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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Whiff! MLB sets strikeout record for 12th straight season

Major League Baseball has set its season strikeout record for the 12th straight season.

Batters struck out 41,098 times through Monday, closing in on the 41,207 of last season. Philadelphia and Washington combined for 19 strikeouts in the first game of their day-night doubleheader, and there were more than 100 strikeouts in the night games by around 9 p.m. EDT.

Of the Three True Outcomes, which is most likely to do any actual sinking, and why?

 

QLE Posted: September 25, 2019 at 01:00 AM | 60 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: records, strikeouts, three true outcomes

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: September 25, 2019 at 05:46 AM (#5882839)
I think they're under too much pressure about the ball and will go back to the 2018 ball at least which will reduce HRs in 2020 while having no impact on Ks. About the only way to reduce Ks is to reduce the called zone ... or move the mound back. Both of those will increase walks and HRs which doesn't seem to be what MLB wants.

HRs have not been on an inexorable climb over the last 12 seasons:

4878
5042
4613
4552
4934
4661
4186
4909
5610
6105
5585
6550

Those 2016 and 2018 totals are below 2000 and only about 150 above 2001 and 2004 and 200 ahead of 2006. And let's remember that's only about 1 more HR per day of play across the entire league (comparing those years). Obviously 2017 and 2019 are substantial jumps.

Meanwhile there are nearly 9,000 more strikeouts than 2007 when this streak began. That's 50 more strikeouts per day of play.
   2. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2019 at 07:46 AM (#5882844)
Surprised it took so long into the season.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 25, 2019 at 08:52 AM (#5882853)
About the only way to reduce Ks is to reduce the called zone ... or move the mound back.

How about making the ball heavier? Lowering the mound? Roster restrictions to lower the number of pitchers so they have to throw longer stints?
   4. . Posted: September 25, 2019 at 08:59 AM (#5882856)
With all the unappealing trends not abating but accelerating, this year really does have the feel of a secular turning point for the sport. It needs significant change or else its slide will continue indefinitely. One really does have to wonder if it's sustainable in its current form.
   5. BrianBrianson Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:02 AM (#5882857)
I don't really think any of those strategies will do much. Grounding out to short is still a lousy strategy, so still batters want all or nothing.

Making it easier to hit still means you want all or nothing. Making it harder to hit still means you want all or nothing.

Thing that would reduce strikeouts are like ... astroturf. Smaller gloves. Ball is dead on the first out. All fielders have to be touching the outfield wall until the pitcher releases the ball. Covered stadiums with really low ceilings. Horns and spotlights blasting the fielders on contact. Anything that makes balls in play less likely to become outs. Especially that kills GIDP.
   6. Davo Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:08 AM (#5882858)
someone, light the “Actually Everything Is Fine” signal, we need help!
   7. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:08 AM (#5882859)
They should just make a rule that you're not allowed to throw or swing as hard as you can.
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5882868)
About the only way to reduce Ks is to reduce the called zone

Bingo. If players didn't have to worry about getting rung up on pitches two or three inches outside the strike zone, maybe they'd stop chasing pitches that are half a foot outside.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5882870)
Great, then we'll have fewer Ks, but more walks. That will make everyone really happy.
   10. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: September 25, 2019 at 10:02 AM (#5882873)
TTO %age this year is at 35%--that's the highest in history; (last year was 33.7% which was the highest in history....)
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: September 25, 2019 at 11:12 AM (#5882905)
Anything that makes balls in play less likely to become outs.


That's the key. You have to increase OBPBIP.
   12. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 25, 2019 at 11:13 AM (#5882908)
Great, then we'll have fewer Ks, but more walks. That will make everyone really happy.

That's only if pitchers are incapable of adjusting to the real strike zone. But either way you'd have more runners on base and fewer strikeouts, both of which are preferable to what we have now.
   13. Cris E Posted: September 25, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5882925)
Automated umpires, but ones that are tuned to not allow K or BB. If you don't throw strikes (or near-strikes) your zone gets smaller, and if you take too many pitches your zone gets bigger. No one is ever sure what the call will be so you mostly just want to avoid leaving things in the umpire's cold, dead, mechanical clasp.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 25, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5882928)
Making it easier to hit still means you want all or nothing. Making it harder to hit still means you want all or nothing.

I don't agree. A ball that is bouncy, but has significantly more drag (higher laces, rougher leather) would encourage HR and line-drives, and discourage fly balls. That's what we need.

If "all or nothing" usually leads to 350' fly-outs, it will stop.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2019 at 12:55 PM (#5882955)
You have to increase OBPBIP.


And simultaneously decrease HR/FB. Not easy to do.
   16. bbmck Posted: September 25, 2019 at 01:30 PM (#5882962)
Since 1908:

FTO% last dropped in 2013 31.1% after 2012 31.3%. Most recent drop of at least 1% is 2004 29.4% and 2005 28.3%, next most recent 1987 27.7% and 1988 25.4%. There are 49 seasons with at least 25% FTO: 1960-1973 and 1985-2019.

SO% last dropped in 2005 16.4% after 2004 16.9%. Most recent drop of at least 1% is 1972 14.8% and 1973 13.7%, thanks DH, next most recent 1917 9.4% and 1918 7.8%. There are 38 seasons with at least 15% SO: 1963-1970, 1986-1987, 1991, 1993-2019.

BB% last dropped in 2018 8.47% after 2017 8.54%. Most recent drop of at least 0.5% and only 1% drop is 2000 9.6% and 2001 8.5%, next most recent 0.5% drop is 1987 8.9% and 1988 8.1%. There are 3 seasons with at least 10% BB: 1948-1950. At least 9% 1938, 1941, 1946-1956, 1961, 1969-1970, 1975, 1995-1996, 1999-2000. 2019 is currently 55th at 8.52%.

HBP% last dropped in 2015 0.87% after 2014 0.90%. It's been at least 0.8% since 1997, prior to that the only years of at least 0.8% are 1908-1911. 2019 will set the record currently 1.058% breaking the 2018 record of 1.038% which broke the 2001 record of 1.011% which broke the 1911 record of 0.905%.

HR% last dropped in 2018 3.02% after 2017 3.29%. 2019 will break the record for the third time in 4 years: 2019 3.64%, 2017 3.29%, 2016 3.04%, 2000 2.99%, 1999 2.91%, 1996 2.8%, 1987 2.75%, 1961 2.49%. At least 2.5% is 24 seasons: 1987, 1994-2009, 2012-2013, 2015-2019.
   17. Davo Posted: September 25, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5882964)
Maybe we should acknowledge there is no fix to the problem, the sport is just entering a period of aesthetic decline from which there is no recovery?
   18. caspian88 Posted: September 25, 2019 at 02:00 PM (#5882969)
Bigger outfields. More fly balls and line drives drop in for hits, more baserunners tagging up to advance. Fast outfielders with less power are a little more valuable (fast outfielders with power are already playing). Fewer balls go over the fence. More speed and more balls in play.
   19. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: September 25, 2019 at 02:00 PM (#5882970)
Move the outfield walls way way out. When outfielders have a lot more ground to cover, and so play much deeper, the expected outcome of dropping a hit in front of them increases in value. There's some point at which they have to stand far enough back - to prevent triples or in-the-park HRs that go over their heads - that it makes sense to stop swinging from your heels. Huge outfields also incentivize teams to have speedy little outfielders who can cut off balls hit into the gap, the kind of guys who can't possibly hope for a good outcome by swinging as hard as they can.
   20. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: September 25, 2019 at 02:00 PM (#5882971)
aaannnnddd… coke.
   21. John DiFool2 Posted: September 25, 2019 at 03:12 PM (#5882992)
Bigger outfields. More fly balls and line drives drop in for hits, more baserunners tagging up to advance. Fast outfielders with less power are a little more valuable (fast outfielders with power are already playing). Fewer balls go over the fence. More speed and more balls in play.


I'm a little surprised that nobody has made Forbes Field 2.0, and done this [hi Ziggy] on an organizational basis. There would now appear to be a market inefficiency that can be taken advantage of...
   22. Karl from NY Posted: September 25, 2019 at 03:21 PM (#5882993)
They should just make a rule that you're not allowed to throw or swing as hard as you can.

That's roughly what happens in cricket, with how you're allowed to bowl.
   23. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2019 at 03:50 PM (#5883002)
I think that larger outfields (significantly larger) is a terrific answer. Everything about the game is larger and faster than it was in its infancy, and it makes sense that the field should grow to compensate. It's a shame that's it's a nonstarter.
   24. Karl from NY Posted: September 25, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5883030)
I'm a little surprised that nobody has made Forbes Field 2.0, and done this [hi Ziggy] on an organizational basis.

They don't do this because hitters refuse to go play for such a team. They want home runs.

The Mets tried this, making a park on the large side to favor pitchers, and David Wright hated it enough to force them to change it.

Hypothetically this should be counteracted by pitchers favoring such a team. I conjecture this doesn't happen because it's asymmetrical - hitters have more value in free agency because pitchers incur injury and decline sooner.
   25. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2019 at 05:05 PM (#5883034)
Also because people are stupid.
   26. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: September 25, 2019 at 05:30 PM (#5883051)
They'd have trouble signing Joey Gallo. Pete Rose and Tony Gwynn, though, would be right at home.
   27. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2019 at 05:50 PM (#5883061)
Gallo might be immune, given how hard he hits the ball. Which I think is fine, I don't want to get rid of all homeruns, I just want to make them a less viable target for the smaller guys. Homeruns should be heroic events. Guys like Gallo are the ones that should be hitting them.

Gallo averaged 419' on his homers this year. Alex Bregman is a superb player, but his 40 homeruns averaged a mere 381 feet. Bregman should be hitting .320/25, like George Brett did, not .285/40
   28. JAHV Posted: September 25, 2019 at 06:09 PM (#5883073)
I think moving the fences back about 30 feet is probably the simplest theoretical answer. The launch angle revolution would no longer produce as much value, and neither would swinging all out on every pitch for weaker hitters. As PF notes, though, it's a non-starter. A decent number of stadiums wouldn't be able to handle this sort of renovation, and the ones that could would mostly be doing so at the expense of seats. These aren't expensive seats, but they're popular ones, and of course it would cost some serious money. And it would need to happen league-wide. It's just not feasible.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: September 25, 2019 at 08:45 PM (#5883112)
The BIP split at b-r only goes back to 1988. The highest OPSbip in that time was 2007 at 695. The median is 680. It was at its LOWEST in the pre-sillyball era of 1988-93 -- the 6 worst seasons ranging from 637 to 667. This year it is 687, the 7th highest of these 32 seasons.

So clearly OPSbip hasn't been a big factor driving this. It's higher in the TTO era than the few years before. Of course there are a lot fewer BIP from which, to the extent batters have been successful, it's probably more weaker-hit BIP that have been dropped.

Of course OPS on BIP isn't particularly hard to calculate if anybody has the Lahman database or has P-I and is willing to take the time to download some b-r tables. We'd probably miss the tiny number of ITPHR but that's not a big deal. But to take some quick looks

1978: 279/348/627
1958: 277/344/621
1938: 288/366/654 (note I "imputed" SFs at 40 per team which was the 1958 average)
1925: 304/389/693 (same with SFs)

1925 is the 2nd highest BA of the 20th c (292); 1930 it was 296 but 1930 featured 400 more HR so I'm guessing 1925 is the highest BIP of all-time. (Note 1938-1978 were calculated based on "MLB average" not the totals so there's some rounding error.

So OPSbip seems to be at its highest level ever. (Barring something pretty extreme) The notion that we can boost it enough to convince batters to go for contact over K/HRs seems at best unlikely. That we can boost it enough to compensate for lost HRs without also increasing contact significantly is at best unlikely. Maybe there's some magic point of restricted HR and increased contact where scoring won't drop precipitously.

Certainly the notion that MLB was ever some nirvana of LDs and hard-hit BIPs is untrue. TTO still produces lots of LDs, the LA emphasis still produces lots of LDs. It is clearly the case that TTO is reducing the number of GBs pretty drastically and obviously trading GBs for Ks is not good.

Anyway, there are lots of ways to score in the "sweet spot" of 4.3 to 4.7 r/g (that's where thing were in late 70s, early 80s which seems what most of you are after) -- but to get there with fewer HR, you have to radically reduce Ks. Ks aren't just about TTO -- K's were going up from 2007-14 while batter production on contact was basically constant then actually dropping in 2014-early 2015. That wasn't batters changing their way to score more runs, that was pitchers striking out more batters. More recently production on-contact has gone up so probably some of the recent jumps in Ks is driven by changes in overall batter approach.

If you want to get back to 1983, you've got to find a way to get pitchers to strike out fewer batters ... while also getting batters to trade power for contact which superficially makes no sense if pitchers are less likely to K them.
   30. winnipegwhip Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:10 PM (#5883120)
I think any slugger on the free agent market should not worry about the size of the ballpark when looking for a contract. If a team with a big park is willing to pay they will probably get the player.
   31. Sunday silence Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:14 PM (#5883122)

I think that larger outfields (significantly larger) is a terrific answer. Everything about the game is larger and faster than it was in its infancy, and it makes sense that the field should grow to compensate.


From an aesthetic pt of view: I hate the idea. ITs like when they had to make golf courses longer cause Tiger Woods et al. were making the traditional courses look like a video game or something. From the fan's stand pt. it makes it harder for him/her to relate to what is happening on the course.

THat's what I fear would happen. 90 ft to the bases no longer means something. Its 87.5. ANd 60 ft 6 inch no longer means something. And 330 down the line or 410 to center. It seems an odd thing to fixate on but dont underestimate the power of tradition in baseball.
   32. caspian88 Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:21 PM (#5883123)
I have no idea what the outfield dimensions are at any ballpark and I can't see why I would care if they were each five or ten or even twenty feet larger.
   33. Sunday silence Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:28 PM (#5883126)
you're lying and willfully ignorant.
   34. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:33 PM (#5883128)
A decent number of stadiums wouldn't be able to handle this sort of renovation
It would get awkward at Wrigley. "DeJong with a long fly ball to left, Schwarber racing back...and Schwarber is run over by a passing car on Waveland Avenue. So, that'll be a ground rule double for DeJong, but that has to be frustrating for the Cubs, who have had three outfielders run over already on this homestand."
   35. . Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:53 PM (#5883143)
ITs like when they had to make golf courses longer cause Tiger Woods et al. were making the traditional courses look like a video game or something.


But they did that because the old yardages were becoming obsolete because of the advances in equipment. You can't play the Masters at 1980 yardages when the players are using 2019 equipment.

For those of you who don't know or care about golf, the difference in equipment over the past generation and a half is monumental. I'm over 50 and hit the ball 30-40 yards farther than I did when I played all the time and had a teenager's flexibility. It's just no comparison. And much like baseball's seeming secular change since around 2013, golf equipment took a big leap in that time period. Tennis same thing. I just upgraded from the 2012 Babolat Nadal racquet to the 2019 version and the 2019 is a comparative cannon just in that seven years.(*) Kind of shocking really, although I did get better strings on the 2019.

Baseball is essentially playing the 2019 Masters at 1980 yardages now. I agree that it's not feasible to move the fences back at most of the current ballparks, but that's the simplest answer to all of this.

(*) And if you want to extend tennis back to 1980, you're talking mostly wood (!!!) racquets with an aluminum or a primitive composite thrown in here and there. Stone Age stuff. Primitive.
   36. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:57 PM (#5883146)
1950 was also considered an outlier "Year of the Hitter", symbolized by the Red Sox team BA of .302. Which makes for some interesting comparisons:

Runs per game in 2019: 4.85
Runs per game in 1950: 4.85

Strikeouts per game in 2019: 8.9
Strikeouts per game in 1950: 3.9

Number of Yankees games in 2019 played in two and a half hours or less: 5
Number of Yankees games in 1950 played in two and a half hours or less: 83

Number of Yankees games in 2019 played in three and a half hours or more: 31
Number of Yankees games in 1950 played in three and a half hours or more: 0

   37. . Posted: September 25, 2019 at 09:59 PM (#5883147)
The other problem with all the adjustment people are talking about is that there was a non-analytical norm against strikeouts BITD that is never coming back.
   38. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 25, 2019 at 10:00 PM (#5883149)
It would get awkward at Wrigley. "DeJong with a long fly ball to left, Schwarber racing back...and Schwarber is run over by a passing car on Waveland Avenue. So, that'll be a ground rule double for DeJong, but that has to be frustrating for the Cubs, who have had three outfielders run over already on this homestand."


I love it.
   39. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: September 25, 2019 at 10:20 PM (#5883156)
If you want to get back to 1983, you've got to find a way to get pitchers to strike out fewer batters ... while also getting batters to trade power for contact which superficially makes no sense if pitchers are less likely to K them.


Surely I'm missing something, but it seems to me that huge ballparks would have both of these effects. If they can't reach the seats then long fly balls just become outs. But if the outfielders are much farther apart then they are now, the average value of a ball in play goes way up. A dink over the second baseman's head is a guaranteed single because the outfielder can't run in fast enough from his position way out in the grass to catch it, and a ball to the gap might end up being a home run because of how far fielders have to run to get it (and then how far they have to throw it). If slapping the ball into the outfield has a higher expected utility than does hitting it as hard as you can, players are going to aim for more contact, and if they're aiming for more contact, fewer of them will strike out.

Now, the rest of your post might be a way of saying that we've never had the value of balls in play be high enough for this to work. Which, sure. But I think you're underestimating just how far away we can put the outfield wall in the Rays' new underwater stadium.
   40. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 25, 2019 at 10:40 PM (#5883163)
The other problem with all the adjustment people are talking about is that there was a non-analytical norm against strikeouts BITD that is never coming back.

Sad, but true. The other thing is that when the average fast ball goes from the high 80's to the low 90's, and you've got scores of pitchers instead of maybe 2 or 3 pushing or breaking 100, there's no way that the average batter's reflexes are going to be able to make that radical an adjustment, at least when the pitcher's got his command working. Hitting talent on one level is greater than ever, but it hasn't been enough to keep up with the rise of power pitching. Batters make up for their lost contact skills by hitting more home runs off mistakes, and run production doesn't suffer that much, but overall it makes for a more boring game. Tonight's Yankees' offensive production of 1 hit and 16 strikeouts is only the latest extreme example of what's becoming the norm when power pitchers like Morton find their command.
   41. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 25, 2019 at 10:58 PM (#5883166)
I don't want to get rid of all homeruns, I just want to make them a less viable target for the smaller guys. Homeruns should be heroic events. Guys like Gallo are the ones that should be hitting them.
This homerphobic agenda has no place in MLB.
   42. Howie Menckel Posted: September 25, 2019 at 11:49 PM (#5883175)
ITs like when they had to make golf courses longer cause Tiger Woods et al. were making the traditional courses look like a video game or something. From the fan's stand pt. it makes it harder for him/her to relate to what is happening on the course.

except that any decent level of baseball is played with the same distance from the pitcher's mound and bases.

there isn't a single golf course on the PGA Tour that has the same distances on a single hole (unless it's a bizarre, single fluke).

many courses now have not three but five tee boxes of increasing lengths. an average golfer fortunate enough to get on such a course either sensibly plays a much lesser tee box, or they can't "relate" because their tee shot doesn't even reach the fairway.
   43. BrianBrianson Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:32 AM (#5883203)
I don't agree. A ball that is bouncy, but has significantly more drag (higher laces, rougher leather) would encourage HR and line-drives, and discourage fly balls. That's what we need.

If "all or nothing" usually leads to 350' fly-outs, it will stop.


Get out of here with this flat earth nonsense. If "all or nothing" led to zero home runs, players would still do it, because 350 foot fly outs are still way better than GIDP. No matter how much you overcook pasta, people will still eat it if the alternative is a owl of dogshit.

I did think bigger fields might help, but I'm pretty skeptical. It might encourage faster players for enhanced defensive value, but I *think* you'd just play the players the same, and turn the HRs in 2Bs. It'd only help if teams responded by playing the OFs deeper, but I don't think they would. Of course, you could do better analytics, but that's my guess.
   44. PreservedFish Posted: September 26, 2019 at 07:16 AM (#5883206)
The field would have to be a LOT bigger to make a difference. You want a guy like Freddy Galvis to be pretty much capped at 5-10 homeruns per season.

However, people are underrating the extent to which OF defense is already prioritized compared to previous years. Look around the league and the lumbering Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell types have become increasingly rare. I think this is basically because of the rise of WAR (and possibly steroid testing) - teams look at players more holistically than in the past, when they might have said of a hulking leftfielder "his job is to drive in runs, not catch the ball."
   45. Lassus Posted: September 26, 2019 at 07:35 AM (#5883208)
Owls are mercilessly silent killers, so an owl of dogshit sounds especially horrifying.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: September 26, 2019 at 08:40 AM (#5883220)
   47. Loren F. Posted: September 26, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5883290)
#44, another factor is that teams are carrying more relievers now, and fewer position players on the bench. That means fewer teams have defensive replacements at the ready once the Adam Dunn type has put in his 7 innings of play.
   48. JAHV Posted: September 26, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5883298)
I do think roster restrictions would help as well. Andy's point about velocity is well taken, and velocity isn't going to go down as long as teams can have 12- or 13-man pitching staffs with another three guys who are available on the AAA shuttle. Cap a pitching staff at 10 or 11 and force teams to decide between encouraging their pitchers to get injured by throwing all out for two innings instead of one, or selecting for pitchers who have less velocity but better control and/or movement. That change by itself won't make hitters stop swinging all out, but I expect it would increase soft contact at the expense of missing completely. It could also just increase foul balls, which wouldn't necessarily help.

If "all or nothing" led to zero home runs, players would still do it, because 350 foot fly outs are still way better than GIDP.


Why is this the dichotomy? Line drive and groundball singles are better than 350-foot fly balls.
   49. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5883306)
The idea that the “wrong kind” of people are hitting too many HRs should be rejected. To the extent that more players have figured out how to swing more effectively and produce better results, they should be applauded, not condemned. The game changes organically, and pitchers have options to counter the launch angle revolution - chiefly more high strikes & more quality breaking balls. It takes skill to hit a variety of pitches out of the park.
   50. JAHV Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5883311)
The idea that the “wrong kind” of people are hitting too many HRs should be rejected.


I disagree. The game is less interesting when home runs are unremarkable. It used to be a marvel when a contact-hitting middle infielder hit one of his four or five home runs during a season. Now it doesn't elicit more than a shrug.

The game is less interesting when a vast majority of players employ the same hitting strategy, as they now do. I realize that's subjective, and I don't BLAME hitters for making the adjustment, but there's something fundamentally wrong with the game when every hitter can hit 15 home runs and doesn't care about striking out 20% of the time.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:28 PM (#5883314)
The other thing is that when the average fast ball goes from the high 80's to the low 90's, and you've got scores of pitchers instead of maybe 2 or 3 pushing or breaking 100, there's no way that the average batter's reflexes are going to be able to make that radical an adjustment, at least when the pitcher's got his command working. Hitting talent on one level is greater than ever, but it hasn't been enough to keep up with the rise of power pitching

Most of the increase in guys throwing 95-100 is measurement changes. Since the 1970s, changes in measurement have added 3-4 MPH to everyone's fastball.
   52. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:38 PM (#5883320)
The game changes organically,

It shouldn't. It an entertainment product and should be managed closely to maximize entertainment.
   53. JAHV Posted: September 26, 2019 at 02:36 PM (#5883341)
It shouldn't. It an entertainment product and should be managed closely to maximize entertainment.


I can only agree with this partially. I think it's interesting that the game changes organically, and it can lead to some fun developments. But when it produces the game that's out there now, the organic changes have to be curtailed.
   54. PreservedFish Posted: September 26, 2019 at 02:41 PM (#5883343)
I agree with JAHV's partial agreement wholeheartedly.
   55. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 26, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5883398)
Most of the increase in guys throwing 95-100 is measurement changes. Since the 1970s, changes in measurement have added 3-4 MPH to everyone's fastball.

Don't kid yourself that changes in the radar gun can account for the dramatic rise in strikeouts. You could have added 5 MPH to the average heater BITD and it still wouldn't have approached the flamethrowers of today.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5883407)
Don't kid yourself that changes in the radar gun can account for the dramatic rise in strikeouts. You could have added 5 MPH to the average heater BITD and it still wouldn't have approached the flamethrowers of today.

What year are you talking about? It is unequivocally true that a fastball measure 10 feet in front of the batter is going to read ~4 MPH slower than a fastball right out of the pitchers hand. It's simply physics.

Everyone who is throwing 100MPH today, would have been throwing 96 MPH in 1975. No one throw any harder now than Ryan or Feller, or Big Train. And guys who were throwing low 90s in the 70s would be clocked in the high 90s today.

Are there more guys today who are throwing what would have been 91-95 back in the 70's? Yes, mostly middle relievers who can do so because they never have to throw more than 20 pitches.

But there simply isn't an army of guys who would have been clocked at 96-100 in the 1970s. If you forced today's pitchers to follow a 1970s usage pattern (250+ IP for the SPs, routine multi inning stints from the RPs) I bet the velocity difference, net of measurement would be very low. Probably 1 MPH or so. Pitching velocity is largely governed by the strength of human ligaments.
   57. JAHV Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:25 PM (#5883413)
But there simply isn't an army of guys who would have been clocked at 96-100 in the 1970s. If you forced today's pitchers to follow a 1970s usage pattern (250+ IP for the SPs, routine multi inning stints from the RPs) I bet the velocity difference, net of measurement would be very low. Probably 1 MPH or so. Pitching velocity is largely governed by the strength of human ligaments.


I want to make sure I understand. Do you really think that the change in pitcher usage and modern day strength/flexibility training has had very little effect on the actual velocity of pitches? This seems really unlikely to me. My guess is that actual average fastball velocity (total) has risen by quite a bit since the 70's and 80's, and less, but still significantly, since the early 00's.
   58. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:45 PM (#5883427)
I want to make sure I understand. Do you really think that the change in pitcher usage and modern day strength/flexibility training has had very little effect on the actual velocity of pitches? This seems really unlikely to me. My guess is that actual average fastball velocity (total) has risen by quite a bit since the 70's and 80's, and less, but still significantly, since the early 00's.

Usage yes. There are more guys throwing 94-98 today in the bullpen. All I'm saying is that 4 MPH of the increase since the 1970's is measurement. Those same guys would have been reported as throwing 90-94 in 1980.

Avg. FB velocity has gone from 89 MPH in 2002, to 93 MPH in 2019. Probably half of that is measurement, moving from radar guns to pitchFX to Statcast. So, 2 MPH of measurement, 2 MPH of usage/taller, bigger pitchers.

   59. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5883429)
Mechanics have gotten way more efficient, too. I can't imagine that today's mechanics don't generate more velocity than either the "slinging it in" of Walter Johnson's day or the "limbs flailing, sky-kicking windmill" of Feller's.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:57 PM (#5883432)
Mechanics have gotten way more efficient, too. I can't imagine that today's mechanics don't generate more velocity than either the "slinging it in" of Walter Johnson's day or the "limbs flailing, sky-kicking windmill" of Feller's.

I think usage, and the sheer size of the players is a bigger factor. But measurement is still as large as all the other factors combined.

If FB velocity is up 8 MPH since 1980, 4 MPH is measurement, probably 2 MPH is usage, 1 MPH is pitcher height, and maybe 1 MPH is mechanics/training.

The top-end of velocity hasn't increased because it's bounded by the strength of human arm ligaments. Over 100 MPH (old radar gun) or 105 (Statcast) you're going to tear your arm apart.

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