Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

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

Monday, May 02, 2016

10 Degrees: Is a juiced ball causing MLB’s large home run spike? - Yahoo Sports

At the risk of sounding like someone who believes in chemtrails and listens to Infowars religiously, I have a confession to make: More and more I’m convinced that juiced balls are causing a home run spike throughout baseball.

I am far from the only one. It’s hitters and pitchers and coaches and executives and even rational, cogent analysts who cannot find a reasonable explanation for the spike in home runs dating back to last August. The HR/FB rate – the percentage of fly balls that end up over the fence – spiked over the season’s final two months, and it has continued this April.

jimfurtado Posted: May 02, 2016 at 08:17 AM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball

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. bbmck Posted: May 02, 2016 at 10:14 AM (#5209852)
Party like it's 1961, most HR through 24 games for teammates since 1913:

2016 COL - Arenado 11, Story 10
1956 NYY - Mantle 11 of 52, Yogi 10 of 30
1994 COL - Bichette 10 of 27, Burks 10 of 13

Manny 9 of 31 and Sorrento 8 of 25 on 1995 CLE are the only other pair of teammates to both hit double digit HR in 25 games when they both hit 2 the next game.
Maris 3 of 61 and Mantle 9 of 54 on 1961 NYY after 24 games.

1956 Mantle 15 and Yogi 12 are the only teammates each with at least 12 HR through 30 games since 1913, the Chataway and Brasher who set a fast pace but will fall well short of the record at the time for HR by teammates: Ruth 60, Gehrig 47 who each had 9 HR through 30 games while in 1961 Maris 5 and Mantle 10 through 30 games.

As the article mentions Arenado and Story are the opposites for Ks.

Most on COL through 24 games: 2016 Story 39, 2011 Fowler 34, 1995 Galarraga 32
Fewest on COL though 24 games w/ 7+ HR: 2001 Helton 1K/8HR, 2011 Tulo 1/7, 2016 Arenado 2/11, 2004 Castilla 2/7
   2. Bote Man Posted: May 02, 2016 at 10:24 AM (#5209865)
We MUST put a stop to this rather exciting play!!
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 02, 2016 at 10:28 AM (#5209873)
Is a juiced ball causing MLB’s large home run spike?


Posted: May 02, 1920 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 1930 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 1955 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 1961 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 1962 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 1970 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 1977 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 1987 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 1996 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 1999 at 08:17 AM

Posted: May 02, 2001 at 08:17 AM
   4. Itchy Row Posted: May 02, 2016 at 10:33 AM (#5209880)
Or is it a result of gay marriage?
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 02, 2016 at 10:45 AM (#5209902)
We knew this was going to happen when they rammed Obamacare down our throats, but they just didn't listen.
   6. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: May 02, 2016 at 10:51 AM (#5209913)
Was it a de-juiced ball causing MLB's recent home run nadir?
   7. tshipman Posted: May 02, 2016 at 10:55 AM (#5209925)
I read a very good article that looked at this and concluded that the ball was the same.

From fivethirtyeight:
There’s one factor that we haven’t discussed that a few of the front-office respondents brought up: the baseball. According to an anonymously sourced report by Ken Rosenthal, the league listed “wrapping the ball tighter to make it fly farther” as part of a package of offense-inflating ideas it sent to the MLB Players Association last winter. Although changes in baseball construction have often been advanced as a possible cause of scoring changes over the past few decades, the smoking ball has proved elusive: MLB testing prompted by a rise in home-run rate in the first half of 2000 found negligible differences from 1999 and 1998 balls, and Nathan found no difference in average liveliness between balls from 2004 and the mid-1970s. However, a change in the ball would neatly account for the outcome we’ve observed: a significant increase in exit velocity and home runs, independent of talent and temperature, without a dramatic change in control of the strike zone. According to Nathan, exit speed is most sensitive to ball construction on hard contact, which jibes with our finding that the greatest increase in exit velocity came on line drives. Even more suggestively, the observed exit velocity began to exceed expectations right after the All-Star break:
   8. Booey Posted: May 02, 2016 at 10:57 AM (#5209932)
Sillyball without steroids? Whaaaa...????
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 02, 2016 at 11:02 AM (#5209943)
2016 COL - Arenado 11, Story 10


Incidentally, 10 of the homers from this duo have been hit at Coors, and 11 on the road.
   10. Booey Posted: May 02, 2016 at 11:03 AM (#5209944)
While more offense via dingers would definitely be better than what we've seen the last few years, I'd personally like to see offense rise 1920's and '30's style, where everyone hits .300 instead of everyone hitting 20+ homers. A couple runs at .400 would be awesome sauce.
   11. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 02, 2016 at 11:03 AM (#5209948)

Posted: May 02, 1987 at 08:17 AM


That one had to be.
   12. Booey Posted: May 02, 2016 at 11:11 AM (#5209960)
Posted: May 02, 1987 at 08:17 AM

That one had to be.


Was that ever admitted/proven, or is it just a (very probable) theory?

And 1993 should've been included in #3, right? I've always thought of that year as the unofficial start of sillyball.
   13. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 02, 2016 at 11:16 AM (#5209969)
Was that ever admitted/proven, or is it just a (very probable) theory?


I don't think so, but the way 1987 stands out from the years around it is simply staggering.

   14. bbmck Posted: May 02, 2016 at 11:43 AM (#5210002)
Highest BA vs Starting Pitching of the 2000s min 250 PA, 2nd set is BA and PA for the entire season, along with the last four guys who made a serious run at .400, Ted missing 6 games of split data:

Player            Year   BA  PA   BA  PA
Chipper Jones     2008 .393 353 .364 534 
Magglio Ordonez   2007 .388 453 .363 679
Moises Alou       2000 .385 348 .355 517
Miguel Cabrera    2013 .384 441 .348 652
Buster Posey      2012 .381 409 .336 610

Tony Gwynn        1994 .398 338 .394 475
George Brett      1980 .392 352 .390 515
Rod Carew         1977 .397 471 .388 694
Ted Williams      1957 .409 388 .388 547 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/2/2016.

1941 Ted missing 68 games of split data. His vs SP: .487 BA, 91 H in 248 PA, 187 AB along with RP split: .353 BA, 18 H in 71 PA, 51 AB. So working back from season totals: 76 H in 218 AB = .349 BA for those 68 games. Possibly just the game logs from his consecutive games reaching base streak were split up creating the really high BA split even by Ted's standards.

EDIT - missed Gwynn using a 500 PA cutoff
   15. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: May 02, 2016 at 12:27 PM (#5210059)
If there is in fact a large home run spike, then yes, it is probably because the ball is juiced.

Incidentally, 10 of the homers from this duo have been hit at Coors, and 11 on the road.


How many of those were in Arizona, also a home run hitter's dream?
   16. bbmck Posted: May 02, 2016 at 12:36 PM (#5210074)
Player          Split HR PA   BA  OBP  SLG
Nolan Arenado   DEN02  6 54 .362 .444 .830
Nolan Arenado   PHO01  3 26 .280 .308 .640
Nolan Arenado   CHI11  2 13 .231 .231 .692

Trevor Story    PHO01  5 29 .286 .310 .929
Trevor Story    DEN02  4 53 .261 .340 .630
Trevor Story    CIN09  1 12 .182 .250 .545 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/2/2016.

   17. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 02, 2016 at 12:41 PM (#5210079)
How many of those were in Arizona, also a home run hitter's dream?


Eight.
   18. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 02, 2016 at 12:45 PM (#5210086)
How many of those were in Arizona, also a home run hitter's dream?


Eight.


Also 2 in Chicago.
   19. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 02, 2016 at 12:48 PM (#5210091)
Was that ever admitted/proven, or is it just a (very probable) theory?


I don't think so, but the way 1987 stands out from the years around it is simply staggering.


Whatever happened to Steve Treder? Anyway, back in the day, he used to vehemently, almost violently deny this. I don't recall his evidence, but his claim was that 1987 was not the least bit unusual. Something to do with year to year changes in the HR rate or something. I don't think too many people bought it.
   20. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:03 PM (#5210112)
Whatever happened to Steve Treder? Anyway, back in the day, he used to vehemently, almost violently deny this. I don't recall his evidence, but his claim was that 1987 was not the least bit unusual. Something to do with year to year changes in the HR rate or something. I don't think too many people bought it.


He's been around a little recently, but otherwise he's been mostly absent since the start of last year.

I'd be surprised if the league-wide 15.0 and 19.7 percent gains leagues wide from 1986 to 1987 and the subsequent declines of 27.8 and 29.9 percent weren't unusual.
   21. Steve Treder Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:07 PM (#5210117)
I'd be surprised if the league-wide 15.0 and 19.7 percent gains leagues wide from 1986 to 1987 and the subsequent declines of 27.8 and 29.9 percent weren't unusual.

You are aware of what changed between 1987 and 1988, yes?
   22. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:13 PM (#5210122)
You are aware of what changed between 1987 and 1988, yes?


Other than getting on a temporary balk kick, not offhand.
   23. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:14 PM (#5210124)
The strike zone was changed.
   24. Steve Treder Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:16 PM (#5210128)
The strike zone was changed.

Bingo.
   25. bbmck Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:16 PM (#5210129)
HR Rate rising or dropping by 0.1 or more in the expansion era and 2016:

Year     HR
2016   1.04
2015   1.01
2014   0.86
2013   0.96

1999   1.14
1998   1.04

1994   1.03
1993   0.89
1992   0.72

1988   0.76
1987   1.06
1986   0.91

1982   0.80
1981   0.64

1979   0.82
1978   0.70
1977   0.87
1976   0.58
1975   0.70
1974   0.68
1973   0.80
1972   0.68
1971   0.74
1970   0.88
1969   0.80
1968   0.61
1967   0.71
1966   0.85 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/2/2016.

Specifically a 1 year peak % higher than previous and following year: 1970 +10%/+19%, 1973 +18%/+18%, 1977 +50%/+24%, 1987 +16%/+39%
   26. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:21 PM (#5210135)

The strike zone was changed.


I see both leagues saw a decline in strikeouts from 1987 to 1988 (the NL's was modest, the AL's a little larger). The decline in walks from 1987 to 1988 is larger in both leagues (11 percent in the AL, for instance). Is that really enough to account for such massive declines in homer rates (and does nothing to explain the huge gains from 1986 to 1987)?

   27. Steve Treder Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:22 PM (#5210137)
It's also the case that the 16.8% MLB-wide increase in home run rate from 1986 to 1987 was exceeded in 1928, 1946, 1950, 1953, 1993, 1929, 1934, 1932, 1982, 1947, 1925, 1911, 1921 and 1919. (As well, as, of course, 1973, 1920, 1969, 1910, and 1977.)
   28. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:26 PM (#5210142)
It's also the case that the 16.8% MLB-wide increase in home run rate from 1986 to 1987 was exceeded in 1928, 1946, 1950, 1953, 1993, 1929, 1934, 1932, 1982, 1947, 1925, 1911, 1921 and 1919.


I never would have guessed the rates fluctuated that much. Surely there are some explanations for some of them beyond the obvious ones.

   29. Steve Treder Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:30 PM (#5210151)
I never would have guessed the rates fluctuated that much.

I appreciate your saying so. What's always frustrated me in these discussions is so many people reaching for extraordinary explanations without doing any research to determine if the phenomenon is all that extraordinary to begin with.

Yes, it's obviously possible the ball was "juiced" uniquely in 1987, but there are an awful lot of other moving parts in the equation.
   30. Booey Posted: May 02, 2016 at 02:00 PM (#5210197)
The strike zone was changed.


Wouldn't looking at HR rates on contact be more telling than raw HR totals/rates in a case like this?

The recent HR drop in the late 2000's/early 2010's, for example, looks to be mostly a product of the expanded K zone since HR/contact rates have stayed the same and the only thing that's changed dramatically is how often the batters are striking out.
   31. bbmck Posted: May 02, 2016 at 02:25 PM (#5210226)
HR/G / (AB/G-SO/G) expressed as a %:

Year  Rate
2016 4.05
%
2015 3.83%
2014 3.26%
2013 3.61%
2012 3.85%

2011 3.48%
2010 3.52%
2009 3.82%
2008 3.63%
2007 3.66%

2006 3.97%
2005 3.69%
2004 4.01%
2003 3.83%
2002 3.76%

2001 4.07%
2000 4.18%
1999 4.07%
1998 3.74%
1997 3.68%

1996 3.88%
1995 3.60%
1994 3.64%
1993 3.14%
1992 2.54%

Year  Rate
1991 2.84
%
1990 2.80%
1989 2.58%
1988 2.68%
1987 3.75%

1986 3.23%
1985 3.00%
1984 2.67%
1983 2.70%
1982 2.74%

1981 2.20%
1980 2.48%
1979 2.80%
1978 2.42%
1977 2.99%

1976 1.99%
1975 2.41%
1974 2.35%
1973 2.78%
1972 2.43%

1971 2.62%
1970 3.12%
1969 2.86%
1968 2.22%
1967 2.56%

Year  Rate
1966 3.03
%
1965 2.98%
1964 3.03%
1963 2.99%
1962 3.24%
1961 3.31


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/2/2016.
   32. Greg Pope Posted: May 02, 2016 at 02:28 PM (#5210231)
What's always frustrated me in these discussions is so many people reaching for extraordinary explanations without doing any research to determine if the phenomenon is all that extraordinary to begin with.

Thanks, Steve. I must have missed this from you in the past because until now I just took it as a given that the ball was juiced in 87.
   33. McCoy Posted: May 02, 2016 at 03:31 PM (#5210322)
Year Half HR per 500 AB
1986 1st 12
 2nd 11
1987 1st 15
 2nd 13
1988 1st 10
 2nd 10 


By halves.
   34. McCoy Posted: May 02, 2016 at 03:33 PM (#5210326)
Well, that is a mess.

NL 1986
1st H-12 HR per 500 AB
2nd H-11 HR
1987
1st H-15 HR
2nd H-13 HR
1988
1st H-10 HR
2nd H-10 HR

How often does the homer rate go down in the second half by that much?

   35. McCoy Posted: May 02, 2016 at 03:36 PM (#5210330)
AL 1986
1st H-15 HR
2nd H-15 HR
1987
1st H-18 HR
2nd H-16 HR
1988
1st H-13 HR
2nd H-12 HR
   36. McCoy Posted: May 02, 2016 at 03:40 PM (#5210334)
Here is all the COR testing I could find through 2012

COR throughout the years.

2004: .55 to .56
2000: .554
1999: .548
1998: .551
1982: .57
1980-1976: .53 to .56*****
1977: .563
1976: .556
1973: .559
1970: .556
1963: .559
1961: .5638 to .574 Popular Mechanics tested 12 balls as well and got a range of .50 to .68 while using a bat.
1960: .5517**
1953: .569
1952: .548**
1943: .42 for reclaimed rubber. .40 for balata*
1938: .46*
1936: .5672***
1927: .5534****
1925: .56
1923: .57
1914: .56


*: Briggs tested the balls by flinging them at 104 mph while MLB tests them at 58 mph
**: Balls tested were 1 year old.
***: 25 year old tested ball
****: 34 year old tested ball
*****: Exact year unknown since Charlie Finley's family donated them 25 years later.
   37. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 02, 2016 at 03:43 PM (#5210338)
as I have noted before, 1976 was as much an outlier as 1987, but in the opposite direction
   38. McCoy Posted: May 02, 2016 at 03:51 PM (#5210347)
According to Dr. Joel Hollenberg of the Cooper Union Engineering school the 1987 baseball was a rougher stitched baseball than the 1986 baseball.
   39. Bote Man Posted: May 02, 2016 at 04:17 PM (#5210389)
If they do find a baseball that fails testing, will it be suspended for 50 games, 80 games, or life???
   40. Delorians Posted: May 02, 2016 at 05:41 PM (#5210480)
Re: #25, that is comparing full seasons prior with April 2016. Aren't Aprils traditionally lower scoring (due to colder weather) and therefore 2016 may actually be more af a spike than your chart indicates? But otherwise, very interesting info. especially 1976.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2016 at 05:57 PM (#5210488)
#30 brought a tear to my eye.

2016 4.05%
2015 3.83%
2014 3.26%
2013 3.61%
2012 3.85%


2014 is starting to look like an outlier on the downside of batter on-contact production (see my post in the shift thread too).
   42. Squash Posted: May 02, 2016 at 06:34 PM (#5210510)
I have a 1987 and a 1990 ball sitting in a safety deposit box. I should slice them open and solve this problem once and for all.

Also, if this is the year of increased home runs someone needs to tell my fantasy team. I am having one of those desperately terrible seasons where it's clear I'm already out of it at the end of April.
   43. Srul Itza Posted: May 02, 2016 at 07:38 PM (#5210545)
How many of those were in Arizona, also a home run hitter's dream?


Eight.



Also 2 in Chicago.


And just for fun, the last one was hit in Cincinnati's Great American Bandbox.
   44. Jack Sommers Posted: May 03, 2016 at 01:38 AM (#5210773)
I think the far bigger story is that the NL is still outscoring the AL by more than half a run on May 2nd (4.49 to 3.98)

To put it into perspective, the only time since 1973 that the NL has scored more than the AL was 1974 and that was by just 0.05 runs.

I think this is stunning. Is nobody else talking about this ? I picked up on it a few weeks ago and have been watching it closely since.

Year AL   NL  Dif
2016 3.98 4.49 -0.52
2015 4.39 4.11 0.28
2014 4.18 3.95 0.23
2013 4.33 4.00 0.33
2012 4.45 4.22 0.23
2011 4.46 4.13 0.33
2010 4.45 4.33 0.12
2009 4.82 4.43 0.39
2008 4.78 4.54 0.24
2007 4.90 4.71 0.19
2006 4.97 4.76 0.21
2005 4.76 4.45 0.31
2004 5.01 4.64 0.37
2003 4.86 4.61 0.25
2002 4.81 4.45 0.36
2001 4.86 4.70 0.16
2000 5.30 5.00 0.30
1999 5.18 5.00 0.18
1998 5.01 4.60 0.41
1997 4.93 4.60 0.33
1996 5.39 4.68 0.71
1995 5.06 4.63 0.43
1994 5.23 4.62 0.61
1993 4.71 4.49 0.22
1992 4.32 3.88 0.44
1991 4.49 4.10 0.39
1990 4.30 4.20 0.10
1989 4.29 3.94 0.35
1988 4.36 3.88 0.48
1987 4.90 4.52 0.38
1986 4.61 4.18 0.43
1985 4.56 4.07 0.49
1984 4.42 4.06 0.36
1983 4.48 4.10 0.38
1982 4.48 4.09 0.39
1981 4.07 3.91 0.16
1980 4.51 4.03 0.48
1979 4.67 4.22 0.45
1978 4.20 3.99 0.21
1977 4.53 4.40 0.13
1976 4.01 3.98 0.03
1975 4.30 4.13 0.17
1974 4.10 4.15 -0.05
1973 4.28 4.15 0.13
   45. Walt Davis Posted: May 03, 2016 at 03:47 AM (#5210782)
#44: Yep, that's bizarre and big enough that it would be one ginormous fluke. And the NL has the Braves who have been out-homered by several players. It's got to be the shift!!! :-)

Let's look at some peripherals.

The NL is not far behind in HRs (2.6% vs 2.8% of PAs, only 9 by count) despite pitchers hitting.

NL: 253/325/409
AL: 246/313/398

OPS by position (NL then AL)

C 712 615 (holy crap!)
1B 810 677 (double holy crap!)
2B 742 785
3B 775 779
SS 714 660 (hey, their SS are hitting like 1B ... gotta be roids!)
LF 776 714
CF 720 672
RF 822 746
P/DH 343 750

The AL is getting its butt kicked across the board (exc 2B and 3B) ... but what the f is up with the 1B? If you ever want to define pathetic:

Tampa 413 OPS at 1B. Now I'll get to the other embarrassments in a moment but let me repeat -- NL pitchers have an OPS of 343 while Tampa 1B can only manage a 413? It's a line of 149/229/184 with no HR (an even lower HR rate than pitchers :-).

Tor 498, Oak 518 and Sea 558 are other particularly egregious offenders.

Overall ... the AL is hitting better on GB, the same on FB and only 33 OPS points behind on LDs (mostly ISO). The AL is striking out a bit more while walking a good bit less (9% for NL, 8.2% for AL). HR% and HR/FB% are slightly in AL's favor. The AL are hitting slightly fewer GB.

FWIW, the NL holds a small lead in interleague but the run differential in those games is just one run.

So it seems to be entirely Logan Morrison's fault.



   46. bbmck Posted: May 03, 2016 at 08:52 AM (#5210816)
Starting Pitchers and their ERA+ in 2016:

2016 AL Pitchers with 120+ ERA+ and 500+ IP 2013-16 (6): Zimmermann 691, Felix 257, Sale 219, Gray 99, Kluber 95, Price 66
Same in NL (8): Lester 228, Kershaw 203, Strasburg 192, MadBum 134, Scherzer 121, Cueto 112, Greinke 81, Wainwright 63

Same except 100-119 ERA+ in AL (6): Quintana 249, Hamels 123, Fister 82, Iwakuma 76, Archer 74, Keuchel 74
Same in NL (7+1): Gio 376, Shields 123, Teheran 110, Liriano 107, Wei-Yin 97, Lackey 97, TRoss 36, Lynn out for year

Same except 100-109 ERA+ in AL (6+1): GRichards 153, Porcello 146, ESantana 125, Tillman 120, Verlander 69, Gallardo 56, Buehrle retired
Same in NL (7): Hammel 338, Colon 156, Cashner 81, Leake 72, Kazmir 69, Shelby 53, De La Rosa 50
   47. Bote Man Posted: May 03, 2016 at 10:07 AM (#5210883)
Could this anomaly be an artifact of how the early schedule has lined up? I mean, before the Astros moved to the AL and created the need for daily interleague play, this might have been remarkable. But these days the NL has a chance to affect its fortunes directly against the AL, albeit in a limited way with only a game or two per day.

And perhaps the pairings of those games have featured good NL teams facing bad AL teams early on? Anecdotally, the Nats swept the Twins in D.C. where the Twinkies were forced to bat their pitcher, for example. Could it be just the luck of the draw early on, and things will even out as the season wears on?
   48. Jack Sommers Posted: May 03, 2016 at 04:22 PM (#5211432)
I don't think so Bote, as Walt pointed out, the run differential in interleague play is just 1. So thats not it.

I'm pretty reasonably sure this gap does not hold up over a full season. But it's looking more and more like the NL will outscore the AL this year for the first time in over 40 years.

Walt, there are two major categories that I see that may be causing this

1.) The biggest difference I'm seeing is walk %, 9.0 for NL, 8.2 for AL. Looking today the HR% is actually closer now, 2.7 vs. 2.8. But I think the walk percentage is a big one, and ultimately, it's resulting in...

2.) More runners in scoring position, and doing more with it

The NL has 3810 PA's w/ RISP and is batting .260/.348/.411, while the AL ha had 3406 RISP and hit just .243/.320/.376

We all scoff at the RISP numbers when applied to individual hitters for being clutch or un clutch, and we all know they are not predictive for individual players. But the VALUE of well timed hits can't be ignored, and in this case the significantly higher number of walks and the much much better batting avg W/RISP are the two biggest causes of this gap.

BECAUSE it is RISP though, I would think this gap will regress pretty fast going forward. There is no reason for that to continue.



   49. Walt Davis Posted: May 04, 2016 at 12:20 AM (#5211915)
Probably there are months like this in other years where it was reasonably close. But it is a big gap. Over the last several years, the AL has outscored the NL by about .28 R/G. If the AL did that for the next two months, they'd essentially draw even. If they then did it for the last 3 months, they'd have a gap around .14 which would be the lowest since 2010 and the 2nd lowest since 1990.

There could be some contextual reasons -- maybe more games then usual in higher-scoring NL parks vs. lower-scoring AL parks ... but even over a month that should pretty well even out.
   50. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 04, 2016 at 04:17 AM (#5211955)
I noticed it earlier, too, but it was early enough in the season that I thought it probably just meant there had been more games than usual in Coors Field or something like that.

This time, I thought it could have something to do with different bullpen use between the leagues and relievers being more effective than starters. The NL's bullpens have pitched a higher percentage of the innings than the AL's (roughly 37% to 35%). That could be because the starters have been worse and needed to come out of there sooner, but NL starters have an ERA of 4.15 to the AL's 4.07--hardly a difference (though it is worse). On the other hand, the NL's relievers have been much worse than the AL's--they have a 4.25 collective ERA, and AL relievers are at 3.20. The scoring difference between the leagues has been almost entirely caused by a disparity in bullpen effectiveness.

There are a lot of possible reasons why the best relievers would be concentrated in the AL at the moment: the NL has more bad teams, and since relievers are the most marginal players on rosters, worse teams means worse relievers even more than it means worse first basemen, shortstops, or outfielders; on the other side of the coin, the AL has more teams that went into the season expecting to contend, and those are the types of teams that see fit to spend resources on relief pitchers.

Of course, we'd still expect the NL to allow fewer runs--especially the starting pitchers--because the presumed reason why it always does is still there: the (lack of the) DH (and especially the starters because they're the ones who actually get to face the opposing pitcher; relievers almost always face pinch hitters). NL bullpens pitching so frequently probably involves frequent pinch hitting for the starting pitcher, so maybe that's a factor.

It could be that the NL just has better offenses. The AL's inter-league ERA is 4.34, as opposed to a total 3.76(!)
   51. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: May 04, 2016 at 09:10 AM (#5212035)
Could it just be that the pitching staffs of the Reds, Brewers, D-backs and Rockies are barely Major League? The Reds have, what, 2 pitchers on their roster that aren't minor league filler? Most of their bullpen aren't even good AAA players, let alone major leaguers.

edit: The Reds bullpen has a 6.52 era and has given up 22 hr in 98ip.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
greenback needs a ride, not ammo
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogTo dream the impossible dream - and then decide it's time to let it go
(55 - 10:30pm, Oct 04)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for the week of September 26 - October 5, 2022
(258 - 10:22pm, Oct 04)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

Newsblog2022-23 Preseason NBA thread
(387 - 10:11pm, Oct 04)
Last: Dandy Little Glove Man

NewsblogNew York Yankees star Aaron Judge launches 62nd home run, sets AL's single-season record
(3 - 10:05pm, Oct 04)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogThere's a new longest last name in MLB history
(25 - 9:29pm, Oct 04)
Last: crict

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - European Leages Return
(310 - 8:43pm, Oct 04)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogShohei Ohtani to make $30 million in 2023, record amount for arbitration-eligible player
(39 - 7:29pm, Oct 04)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogHector Lopez, Who Broke a Baseball Color Barrier, Dies at 93
(29 - 6:23pm, Oct 04)
Last: Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(2549 - 6:10pm, Oct 04)
Last: 57i66135 is a hard word for me.

NewsblogTony La Russa expected to announce retirement Monday as White Sox manager
(18 - 1:21pm, Oct 04)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogThe coin flip that saved baseball in Seattle
(1 - 9:01am, Oct 04)
Last: Rally

NewsblogHow Guardians catcher Hedges hacked PitchCom to pump up his pitchers
(8 - 7:00am, Oct 04)
Last: FernandoPoplar

NewsblogThree impacts of baseball's new 12-team postseason format
(25 - 9:51pm, Oct 03)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogRoger Maris Jr. blasts MLB, says Aaron Judge’s potential 62nd home run should be single-season record
(122 - 7:06pm, Oct 03)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogAtlanta Braves sign RHP Charlie Morton to 1-year, $20 million deal for 2023
(4 - 5:16pm, Oct 03)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

Page rendered in 0.7598 seconds
48 querie(s) executed