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

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Where Did the Homers Go?

Unsurprisingly, in all of the bins most affected by the new baseball, we’re witnessing an associated decline in the overall probability the batter will reach base. We know how good defensives have become; if more balls are staying in the yard, it was always extraordinarily unlikely that they’ll be going for hits at the same rates. But to see a 32-point decline, as in the example of the 95-99 mph exit velocity, 20-24 degree launch angle bin, is striking. Batters were more often than not reaching base on those types of batted balls in April 2019. In April 2021, they only reached base one in five times.

More generally, you’ll notice once again that most of the affected batted balls are those below 30 degrees in launch angle. This makes sense, considering this type of contact — lower-hit fly balls — would be most impacted by an increase in drag when hitting a home run is a binary, “Did it go over the wall?” question. (Meaning that, even if higher-hit baseballs aren’t going as far, they’re just not going as many rows back into the seats.) To get a larger sample for our distributions, we can compare all fly balls below 30 degrees, irrespective of exit velocity, and have more than 1,000 batted balls to analyze…

The effect is the same. Home runs are down, outs are up. Batters reached base on 54% of fly balls hit at a launch angle below 30 degrees in April 2021, down 11 points compared to April 2019, when they reached base 65% of the time.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 09, 2021 at 01:01 PM | 130 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: juiced ball

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.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. Cblau Posted: May 09, 2021 at 09:10 PM (#6017964)
How does a 0.48% decrease in HR/batted ball result in an 8% decrease in homers? Shouldn't it be a 0.48% decrease in HRs (maybe a little more if they all become outs)?
   2. Walt Davis Posted: May 09, 2021 at 09:19 PM (#6017965)
A somewhat odd article, more in "expectation" than execution. I assume the numbers and analysis are correct. It's the argument/assumption that MLB (we?) expected reduced flight FBs to go from HRs to hits. The BABIP on FBs has always been terrible. In 2019 AL, the BABIP on FBs (not including LDs) was 095. Reducing the HR% on FBs from (give or take) 15.3% to 13.0% (so far this year) was never likely going to be replaced by a 23 point jump in BABIP ... it has so far gone up to 102.

Surely to the extent MLB has a plan here, and one they're not going to back out of after a year or so of depressed scoring (see 2014 and first half 2015), it's that batters will shift from FBs to GBs and concentrate more on contact but one would expect that to take a few seasons to work its way through.

Note, the article is in much finer detail on EVs and LAs, not "FBs" and it could be some of the hits focused on are LDs ... I tend to think not as, per 2019 definitions/measurements used at b-r, something like 85% of HRs came on FBs and the categories looked at in the article are very HR-heavy. Anyway, obviously reducing the distance of FBs will turn a HR into a double when it's hit to the gap ... but it just becomes a fly out nearly all the other time. Basically by definition some HRs will become outs and fewer batters will reach base and there's no obvious reason to expect a jump in doubles from balls not leaving the park in either scenario to compensate. And of course there would need to be an even bigger jump in doubles/triples to maintain scoring levels (not that the author implied otherwise).
   3. Walt Davis Posted: May 09, 2021 at 09:35 PM (#6017968)
How does a 0.48% decrease in HR/batted ball result in an 8% decrease in homers?

The first is a percentage point drop in a rate (the article does clearly state that), the second is a percent of a previous rate/total drop. I don't have HR/batted ball but b-r gives us HR/PA. HR/PA in 2019 AL was 3.7%; HR/PA in 2021 AL is 3.2%. That's a 0.5 percentage point drop and a 13.5% drop (0.5/3.7) in HRs assuming equal PAs. (I'm ignoring that one is full season and one is mostly April.)

Keep this in mind when reading media reports of health research (or even the original research articles). When you read something like "eating bacon more than once a week increases the risk of a heart attack by 30%" what the research almost certainly found was that the risk went from 1 in 100 to 1.3 in 100 (give or take).

It's a bugaboo when writing about this stuff. It's easy to write it unclearly, it's easy to read it unclearly and it leads to head-scratching sentences that parse awkwardly.
   4. DL from MN Posted: May 09, 2021 at 11:22 PM (#6017972)
batters will shift from FBs to GBs and concentrate more on contact


General managers will shift from players who hit FBs to players who hit GBs and concentrate more on contact.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: May 10, 2021 at 12:30 AM (#6017975)
Ya never know but it's not like FBs and GBs are inherent traits. Players have clearly trained to lift the ball more and it seems they might have been ahead of the GMs on that.

Oh for crying out loud, they changed FBs and LDs in 2020:

2019: About 20,000 FB vs 16,000 LD, 3050 HR on FB, 426 on LD
2020: nearly equal PAs FB vs LD, 609 HR on FB, 534 on LD
2021: 3900 FB vs 2859 LD, 506 HR on FB, 82 on LD

BAfb has gone from 234 to 159 to 218, LD from 633 to 645 to 633. HR/FB (not including LD) has gone up from 15.3% to 9.8% to 13.0%. HR/(FB+LD) has gone from 9.7% to 9.2% to 8.7%.

I guess they couldn't have on-site stringers, not sure how they measured that in 2020.

Anyway, not much reason to get too excited about shifting to GBs. In 2019, BAgb was 240 vs BAfb of 234 (and 633 on LD); in 2021, it's 229 vs 218 (and 633). You'll need to cut HRs a lot more than this to increase that gap substantially ... and you're still left with a 230 GB league, not very exciting.

The BA crisis is all about Ks. Hits are and always have been about LDs, not GBs or FBs. The value of the average FB is way, way higher than the average GB (891 OPS vs 482). A gap that big can never be closed but cutting HRs obviously reduces it. I'm not aware of any reason to think a "GB approach" produces more LDs than a "FB approach" but that gap will have to be large enough to close the FB-GB OPS gap.

Trajectory splits go back to 1988, I am not gonna bother whether consistently defined (something really weird happened 2000-2002). The highest was 1994 at 251. The 5-year run of 2014-18 takes up 5 of the top 8 spots, ranging from 242 to 247. The most GBs were 61,000 in 2003; 2019 was under 54,000 and the fewest of the 2nd expansion era. (FB + LD) also went down.

Between 2003 and 2019, Ks increased by 12,000.
   6. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:05 AM (#6017978)
Visiting my parents for Mother's Day, I watched two games in one day today for the first time all year--LAD/LAA and PHL/ATL. I love baseball, but with the approach of the hitters, the parade of fresh arms, and the shifts, it was, well, pretty boring. I realize that these are comically unoriginal thoughts, but I was really struck by it today. Dodgers/Angels was close, and Bellinger and Rendon sat which affected the lineups, but it just seemed a little dead even with guys like Ohtani, Bauer, Trout, Freeman, Harper, Acuna (players are more talented than ever).Take, try to rake, hit the ball into the teeth of the shift, run through relievers inning by inning after the 6th. Repeat.
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 07:40 AM (#6017981)
The BA crisis is all about Ks.

No kidding.

BA and K/9

2000: .270 / 6.45

2021: .234 / 9.00

Jim Palmer's suggestion for improving the offense is to lower the mound, as they did in 1969. Why not? Add the robo-umps, and we might see some progress. At the rate we're going, we might as well change the name of the game to "Strikeouts and Home Runs".
   8. DL from MN Posted: May 10, 2021 at 07:54 AM (#6017983)
The BA crisis is all about Ks.


Agree 100%. The only thing that they can alter about the ball to reduce Ks is to make it heavier.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 08:21 AM (#6017987)
Agree 100%. The only thing that they can alter about the ball to reduce Ks is to make it heavier.


That doesn't help BA.

We know what will...
   10. Rally Posted: May 10, 2021 at 08:33 AM (#6017990)
You definitely don’t want a shift to players who hit ground balls. This year ground balls result in only a .225 average. And nearly all of those hits are singles.
   11. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 08:45 AM (#6017991)
What's the argument against lowering the mound, other than "Pitchers won't like it"? It worked the last time they did it.
   12. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 10, 2021 at 08:48 AM (#6017992)
What's the argument against lowering the mound, other than "Pitchers won't like it"? It worked the last time they did it.


Will that result in what we are looking for (more balls in play? more action?) or just more homers? That isn't necessarily a bad thing, I saw a documentary about women liking the long ball a few years ago, but is that what we want to do?
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 08:54 AM (#6017993)

Will that result in what we are looking for (more balls in play? more action?) or just more homers?


That's the rub. As far as I'm concerned, the proper solution has to a) reduce strikeouts, b) reduce homers, c) keep overall run scoring at acceptable levels.
   14. Rally Posted: May 10, 2021 at 09:06 AM (#6017995)
I am definitely in favor of lowering the mound. Maybe even eliminate it, just pitch from flat ground. It's worth a try to bring strikeouts down.
   15. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 09:14 AM (#6017996)
I also think lowering the mound is worth a shot. If the ball is coming in to the batter on a flatter plane, the golf swings to generate that sweet sweet perfect launch angle are going to have to get even more exaggerated which I suspect will lead to more pop-ups and cans of corn than anything else. In an ideal world, batters will have to flatten their swings in response to make solid contact, but who knows given how much they adapt now to beat easily-beatable infield shifts.
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 10:03 AM (#6018002)
What's the argument against lowering the mound, other than "Pitchers won't like it"? It worked the last time they did it.

Will that result in what we are looking for (more balls in play? more action?) or just more homers? That isn't necessarily a bad thing, I saw a documentary about women liking the long ball a few years ago, but is that what we want to do?


I can't speak for anyone but myself, but my objective would be to reduce the strikeout rate, increase batting averages, and put more balls in play. I think it's definitely worth a shot, because there's nothing that makes baseball more unwatchable than the increasing predictability of strikeouts whenever there are two strikes on most batters. I've become almost numb to it.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#6018006)
Lowering the mound is such an obvious solution, I can't believe Manfred hasn't given it more lip service. Does that have to be negotiated with the union?
   18. bunyon Posted: May 10, 2021 at 10:24 AM (#6018008)
Lower the mound three inches and push every fence back 20 feet and raise them ten.

Yes, I know there are seats there. Don't care. MLB has plenty of money to lose those seats and do the construction work. More field, more balls in play. I'll allow the Monster on the grounds it's high enough already.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 10:47 AM (#6018011)
Yes, I know there are seats there. Don't care. MLB has plenty of money to lose those seats and do the construction work. More field, more balls in play. I'll allow the Monster on the grounds it's high enough already.

A solution that requires tens of millions of dollars to be spent in each of thirty parks is a non-starter.
   20. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6018013)
Lowering the mound is such an obvious solution, I can't believe Manfred hasn't given it more lip service. Does that have to be negotiated with the union?
Not if he announces the change and then waits a year to implement it. And not necessarily, even if he were to implement it immediately, per the actual CBA language.

Nonetheless, the players will posture that it has to be negotiated, and Manfred will play along to avoid confrontation, and nothing will get done.
   21. bunyon Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:23 AM (#6018014)
A solution that requires tens of millions of dollars to be spent in each of thirty parks is a non-starter.

A solution originating on a backwater webpage is, as well. I get what you're saying and you're not wrong. But no one in MLB is looking here for solutions and all the solutions we propose are well known and possible.


However, I think more field is the only certain solution to the problem. Sabermetrics won. Swinging for the fences is a winning strategy. Walking is a winning strategy. Strikeouts are only, sometimes, a microscopic amount worse than an in-play out. That will not change if the strikezone grows or shrinks, if the ball is deader, slicker, heavier or wider.

We need it to both become much harder to hit a homerun and for those batted balls that would have left the field to not turn into routine fly outs. Therefore, we need bigger outfields. The batters are going to swing for fly balls. That's the smart thing to do. They're not going to care if they strike out. Why would they?
   22. Baldrick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:43 AM (#6018018)
I've basically been persuaded that shortening the distance between bases would help a good amount. I've also come around on strict limits on the number of pitchers you can carry to reduce the parade of 100 MPH generic relievers.

I also just think smaller gloves would help a lot.
   23. Rally Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:47 AM (#6018019)
If we want more balls in play to end up with a batter reaching base, maybe we should go back to gloves with no webbing.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:52 AM (#6018021)
However, I think more field is the only certain solution to the problem. Sabermetrics won. Swinging for the fences is a winning strategy. Walking is a winning strategy. Strikeouts are only, sometimes, a microscopic amount worse than an in-play out. That will not change if the strikezone grows or shrinks, if the ball is deader, slicker, heavier or wider.

We need it to both become much harder to hit a homerun and for those batted balls that would have left the field to not turn into routine fly outs. Therefore, we need bigger outfields. The batters are going to swing for fly balls. That's the smart thing to do. They're not going to care if they strike out. Why would they?


If the ball has enough drag that most hitters can't hit more than 10 HR per season, they'll have to stop trying for HR.
   25. bunyon Posted: May 10, 2021 at 11:57 AM (#6018023)
All these ideas that prompt hitters to change strategy I like. However, we aren't seeing any indication that hitters change strategy. The shift is fairly old now and no one is bunting or going the other way. Front offices aren't "smart" now, they're formerly "smart" guys who have locked in on what they learned and that is to walk, play slow, and swing for the fences. Sure, if we make these small adjustments, in 20 years, we may be back to a faster paced, more balls in play game.

We'll also be fifth in popularity in the US. (And I'll be in my 70s).

So, sure, those are the only changes likely to occur. And they might, someday, fix the problems.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 12:07 PM (#6018026)
I've basically been persuaded that shortening the distance between bases would help a good amount.


Woo hoo.

I also just think smaller gloves would help a lot.


I don't know the degree to which they will, but it's such an obvious and cost-free solution that it should have happened already.
   27. DL from MN Posted: May 10, 2021 at 12:39 PM (#6018031)
This year ground balls result in only a .225 average. And nearly all of those hits are singles.


Beats the batting average on strikeouts.
   28. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 10, 2021 at 01:01 PM (#6018035)
I've also come around on strict limits on the number of pitchers you can carry to reduce the parade of 100 MPH generic relievers.

This is, BY FAR, the easiest fix to today's game. The AAA reliever shuttle is the least appealing facet of the game. No one is a fan of it, no one would be sad to see it go.

Fewer pitchers on the roster helps in so many ways. Starters will be expected to go further. Relievers will be able to go further. Both sets of pitchers can't go full 100% on every pitch, then milk 45 seconds between pitches to add 0.1mpg to your next pitch. Strikeouts will go down.

More position players on the bench leads to more types of players in the game, and more strategy. When your bench is two guys, you are super constrained. When you have 5 guys, strategy is completely different.

But this is a pipe dream. The entire league is working in the opposite direction. There is zero political will in the game to make this change.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 01:14 PM (#6018038)
But this is a pipe dream. The entire league is working in the opposite direction. There is zero political will in the game to make this change.

It's very strange. Don't they see their attendance is down? Don't they hear rapid fans saying what an aesthetic disaster the game is?

Owners should care what's the optimal strategy. It's a zero sum game for them collectively. If rule changes make it harder for ALL teams to optimize, but make the game more appealing, that's a huge win with no cost to the league as a whole.
   30. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 01:30 PM (#6018042)

However, I think more field is the only certain solution to the problem.


why would you think that? Why would anyone think that? Wouldnt deadening the ball decrease HRs? Isnt that as certain as anything?

(you would already acknowledge lowering the mound etc. would decrease strikeouts yes?)


Agree 100%. The only thing that they can alter about the ball to reduce Ks is to make it heavier.


Again what the fuq ? why is your argument confied to "altering the ball"? LIke we can't do anything else to the game other than alter the ball. You can lower the mound. YOu can reduce pitchers on the roster. YOu can make them stop taking 22 sec to deliver the pitch. There's not only one thing they can do.

[I've gone back to read post no. 8 to make sure Im not taking something out of context that is very specific to the ball. But no, you seem to be responding to strikeout issue in general. ]


The BA crisis is all about Ks.


Agreed and yet in several other threads earlier this season you've been arguing that KOs dont matter to the hitters approach. That there's some sort of one way street that says that hitters dont care about them so they can swing for HRs but pitchers cant change their approach or something..


Strikeouts are only, sometimes, a microscopic amount worse than an in-play out. That will not change if the strikezone grows or shrinks..


what the hell is wrong with you? its like people keep repeating this meme that KOs (sorry Walt, I know its "K") don't matter so now its fact.

If you cut down strike outs to their yr 2000 level you cut out what 10% strikeouts?

If you turn 10 strike outs into batted balls, that would produce 3 more hits (there's BB to figure in there as well but say roughly).

Thus, if you return strikeouts to their normal levels ba should go up by 30 pts.

Do you not understand that?

It's not quote: "a microscopic amount". If you do that math, and this is back of the envelope on the fly guess, a strike out is worth 0.13 runs more than a ball in play. Right? Thats not microscopic.

It seems like people collectively lose their minds any time an emotional issue comes up. And I guess for baseball nerds TTO is really an emotional issue.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 01:55 PM (#6018046)
It's not quote: "a microscopic amount". If you do that math, and this is back of the envelope on the fly guess, a strike out is worth 0.13 runs more than a ball in play. Right? Thats not microscopic.


He's not comparing striking out with putting the ball in play. He's comparing striking out to grounding out or flying out. That's what he means by "strikeouts are only, sometimes, a microscopic amount worse than an in-play out. And he's right. In-play outs are slightly more valuable due to advancement possibilities (largely offset by greater DP opportunities), but it is a pretty tiny difference (made even more so by the growing absence of anyone on base).



   32. bunyon Posted: May 10, 2021 at 02:40 PM (#6018053)
Wouldnt deadening the ball decrease HRs? Isnt that as certain as anything?

And, given the current ball parks, almost all of those HR turn into fly outs. A lot of line drive singles don't get through and turn into groundouts. Converting Ks to outs will slightly speed up games, which is good, and an out on a ball in play is certainly better than a K. I'd be fine deadening the ball. It would likely increase action. But it will decrease scoring, which isn't at a weirdly high place.

But, again, deadening the ball does nothing to affect the K rate. Hitters are going to swing for the fences. Difference between a strikeout and a fly out/ground out is miniscule in terms of strategy. Hitting HR will still be the most efficient method for scoring runs. Plus, we have a generation of baseball players built to swing for HR. Deadening the ball will just see those guys go from 30 HR to 20. Or 15. Or 10, depending on how much you deaden the ball.

It seems like people collectively lose their minds any time an emotional issue comes up. And I guess for baseball nerds TTO is really an emotional issue.

They also lose the ability to read, apparently.
   33. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 10, 2021 at 02:44 PM (#6018054)
But, again, deadening the ball does nothing to affect the K rate. Hitters are going to swing for the fences. Difference between a strikeout and a fly out/ground out is miniscule in terms of strategy. Hitting HR will still be the most efficient method for scoring runs. Plus, we have a generation of baseball players built to swing for HR. Deadening the ball will just see those guys go from 30 HR to 20. Or 15. Or 10, depending on how much you deaden the ball.

Impossible to prove, but I believe you are flat out wrong. If swinging for the fences results in 10 HR a year, players will adjust, and the substance of the game will change. Putting the ball in play will become much more valuable, and players will adjust.

I don't understand this seemingly widespread belief that the current generation of players is completely unable to alter their swing or improve at the game of baseball. They have NOT been thinking launch angle since birth, it is still a very recent focus. They don't have ONE TRUE UPPERCUT that cannot be modified.

   34. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 02:54 PM (#6018056)
Impossible to prove, but I believe you are flat out wrong. If swinging for the fences results in 10 HR a year, players will adjust, and the substance of the game will change. Putting the ball in play will become much more valuable, and players will adjust.


Maybe. But if deadening the ball results in a drop in all positive swing outcomes, it won't necessarily have the desired effect (it will just reduce offensive levels). It may still benefit hitters to swing as hard as possible, even if doesn't result in as many homers or doubles as the approach yields now.

To make putting the ball in play more valuable, MLB likely needs to take steps to do just that (whether that's the relatively minor such as smaller gloves (and anything similar) to the more dramatic such as reduced distance between the bases).


   35. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:18 PM (#6018067)
If you cut down strike outs to their yr 2000 level you cut out what 10% strikeouts?

FTR, strikeout rates are up 40% from their 2000 levels. Nobody who's been watching games this year will be surprised at that statistic.

Lower the mound. Put in robo-umps to restore the rule book strike zone.** Limit the number of pitchers on the roster. Enforce the pitch clock.

Do all of that and you'll decrease strikeouts, increase offense, and speed up the game without having to tamper with the ball, the gloves, the distance between bases, or the distance between the mound and the plate.

** EVERY DAY AND NIGHT you see players rung up on balls that are outside the strike zone, mostly on the lower and outside corners. Human umps are obviously incapable of fixing this on their own.
   36. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:24 PM (#6018070)
He's comparing striking out to grounding out or flying out.


But then why is he doing that? Its not like pitchers choose to change a ground ball out into a strikeout. If a pitcher doesnt get the K, then the ball is in play. Yes? So why are we now comparing ground outs to Ks?

My pt. was changing half the Ks into Balls in Play should see .ba go up by 30 pts.

What is his pt then?
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:28 PM (#6018073)
Do all of that and you'll decrease strikeouts, increase offense, and speed up the game without having to tamper with the ball, the gloves, the distance between bases, or the distance between the mound and the plate.


That's some fanciful thinking. It's complete guesswork, and works on the bizarre assumption the currently called strike zone only benefits the pitcher (which it doesn't), but it's definitely fanciful.
   38. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:31 PM (#6018074)
And, given the current ball parks, almost all of those HR turn into fly outs. A lot of line drive singles don't get through and turn into groundouts. Converting Ks to outs will slightly speed up games, which is good, and an out on a ball in play is certainly better than a K. I'd be fine deadening the ball. It would likely increase action. But it will decrease scoring, which isn't at a weirdly high place.

But, again, deadening the ball does nothing to affect the K rate. Hitters are going to swing for the fences. Difference between a strikeout and a fly out/ground out is miniscule in terms of strategy. Hitting HR will still be the most efficient method for scoring runs. Plus, we have a generation of baseball players built to swing for HR. Deadening the ball will just see those guys go from 30 HR to 20. Or 15. Or 10, depending on how much you deaden the ball.


you begin to make arguments then half way through you contradict your own self, lets take this:

Hitting HR will still be the most efficient method for scoring runs.




YOu just got done theorizing in the para. immediately preceding this, that HRs will drop to zero. Literally thats what you just said, here:

....almost all of those HR turn into fly outs


you cant have it both ways. YOu can theorize that all HRs (really?) will just disappear and then batters will still swing for the fences. That makes no sense.

or this:

Deadening the ball will just see those guys go from 30 HR to 20. Or 15. Or 10, depending on how much you deaden the ball.


again you're contradicting your initial sentence. Maybe this all makes sense to you in your mind, but your definitely not explaining things in understandable english.

   39. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:33 PM (#6018075)
What is his pt then?


The same point that has been made to you dozens of times, to no avail. Strikeouts don't just happen because pitchers seek them out. They also happen because of an approach the batters have taken. Swinging for the fences leads to homers, plus walks and strikeouts. Since a strikeout is no worse than any other kind of out (though, yes, decidedly worse than putting the ball in play), they've concluded, quite sensibly, they will sacrifice balls in play for greater oomph when they make contact. It's an approach that predated the launch angle era, but has taken off even more since that became a widespread philosophy.
   40. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:34 PM (#6018076)
It's complete guesswork, and works on the bizarre assumption the currently called strike zone only benefits the pitcher (which it doesn't)


is there any sort of study done that issue? I tend to feel like Andy does but have no real idea. Isnt it Rally that is vociferous that robot strike zone will lead more offense, if so then color him the same as Andy.
   41. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:36 PM (#6018077)

The same point that has been made to you dozens of times, to no avail. Strikeouts don't just happen because pitchers seek them out. They also happen because of an approach the batters have taken.


I know that and I dont disagree.

Do you disagree that if Ks decrease ba would increase?
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:37 PM (#6018079)
you cant have it both ways. YOu can theorize that all HRs (really?) will just disappear and then batters will still swing for the fences. That makes no sense.


Instead of thinking about swinging for the fences, think about swinging for maximizing hard contact. Batters may still be incentivized to optimize how hard they hit the ball.

If you deaden the ball in such a way that it reduces homers, but leaves the other events largely unchanged, then we would likely get the desired outcome (or, at least we would be on our way to the desired outcome).

However, if you deaden the ball in such a way that it reduces all offensive events (singles, doubles and triples as well as dingers), then swinging your hardest may still be the most sensible strategy. In this scenario, all we would do is reduce offensive levels.

Do you disagree that if Ks decrease ba would increase?


No, that should indeed happen, absent some countering change.

   43. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:40 PM (#6018081)
is there any sort of study done that issue? I tend to feel like Andy does but have no real idea. Isnt it Rally that is vociferous that robot strike zone will lead more offense, if so then color him the same as Andy.


I don't think there's any way of knowing what the effect would be without knowing how the zone is sized. Obviously, MLB could tweak the zone to get the desired levels of offense, but I don't know how well they could tweak it to simultaneously get the desired offensive levels and strikeout rates.

   44. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:43 PM (#6018082)
Since a strikeout is no worse than any other kind of out (though, yes, decidedly worse than putting the ball in play), they've concluded, quite sensibly, they will sacrifice balls in play for greater oomph when they make contact. It's an approach that predated the launch angle era,


BUt would this be true when HR rates are significantly lower? Say in the early dead ball era? Or in a similar manner, this approach would not likely work for Bucky Dent or Mario Mendoza would it? So it cant be some sort of universal truth for all batters, in all eras.

So isnt this reasoning a function of, whatever the normal HR rate would be given a normal approach to the AB?
   45. Rally Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:45 PM (#6018083)
Isnt it Rally that is vociferous that robot strike zone will lead more offense, if so then color him the same as Andy.


I didn't think I was being vociferous about it, but that's my theory. I think a hitter can be much more comfortable in his approach at the plate if he knows what will and will not be called a strike. When you see a hitter take a pitch that he can't hit on a 1-1 count, and it's called a strike anyway, he now has to be ready to swing at anything.

But pitchers might benefit too from a consistently called game. I guess we'll find out who is helped/hurt more when MLB tries it.
   46. Rally Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:49 PM (#6018084)
I don't understand this seemingly widespread belief that the current generation of players is completely unable to alter their swing or improve at the game of baseball. They have NOT been thinking launch angle since birth, it is still a very recent focus. They don't have ONE TRUE UPPERCUT that cannot be modified.


Absolutely. Look at the Dodger's roster. Half the guys on the team were utility infielders or non-prospects who all of a sudden learned how to optimize their swings. If they need to adjust to a different swing type, give them a year and I'm sure their batting Yoda can help them make the adjustment.
   47. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:51 PM (#6018085)
However, if you deaden the ball in such a way that it reduces all offensive events (singles, doubles and triples as well as dingers), then swinging your hardest may still be the most sensible strategy.


but this is a hard world to imagine as well. lets say in an extreme environment you manage to cut out 80% of HRs. you couldnt still cut out 80% of singles would you? there would still be stuff like GBs going through the infield, and bloopers landing where no one is.

Let me ask you this: are ALL base hits a function of being hit hard? If your answer is no, then it doesnt seem possible that deadening the ball would decrease singles as the same rate as HRs.

Because HRs are assuredly a function of bat speed/power (i.e. momentum) not all singles are.

If that's true, then deadening the ball cant have the same effect on singles as it does on HRs.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:52 PM (#6018086)
BUt would this be true when HR rates are significantly lower?


Possibly, but I think the move to the swing your ass off school is less a reaction to the environment and more a simple recognition that swinging from the heels is the optimal strategy against increasingly better pitching/defense, at least as the game is currently structured. That's why my suspicion is something more radical is required to discourage this batting approach.
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:56 PM (#6018087)
Let me ask you this: are ALL base hits a function of being hit hard? If your answer is no, then it doesnt seem possible that deadening the ball would decrease singles as the same rate as HRs.


No, it wouldn't decrease at the same rate, but I'm also not sure it has to. If you have an offensive environment where it's really difficult to string together positive offensive events, then hoping for an XBH may still be your best bet.
   50. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:57 PM (#6018088)
Lets put some numbers on that idea to give it more meaning.

Lets say currently for every 100 AB, theres:

16 singles
5 doubles;
4 HRs.

It may not be exactly that, but it something close. I think those numbers do work out to about .420 slug if memory serves.

Lets say you deaden the ball enuf to cut HRs in half. SO now every 100 AB:

2 HRs.

Do you really think its possible that singles would then drop to 8?

Does anyone else think that?

Even historically, even in dead ball eras, that's never been true.
   51. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 03:59 PM (#6018090)
Do all of that and you'll decrease strikeouts, increase offense, and speed up the game without having to tamper with the ball, the gloves, the distance between bases, or the distance between the mound and the plate.

That's some fanciful thinking. It's complete guesswork, and works on the bizarre assumption the currently called strike zone only benefits the pitcher (which it doesn't), but it's definitely fanciful.


The "guesswork" here is unfortunately being done by way too many umpires, who consistently try and fail to guess the strike zone boundaries:

MLB Umpires Missed 34,294 Ball-Strike Calls in 2018. Bring on Robo-umps?

Research results demonstrate that umpires in certain circumstances overwhelmingly favored the pitcher over the batter. For a batter with a two-strike count, umpires were twice as likely to call a true ball a strike (29 percent of the time) than when the count was lower (15 percent). These error rates have declined since 2008 (35.20 percent), but still are too high. During the 2018 season, this two-strike count error rate was 21.50 percent and repeated 2,107 times. The impact of constant miscalls include overinflated pitcher strikeout percentages and suppressed batting averages. Last season, umpires were three times more likely to incorrectly send a batter back to the dugout than to miss a ball-4 walk call (7 percent). Based on the 11 regular seasons worth of data analyzed, almost one-third of batters called out looking at third strikes had good reason to be angry.


But in any event, robo-umps are but one part of the answer. Lowering the mound, reducing the number of pitchers on the roster, and strictly enforcing the pitch clock are also ways to goose up the offense and speed up the game.
   52. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:03 PM (#6018092)
Even in 1968 AL; for every 100 AB:

17 singles,
4 doubles,
2 HRs.

SoSh you are now hypothesizing an offensive environment more extreme than that? Correct?

Like what? Give us some numbers:

12 singles
3 doubles
2 HRs? Something like that? thats never gonna happen dude
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:03 PM (#6018093)
But in any event, robo-umps are but one part of the answer. Lowering the mound, reducing the number of pitchers on the roster, and strictly enforcing the pitch clock are also ways to goose up the offense and speed up the game.


It could help, for sure. As I've said time and again, I'm skeptical we will dent the strikeout plague until we do something that legitimately incentivizes putting the ball in play. None of your solutions does that.
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:06 PM (#6018094)
SoSh you are now hypothesizing an offensive environment more extreme than that? Correct?


Given we're currently sitting in a .234 BA environment before the ball is deadened, that doesn't look that extreme.
   55. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:07 PM (#6018095)
If you have an offensive environment where it's really difficult to string together positive offensive events, then hoping for an XBH may still be your best bet.


Like whats wrong with that? Hasnt that always been true?

*****

Last season, umpires were three times more likely to incorrectly send a batter back to the dugout than to miss a ball-4 walk call (7 percent).


Intuitively, it feels that way to me. But I dont watch much regular season.

Thanks for the data Andy.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:14 PM (#6018098)
There's no particular reason you can't reduce HRs by increasing drag, which making the ball livelier. We have incredible synthetic materials.

Make the core like a superball and make the cover have enough resistance that FBs die.
   57. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:14 PM (#6018099)

12 singles
3 doubles
2 HRs? Something like that? thats never gonna happen dude


Why not? It seems pretty logical to me that a ball that doesn't travel as far or as fast is going to have a pretty substantial effect across the board. And potentially it's worse than that because some fly balls that are currently outs will become singles at first dropping in front of outfielders. However as teams see the impact of the dead ball they will have outfielders playing a step or two shallower and taking those away.
   58. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:16 PM (#6018100)
Like whats wrong with that? Hasnt that always been true?


Probably, though I don't think it's always been understood.

Let me summarize my thoughts here.

I think MLB's second-biggest problem (after the deathly pace) is the scarcity of balls in play.

Since I think that problem is as much a function of the offense as the pitching, I think to fix that you can't just make pitching more difficult (you can adjust offensive levels that way, but you can't make hitters change their approach).

To fix the issue, you need to figure out how to improve BABIP, to truly incentivize putting the ball in play vs. swinging and missing.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so, actually, and that some of the more modest solutions fix the problems. But I doubt it. I think you need to increase BABIP.

And if I'm right, tell me how else we can do that.
   59. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6018104)
To fix the issue, you need to figure out how to improve BABIP, to truly incentivize putting the ball in play vs. swinging and missing.

Yes. Exactly. Lively ball with high drag. Anyone except the top-20 sluggers should basically be unable to hit an opposite field HR.
   60. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:21 PM (#6018105)
I don't see roboumps on balls/strikes being beneficial to a game suited to balls in play. A more consistent strike zone means hitters can more confidently take a close pitch. I'm curious the effect in the leagues where they are testing it because frankly I can think of a lot of potential changes, some good, some terrible. As a fan I think roboumps change the game dramatically in a way I won't like at all.

There's no particular reason you can't reduce HRs by increasing drag, which making the ball livelier. We have incredible synthetic materials.

Make the core like a superball and make the cover have enough resistance that FBs die.


Now THIS intrigues me. This is a suggestion I haven't seen before and it sounds really interesting. I'm a little skeptical of it but man if that could work that seems like it would be excellent. That would be interesting.

Of course all of this is balderdash. I think one very very very simple change and one challenging but obvious change would create what a lot of us want. Make the pitchers throw the ####### ball and hitters stay in the batters box. That's the easy one. The challenging one is to drastically reduce the number of available relievers. That should be easy but of course the MLBPA is rightly going to throw a fit over that one so it's not that simple. For my money until MLB makes at least the first of those two changes I don't want to see any other drastic moves.
   61. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:25 PM (#6018107)
As I've said time and again, I'm skeptical we will dent the strikeout plague until we do something that legitimately incentivizes putting the ball in play. None of your solutions does that.
What does "legitimately" mean here?

But in any event, lowering the mound helped reduce strikeouts once, and could do it again. Reducing the number of pitchers on the roster would force starters to work deeper into games, or at least stop the endless parade of fresh arms to the mound. Forcing pitchers to speed up between pitchers would reduce their rest time and somewhat diminish their effectiveness. And in spite of your insistence that bad calls don't help pitchers, that study I linked to above showed that it did, especially favoring pitchers when the count was two strikes.

Put all of these together, and you'll see fewer strikeouts and a likely increase in offense. Whether it'd affect the home run totals is less certain, but to be honest that's a secondary concern for me. I just want to see fewer strikeouts, more balls put in play, and pitchers who don't dawdle.

   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:32 PM (#6018110)
I don't see roboumps on balls/strikes being beneficial to a game suited to balls in play. A more consistent strike zone means hitters can more confidently take a close pitch.

Which means they won't be rung up nearly as much on bad calls, which will let them live to the next pitch, which they can then put in play. That alone will cut down strikeouts.
   63. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 10, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#6018112)
Which means they won't be rung up nearly as much on bad calls, which will let them live to the next pitch, which they can then put in play. That alone will cut down strikeouts.


Or it will dramatically increase walks.
   64. bunyon Posted: May 10, 2021 at 05:14 PM (#6018118)
There's no particular reason you can't reduce HRs by increasing drag, which making the ball livelier. We have incredible synthetic materials.

Make the core like a superball and make the cover have enough resistance that FBs die.


Hang on. We can't build taller walls or move them back but we can completely re-do the ball and then also mass produce it?

That's high end materials science you're suggesting.

I'm not against it but it isn't nearly as simple as you're suggesting.
   65. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 05:16 PM (#6018120)

I think MLB's second-biggest problem (after the deathly pace) is the scarcity of balls in play.


Totally agree. I think they're both about equally bad.


Since I think that problem is as much a function of the offense as the pitching


I have to admit Ive never really given that much consideration. I mean you have a good point here, Im just not sure how much "blame" to assign batters vs pitchers.


To fix the issue, you need to figure out how to improve BABIP, to truly incentivize putting the ball in play vs. swinging and missing.


well what's the break even pt? Since you're the one promoting this argument, how much would you have to increase BaBiP to cut down on swings/misses? .340? .320? SUrely you can do the math and put out a number.
   66. bunyon Posted: May 10, 2021 at 05:21 PM (#6018121)
My only point is that players who have grown up prioritizing the HR are not going to start slap hitting because you make a small change. They've been given free bases for a few years now and no one has changed their approach because, and the data is there on this, taking a few more singles at the expense of HR isn't a good trade for the offense.

Players today hit the ball farther than they used to at all positions of the order. Maybe you can get the ball just right that BA goes up on the current balls in play but I think any strategy depending on batters actively trying to K less is doomed to fail. We worked hard to convince them a K isn't a big deal and they finally learned the lesson.
   67. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 05:30 PM (#6018123)
Which means they won't be rung up nearly as much on bad calls, which will let them live to the next pitch, which they can then put in play. That alone will cut down strikeouts.

Or it will dramatically increase walks.


Why the either / or? It'll obviously do both,** and if pitchers adjust to strike zone reality, the effect on walks might not be all that great.

** Just to take the most clear cut example, a 3-2 pitch that's incorrectly called a strike by a human ump, but now is correctly called a ball by a robo-ump, will reduce strikeouts and increase walks.

But a similar 0-2 or 1-2 or 2-2 pitch that's now correctly called a ball will result in another pitch that could be put in play.

And once pitchers get it through their heads that they won't be getting gift strikeouts, they might stop trying to expand the strike zone quite as much as they do now. That'd also result in fewer strikeouts and more balls put in play, as there's more contact within the rule book strike zone than there is outside of it.
   68. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 05:31 PM (#6018124)
I think any strategy depending on batters actively trying to K less is doomed to fail. We worked hard to convince them a K isn't a big deal and they finally learned the lesson.

THANKS OBAMA
   69. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 10, 2021 at 05:56 PM (#6018130)
I'll trot out my favorite idea again. If we need more balls in play, make sure any time an at bat ends with contact, the ball is put in play: ban home runs. Anything out of play is foul. A hard swing with an upper cut is now a recipe for getting a strike. Optimal strategy is bunts and steals - you know, fun baseball. Also, more games end with 1-0 scores (and the like) which should make outcomes less predictable and so increase parity, which sounds people like.
   70. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 05:59 PM (#6018132)
And to put it even a little more succinctly: Don't you have to first hypothesize a "normal" HR rate would be before you can suggest what your new ideal BaBiP should be?

Its not even understood what normal would mean. But your suggestion is that batters have developed a more pronounced swing from the heels approach, so I guess we have to figure out what a normal rate would be if batters were swinging in a more normal fashion whatever that is. ...

Its problematical as I see it, because if I am to understand SoSH correctly, he's saying that batters should have been doing this from the beginning of time. And so whatever they were doing the first 100 years of baseball was less than ideal so what is a normal swing, if the Charley Lau line drive swing of the 1970s was wrong to begin with?

Or maybe you have to ask yourself, how many more HRs do we ascribe to batters taking a pronounced take n rake approach vs what they were doing in the 1970s? 1% increase in HRs? Less? more?
   71. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 10, 2021 at 07:21 PM (#6018143)
Hang on. We can't build taller walls or move them back but we can completely re-do the ball and then also mass produce it?


I don’t know how feasible snapper’s suggestion for adjusting the ball is but if it is feasible it sounds intriguing. The problem with taller walls or moving walls back is that you are eliminating seats and I don’t think that’s realistic. The owners won’t go for that.
   72. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 10, 2021 at 08:58 PM (#6018163)
The simple fact is, analytics plus enhanced training techniques have destroyed the game's balance. If the folks running the game had imagination, they'd realize this and make actual adjustments.

Like many human endeavors, games evolve with an S-curve - a slow period of evolution until the game "starts becoming really fun", then a steep rise as many people play the game, exploit the rules, and the rules then change rapidly to keep the game "in balance", then an asymptotic curve as the rules solidify.

Sometimes, though, one has a cataclysmic event, giving what evolutionists call "punctuated equilibrium". For the mammals of North and South America, there were 2 such events, the first was the formation of the Panamanian isthmus, leading to the "Great American Interchange", where animals from North and South America mixed, leading to some extinctions but also giant ground sloths in North America. The second was the arrival of humans over the Bering Land Bridge, leading to the extinction of most North and South American megafauna.

In baseball, the great cataclysmic event has been the advent of advanced training techniques plus analytics. Fastballs are too fast, but at the same time batters are too strong, and too aware that their best hope is a home run. Both batters and pitchers have realized there is little personal advantage to hurrying up between pitches, and no effective penalty against taking one's time. Analytics have determined that what used to be called "strategy", the stolen base, the bunt, are largely ineffective, and analytics (and economics) have also determined that 9 faceless one-inning pitchers that throw 100 mph are both more effective and more fungible than 9 innings of Rick Reuschel, especially if one can use film to create the perfectly shifted infield. Finally, pitchers realized there was no penalty to throwing over to a base as many times as they wanted to, so stolen bases became harder to come by.

So if this was the 1880's, the minders of the game (or some independent league) would get together and make rule changes to make the game move fast and have more action and strategy.

What could one do? Here's some radical proposals, but let's see the Atlantic League try these!

1) Take 10% off the speed of the pitcher - move the mound back 5 feet.
2) Take 10% off the bat speed of the hitter - make the minimum bat weight 3 pounds heavier
3) Make the bunt an effective weapon again - disallow pitchers fielding bunts, or maybe disallow pitchers fielding bunts before they reach the mound.
4) Make the stolen base an effective weapon again - penalize excessive pickoff throws
5) ENFORCE THE PITCH CLOCK
6) Make pitchers throw at least 3 innings per appearance, or be ineligible to pitch in some # of subsequent games.

If all of those things somehow increase offense too much, well, you can deaden the ball some more, make home runs harder to come by. If offense is still too hobbled, lower the mound some too.
   73. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 09:09 PM (#6018166)

Hang on. We can't build taller walls or move them back but we can completely re-do the ball and then also mass produce it?

That's high end materials science you're suggesting.

I'm not against it but it isn't nearly as simple as you're suggesting.


I don’t know how feasible snapper’s suggestion for adjusting the ball is but if it is feasible it sounds intriguing. The problem with taller walls or moving walls back is that you are eliminating seats and I don’t think that’s realistic. The owners won’t go for that.

Given modern technology, should this really be hard? They've had massive variance in baseballs year to year just based on cork, twine, and leather. If we're willing to use modern materials, it should be doable.

If you just take some 200 grit sandpaper to the ball before the game, I bet you could reduce the travel of flyballs significantly.
   74. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 09:27 PM (#6018172)
2) Take 10% off the bat speed of the hitter - make the minimum bat weight 3 pounds heavier

Well, a 77 ounce bat probably would cut down on all those excessive home runs!
   75. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 10, 2021 at 09:31 PM (#6018173)
#74. Thanks! I meant to say 3 ounces. Darn it, pounds/ounces, kilograms/grams.
   76. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: May 10, 2021 at 09:37 PM (#6018174)
They've had massive variance in baseballs year to year just based on cork, twine, and leather.


No, there has been small variance in the balls leading to large variance in effects. So saying

f we're willing to use modern materials, it should be doable.


isn't necessarily straightforward and shouldn't just be assumed like you've done.
   77. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2021 at 09:56 PM (#6018182)
#74. Thanks! I meant to say 3 ounces. Darn it, pounds/ounces, kilograms/grams.

I once had a French teacher at Duke who shouted out in exasperation, "Hommes, femmes, femmes, hommes----Bah, quelle difference?" It happens to the best of us.
   78. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 11, 2021 at 01:14 AM (#6018208)
Maybe making the bats heavier is a bad idea, and instead just some combination of a deader or higher-drag ball will keep offense in balance.
   79. bunyon Posted: May 11, 2021 at 08:58 AM (#6018218)
Given modern technology, should this really be hard?

You're correct, modern materials science is amazing. Given the parameters, I'm sure "we" can come up with a ball that is lively but has a lot of drag and that weighs within 5-10% of what a current ball does. What we can't do is come up with that quickly or in such a way that we'll be able to produce hundreds of thousands at anything close to the price we now do. If prohibitive cost rules out solutions, it rules out this.

Taking sandpaper to balls pre game might produce drag but it will also bring back Greg Maddux (not a bad thing). Increasing drag likely increases pitch movement. A little of that would be good (less solid contact but still contact). A lot of that would be bad (increased missed swings).

I'd favor just ruling that we use one ball per half inning. Yeah, if it's hit out of play, we get it back and put keep using it.

I like the idea of amending what happens on balls hit over the fence. I wouldn't make them foul, but you could draw in rings - ball over the fence but before the first ring is a single. Second ring a double. Third ring a triple. Fourth ring a homer. More guys on base.

I keep coming back to: Don't make player adaptation a key feature of your plan. They don't adapt on that time scale. They adapt well in game. They adapt well generationally. But there is a reason we marvel when a guy markedly changes approach/productivity. It's hard to do. The guys currently swinging for the fences, who refuse or can't go the other way against the shift aren't going to see your deader ball or smaller gloves and think, hey, I can just try to get on base now! They're going to swing for the fences the way they've always done.
   80. bunyon Posted: May 11, 2021 at 09:16 AM (#6018221)
Also, strong concur with the sentiment that if they sped the pace of play up, I wouldn't be nearly so agitated at the style of play.
   81. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 11, 2021 at 09:25 AM (#6018224)
I keep coming back to: Don't make player adaptation a key feature of your plan.

Lower the mound. Put in robo-umps to restore the rule book strike zone. Limit the number of pitchers on the roster. Enforce the pitch clock.

Those measures won't "force" player adaptation,** but they'd incentivize pitchers to adjust in ways that are far less mechanically difficult than batters having to transition from launch angles to Charlie Lau.

** Though the roster limit on pitchers would force managers and GMs to make adjustments in pitcher use.
   82. bunyon Posted: May 11, 2021 at 09:29 AM (#6018225)
I would guess pitchers can adjust easier than hitters. At least, they seem to adapt more often.

I like the idea of limiting pitchers but you probably need to change the CBA. Pitchers haven't learned to pace themselves. First few years of limited number of pitchers are going to use up a lot of options. They will get hurt.
   83. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:14 AM (#6018231)
If you just take some 200 grit sandpaper to the ball before the game, I bet you could reduce the travel of flyballs significantly.


It would also spin like crazy and nobody would be able to hit it.
   84. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#6018233)
weighs within 5-10% of what a current ball does


I'm not sure why people are hesitant to make the ball heavier. A heavier ball will reduce the speed of fastballs, make breaking balls break less, reduce the travel distance of HR and make it more difficult to throw out fast runners. This seems like the recipe to reduce Ks, increase BABIP and bring back the running game.
   85. bunyon Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:25 AM (#6018236)
Arm injuries and control, mostly, DL. Pitchers would have to relearn how to pitch and BB would skyrocket in the short term. I think you're probably right about the effect on the game.
   86. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:38 AM (#6018238)
Arm injuries and control, mostly, DL.


Pitchers currently train with 10 and 12 ounce weighted balls. Arm injuries are as likely to go down as they are to go up. We're talking about an additional ounce at the most. A six ounce ball instead of five ounces. We can increase the weight 1/8 ounce every season for the next several years.
   87. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:42 AM (#6018239)
BTW - the answer for pace of play is a pitch clock and more balls in play. Strikeouts and walks take longer than balls in play.
   88. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:43 AM (#6018241)
I wonder if simply enforcing the pitch clock would have the side effect of reducing the value of those anonymous 100 mph relievers. If they didn't have 30 seconds to recover and prepare for the next pitch, and instead had to just get on the rubber and throw the ball, wouldn't that cut down on their velocity and effectiveness? I don't know, but I'm inclined to think it would.
   89. bunyon Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:59 AM (#6018242)
I agree, Tom. And, since it's a major problem all by itself, you could enforce the clock for a few years and see if we get closer to a pleasant balance.
   90. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:59 AM (#6018243)
I wonder if simply enforcing the pitch clock would have the side effect of reducing the value of those anonymous 100 mph relievers. If they didn't have 30 seconds to recover and prepare for the next pitch, and instead had to just get on the rubber and throw the ball, wouldn't that cut down on their velocity and effectiveness? I don't know, but I'm inclined to think it would.

Hard to prove it, but I'm inclined to think you're right. And if nothing else, it'd cut down a lot of the drama queening that goes on between pitches, like the way pitchers just stand on the rubber and stare at the batter interminably, in an attempt to break the batter's concentration, which then forces the batter to call time, which then starts the cycle all over again. Put a five second time limit on that little move and then call a ball for every violation.
   91. Ron J Posted: May 11, 2021 at 11:03 AM (#6018244)
#90 Wimp. Add an extra official. Arm him. Violators will be shot.
   92. Rally Posted: May 11, 2021 at 11:16 AM (#6018246)
Or maybe you have to ask yourself, how many more HRs do we ascribe to batters taking a pronounced take n rake approach vs what they were doing in the 1970s? 1% increase in HRs? Less? more?


Comparing players today to 100 years ago, I don’t think most players back then were strong enough to make that kind of approach work. Just a few guys who were naturally big and strong. Today, they all lift. Even the small backup infielders.
   93. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 11, 2021 at 11:26 AM (#6018248)
#90 Wimp. Add an extra official. Arm him. Violators and their families will be shot.


FTFY. We don't need people like you mollycoddling these hooligans. It's time to get tough.
   94. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 11, 2021 at 11:28 AM (#6018249)
#90 Wimp. Add an extra official. Arm him. Violators will be shot.
I've long argued for enforcement via wolverines, but I could get on board with your proposal as well.
   95. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 11:43 AM (#6018253)
Comparing players today to 100 years ago, I don’t think most players back then were strong enough to make that kind of approach work. Just a few guys who were naturally big and strong. Today, they all lift. Even the small backup infielders.

So, we need a body fat minimum to play the game. Body fat under 15%, GTFO!
   96. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 11, 2021 at 12:44 PM (#6018267)
#90 Wimp. Add an extra official. Arm him. Violators will be shot.

I've long argued for enforcement via wolverines, but I could get on board with your proposal as well.

And if you really want to produce compliance, force repeat violators to watch an endless loop of Tucker Carlson rants.

Not that that would deter Trevor Bauer, but you can't win em all. With him I'd go with the wolverines.
   97. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 01:12 PM (#6018274)

Comparing players today to 100 years ago, I don’t think most players back then were strong enough to make that kind of approach work. Just a few guys who were naturally big and strong. Today, they all lift. Even the small backup infielders.


Yes of course, no argument from me. So as I struggle to find a way to study SoSH's conjecture (for want of a better term; i.e. that the batters approach is a significant driver of K rates) we can stipulate that at certain points in baseball history the environment changes and what were once static rates start moving in some direction, until they find an equilibrium point.

And by environment, we can define that broadly to include: the composition of the ball, the physique of players, night games, artificial turf, larger stadiums, rules of the game: size of K zone; etc. So anything other than a change in strategy/approach. OK?

Is it then fair to say at certain times in history that baseball reached some equilibrium era where most rates stayed the same? Say perhaps the 1970s. where HR rates were quite stable at about 0.75/game.team from 1971 to 1984 Just for example.

Could we also say at such a time, the game is "solved" as it were and most players have maxed out on their approach? There is no more reason to upper cut the ball, or steal more bases, or try for bunts, because whatever strategies have in place are already at their maximum effectiveness SO LONG as the environment remains the same.

ANd by the same token we can implicitly observe that something in the environment has changed because certain rates are in state of flux (we maybe cant study the inside of a baseball but there is change just the same). As we saw a few days ago when Nawrocki showed the increase in DPs from 1915-25. Is it then fair to say that baseball strategies are in a state of flux and teams/coaches have no yet found the ideal strategy, the ideal distribution of power/obp, or bunting/stealing or relievers/pinch hitters? And of course part of that problem is that teams may not be constructed to take advantage of this new environment. So of course at the start of the lively ball era, in 1920, no one had huge power hitters in their player development system. It would take half decade or more to find and develop: Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons, etc.

So these rates that are in a state of flux are some evidence that players/coaches are adapting their strategies. Until of course we reach another equilibrium period where everyone agrees on the right mix of bunting/stealing, power/obp, etc

OK so maybe can agree to all that....

Between 1999 and 2016 the HR rate is more or less stable at about 1.1. HR/game.team. At least there's no large upticks. There was an uptick in 2017 and HRs in 2017 to 2020 seem to be at this new plateau say 1.25.

BUt as we all know K rates have been increasing every year from 2000 to 2020. And at a very steady rate. Someone had a graphic on reddit the other day showing the MLB record for KOs is 2020 season, followed by 2019 season followed by 2018 all the way back to 1999, quite remarkable. Between 1996 and 1999 its basically stable.

If K rates are increasing and HR rates are staying the same, why would hitters be doing that? Isnt it clear that's pitcher usage driving that? Because its clearly helping pitchers.

So this where Im having a hard time buying into SoSH's conjecture: why would hitters be taking in increasing take/rake approach for 20 years (as evidenced by steady increasing K rates for 20 years) if HR rate is stable? That does not make any sense to me. So that's my big issue with this theory. Obviously we've seen increasing change in how starters/relievers are used in this period and that has to be the driving force for K rates.

But I want to keep an open mind and look forward to criticisms/refinements etc. of what we are all trying to get a grasp of. He has a good point that needs to be addressed so lets do that.
   98. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 01:24 PM (#6018277)
It would also spin like crazy and nobody would be able to hit it.


Isnt this exactly what is happening this season? Granted I get most of my game time coverage via clips posted on Reddit but isnt that some sort of emerging wisdom? That they deadened the ball and made it have more break on it and that's what happening to ba.

Havent studied this, dont have any studies to link to, just what Im starting to hear.
   99. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 01:30 PM (#6018278)
Sometimes, though, one has a cataclysmic event, giving what evolutionists call "punctuated equilibrium". For the mammals of North and South America, there were 2 such events...


Jeezus ####'n Christ. Can our society eradicate all the pernicious influence of the late Stephen J Gould?

I mean, Im sure he was a nice human being and his books are fun to read, and Im sorry he died and all. But he's coming up with these theories for the masses, basically "pop" biology and they're horse sh!t theories. OK?

Darwin's original ideas would already imply what Gould called punctuated equilibrium. Reptiles, birds, fish, they all repplicate in large numbers, and small significant evolutionary advantage is going to be rapidly spread to the new/advanced animal. That's simply going to happen anytime you have a huge number of fish babies with better fins or something. They are going to rapidly repopulate that niche.

Sorry. I just start to froth and shake whenever someone brings up Gould. "BUlly for Brontosaurus"; the "Rightward Tail," "No one will ever hit .400 again..." Whatever the fuq Gould.

****

In baseball, the great cataclysmic event has been...


Really thought you were going to go with: May 5, 1975 the first documented AB where MIke Hargrove adjusted his batting glove. Most of the issues in baseball can be traced to this one seminal event.
   100. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 11, 2021 at 02:00 PM (#6018287)
Is it then fair to say at certain times in history that baseball reached some equilibrium era where most rates stayed the same? Say perhaps the 1970s. where HR rates were quite stable at about 0.75/game.team from 1971 to 1984 Just for example.

Could we also say at such a time, the game is "solved" as it were and most players have maxed out on their approach? There is no more reason to upper cut the ball, or steal more bases, or try for bunts, because whatever strategies have in place are already at their maximum effectiveness SO LONG as the environment remains the same.


This is the characteristics of "asymptote" of the S-curve, where the environment (including the state of analytics, training regimes, the talent pool) has reached a plateau.

What seems to have occurred since then is that many things in the environment changed, from the talent pool (more sophisticated coaching starting down at Little League, for example), to analytics, advanced training regimes, strategies (pitcher usage, increase in time between pitches allowing for greater recovery time both for pitchers and batters), and smaller stadiums. Weirdly enough the overall balance between offense and defense stayed the same - each evolved rapidly, but neither could gain a great advantage, so scoring neither imploded nor exploded, though the components of scoring began to change (walks over hits, for example).

What you have right now is the defense has a HUGE advantage over the offense, with the exception of the home run. Batters feel they can't do anything except, at best, take and rake, where they are raking for the home run. I was listening to the Phillies game on Sunday night (it was on national radio), and Bryce Harper is up with 2 on and 0 outs, facing H. Ynoa. Ynoa is a starter, but he throws 98 mph, with an 86 mph slider, and he knows he is only going to throw maybe 6 innings, so he can throw 98 mph all the time. Bryce Harper is a pretty good hitter, but he all he really can do against that stuff is swing hard and hope, so he strikes out.

And that's what we have got right now. A lot of pitchers who can throw really hard, and know they will be taken out way before they run out of gas. The batters have adjusted by approaching everything like Dave Kingman did (who actually had league-average walk rates), swinging as hard as they can when they do swing, hoping they get enough of it to go over the fence. The only thing that is saving baseball from a whole bunch of 1-0 games is the fact that the pitchers do occasionally make mistakes and the hitters have been good enough so far to capitalize on them by hitting the ball over the fence.

J.D. Martinez basically said the same thing:
J.D. Martinez talks about how hard it is to be a hitter in MLB today

So baseball has to figure out how to decrease the wickedness of the average pitch, that might be making pitchers pitch more innings and take less time between pitches, and probably even still there will still be a need to do something else more drastic like increasing the distance between the mound and home plate. Even with that, you have the problems with the shift, and the batters will probably still need some additional weapons against that, maybe again some rule change that increases the success rate of the bunt.

But whatever one does, one has to find a way fix this imbalance. And enforce the 12-second pitch clock.
Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
rr
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogSan Francisco Giants acquire Kris Bryant from Chicago Cubs for two prospects
(4 - 10:46am, Jul 31)
Last: zenstudent

Gonfalon CubsThis all sucks
(24 - 10:34am, Jul 31)
Last: bfan

NewsblogPadres Acquire Daniel Hudson From Nationals
(8 - 10:24am, Jul 31)
Last: bfan

NewsblogBraves revamp outfield with deals for Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall
(3 - 10:21am, Jul 31)
Last: bfan

NewsblogTrevor Story 'confused' after Rockies keep star shortstop at MLB trade deadline
(6 - 10:20am, Jul 31)
Last: bfan

NewsblogNBA 2021 Playoffs+ thread
(3540 - 10:05am, Jul 31)
Last: Dandy Little Glove Man

NewsblogNew York Yankees acquire LHP Andrew Heaney from Los Angeles Angels for minor leaguers
(1 - 9:38am, Jul 31)
Last: Posada Posse

NewsblogBaseball Hall of Fame denies Curt Schilling's request to be removed from ballot for 2022 vote
(23 - 9:05am, Jul 31)
Last: Tony S

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-30-2021
(55 - 8:17am, Jul 31)
Last: Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(13508 - 3:48am, Jul 31)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogLos Angeles Dodgers acquire veteran pitcher Danny Duffy from Kansas City Royals
(2 - 1:23am, Jul 31)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - In Which Euro 2020 Is Played in 2021
(798 - 12:06am, Jul 31)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogTRADE DEADLINE DECOMPRESSION OMNICHATTER, for July 30, 2021
(79 - 12:04am, Jul 31)
Last: Howie Menckel

Sox TherapyDance With Who Brung Ya'
(9 - 9:12pm, Jul 30)
Last: jacksone (AKA It's OK...)

NewsblogSeattle fills closer role in deal for TB's Diego Castillo
(4 - 7:14pm, Jul 30)
Last: Boxkutter

Page rendered in 0.8314 seconds
48 querie(s) executed