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Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:52 PM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
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New Target field policy...no bags of any kind

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:44 PM
Thankfully we went before gates opened and were warned by a friendly security guy in advance that this year there are no bags of any kind...
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The 5 Rule Draft

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:58 PM
This year's Rule 5 draft we lost Akil Baddo and Tyler Wells. So I thought I'd check to see how they were doing. 1st I checked on Baddo, h...
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Ex Twins in 2021: Where Are They Now?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:48 AM
One of my favorite annual threads on the site. Let’s stay updated on ex-Twins in the news... This is a start of a list, and feel free to...
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Why isn't Buxton on MLB OPS leaders list?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 04:36 PM
Buxton is listed only on the MLB HR leaders list. Not on OPS or AVG or SLG or OBP. He should be the leader in several of these. He has as...
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Deadened Baseball? LOL.

Coming into this 2021 season, there was much bluster about Major League Baseball's attempts to deaden its baseball. Nelson Cruz was even asked about it.

How silly he and a Twins teammate are making those efforts seem in the early going.
Image courtesy of Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
When asked ahead of spring training if he was concerned about reported alterations to the baseball, and their impact on his production, Cruz gave a perfectly logical answer: "That's gonna be for every hitter. If they were gonna keep it only for myself, yeah, I'd be worried, but that's everybody. I'll be good."

So far in this young season, it does kinda seem like Cruz is hitting a different kind of baseball than everyone else. But not in the way he intimated.

The 40-year-old DH was raring to go after sitting out much of the opening series. In the second at-bat of his first start of the season, Monday in Detroit, Cruz launched a grand slam that traveled out of the yard at 114.6 MPH.



To put that exit velocity in perspective, it would've ranked second-highest out of all his batted balls in the entire 2020 season, and sixth in 2019.

Cruz was only warming up.

In his next plate appearance, he crushed a solo home run with an exit velocity of 116.6 MPH. Not only would that EV have ranked third among all batted balls in the major leagues last year, it was the hardest-hit home run by a Minnesota Twins since Statcast started tracking data in 2015. Surpassing all 307 hit with the juiced ball in 2019.



While we're very early on, Cruz's measurable rankings against fellow MLB hitters are hilarious. He's on another world, basically. Never mind that he's doing it at an age where, historically, even inner-circle Hall of Famers have generally failed to produce.

Attached Image: cruzstatcast2021.png


As amazing as Cruz's crusade against deadened baseballs and aging curves might be, I find myself even more impressed by what Byron Buxton is doing in this young season. We've grown accustomed to Nelly obliterating the ball. Buck's breakout is still very much in blossom.

On Opening Day, Buxton hit the longest and hardest home run of his career – a 111.4 MPH nuke measured at 456 feet.



After entering midway through Tuesday's game against the Tigers, Buxton re-wrote his own exit velocity record. His game-tying solo shot clocked in at 114.1 MPH. (With a slightly higher arc, it fell just short in distance of his bomb in Milwaukee, at 451.)



The return of baseball itself is itself a shock to the system, but if you feel like what you've been seeing from these Twins hitters at the plate is extraordinary, you're not wrong. Within the first five games of the season, this team is already doing eye-popping things. Cruz and Buxton are leading the charge by decimating balls in unprecedented fashion.

So, with all that said, I can't really speak much to the efficacy of MLB's efforts to deaden the baseball. But I can say with certainty that a few of those baseballs are dead now.

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17 Comments

So long of season, so few games to make judgements on

    • adorduan likes this
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Nine of twelve
Apr 07 2021 04:27 AM

Exit velocity is not the parameter to consider when talking about the change in this season's baseballs. What was supposed to be different is not that the ball is "deadened", which I would take to mean softened. Rather, the purported change is increased air resistance. That will have no bearing on the velocity of the ball upon leaving the bat. What it does mean is that a ball in flight will slow more quickly and therefore not travel as far. The question is whether air resistance has indeed changed and whether the ball indeed does not carry as well.

    • Craig Arko, tarheeltwinsfan and D.C Twins like this
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TwinsFan268
Apr 07 2021 05:40 AM

I just like that both Cruz and Buxton are on my fantasy team

It's great to have these two starting out hot, but there are a few others who haven't noticed the ball traveling as far as they'd like. So let's hope when Buxton and Cruz cool off we'll see some others heat up.
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Dodecahedron
Apr 07 2021 07:32 AM

Small sample size, but yes it seems like baseball's attempt to deaden the ball was a failure.

 

Since the MLB didn't know how baseballs got more lively, I suppose it should be no surprise that it seems like they did not know how to reverse it.

 

It is possible teams are using up leftover stock from last year, so what we are seeing early on may not last. For the Yankees, who probably have no leftover stock as they can sell anything that isn't nailed down to their ravenous fan base, their stats are definitely showing better pitching and worse hitting.

Now ask Polanco. 

    • USAFChief likes this

 

Exit velocity is not the parameter to consider when talking about the change in this season's baseballs. What was supposed to be different is not that the ball is "deadened", which I would take to mean softened. Rather, the purported change is increased air resistance. That will have no bearing on the velocity of the ball upon leaving the bat. What it does mean is that a ball in flight will slow more quickly and therefore not travel as far. The question is whether air resistance has indeed changed and whether the ball indeed does not carry as well.

 

I'm no physicist, but doesn't air resistance also vary greatly with weather conditions? As we get to the hot, muggy summer would we expect less carry?

    • Nine of twelve likes this

 

I'm no physicist, but doesn't air resistance also vary greatly with weather conditions? As we get to the hot, muggy summer would we expect less carry?

The warmer it is the less air resistance. Balls fly further the warmer it is. I cant remember how it works for dry air versus humid air but one of those promotes moving through the air more than the other. 

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Nine of twelve like this
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Dodecahedron
Apr 07 2021 12:18 PM

 

The warmer it is the less air resistance. Balls fly further the warmer it is. I cant remember how it works for dry air versus humid air but one of those promotes moving through the air more than the other. 

 

Humid air = more water vapor in air, less nitrogen in air

 

Nitrogen weighs more than water vapor (by about 33%), therefore balls fly further in humid air as there is less air resistance.

 

We think of humid air as being heavier as that's how it makes us feel physically. Our lungs have to work harder in humid air.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Nine of twelve like this
It seems counterintuitive but Harmon always maintained that the ball carried better on a humid day.
    • tarheeltwinsfan and Nine of twelve like this
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Nine of twelve
Apr 07 2021 06:07 PM

 

I'm no physicist, but doesn't air resistance also vary greatly with weather conditions? As we get to the hot, muggy summer would we expect less carry?

Absolutely.

But if the ball is more resistant to airflow it will be so regardless of air density.

My initial guess, based on no substantive data whatsoever, is that the ball has not changed enough to make a big difference.

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tarheeltwinsfan
Apr 07 2021 06:09 PM

Thank you for the aerodynamics lessons. Interesting.

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Nine of twelve
Apr 07 2021 06:19 PM

 

It seems counterintuitive but Harmon always maintained that the ball carried better on a humid day.

Not counterintuitive. On the contrary. Water vapor is less dense than atmospheric gases. Hence, humid air is less dense than dry air and the ball will carry better.

Air density is a major reason that Fulton County stadium in Atlanta was also known as The Launching Pad. First, Atlanta had the highest elevation of any MLB city at the time. Phoenix (just barely) and Denver have since supplanted it from that status. Second, Atlanta tends to have warm temperatures. Third, Atlanta tends to have higher humidity. Of course, the fact that it was a small stadium also helped a lot. I'm sure #44 was very glad to have played so many games there.

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Nine of twelve
Apr 07 2021 06:33 PM

 

Humid air = more water vapor in air, less nitrogen in air

 

Nitrogen weighs more than water vapor (by about 33%), therefore balls fly further in humid air as there is less air resistance.

 

We think of humid air as being heavier as that's how it makes us feel physically. Our lungs have to work harder in humid air.

Dry air is considered to be about 78% nitrogen (molecular mass 28), about 21% oxygen (molecular mass 32), and about 1% argon (atomic mass 40). The rest are trace gases. Water vapor (molecular mass 18) rarely makes up more than about 3% of the atmosphere but it is enough to slightly decrease air resistance on very humid days.

    • Dodecahedron likes this

Wow! I've sidetracked this thread into a physics lesson. (Which has taught me a lot!)

Not counterintuitive. On the contrary. Water vapor is less dense than atmospheric gases. Hence, humid air is less dense than dry air and the ball will carry better.
Air density is a major reason that Fulton County stadium in Atlanta was also known as The Launching Pad. First, Atlanta had the highest elevation of any MLB city at the time. Phoenix (just barely) and Denver have since supplanted it from that status. Second, Atlanta tends to have warm temperatures. Third, Atlanta tends to have higher humidity. Of course, the fact that it was a small stadium also helped a lot. I'm sure #44 was very glad to have played so many games there.


I said it seems counterintuitive. I wasn’t disagreeing. It also why the the fresh concrete theory that people ridiculed is true. Concrete cures for several years by giving off water vapor. When you consider the massive amount of concrete poured in a new stadium it’s no wonder Target field was a launching pad early and now is not.
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Nine of twelve
Apr 08 2021 04:34 AM

 

I'm no physicist, but doesn't air resistance also vary greatly with weather conditions? As we get to the hot, muggy summer would we expect less carry?

 

 

Absolutely.

But if the ball is more resistant to airflow it will be so regardless of air density.

My initial guess, based on no substantive data whatsoever, is that the ball has not changed enough to make a big difference.

I misread PDX's post when I replied originally.

Absolutely, air resistance varies with weather conditions. But as we get to the hot, muggy summer we will expect more carry, not less.


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