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Friday, September 27, 2019

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred: ‘We Need To Make A Change To The Baseball’

With the massive increase in the number of home runs, could changes be coming to baseballs used in Major League Baseball and the Minors for the upcoming season? That was a question I asked MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred as part of an exclusive interview for Forbes.

To date there have been 6,590 home runs in MLB; a new single-season record, and the home run rate in Triple-A, where the MLB baseball has been used, was up 50% for the season. For more than two years, the league has addressed questions from not only the media, but pitchers about changes to the construction of baseballs that have been partly attributed to a spike in the number of home runs in the game. The league gathered a group of scientists that examined the ball as part of the increase in home runs starting in 2015. The league’s report showed that at least part of the increase was due to reduced drag on the ball. Additional research by Dr. Meredith Wills showed that changes to the lace thickness has created a rounder baseball as a likely reason for the change in drag.

Manfred said that the league is going back and taking another look at the baseballs.

“We have reconvened the group of scientists that worked with us before [on the initial study],” he said. “We’ve asked them to take a fresh look at everything that is occurring with the baseball. We expect to get this new report shortly after the World Series.”

Given what we know about Manfred’s decision-making processes, I wouldn’t get our hopes up…..

 

QLE Posted: September 27, 2019 at 12:07 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: home run derby, juiced baseballs, manfred is thinking about it

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   1. Cris E Posted: September 27, 2019 at 03:23 PM (#5883761)
“We have reconvened the group of scientists that worked with us before [to jack up the 2019 ball],” he said. “We’ve asked them to take a fresh look at everything that is occurring with the baseball. We expect to get this new report shortly after the World Series.”

FTFY
   2. Bote Man Posted: September 27, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5883764)
Rob Manfred, earlier: The ball is constructed within established parameters, this is just normal variance. We have no control over this.

Rob Manfred, now: We need to change the baseball.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 27, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5883769)
Given what we know about Manfred’s decision-making processes, I wouldn’t get our hopes up…..
What are you talking about? His decision has already been made and he has sprung into action! Groups are convening, fresh looks are being taken, reports are being generated. Things will be being considered before you know it. His work here is done. That is what you call swift, decisive leadership.
   4. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: September 27, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5883774)
IOW, he's considering it.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 27, 2019 at 04:01 PM (#5883780)
You should consider buying me a Coke.
   6. Zach Posted: September 27, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5883804)
High COR plus high drag seems like it would be a good combination. Balls come off the bat hot but don't carry, so balls in play (yay!) lead to more hits (yay!) but not more home runs.

Baseball right now is stuck in a coffin corner where balls in play aren't very valuable to anyone. Hitters want to hit home runs and walk, and pitchers want to strike people out.

If you want to change that, you have to make the value of balls in play more comparable to the value of fly balls.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 05:01 PM (#5883808)
High COR plus high drag seems like it would be a good combination. Balls come off the bat hot but don't carry, so balls in play (yay!) lead to more hits (yay!) but not more home runs.

I've said the exact same thing. Given modern technology this should be very doable.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: September 27, 2019 at 05:17 PM (#5883814)
balls in play aren't very valuable to anyone.

The value of a BIP (in rate stat terms) appears to be at an all-time (or at least post-integration) high. Swinging hard produces hard-hit BIP too; increasing launch angle shifts GBs to FBs while leaving the proportion of LDs pretty much unchanged. (Or if you prefer, presumably shifts some GBs to LDs and some LDs to FBs.)

I'm not clear why changes to the ball and the game leading to historic HR rates is anathema but changes that would have batters hitting, say, 320 on BIP would be OK.
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 27, 2019 at 05:21 PM (#5883815)
Manfred may want to consider having his experts check for methylethylpropylbutyl contamination during the production process.
   10. TomH Posted: September 27, 2019 at 06:51 PM (#5883835)
BTW, has anyone seen analysis of the independent Atlantic League experiment where they moved the mound back for the 2nd half of 2019? If significant (fewer KOs??), in combination with a less-super baseball, that could lower the TTO nature of modern MLB.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 27, 2019 at 07:32 PM (#5883841)
I think they chickened out on moving the mound when the pitchers pitched a fit.
   12. . Posted: September 27, 2019 at 09:27 PM (#5883869)
I'm not clear why changes to the ball and the game leading to historic HR rates is anathema but changes that would have batters hitting, say, 320 on BIP would be OK.


Because it would put more balls in play.

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