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Is it the ball?

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#1 Mike Sixel

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 12:44 PM

New research on 538 and the Ringer say, maybe the baseball is to blame for all the HRs!

 

https://fivethirtyei...bs-power-surge/

 

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#2 hybridbear

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 02:02 PM

Fascinating. I wish the article had given more details on the change to the seams, bounciness, and size to show some of the math behind the changes.


#3 amjgt

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 02:09 PM

One thing that they don't mention, which would only have an effect on 2017, but could definitely play a part is the new 10 day DL.

 

It could mean that more AAAA pitchers are making major league starts and giving up a higher percentage of HRs than they guys they are replacing. 


#4 Mike Sixel

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 02:12 PM

 

Fascinating. I wish the article had given more details on the change to the seams, bounciness, and size to show some of the math behind the changes.

 

was it in the ringer article? I didn't look yet....am working....

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#5 amjgt

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 02:38 PM

I read The Ringer article, not the 538 one.

There were, I think, plenty of details in the article I read.

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#6 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 05:33 PM

One thing that they don't mention, which would only have an effect on 2017, but could definitely play a part is the new 10 day DL.

 

It could mean that more AAAA pitchers are making major league starts and giving up a higher percentage of HRs than they guys they are replacing. 

If so, this strikes me as something that will correct itself, once management notices that their attempts at strategery are backfiring.

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#7 amjgt

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 05:49 PM

It could also correct itself toward the end of the season by way of the better pitchers being healthier.

Edited by amjgt, 15 June 2017 - 05:49 PM.


#8 Willihammer

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 10:48 AM

MLB released a 30 team memo saying the 2017 ball is essentially the same as the 2016 ball.

 

Didn't the homer spike start last year though? Or 2nd half of 2015?

 

http://www.cbssports...lls-are-juiced/

Well, there's that.

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#9 Mike Sixel

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 11:06 AM

 

MLB released a 30 team memo saying the 2017 ball is essentially the same as the 2016 ball.

 

Didn't the homer spike start last year though? Or 2nd half of 2015?

 

http://www.cbssports...lls-are-juiced/

 

"essentially the same" does not mean same.

 

And yes, it's been going on for more than just this year.

 

The guidelines are so wide that the variance in balls could lead to more than (IIRC, what I read last week) of 10+ feet difference in distance traveled and still be in tolerance. I think it was in the 538 article, but it might have been in the ringer.....

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#10 Willihammer

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 11:16 AM

 

"essentially the same" does not mean same.

 

And yes, it's been going on for more than just this year.

 

The guidelines are so wide that the variance in balls could lead to more than (IIRC, what I read last week) of 10+ feet difference in distance traveled and still be in tolerance. I think it was in the 538 article, but it might have been in the ringer.....

It was the ringer article, and its 49 feet.

 

 

As an earlier ball-testing report by the Baseball Research Center that was publicly released in 2000 acknowledged, “two baseballs could meet MLB specifications for construction but one ball could be theoretically hit 49.1 feet further.” According to Nathan, an increase in COR of .012 could completely account for the 2015-to-2016 home run revival, which makes the league’s allowable COR range of .514 to .578 for BRC’s standard flat-surface COR test (which reports higher COR values, for the same balls, than the cylindrical-surface test that Lichtman commissioned) seem absurdly imprecise.

What I don't understand is why MLB would compare the 2017 ball to the 2016 ball, when the HR spike started after the ASG in 2015. Even if the balls are 100% identical that doesn't refute the juiced ball conspiracy theory.

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Well, there's that.

-Dark Star, RIP


#11 Mike Sixel

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 11:28 AM

49? Ya, that's not so close to 10! thanks.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#12 Mike Sixel

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 11:28 AM

 

It was the ringer article, and its 49 feet.

 

What I don't understand is why MLB would compare the 2017 ball to the 2016 ball, when the HR spike started after the ASG in 2015. Even if the balls are 100% identical that doesn't refute the juiced ball conspiracy theory.

 

Honestly? This is just like other parts of the world, where we present facts that a: have nothing do with the actual question; and/or b: are misleading at best.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#13 Willihammer

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 12:07 PM

Reading over the Ringer article again there is a link to this article from May describing the results of MLB's 2016 and Feb 2017 testing of balls. According to that, the ball didn't significantly change from 2014-2016.

 

And yet there are articles like this that take Statcast data on velocities and calculate drag coefficients from 2013 to 2017, and their conclusions don't match MLB's. Not to mention the Lindbergh/Lichtman independent study of 2014-2016 game balls obtained via ebay that found increasing COR during that time period.

 

arthur-mlbdrag-1.png?quality=90&strip=in

Edited by Willihammer, 03 July 2017 - 12:08 PM.

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Well, there's that.

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#14 Respy

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 12:25 PM

1) Sorry to potentially bring politics into this, as I'm sure not everyone here believes in global warming, but one thing I've not heard mentioned that could be a possible factor, is the record heat that keeps being recorded each year?  Would be very hard to actually track the data, but I think we would all agree that hotter temps = more flight distance.

 

2) I think largely this is a result of teams becoming more analytical in their approach to hitting.  Many players are being encouraged to increase their launch angle, which would result in more homeruns.

 

3) Have umpires started shifting the strike zone up yet?  I know this has been in the works, and if umpires are calling less low pitches strikes, then that means more pitches up in the strike zone as flyballs.

 

4) I feel position players are getting more and more rest and DL time than they ever have, as teams are being cautious about usage and injury prevention.  Homerun efficiency will increase if everyone is resting more.

 

5) I think I've seen enough to be convinced that the balls haven't changed.  What about the bats?  Bat material?  Bat shape?  I know there are many bat restrictions, but if more and more players are going with skinny handles and end-loaded barrels, that would lead to more homeruns.  Players might also be using more different wood types lately.


#15 Willihammer

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 12:33 PM

@ Respy

1. This theory has been raised and studied. The climate isn't the cause.

2. Studies show increasing home runs per fly ball hit. They also show that balls hit with the same launch and exit velo in 2016/2017 were more likely to leave the park than in 2014/early 2015.

3. The bottom of the zone has been shrinking, and the height of the average four seem fastball is higher now than in prior years.

4. See #2

5. See #2

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Well, there's that.

-Dark Star, RIP


#16 spycake

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 03:50 PM

New wrinkle: the seams are different, leading to more blisters for pitchers:

http://www.tsn.ca/st...-issue-1.795756
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#17 spinowner

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 05:11 PM

Occam's Razor points to a change in the ball as being the reason for the increase in home runs. But whether that is the reason or not I think it's time for MLB to consider tighter standards for balls. A 49-foot variation in the distance traveled of different balls is way too much. There should be two parameters tested on every baseball approved for use in games: hardness and air resistance. These would be easy to test.

For hardness, drop a ball from a standard height onto a standard surface and measure the height of the bounce. The height of the bounce must be within a specified range or it's rejected. For air resistance, create a device which consistently propels a ball at a target at a standard velocity with a standard spin rate. The landing point must be within a specified range or it's rejected.

This may lead to a fairly large number of rejected balls but those would probably still be satisfactory for use in minor league play.

Beyond that, all baseballs must be stored at a standard temperature and humidity for a standard amount of time before testing and before being used in a game. (Are the baseballs used at Coors Field still being stored in a humidor?)

I'm sure it would take several years for this to be implemented but it seems to me that this is an attainable goal. Among other things, research would need to be done to set the standards that would be used and the tolerance allowed.

 

The standards that would be set should be subject to change during the first five to ten years after they are put in place. There are several ways that the standards could affect the game. Harder balls with less air resistance would be expected to increase the rate of home runs hit. Balls with greater air resistance would be expected to improve the ability of pitchers to throw breaking pitches. Harder balls would be expected to increase the risk of injury from thrown or batted balls. I'm sure there are other changes that would occur that I can't think of off the top of my head.

Care must be taken not to micromanage in this area. For example, a rise in home runs could be due simply to several players having very good years. More importantly, those in charge would have a responsibility to determine what the game should be like. Should there be lots of home runs? Should there be lots of strikeouts?

It's very likely that the standards eventually put in place would lead to other rule changes. The size of the strike zone and the height of the pitcher's mound are two examples of things which could be changed without making any fundamental changes in the rules of the game.

 

 

Edited by spinowner, 04 July 2017 - 05:13 PM.

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#18 spinowner

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 01:47 PM

I'll also add this to the above comment: MLB is concerned enough about using uniform baseballs that any ball that hits dirt is removed from play. If it's important to take that step it should be just as important, or probably more important, to make sure the balls are as uniform as possible before being put in play.

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#19 notoriousgod71

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 09:03 PM

Whatever it is- it makes the game unwatchable when every player bats .230-.260 with 30-45 home runs.

Edited by notoriousgod71, 05 July 2017 - 09:05 PM.


#20 Kwak

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 09:21 PM

I saw a stat on TV a couple of weeks ago comparing HRs hit 450 feet or more.  The 2017 total (all MLB) was about double from 2016 in the same time frame. I consider that damning information about the ball.

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