

HR's without PED's = awesome again, so...

...I think this feels like a win for many fans. The dingers are probably here to stay.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: September 21, 2017 at 02:59 PM (#5536083)

Walt, you are a smart guy, so why do you say stuff like this?

One extra home run per game is a huge, massive, game-altering change. What's the difference between the dead ball era and the slugging 30s? Answer: less than one HR/game.

And you know full well that 'one extra per game' isn't distributed equally. Half the games end up pretty much the same, but you also get a lot with 2-3 more per game, and a decent number with 5-6 more. Those feel like a completely different game, and it's maddening when you gaslight people about it.

I went to a game on Sunday with six home runs. If I had gone to a game like that when I was a kid, it would have been NUTS. Now it's just a total ho-hum event. The game has changed, and maybe it doesn't matter much to some people, but it's a big difference.


Yeah, Walt's made that argument a lot with Ks and HRs, and I've never understood it. If folks are saying they don't like the increase in Ks or HRs, then it stands to reason they have noticed it.
   33. SandyRiver Posted: September 21, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5536089)
Meanwhile, the qualified batter weighing 190 or less is a vanishing beastie -- just 19 of them last year (up to 26 so far this year).


Three of them are on the "fence-busting" Red Sox. Maybe that's why the team is last in the AL for homers. Of course, the four qualifying big guys only feature one (Hanley) with 20+, though Moreland with 19 will likely get there, and Bradley with 17 may - I'd give him a one-in-four chance of popping three more in the final 10 games. Xander needs one more just to reach double digits. Little guys include the current team leader (Mookie at 23) and Benintendi with 19. Somehow, not having Papi sucked much of the power from the other guys.
   34. Rally Posted: September 21, 2017 at 03:15 PM (#5536100)
As always, if you're talking about problems with the current state of MLB, you should begin the conversation with K's. Strikeouts per game have now risen 12 straight years and set a new record 10 straight years. That's a much bigger aesthetics problem than breaking the all time HR record once is, IMO (break it again in each of the next 9 seasons and we'll talk).


They are related. There's no way to make pitchers not want to strike out as many batters as they can. Even if you are a master of weak contact, every K is an at bat that won't end with a bloop hit, a slow roller the runner beats out, or a fielding error.

Right now batters don't care if their outs are strike outs or not. The penalty of the K is nothing compared to the reward of the homer. To reduce the K I don't think there's any way around it: We'd have to reduce the homers too.

Pushing back the outfield fences would reduce homers and the extra space in the outfield should increase the number of hits on balls in play. Right now you might put up with a low batting average and a lot of K from a guy who hits 35 homers, but I don't think you'll put up with it if he's only able to hit 15. Meanwhile the contact hitter who goes from 15 to 5 homers should be relatively more valuable. Especially if we're talking about a speedy player who can use the extra outfield space and get a bunch of doubles and triples in the gap.

   35. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 21, 2017 at 06:40 PM (#5536222)
Especially if we're talking about a speedy player who can use the extra outfield space and get a bunch of doubles and triples in the gap.


Especially if he can cover that gap better than the slugger.

One radical way of increasing the value of BIP for offenses is to reduce the distance between the bases.



   36. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: September 21, 2017 at 06:55 PM (#5536225)
One radical way of increasing the value of BIP for offenses is to reduce the distance between the bases.


That's actually a great idea. I'd keep the 90 feet to first, which is seemingly the work of God Herself, and then maybe 87 feet between the other ones.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: September 21, 2017 at 08:02 PM (#5536241)
It's not a specious argument ... nobody has ever made a good argument why the occasional extra HR or the loss of a steal attempt matters. You also have people constantly complaining about an increase in mid-inning pitching changes -- that aren't actually occurring -- or that we're seconds away from 4-inning starts even though the trend is lighter individual reliever loads and we're gonna need a number of new roster slots to pull that one off. People like to ##### and often will latch onto anything, real or not, because they want to #####.

"gaslighting" is hilarious.

People complain about it like it is a massive sea change IN THE AESTHETICS OF THE GAME when it simply isn't. As an earlier post points out, the jump from 10.4 K/9 in 1977 to 16.6 in 2017 is clearly a much bigger change in the aesthetics of the game than putting one more over the wall. And I sure hope nobody complaining about this is a fan of the DH.

Sure, small changes in outcome can lead to "big" changes in run environment. Or not .. 8.94 r/g in 1977, 9.32 this year but 8.96 last year.

People get nostalgiac and generally we only get nostalgiac about the very best. Rickey and Raines and a few others were great. But Omar and Otis really weren't. There were a lot of players taking aesthetically unpleasing swings at lousy pitches just to make contact and produce an uninteresting groundball to second. Let's not even mention the shortstops of the mid-70s and early 80s.

By the way, I was being generous with my "1 extra HR'. Unless you're as old as I am, you haven't lived through an era when there were 1.5 HR/g or lower on any consistent basis. The occasional year here or there and none since 1992 (1.44). There haven't been consecutive seasons below 1.5 since 1980-81. For the pre-sillyball era of 1982-1991, it was 1.65. Over the last 25 years, the lowest we've seen is 1.72 in 2014 and 1.77 in 1993. There are a few more years under 2 but not many. And of course this year's 2.5 is an all-time record, topping last year's 2.3 (not sure if that was a record but it must have been close). So really we went from an era of generally 1.5-1.8 HR/g to one of generally 2-2.3 HR/g, an increase of 0.5 HR/g. About one for every 160 batters. But yes, this year, we are up to about 1 extra HR per 87-88 batters (a bit less than 1 HR/g) relative to pre-sillyball.

(I'll take a WAG that it will stabilize around 2016's 3% HR/PA rate for the next few years whether due to this year just being an outlier or pitchers adjusting or tinkering with the ball.)

Granted, some of you I'm sure are old enough that you do remember the 80s and you've been complaining about HRs since at least 1994. And some of you may have only recently jumped on the bandwagon in these last two years of "big" jumps in HR rates.

But sure, a little change here and a little change there and you can have a rather different game. We do have a rather different game than the one I grew up on 40+ years ago (how dare things change over 40 years) ... but it's not different just because of or even primarily because of the extra half-HR, it's different because of that and the 6 extra Ks and the 3 relievers and the 100-MPH fastballs and the 220-lb SS and the knowledge that steals aren't worth that much and the shortened benches and the demise of astroturf and the rise of retro stadiums and Coors Field and service time games occasionally delaying the entry of a young star and increased commercial time and increased other delays and let's improve the game with instant replay oh crap there's too much instant replay and baggy pants and not enough netting or too much netting and escalating salaries and cable TV ripoffs and a declining US birth rate and a geographically-expanded labor market and ... well I guess we've made it through the worst of the beard fad but seems we may be in the middle of a long hair fad and damn I do miss Oscar Gamble's afro.

(If the absence of Oscar's afro is not among your list of grievances of things wrong with the game, I have no respect for you whatsoever.)

And basketball ain't what it used to be and football ain't what it used to be ... and probably hockey ain't what it used to be but I haven't really watched it in 30 years and soccer probably ain't what it used to be but like any true American I didn't watch any until about 40 years ago (Chicago Sting baby!!) ... but classic rock is still classic rock except nobody now thinks you're probably gay for liking Bowie and Queen (some of them don't even care whether you are gay!)

If complaints acknowledged the 35 small changes that have ruined the gane for everybody (baseball is doomed!) and, better yet, proposed solutions to at least 17 of them (or at least ways to lower K-rates while lowering HR rates but not lowering scoring substantially), and people stopped complaining about problems that don't even exist, then maybe I wouldn't be so fed up with the complaining. (That's unlikely, what's the point of living if you don't have something to complain about and what is easier than complaining about other people complaining?)

And did none of you even get the point of the table about the weights? The "aesthetics" of the game haven't changed nearly as much as the composition of the players has changed. Big, strong guys have always hit lots of HRs and we have a lot more big, strong guys now. The physics of hitting HRs hasn't changed -- Ernie Banks's exit velocities and launch angles would have looked a lot like Correa's and Ernie managed the right comobo 512 times. Some park dimensions have changed of course so even the same mix of EVs and LAs would produce different HR totals in different eras/parks. The issue is that we have two Ernies and three Petrocellis and three Fregosis and a half-dozen Blausers ... and very few Alcides Escobars. (There may have been hyperbole in that last sentence.)

On the weight thing, it doesn't really matter if they're more accurate now than they used to be. The guys who hit 20 HRs "under" 195 in earlier eras then just become guys who hit 20 and were over 195 ... which will just make the proportion of 20-HR hitters who were 195+ in earlier eras look like the more recent eras. And of course even if you take Winfield's 220 as his rookie weight (probably is), that doesn't change that Seager/Correa are the same size as he was but playing SS ... and if they ever hit 240, they'll probably move to 3B. If you want me to believe players of today, and especially 2B/SS, are not larger than they used to be then you are gaslighting me (the horrors!)

(Note that was part of the logic of choosing 195 ... easy to see that back in the day a player wouldn't want to cop to being 200 lbs so they might get listed at 195 ... maybe I should have gone with 190.)

If you don't like weight, try height. In 1977 there were 65 qualified batters at 73+ inches, median HRs of 21 (Foster 52). In 1986 (avoiding big HR 1987 this time), it was 64/21 (Barfield 40). In 2015, it was 90 with a median of 19 (Davis 47). In 2016 it was 96 and a median of 23-24 (Trumbo 47).

In the last two years (or 2.5 years) we have definitely seen a jump in on-contact production, the first real jump since 1994. If it's all the ball then that's easy to "fix" but it's probably not all due to the ball. So the game probably has changed again and in the direction that some of you don't like.
   38. Blanks for Nothing, Larvell Posted: September 21, 2017 at 08:08 PM (#5536243)
It's not a specious argument ... nobody has ever made a good argument why the occasional extra HR or the loss of a steal attempt matters.


A bunch of people have made the argument and it's a very good one: Because the effort and approach to obtain the extra HR are unpleasing aesthetically.

People complain about it like it is a massive sea change IN THE AESTHETICS OF THE GAME when it simply isn't.


It very much is, in a number of metrics. Pace of play, bullpen usage, number of balls in play, time between balls in play, Three True Outcomes, oafish flails by hitters, lack of speed and effort on the basepaths, homogenization in organizational approach, etc.

The guys who hit 20 HRs "under" 195 in earlier eras then just become guys who hit 20 and were over 195 ... which will just make the proportion of 20-HR hitters who were 195+ in earlier eras look like the more recent eras. And of course even if you take Winfield's 220 as his rookie weight (probably is), that doesn't change that Seager/Correa are the same size as he was but playing SS ... and if they ever hit 240, they'll probably move to 3B. If you want me to believe players of today, and especially 2B/SS, are not larger than they used to be then you are gaslighting me (the horrors!)


These numbers don't even matter, because 20 HR today isn't the same as 20 HR 25 years ago. Why? Because players and organizations are willing to pay more to obtain them, in terms of things like Ks. Again, it's not just the HRs, which aren't necessarily offensive in themselves; it's the things done in the effort to get the HRs.
   39. Sunday silence Posted: September 22, 2017 at 05:39 AM (#5536580)
walt suggests that 1 HR/game isnt that big a deal, but we're not talking about the more routine aspects of baseball like a strike out or a walk or a base hit. If there's 2 or 3 KOs more a game you might notice but its not that much of a game changer, or even 2 or 3 hits. But people score runs on HRs and runs wins games; those are game changing events not just routine.

Assuming an avg 1.44 runs score/HR, I did some look ups and here's the percentage of runs scored on HRs in the NL by selected years:



year... pct on HR

1927 ... 12.3
1937 ... 15.9
1947 ... 22.5
1957 ... 31.3
1967 ... 25.5
1977 ... 27.5
1987 ... 29.9
1997 ... 29.8
2007 ... 31.9
2117 ... 38.2

I think its kind of a disturbing trend. Maybe not yet aesthetically broke but watching the Orioles defense give up half their runs on HRs makes for a rather distorted game. One where at least half the strategy of the game is about preventing and/or obtaining the Long Ball.

I think it takes away from the more nuanced skills in baseball, like advancing the runner, hitting the cutoff man, bunting, etc. WE're not there yet but if we get to a point where half the game strategy is about the Long Ball it might feel a bit one dimensional.
   40. Baldrick Posted: September 22, 2017 at 09:20 AM (#5536639)
"gaslighting" is hilarious.

Can anyone with the patience to read Walt's novel tell me whether it actually responds to any of the concrete objections to his absurd framing?
   41. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 22, 2017 at 11:12 AM (#5536731)
My suggestions:

1) Move the mound back to 62 feet
2) Minimum bat weight of 34 oz.
3) Reverse the 2016 increase in the size of fielder's gloves (from 12 to 13 inches), and perhaps reduce it further.
4) Deaden the ball.
   42. Rally Posted: September 22, 2017 at 11:26 AM (#5536742)
3) Reverse the 2016 increase in the size of fielder's gloves (from 12 to 13 inches), and perhaps reduce it further.


If we really want to see batters increase contact, focus on putting as many balls in play as possible, and de-emphasize the homerun we need to go all the way.

Ban the glove!

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
rr
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP 11 December, 2017 - GOP strategist: Moore would have 'date with a baseball bat' if he tried dating teens where I grew up
(943 - 2:26am, Dec 13)
Last: David Nieporent (now, with children)

NewsblogRyan Thibs has his HOF Ballot Tracker Up and Running!
(375 - 1:24am, Dec 13)
Last: gabrielthursday

NewsblogJack Morris, Alan Trammell elected to Hall | MLB.com
(186 - 12:16am, Dec 13)
Last: Jay Z

NewsblogOT - NBA 2017-2018 Tip-off Thread
(1938 - 11:54pm, Dec 12)
Last: TFTIO sings Medieval Agrarian History

NewsblogMORRISSEY: Cubs can’t let sentimentality decide Schwarber’s future – Chicago Sun-Times
(8 - 11:41pm, Dec 12)
Last: Tom Nawrocki

Hall of Merit2018 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(351 - 11:14pm, Dec 12)
Last: Rob_Wood

NewsblogShohei Ohtani’s Value Has No Precedent | FiveThirtyEight
(41 - 11:07pm, Dec 12)
Last: reech

NewsblogOT: Winter Soccer Thread
(341 - 11:01pm, Dec 12)
Last: SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY

NewsblogTampa Bay Rays make another small deal, acquiring INF Ryan Schimpf
(7 - 10:38pm, Dec 12)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogDerek Jeter's defense of Giancarlo Stanton trade was weak | SI.com
(46 - 10:22pm, Dec 12)
Last: PreservedFish

Gonfalon CubsLooking to next year
(326 - 10:02pm, Dec 12)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

NewsblogYankees trade Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell | MLB.com
(36 - 9:55pm, Dec 12)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

Hall of Merit2018 Hall of Merit Ballot
(22 - 7:46pm, Dec 12)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogOT - 2017 NFL thread
(391 - 6:21pm, Dec 12)
Last: Nasty Nate

NewsblogPeter Gammons: Splashes and notes from the Orlando Winter Meetings - GammonsDaily.com
(23 - 4:40pm, Dec 12)
Last: Barry`s_Lazy_Boy

Page rendered in 0.8452 seconds
47 querie(s) executed