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 Post subject: season HR record and jucied baseballs
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:58 am 
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interesting article on the juicing of baseballs.

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We used to think of the steroid era as the heyday of home run hitting, but our mental image of a juiced-up behemoth crushing the ball needs updating. This year is poised to easily be the most homer-happy on record — and not because of altered player physiques, but rather thanks to physical alterations to certain batches of baseballs that make them fly more freely through the air. What’s more, recent data shows that these less-air-resistant balls probably make up a larger share of all MLB balls today than they did even earlier this season, meaning the game is now consistently being played with a ball that travels farther than usual.

MLB has denied making any intentional changes to the baseball, noting that testing finds the baseball still within established standards. But those specifications are extremely wide, allowing for massive variation in fly ball distance and corresponding shifts in home run rates. If MLB only rejects balls when they lie outside of the standards, there could be wild differences in air resistance between pairs of baseballs.

And we can measure how much air resistance is exerted on a given ball using MLB’s pitch tracking system. By measuring the loss in velocity from a pitcher’s hand to home plate, I calculated the drag coefficient of each pitch thrown in baseball since 2008. Drops in air resistance coincided with jumps in home runs, with drag especially falling for the average pitch this year. My study and a follow-up have demonstrated that this reduced drag could be to blame for some of MLB’s recent home run surge.

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 Post subject: Re: season HR record and jucied baseballs
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:06 pm 
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jebrick wrote:
interesting article on the juicing of baseballs.

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We used to think of the steroid era as the heyday of home run hitting, but our mental image of a juiced-up behemoth crushing the ball needs updating. This year is poised to easily be the most homer-happy on record — and not because of altered player physiques, but rather thanks to physical alterations to certain batches of baseballs that make them fly more freely through the air. What’s more, recent data shows that these less-air-resistant balls probably make up a larger share of all MLB balls today than they did even earlier this season, meaning the game is now consistently being played with a ball that travels farther than usual.

MLB has denied making any intentional changes to the baseball, noting that testing finds the baseball still within established standards. But those specifications are extremely wide, allowing for massive variation in fly ball distance and corresponding shifts in home run rates. If MLB only rejects balls when they lie outside of the standards, there could be wild differences in air resistance between pairs of baseballs.

And we can measure how much air resistance is exerted on a given ball using MLB’s pitch tracking system. By measuring the loss in velocity from a pitcher’s hand to home plate, I calculated the drag coefficient of each pitch thrown in baseball since 2008. Drops in air resistance coincided with jumps in home runs, with drag especially falling for the average pitch this year. My study and a follow-up have demonstrated that this reduced drag could be to blame for some of MLB’s recent home run surge.


Other than Stanton with 55, nobody has a really giant number, and numbers like 55 have happened since the steroid era ended. Maybe players are getting stronger and swinging more for the fences, there aren't weak hitting shortstops and Pete Rose choking up and swinging for ground balls much anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: season HR record and jucied baseballs
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:23 am 
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Home Runs aren't the only record being broken this year....

MLB is currently on pace to set a strike out record for the 10th straight year. We're going to see the 6th straight year of fewest sacrifice hits. 5th straight year for number of pitchers used per game. The last 5 years have all seen the fewest numbers of intentional walks.

Stolen Bases are at their lowest point since the 1970s, while at the same time overall CS% is at record lows.

Small ball is essentially dead, because no managers will take risks anymore. Constantly changing relief pitchers have made the game move at a crawl.

Fielding Percentage is also at an all time high, which doesn't help.


Personal opinion: Sabremetricians and numbers geeks have killed baseball. No one takes risks at the plate or on the bases. It's ungodly boring to watch the latter innings in a close game when there are 6 pitching changes. When you reduce everything to a numbers game, you take alot of the excitement out of it.


And it boggles my mind that batters don't/can't slap the ball away from a defensive shift. Don't even get me started on bunting.

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 Post subject: Re: season HR record and jucied baseballs
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:32 am 
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I just found it interesting that the ball with less drag is the probable cause for the HR burst. It would improve a pitcher's fastball but hurt the breaking balls.

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 Post subject: Re: season HR record and jucied baseballs
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:09 pm 
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jebrick wrote:
I just found it interesting that the ball with less drag is the probable cause for the HR burst. It would improve a pitcher's fastball but hurt the breaking balls.

I don't doubt that it is...but at the same time, hits & runs are still on par with historical averages, while HR and K numbers have exploded. I think this is accelerating an overall trend, not causing it.

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 Post subject: Re: season HR record and jucied baseballs
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:21 am 
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And it boggles my mind that batters don't/can't slap the ball away from a defensive shift. Don't even get me started on bunting.


Pete Rose may have had 6,000 hits against the shift.

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 Post subject: Re: season HR record and jucied baseballs
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:33 pm 
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Pabst wrote:
Personal opinion: Sabremetricians and numbers geeks have killed baseball. No one takes risks at the plate or on the bases. It's ungodly boring to watch the latter innings in a close game when there are 6 pitching changes. When you reduce everything to a numbers game, you take alot of the excitement out of it.

THIS^^^ Baseball was boring to begin with, this takes boring to extremes.


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 Post subject: Re: season HR record and jucied baseballs
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:39 am 
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Originally from Tuesday's WSJ. Great article on the unintended consequences of the Data Revolution in baseball:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/wall-street-journal/how-big-data-is-draining-the-drama-out-of-baseball/news-story/da5a8c31fecdd9fd58a6bc4ba3e51cbf

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The search for competitive edges in a growing trove of information has also resulted in the kind of game MLB didn’t intend to create.

On July 30, the Tampa Bay Rays took 3 hours, 51 minutes to defeat the New York Yankees, 5-3, in nine innings. Six times, the game was halted in the middle of an inning for a pitching change. There were more strikeouts and walks than balls in play, which came about once every 5 minutes, 47 seconds.

Statistics showing precisely when starting pitchers become less effective have prompted teams to remove them from games earlier than before. That has increased one of the biggest drags on pace of play: pitching changes. Regular-season games this year saw an average of 8.4 pitchers used between both teams, an highest. That’s up from 5.8 pitchers a game 30 years ago.

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