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Sunday, April 17, 2022

Four fits: MLB should take steps now to ban extra outfielder

Teams deployed a fourth outfielder at a pace three times greater in the first week of the 2022 season than it was used last year. It’s still less than 1 percent of the time. But as it has its intended result — the further draining of the already diminishing doubles and triples — more copycats are coming.

In the Monday-Thursday four-game series between the Blue Jays and Yankees, four outfielders were used on nearly 8 percent of the 1,079 pitches thrown. The Yankees did it on occasion against Matt Chapman and Lourdes Gurriel. The Blue Jays did it on 80 percent of the pitches thrown to Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo.

And they didn’t do it because it doesn’t work. On Tuesday, Chapman hit a ball to left-center that has been a double for 100-plus years. But in a four-outfielder alignment, the left fielder, Aaron Hicks, hardly had to move to record an out. The next night Rizzo did a terrific job on an 0-2 pitch from Jose Berrios to dart it to the gap in the opposite field. But there was not a gap. There was George Springer a step in front of the warning track for an out.

Lefty hitters have heard for most of the last decade that if they don’t like the infield shift to hit the ball the other way (as if that is an easy task against greater velocity and movement on pitches than ever). Now, even if you do hit it to the opposite-field gap, there is more frequently an outfield shift in place, too.

“You want more offense,” Francisco Lindor said, “but when you hit it in play, it is an out.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 17, 2022 at 12:40 PM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: shifts

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 17, 2022 at 01:07 PM (#6072168)
Wee Willie Keeler: “Hit ‘em where they ain’t!”

Joel Sherman: “Don’t play where they’re hit!”

If it’s wrong for a team to deny hits by better positioning, it seems equally wrong to allow it to deny hits by fortuitously having more athletic fielders. Perhaps fielders should wear weights, like horses in handicap races, to equalize the hit opportunities for both teams. It’s only ‘fair’, after all.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 17, 2022 at 01:11 PM (#6072170)
And they didn’t do it because it doesn’t work.
This is just a horribly written sentence in context.
   3. CFBF is Obsessed with Art Deco Posted: April 17, 2022 at 01:32 PM (#6072173)
This is just a horribly written sentence in context.


Jesus, you're not kidding. I'm not sure how you end up writing that instead of "They do it because it works."
   4. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: April 17, 2022 at 02:25 PM (#6072181)
This is just a horribly written sentence in context.
it's not that hard to parse.

"don't do what donnie don't does".
   5. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 17, 2022 at 03:32 PM (#6072196)
This isn't exactly a new innovation. The Reds used a four-man outfield against Willie McCovey in 1969.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2022 at 03:47 PM (#6072199)
Lefty hitters have heard for most of the last decade that if they don’t like the infield shift to hit the ball the other way

No, they were told to beat the shift by hitting the ball ON THE GROUND the other way. "Pulls all his ground ball, is more straightaway in the air" is a fairly common hitter profile for hitters that get shifted on. Generally speaking, unless you've got the Monster out there, hitting flyballs the other way is a good way to make a lot of outs without hitting a lot of HRs.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2022 at 03:50 PM (#6072201)
“Don’t play where they’re hit!”


Or, as was stated by a Primate years ago, "Make 'em ain't where I want to hit 'em."

   8. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2022 at 03:52 PM (#6072203)
As we all know, there's no difference between MLB and rec league softball ... so I recall when my friends and I made the transition from college intramural to park league that we started with a short CF in college who became more of a short LF/RF over time then, after getting killed in our first few rec league games, became a full-fledged 4th OF. On the couple of occasions when just 9 guys showed up, we went with 4 OFs and dropped the 3B against most hitters. Light years ahead of our time (not that everybody didn't do the same thing except maybe the last one.)
   9. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 17, 2022 at 05:42 PM (#6072226)
Pulls all his ground ball, is more straightaway in the air" is a fairly common hitter profile for hitters that get shifted on


Isnt this the standard profile for all hitters in general? Very few hits are oppo field bloops.

Generally speaking, unless you've got the Monster out there, hitting flyballs the other way is a good way to make a lot of outs without hitting a lot of HRs.


yeah that's what Im saying. In general there are few oppo field FB hits.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2022 at 05:49 PM (#6072229)
Isnt this the standard profile for all hitters in general? Very few hits are oppo field bloops.


For most guys. But non-power hitters, your Ichiro, Gwynn, Carew types, have always gotten a lot of hits on line drives and sharply hit grounders the other way.
   11. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 17, 2022 at 06:53 PM (#6072247)
on sharply hit GB I think so, yes. The last thing I read on this they were saying there's very few oppo field FB. My impression was there isnt many oppo field LD but i dunno. I was think most LDs were pulled.

Do you have a link by any chance? thanks.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2022 at 07:13 PM (#6072251)
Do you have a link by any chance? thanks.


Only splits, and hit direction is fairly recent. But Ichiro, for instance, had almost as many hits to left field as he hits pulled.

For guys like Papi and Bonds, they're not going to hit many line drives or ground balls to left at all, let alone for hits. But guys like those three (or Jeter from the right side) have a different approach, and often fire balls through or just over the infield the opposite way.
   13. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 17, 2022 at 07:17 PM (#6072253)
is it fair to say that there are basically two types of distributions? one for power hitters and one for Ichiro types ? Or is it more nuanced?
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2022 at 07:36 PM (#6072261)

is it fair to say that there are basically two types of distributions? one for power hitters and one for Ichiro types ? Or is it more nuanced?


No, I think that's very fair. There are probably guys who don't go the opposite ways as much as the Ichiro types, but I think it's a reasonable generalization.
   15. BDC Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:05 PM (#6072266)
"Extra outfielder" sounds terribly unfair till you remember that it means one less infielder.

Or does it? Maybe they added a zombie outfielder at the same time they added a zombie runner. I am often confused by rule changes.
   16. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:08 PM (#6072268)
14. that's useful to me. Im working on a baseball game/simulation and the question arises whether to account for opposite field hitters. Using a simple two type of hitter approach would make that part a bit easier.


Time lapse spray chart of all 3089 Ichiro hits:

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/this-time-lapse-spray-chart-of-all-3089-hits-in-ichiro-suzukis-career-is-mesmerizing
   17. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:43 PM (#6072277)
Isnt this the standard profile for all hitters in general? Very few hits are oppo field bloops.

You misread. I said pull GB, hit pretty straightaway on FB is a pretty common profile. That says nothing about whether those FBs result in hits (very few do in any direction except of course those that go over the wall ... and those hit the opposite way don't do that very often). So sure "hit FBs the other way" is terrible advice about how to beat an IF shift.

Still, pulling GBs while spreading FBs around is very much how Ortiz made his living -- HRs to right, doubles off the monster in left while being the poster child for infield shifts. I can't find G/F directional splits but take a look at Ortiz's hit chart on savant -- obviously more to right but plenty to LF. Overall for the two years of data they have, he hit 19% the other way vs 25% for the league, so of course a pull hitter but hardly unknown to go the other way. By b-r career splits, he hit about 1 of 6 the other way but he hit a solid 346/586, about the same as middle, of course not as good as pull. We can't separate those by G/F though but presumably not many of those the other way were GB.

Ahh, fangraphs split tools seems to let you do this, not sure how far back it goes. It separates FB from LD. Here's a few from 2021:

Ohtani #pull/mid/opp
FB: 40/47/53
GB: 88/33/10

Rizzo #pull/mid/opp
FB: 56/51/57
GB: 109/48/12

Bryant #pull/mid/opp
FB: 26/70/53 (I knew it was bad, not that bad ... can that really be true?)
GB: 84/44/14

He is credited with 47 pulled LDs.

Anyway, those are just the first 3 guys I checked although I expected it about Bryant, no idea what to expect from Ohtani. But even Gallo was 44/50/46 on FBs when I figured he'd be the clear pull FB choice. It's one of the "natural" ways to hit, got nothing to do with adjusting to the shift.
   18. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 17, 2022 at 08:45 PM (#6072278)
ML baseball would be more interesting with only 8 fielders.
   19. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: April 17, 2022 at 09:11 PM (#6072286)
Or just make the nine fielders wear gloves only a slight bit bigger than their hand, reverting to the original purpose of fielding gloves (protection, not a performance aid).

Even the catcher, while needing a much thicker glove than other fielders to protect his left hand, doesn't need one as big as what they currently wear. Let them try to catch those 92 MPH sliders with a properly sized glove.
   20. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 17, 2022 at 09:22 PM (#6072289)
what would that accomplish? More balls clanking off gloves? would that be more aesthetically pleasing?

Its not going to make mlb ba go up to .270 or something is it?
   21. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: April 17, 2022 at 11:08 PM (#6072294)
It would make more balls in play become runners on base, thus incentivizing batters to put the ball in play. Which baseball desperately needs.

Heavier bats with thicker handles. Flatter seams on the ball. The box moved a couple inches back off the plate so you can't dangle your armored elbow over the plate for a free trip to first and drive the outside pitch into the opposite field seats. Baseball needs fewer of all of the three true outcomes. Make it harder for pitchers to strike the batter out, and also make it so that only the most powerful hitters can reliably hit home runs, and also make it harder to put a runner out on a ball in play. Do that, and teams will finally start selecting for and training players that can bloop and bunt and hit soft liners over the infield the other way. And for God's sake make them stay on the mound and in the box, and stop ####### around and play. That will make for aesthetically pleasing baseball.
   22. Moeball Posted: April 18, 2022 at 12:04 AM (#6072298)
"Make it so only the most powerful hitters can reliably hit home runs"

Will an unintended consequence of this mean even more players willing to take the risks involved of taking steroids? If strength is king, that might be a potential outcome.
   23. John Northey Posted: April 18, 2022 at 12:18 AM (#6072299)
I have no problem with basic requirements like 4 in the infield and 3 in the outfield. No more playing on the outfield grass if you are an infielder, no playing in the dirt if you are an outfielder. That is how the game is intended to be played, so lets stick with it. 2 infielders on each side of 2B I am OK with as well. We'll probably see some cases of guys hugging the line then shifting over after the pitch is thrown, but it would limit it quite a bit.
   24. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 18, 2022 at 08:52 AM (#6072305)
I have no problem with basic requirements like 4 in the infield and 3 in the outfield. No more playing on the outfield grass if you are an infielder, no playing in the dirt if you are an outfielder. That is how the game is intended to be played,


The shortstop literally began as a combo infielder-outfielder position.
   25. Baldrick Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:15 AM (#6072307)
Or just make the nine fielders wear gloves only a slight bit bigger than their hand, reverting to the original purpose of fielding gloves (protection, not a performance aid).

I almost never see this suggested, but it feels like (by far) the simplest solution to the strategic problem caused by the rise of hitting analytics. Increase the value of balls in play and you'll start seeing hitters try to put more balls in play.

You might have to adjust things over the course of a few years, and might also need to do some small things to address the supply-side problem of a dozen faceless 99 mph relievers on every team. But it sure seems like it would make a difference.
   26. BDC Posted: April 18, 2022 at 10:00 AM (#6072314)
One beauty of baseball is the relative lack of lines – physical or imaginary – constraining player movement. Really only the foul lines and the basepaths have much impact, and the basepaths are not drawn because they are "natural" quickest routes. Or rather, old-school Astroturf fields would have drawn infields, including an arc where the dirt line would have been; but those were largely decorative.

Aside from that, there's the pitcher's plate, the batters' and catcher's boxes which are always erased within moments of the start of play, the running lane which nobody cares about except the 2 or 3 times a year there's some controversy, and the coaches' boxes which no self-respecting coach ever stands inside.

Too many lines gets fussy and pedantic, and invites arguments. I agree: make the fields bigger, or reduce glove size, or make the team in the field play without pants, but don't draw lines or stipulate imaginary ones.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: April 18, 2022 at 10:25 AM (#6072317)
That is how the game is intended to be played,


If they intended the game to be played that way, the framers could have specifically laid out where the defenders had to play.
   28. . Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:43 AM (#6072327)
BDC's aesthetic ventures are often spot-on and worthy, but in fact baseball is probably the most linear and circumscribed sport ever invented. Player movement to score is a strictly-defined four-step process, each step exactly the same defined length, with penalties to baserunners for deviating even mildly from the prefab line. There's one way to score, and only one way to score in baseball and that's for a player to run exactly 360 feet in four 90-foot linear increments. The form is barely even two-dimensional as there really isn't even a second coordinate of movement. No other sport approaches this linear mandate.

The bookkeeping for baseball is also extremely linear and circumscribed, where all accounts must balance. Indeed, as we see with things like the new 10th inning ghost runner, many traditionalist baseball fans begin to break out in metaphorical hives anytime something threatens to throw the accounts out of whack. Tons of fans say to themselves, "Great, put the guy on second -- now the game won't go on forever," the Abe Simpsons of the enterprise kvetch, "But I'm puzzled and confused now -- how do we account for the baserunner on the pitchers' ledger???"

Putting the fielders in specific and defined positions -- as absolutely needs to happen -- is actually an improvement in form and balance. It's aesthetically restorative.
   29. BDC Posted: April 18, 2022 at 12:34 PM (#6072337)
in fact baseball is probably the most linear and circumscribed sport ever invented

That's fair enough, given the nature of baseball as an out-and-back tag sport. Cricket is similar, maybe even more basic (with its own eccentricities in different formats). Cricket lacks foul lines, and perhaps foul lines in baseball are so ancient that we overlook how constraining they are.

But I don't see what's gained by exploding the equally ancient and hugely simple baseball concept "Except the pitcher and the catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory." As several have noted, if batters don't like fielding adjustments, they should exert counter-pressure by adjusting their hitting tactics.

   30. SoSH U at work Posted: April 18, 2022 at 12:39 PM (#6072340)
As several have noted, if batters don't like fielding adjustments, they should exert counter-pressure by adjusting their hitting tactics.


But that would be a hardship on Sugar's favorite type of player, the oafish slugger.
   31. . Posted: April 18, 2022 at 12:43 PM (#6072341)
But I don't see what's gained by exploding the equally ancient and hugely simple baseball concept "Except the pitcher and the catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory."


The gain is simple: Updating the rules to counter the ability of teams to cheaply and quickly and efficiently measure the probabilities of batted ball placement by every hitter they may face, which has become part of the landscape now that computing power and video has become extraordinarily cheap. That set of circumstances obviously did not obtain when the rules were drafted.

The whole thing was kind of fun and quirky when it was Earl Weaver or Davey Johnson gut intuiting on their index cards, but now that the data is essentially ruthlessly efficient freeware ... well, not so much. A pretty good rule of thumb is that if you find yourself pom-poming away for ruthless efficiency, you've lost the plot somewhere along the way.

Asking Anthony Rizzo to bunt with two strikes is the baseball equivalent of crackpot Nieporentian libertarianism's, "Well, if a wage employee quits her job at Walmart, the company's hurt too."

   32. BDC Posted: April 18, 2022 at 12:48 PM (#6072344)
Ah, c'mon, they've been moving the fielders around since Harry Wright was a boy. Computers didn't make it some sort of magical foolproof process :)
   33. Walt Davis Posted: April 18, 2022 at 04:53 PM (#6072419)
only the most powerful hitters

Virtually every hitter today would qualify as among "the most powerful hitters" in the 80s. Ernie Banks was listed as 6-1, 180 and that's probably about right for Banks in his MVP years, maybe a bit heavier. Javy Baez is listed at 6-0 190. Baez hasn't come close to hitting 45 HR yet. Seager at 6-4, 215 (3.8% HR rate; career-high 6.5%); Winfield 6-6, 220 (3.8%; 6.2%); Bo Jackson 6-1, 220 (5.4%; 6.1%); Rob Deer 6-3, 210 (5.1%; 7.1%).

The physics of hitting HRs (i.e. EV, launch angle) hasn't changed. The balls and bats have probably changed to increase EV. Some parks have changed (not Wrigley in any substantial way, less foul territory, probably some different wind effects when they put in the new scoreboards). In the 1989 AL, a 5% HR rate put you in the top 4 (Bo #1, Deer #5); in 2021 AL, that put you in the top 23. That includes many of the favorite players around here -- Ohtani, Vlad, Judge, Devers, Jose Ramirez, Cruz -- and coincidentally enough Corey's brother Kyle. It includes 1 SS, 2 2B, 3 3B and, of course, one pitcher.

Brandon Lowe (#4) and Semien (#7) were 2B over 6%; Lou Whitaker (another fave around here) was #7 in 1989 at 4.6%. Lowe 5-10, 185; Semien 6-0, 195; Whitaker 5-11, 160.

Stumbled into this interesting comp -- Baez and Joe Carter (6-3, 215)

JB 21-28: 265/307/477, 4.6% HR/PA
JC 23-28: 274/311/469, 4.1% HR/PA

Corey Seager, basically the same listed size as Joe Carter, has a 3.8% HR/PA rate.

Nearly all of the players are bigger and stronger these days. Joe Carter (Rob Deer?) are as likely to be playing SS as the OF these days.

Increase the value of balls in play and you'll start seeing hitters try to put more balls in play.

Increase the value of contact and you'll see pitchers working even harder to prevent contact.

Seems many folks don't realize this ... the value of contact has never been higher. Moreoever, the value of in-play contact is as high as it was 30+ years ago. In-play FBs have always been unproductive; in-play GBs have always been unproductive. Maybe the 1930s when they somehow created a game where everybody hit 400 is the exception.

1989 AL: .232 H/PA; .168 singles, .039 doubles, .020 HR; 14.3% K/PA; .445 PA with men on
2019 AL: .227 H/PA; .139 singles, .046 doubles, .037 HR; 23.0% K/PA; .428 PA with men on

A batter in 2019 was really no more likely to make an out than one in 1989 -- how radically do you need to change that to make it worth a batter's while to give up the power? (Not that it's just the batter's choice) From a fan's perspective, you have literally traded .029 singles for .007 doubles and .017 HRs and a whole lot of groundouts and lazy flyballs by Stillwell, Schofield, Kent Anderson (who?), Guillen, Fletcher/Kunkel, Luis Rivera, Fermin, Espinosa, Vizquel for manly, flailing Ks by Javy ... and 0.5 more R/G. To be clear, the difference in the number of hits is about 1 per 200 PA. We are seeing about 1.5 fewer PA with a man on per game ... in part because some bases empty singles have been replaced by bases empty HRs but, sure, the occasional booted GB has been replaced by a K.

I think many of you over-rate the excitement level of a Felix Fermin plate appearance even though he had just a 5% K-rate. :-)
   34. . Posted: April 18, 2022 at 06:03 PM (#6072424)
I think many of you over-rate the excitement level of a Felix Fermin plate appearance even though he had just a 5% K-rate. :-)


This isn't the first time this has been said around here, but what it always leaves out when it is said around here is that a Felix Fermin groundball to shortstop carries with it a major league shortstop fielding the ball and throwing out Felix Fermin. Often, the major league shortstop would have to circle the ball, throw on the run, make a long throw from the hole, etc. The major league shortstop doing that far outweighs the quality of a faceless middle reliever throwing a slider in the dirt that the caboose on the let's-just-oafishly-flail-away parade oafishly flails away at it.

The "battle between pitcher and hitter" has always been vastly overrated as an end in itself. It's never been anything anyone other than a very few people down low at the right angle can even see at the park and it's taken HDTV for even most of the TV audience can see now and I've never seen any evidence than anyone other than a very few people beyond the analysts at the game really even care about it.(*) Everyone can see Garry Templeton or Ozzie Smith go into the hole and throw out a runner. It's a far superior display.

(*) Commentators have always commentated about it, but that's an entirely different thing.
   35. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 18, 2022 at 06:05 PM (#6072425)

Virtually every hitter today would qualify as among "the most powerful hitters" in the 80s...


while I appreciate the effort you put into this and all your posts, you really seem to be missing his point there. All he's saying is that he wants less HRs overall, and thus, in effect, only a precious few hitters will be seen as power hitters.

This is not an obscure argument. The basic problem fans and primates are having is that there are too many strikeouts AND HOMERUNS. With corresponding less emphasis on defense, base running, stealing in particular, blocking the bat etc.

Hell that's why SBB or whoever calls it "oafball". Its swinging for the fences producing both HRs and Ks.

You've spent a huge amount of electrons arguing there about the size of players. To what end? I guarantee you no one cares if the average SS is 5.10" or 6.2". It seems plain as day to me that if you deaden the ball a bit that HRs will decline. Don't you agree?

Because I worry about you. The last time, maybe two years ago I pointed out that runs scored on HRs had increase to I believe 39% (going from memory) which is bordering on absurd to me. And yet you didnt seem to think it was an issue.

That rate has gotten even higher in the playoffs. Maybe its a small sample size thing, or maybe it's because the better teams have more "oafball" hitters, and so we're seeing a congruence of the oafball strategy when we get to the playoffs: Better teams are better at swinging for the fences, playoffs pit more of these teams together. Hence: more runs on HRs.

I dont know if that's the reason or it's not the reason, but that's the aesthetic that most primates seem to be concerned with.

Not whether Javier Baez is bigger than Joe Carter.
   36. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 18, 2022 at 06:10 PM (#6072427)

The whole thing was kind of fun and quirky when it was Earl Weaver or Davey Johnson gut intuiting on their index cards, but now that the data is essentially ruthlessly efficient freeware ... well, not so much.


But you act like drawing a line down the middle of the infield and not allowing players to shift is somehow going to eliminate computers from baseball.

NEWSFLASH: It's not. You can allow shifts or not allow shifts. It's not going to change how data bases are used and analyzed.

Maybe you should be arguing that the use of computers should be banned. Like from all facets of the game: scouting, advance scouting, batter reports, line up construction, pitch selection, etc.

Isnt that what you arguing for?
   37. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: April 18, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6072442)
Will an unintended consequence of this mean even more players willing to take the risks involved of taking steroids? If strength is king, that might be a potential outcome.


Steroids are already back, so that horse is long gone from the barn.

Yes yes [citation needed] and all that, but the signs are there. Players getting bulkier, older guys having career years, every team in baseball having twelve pitchers that throw 97 and three pitchers that recently added a wipeout slider.

To me that's a separate issue. Baseball players can dope themselves up like Russian weightlifters, but you could still steer the game toward fewer strikeouts, fewer walks, fewer home runs, more balls in play, just by regulating the equipment.
   38. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: April 18, 2022 at 08:59 PM (#6072448)
and three pitchers that recently added a wipeout slider.


Not that I disagree, but what does that have to do with PEDs.
   39. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:07 PM (#6072450)
Home runs aren't the problem AFAIC. The problem is simply too many strikeouts.

The HR rate so far this year is 0.96 / G. That's almost exactly what it was 61 years ago (0.95 / G).

The difference is that that year came with 5.23 strikeouts per game, while now it's 8.57. Since that's per team, this means that there are roughly 6.5 more strikeouts each game today than there were in what was then called "The Year of the Slugger".

In 1961 Jake Wood easily led MLB in strikeouts with 141, 20 more than the runnerup Dick Stuart. In 2021 the AL East alone had 11 players who topped that total, many by big margins.

Too many games today involve one power pitcher after another completely dominating lineups stacked with power hitters. What's deadening is the almost complete predictability of all those strikeouts. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen teams put runners in scoring position and then have them sit there while the next three batters just wave helplessly at inside heaters or chase outside sliders that no human being could ever reach.

Install robo-umps and shrink the strike zone that now awards too many gift strikes on outside pitches. Put a strictly enforced pitch clock in place to give pitchers less time to think and rev up between pitches. Maybe deaden the ball a bit, or move back the fences 10 or 15 ft. to incentivize marginal hitters to go for contact rather than trying to launch every pitch.

There aren't any easy answers, but the strikeout rate today is a cancer.
   40. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: April 18, 2022 at 09:35 PM (#6072458)
Not that I disagree, but what does that have to do with PEDs.


You need a lot of raw strength to put that much spin on the ball while also throwing it 90 MPH. Those Bugs Bunny pitches were prevalent in the early 2000s, went away for a little while, and have come back in the last couple years--much like oversized sluggers.

Yeah it's a different kind of strength from what you use to sock dingers, but you get it the same way, with specialized strength training, which of course steroids enable you to do a lot more of than you otherwise could.

Home runs aren't the problem AFAIC. The problem is simply too many strikeouts.


It's all one of a piece. There are so many strikeouts because the optimal way to score runs is for every batter to try to hit a home run on every pitch, without regard to whether or not he strikes out. To get out of this morass you're going to need to change the batter's incentives. The guy that today can hit 35 home runs to go with his 200 strikeouts--nudge things so that tomorrow he can only hit 20 home runs, and also you can't hide his iron glove and noodle arm in left field anymore because there are too many balls in play he has to deal with, and the tradeoff won't be worth it anymore. He'll lose his job and it will go to someone that can hit .290 with 7 home runs, but who can also run and field.
   41. Ron J Posted: April 18, 2022 at 10:00 PM (#6072463)
Well the transition the other way started sooner than most people realize. One specific type of player was largely driven from the game over the course of the late 80s and 90s. The low ISO, low walk, fast switch-hitter started to become significantly less common.

That kind of player is unlikely to ever come back because we now understand better that most of these guys were terrible players able to make outs from both sides of the plate.
   42. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: April 18, 2022 at 10:33 PM (#6072469)
The players whose primary skills were poking at the ball and running real fast, of which every team had several in the 70s and 80s, passed out of the game in lockstep with artificial turf passing out of the game.

Astroturf (i.e. Baseball On Concrete) was aesthetically hideous and destructive to players' knees, but it was great for fast paced, slap grounders and soft liners and run like hell baseball. Its extinction, while well deserved, was a big factor in incentivizing the gamewide shift to All Three True Outcomes, All The Time.
   43. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:52 PM (#6072489)

Astroturf (i.e. Baseball On Concrete) was aesthetically hideous and destructive to players' knees, but it was great for fast paced, slap grounders and soft liners and run like hell baseball. Its extinction, while well deserved...


this cant be emphasized enuf. Someone the other day was saying how ideal baseball was in the 70s or whatever. From the offensive stand pt. in general, sure 4.5 runs is pretty optimal it seems. But the astroturf thing was not at all aesthetically pleasing. It also probably contributed to the end of bunting but maybe not.
   44. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 18, 2022 at 11:53 PM (#6072490)

The HR rate so far this year is 0.96 / G. That's almost exactly what it was 61 years ago (0.95 / G).


Bruh: two weeks in APril?

Really, bruh?

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