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Game Thread "Bo" Twins vs. A's 6:10pm cdt 7/2...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:17 PM
Once upon a time, in the '80s, there was this athlete named Bo Jackson, no relation to Hugh, so far as i know (and i know pretty far*) An...
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Jose Berrios' reaction to the Morin for cash consider...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:09 PM
So, pretty interesting to see this on Twitter ... They just want to get money ...
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Matt Magill DFAd

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:01 PM
The Minnesota Twins just announced that RH RP Matt Magill has been DFAd. Kohl Stewart recalled, likely in a new role.    
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Morin DFAed

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https://www.mlbtrade...gnment-dfa.html   No corresponding move, no trade appears imminent.   *scratches head*  
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Mejia Claimed by Angels

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:21 PM
Just tweeted out. It will be interesting to see if he turns it around
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Juiced Baseballs: Are 2019 MLB Stats a Joke?

The Home Run Derby took place Monday evening … and every single day of the 2019 season prior to that. The baseball is different, and it’s resulting in more home runs than ever. Has it made a mockery of the game? The Twins lead the league in home runs during this power surge, but are they all ill-gotten bombas?
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Because Major League Baseball can’t seem to get out of its own way, a big storyline of this season that also became a focus during the All-Star break is the current state of the actual baseball. Justin Verlander went so far as to say “Major League Baseball’s turning this game into a joke.”

There’s been some really amazing reporting and scientific studies done on the ball itself that have shown its current composition is different, and the end result is a ball that travels farther than ever before. The ball creates less drag, has thicker laces and is actually more round (I’ll include links to the excellent work others have done on these subjects at the bottom of this article).

The end result is home runs and in particular home run-to-fly ball ratio is up. I’m not going to deny either of those things. If we just take a look at run scoring and offense in general, however, things don’t actually look all that out of whack when compared to the past 25 years of baseball.

Below is a graph that shows the average number of runs per game over the past 25 years. Things have definitely been on an upward trend the past few seasons, but as you can see, pitchers enjoyed quite a comfortable stretch from about 2007-14.

Attached Image: RPG.JPG

A similar look into slugging percentage shows the same type of trend.

Attached Image: SLG.JPG

Taking a look at things from this perspective, I don’t feel it’s fair to say something like the game is turning into a joke. Verlander himself is managing to pitch to a 2.98 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and has limited opponents to a .168/.221/.386 batting line (.607 OPS). This is despite giving up a league-high 26 home runs. It’s also fair to point out that his home ballpark is an excellent home run hitter’s environment.

If you want to say the past 25 years is a poor choice in sample, I guess then you’re going to have a bit of a different perspective. A lot of this conversation comes down to what you think is supposed to be “normal” for Major League Baseball.

If you want to really be a traditionalist, the amount of scoring back in the late-1800s was actually much higher than it is right now. Even shifting the focus a little bit closer, the 1920s and 1930s had many seasons in which more runs were scored than they are today. On the other hand, in the 10-year span from 1963-1972 runs were greatly suppressed. Things are constantly changing.

Along with the baseball, we’re seeing bigger, faster and stronger players than ever. Advances in technology even over the past five years have dramatically changed the way players train and design their pitches or swings for maximum effectiveness. Many hitters have put an emphasis on getting the ball in the air, pitchers have searched for ways to combat that approach. The cat and mouse game continues.

Below is a video in which I provide some more information on this topic and share some more of my opinions. Let me know what you think. Should there be a giant asterisk next to this season's stats?



Additional Links
Jeff Passan’s original reporting on Justin Verlander’s thoughts.
ESPN’s report on Rob Manfred’s response.
Astrophysicist Dr. Meredith Wills’ examination of the ball.
Jayson Stark’s investigation into possible factors that could have resulted in the homer surge.
Rob Arther’s piece on the drag/aerodynamics of the 2019 ball.
Bob Nightangale’s reporting on what pitchers are saying about the 2019 ball.
Juiced ball and home run discussions from the Twins Daily forums.

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20 Comments

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Harrison Greeley III
Jul 10 2019 09:16 AM

I've fully acknowledged the proof that the ball is different. I also have little doubt that MLB has a hand in it.

That said, I find myself struggling to feel outrage over this. Pitcher velocities are up and they are now better at spinning a baseball probably than ever before. The juiced ball doesn't strike me as any less scandalous than lowering the mound to help hitters. The hitting side of the game has struggled to keep up with intellectual/technological advancements of the pitching and defense sides in the past decade. Using this approach to even the field is shrewd, but it's not the worst thing Manfred could have done to the game. 

Also, as Max Scherzer said, it's not unfair. There's an absence of some players cheating over others like in the PED days.

I'm happy to be convinced that I should feel outrage over this. But as I said, I'm struggling.
 

    • Original Whizzinator likes this
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theBOMisthebomb
Jul 10 2019 09:42 AM
How does the changed baseball impact the pitched ball? If it travels farther when hit, does that also mean the pitchers can throw it harder, faster, with more break, etc.?
    • PDX Twin and Original Whizzinator like this

I am on the "joke" side of things.There is no doubt the baseball has changed the game.College was complaining about different results made it hard to evaluate players for the big leagues.Changing to MLB baseballs increased their home run rate also.

For me watching baseball where a batter either hits a home run or strikes out is boring.No strategy.Every game is just a home run derby.It is emphasized even more with the shift.Players do not try to get on base and hit singles in the hole.They still swing for the home runs.

I understand people want to see scoring.They get bored with a 1-0 pitchers duel.They would much rather see a 12-10 slugfest.Butt is sad when you think players like Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn might not even be able to make a team now with the state of baseball.

    • mikelink45, PDX Twin and Vanimal46 like this
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Tom Froemming
Jul 10 2019 09:53 AM

 

How does the changed baseball impact the pitched ball? If it travels farther when hit, does that also mean the pitchers can throw it harder, faster, with more break, etc.?

Eno Sarris actually examined that question just this morning in a piece for The Athletic (subscription required). It's worth a whole read, and acknowledges that many pitchers say the ball feels different, but the end conclusion is no, the new ball isn't impacting pitch velocity or movement in a significant way.

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Carole Keller
Jul 10 2019 10:03 AM

Just so everyone knows, there are two ongoing discussions about this in the forums. That latter is more about the impact, but the former is, well, more closely related to this article, and mentions the Athletic piece mentioned in this article.

 

Juiced Baseball Update

 

Home Runs

 

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Tom Froemming
Jul 10 2019 10:05 AM

 

Just so everyone knows, there are two ongoing discussions about this in the forums. That latter is more about the impact, but the former is, well, more closely related to this article, and mentions the Athletic piece mentioned in this article.

 

Juiced Baseball Update

 

Home Runs

I also linked to those at the end of the article ;)

I also linked to those at the end of the article ;)


I'll take 15% of total click revenue on this article 😉
    • Carole Keller, Blake, Platoon and 3 others like this
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Tom Froemming
Jul 10 2019 10:15 AM

 

I'll take 15% of total click revenue on this article

I'll Venmo you the $0.45 :)

    • Steve Lein, Blake, Mike Sixel and 4 others like this

Also, as Max Scherzer said, it's not unfair. There's an absence of some players cheating over others like in the PED days.

I'm happy to be convinced that I should feel outrage over this. But as I said, I'm struggling.
 

35c8p5.jpg

 

:)

    • USAFChief, Blake and Sconnie like this
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Carole Keller
Jul 10 2019 10:30 AM

 

I also linked to those at the end of the article ;)

Ah, heh ... I guess i didn't read the fine print at the bottom. :)

    • Blake, Mike Sixel and Tom Froemming like this

I guess, so what?  Are we scrapping the mid 80's thru 2006 for the steroid ERA?

 

Those stats matter, depending on your opinion.  If these balls are impacting the game negatively MLB will eventually make the adjustments.

 

I have serious "juiced ball" fatigue right now.

    • mikelink45, Sconnie and Original Whizzinator like this
IMO you're looking at the wrong stats over the last 25 years Tom. I don't think runs per game is the problem. It's how the runs are driven in, primarily by hitting the ball over the fence. Which is happening at an exponential rate over the last 2-3 years.

I think MLB is taking the wrong strategy to attract a young audience. It feels like they're just catering to the 15 second highlight crowd showcasing nothing but home runs, strike outs, and the occasional sweet catch. It's not helping getting more butts in seats at ballparks, and it's not really compelling to watch on TV either.

I think this topic would really gain more steam if hitters spoke up about the balls too. Wouldn't this gain more traction if an all time hitter like Albert Pujols said "It was more difficult for me to hit baseballs out when I was 22. I shouldn't be hitting pop ups at 39 and have them land 5 rows over the fence."
    • Carole Keller, Blake, mikelink45 and 1 other like this

https://www.nytimes....id=275511920710

 

The New York Times also talked about this with a lot of quotes from Verlander, but also a quote from Odorizzi who has a take on the situation: "“If there’s something that’s potentially altering that, just come out and say it,” Odorizzi said. “I think, as players, we’ve gotten to the point now where we’ve accepted it."

 

Scherzer - "“With the ball changing as much as it has over the past handful of years, the players have had no say in that whatsoever,” Scherzer said. “We’re left, as players, wondering why the ball can change that much, that fast, and have that big of a result.”

 

Sabathia has a different perspective - 

 

The active leader in home runs allowed, the Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia, said he was not concerned about the trend but did see a downside to the modern all-or-nothing game.

 

 

“The ball is a little different — whether it’s the seams, it feels a little different in your hands,” said Sabathia, who was here to be saluted by the fans in Cleveland, where he started his 19-year career. “But I enjoy offense. I want to see runs scored, and my kids love it. The thing is, though, there’s not a lot of contact on some of these teams. So it’s either home run or strikeout, and it’s kind of hard to watch.”

 

I have posted many times that I miss the stolen bases, bunts, hit and run style of baseball.If we want to eliminate the shift, run the bases and force them to cover their area.  

Somehow the ball has to be uniform year to year.The HR has lost its luster.I go on ESPN to see game highlights and all I get is HR swings and tracking the ball.I want to see close plays on the bases, hustle, and heads up playing.In the fielding highlights how often is it an outfielder grabbing a ball that is going over the fence?

 

Yes I want a few less homers, more Arraez getting on base, Buxton stealing, Polanco hit and run.

    • Carole Keller, Blake, Platoon and 3 others like this

I'll Venmo you the $0.45 :)


Attached Image: King-Size_Homer.png

*Furiously clicks on this article to increase my share to $1*
    • Carole Keller, Blake, Mike Sixel and 1 other like this

I'm not outraged...but it's not helping the quality of the game...in case this was a deliberate act, it was the wrong one, IMO.

 

I do wonder, however...is this significant enough to be resulting in 'false' evaluations of players at the AAA and MLB level? Yes, we're getting false results in absolute terms, but I'm talking about relative terms. Is there a player (or type/profile) out there that is benefiting dis-proportionally from this? If the 2020 ball immediately goes back to 'average' in terms of drag...are there certain players that immediately become materially less valuable relative to average/replacement? I wonder if this type of possibility is even on FO radars?

    • mikelink45 likes this
107% with Mikelink on the desire for actual baseball to be played. Great SS's, speed, steals, hustle doubles, and hold unto your Nick Punto bobblehead and occasional squeeze bunt. Sooner or later fans will tire of watching the Jason Castros of the world hit 20 dongs in a season. HR's will become yesterday's singles. As for the ball? It does seem that according to the people who throw it and hit it every day, it has changed. And, if MLB wants to change the ball, they can. It's their league, and their gazillions of dollars floating around it. But then don't let the Manferd (sp) stand there and tell us it isn't any different. That's insulting.
    • mikelink45 and Vanimal46 like this
I think the lack of consistency is a joke. But, I’m not overly offended by the way the game is this year, it’s actually fun to watch.

What I mean about lack of consistency is, think about a player like Joe Mauer for instance. Let him play with that ball for a couple of years in the Dome and eventually TF. Remember how many opposite field fly balls were caught on the warning track in his career? Literally hundreds.

It’s not out of bounds to assume he would’ve had dozens of home runs, at least, added to his career stat line, thus making him a first ballot hall of famer and one of the greatest catchers of all-time (he’s an afterthought nationwide).

As a fan, sure it’s fine. But you can’t tell me this doesn’t upset players who didn’t get the benefit. Certain players it may have even cost millions of dollars and who knows how many accolades (some players benefit from this more than others). It offers no reasonable comparison between a player now and a player in the past, which is part of the fun of being a lifelong fan of the game.

Basically, it’s fun to watch. But, in a way, it throws the history and nostalgia of baseball out the window. It’s even on a greater scale than Bonds/Big Mac. By appearances, a few players were out of whack back then. But, when dozens of guys hit 40+ home runs (which may happen this year), it dilutes it even more. All context in terms of baseball for us middle-aged and older fans know is all but gone.

Frankly, it’s kind of joke that the Twins and Yankees this year may be considered the best offenses of all time based on stats. Deep down, any reasonable baseball man knows that’s false (some of the Indians and Mariners teams of the 90s alone blow them away, IMO).
    • Platoon and Vanimal46 like this

I think the lack of consistency is a joke. But, I’m not overly offended by the way the game is this year, it’s actually fun to watch.

What I mean about lack of consistency is, think about a player like Joe Mauer for instance. Let him play with that ball for a couple of years in the Dome and eventually TF. Remember how many opposite field fly balls were caught on the warning track in his career? Literally hundreds.

It’s not out of bounds to assume he would’ve had dozens of home runs, at least, added to his career stat line, thus making him a first ballot hall of famer and one of the greatest catchers of all-time (he’s an afterthought nationwide).

As a fan, sure it’s fine. But you can’t tell me this doesn’t upset players who didn’t get the benefit. Certain players it may have even cost millions of dollars and who knows how many accolades (some players benefit from this more than others). It offers no reasonable comparison between a player now and a player in the past, which is part of the fun of being a lifelong fan of the game.

Basically, it’s fun to watch. But, in a way, it throws the history and nostalgia of baseball out the window. It’s even on a greater scale than Bonds/Big Mac. By appearances, a few players were out of whack back then. But, when dozens of guys hit 40+ home runs (which may happen this year), it dilutes it even more. All context in terms of baseball for us middle-aged and older fans know is all but gone.

Frankly, it’s kind of joke that the Twins and Yankees this year may be considered the best offenses of all time based on stats. Deep down, any reasonable baseball man knows that’s false (some of the Indians and Mariners teams of the 90s alone blow them away, IMO).


Well said! You don't have to be old to feel like the nostalgia is going away! Or maybe I'm also getting old...
    • Platoon likes this
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Nine of twelve
Jul 10 2019 08:50 PM

 

How does the changed baseball impact the pitched ball? If it travels farther when hit, does that also mean the pitchers can throw it harder, faster, with more break, etc.?

A ball with less drag will travel farther and faster whether thrown or batted. It will break less.

 

I am on the "joke" side of things.There is no doubt the baseball has changed the game.College was complaining about different results made it hard to evaluate players for the big leagues.Changing to MLB baseballs increased their home run rate also.

For me watching baseball where a batter either hits a home run or strikes out is boring.No strategy.Every game is just a home run derby.It is emphasized even more with the shift.Players do not try to get on base and hit singles in the hole.They still swing for the home runs.

I understand people want to see scoring.They get bored with a 1-0 pitchers duel.They would much rather see a 12-10 slugfest.Butt is sad when you think players like Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn might not even be able to make a team now with the state of baseball.

You mean players like Luis Arraez?


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