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Juiced Baseball Update

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#1 Vanimal46

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 08:12 AM



This should be a giant red flag that something isn't right with the baseballs.
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#2 biggentleben

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 08:17 AM

I put together a daily minor league thread for my site, highlighting top performances around the minors and previewing games of interest each day.

 

The last full week of April, on each day of the week, there were at least 40 home runs hit across AAA (IL and PCL combined). On some of those days, there were not even 10 games played. On multiple days there was at least one game with multiple players from the same team who hit multiple home runs. In one particular game, two teammates each hit 3 home runs, while a player on the opposing team hit 2...and there were still 3-4 more home runs throughout the game from other players as well.

 

It's incredibly skewed raw numbers in the minors this year because you really cannot look at a pitcher line in AAA the same as AA and below, which of course is the same with hitting.

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#3 Vanimal46

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 08:20 AM

I put together a daily minor league thread for my site, highlighting top performances around the minors and previewing games of interest each day.

The last full week of April, on each day of the week, there were at least 40 home runs hit across AAA (IL and PCL combined). On some of those days, there were not even 10 games played. On multiple days there was at least one game with multiple players from the same team who hit multiple home runs. In one particular game, two teammates each hit 3 home runs, while a player on the opposing team hit 2...and there were still 3-4 more home runs throughout the game from other players as well.

It's incredibly skewed raw numbers in the minors this year because you really cannot look at a pitcher line in AAA the same as AA and below, which of course is the same with hitting.


What exactly did they do to the ball this year in AAA? And how are teams supposed to determine who's ready for MLB action when the numbers are skewed this bad?

#4 Mike Sixel

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 08:29 AM

What exactly did they do to the ball this year in AAA? And how are teams supposed to determine who's ready for MLB action when the numbers are skewed this bad?


They are using the major league ball this year. Should help know who is ready.....
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#5 AceWrigley

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 08:47 AM

Guys are hitting them off the end of the bat, opposite field into the 2nd deck. I think it's ridiculous. I'm not a fan of the rabbit ball. The minors are using it this year too. The "3 true outcomes" (homerun, walk, strikeout) style of baseball is boring. Unjuice the ball, push back the fences some. Base hits rattling around inside the park are much more fun, for everyone.

Edited by AceWrigley, 01 May 2019 - 08:48 AM.

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#6 markos

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 09:03 AM

 

Guys are hitting them off the end of the bat, opposite field into the 2nd deck. I think it's ridiculous. I'm not a fan of the rabbit ball. The minors are using it this year too. The "3 true outcomes" (homerun, walk, strikeout) style of baseball is boring. Unjuice the ball, push back the fences some. Base hits rattling around inside the park are much more fun, for everyone.

I agree. But I think the changes you recommend have to be coupled with some kind of change to pitching. I do not think the increase in strikeouts is only because hitters are swinging for the fences all the time. Pitchers are throwing so much harder than they were just 10 years ago. If pitching isn't fixed somehow, than any ball/ballpark changes will just lead to more outs.

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#7 dougd

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 09:03 AM

Robert Arthur had twoarticles in BPro concluding that the baseball has become less air resistant, just as it did in 2017, and now hundreds of long fly balls that might have died in the outfield are crossing the fences instead. He measures the air resistance of the baseball using pitch-tracking data. Tiny differences in air resistance multiply into five- or ten-foot changes in fly-ball distance.

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#8 markos

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 09:24 AM

I often think about the "juiced" major league ball in the context of the prospect analysis from five-to-ten years ago. Specific to the Twins, I wonder how Dozier, Rosario and Sano would have been ranked from today's lens. I mean, today's analysis on batters focuses a lot on bat-to-ball skills, and much less on raw power. Analysts are now way more willing to bet that a player will develop power once they reach the big leagues, almost completely irrespective of their physiques. I know I was very critical of Rosario as he was coming up through the minors, mostly because I didn't think he would hit enough power to profile as a corner-outfielder. But now the baseball environment has changed in ways that perfectly complement his skills as a hitter. It makes me wonder who in the minors we are missing on because the game will change in ways we can't predict. Anyway, these are my deep thoughts for a Wednesday morning.

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#9 nicksaviking

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 09:35 AM

 

Guys are hitting them off the end of the bat, opposite field into the 2nd deck. I think it's ridiculous. I'm not a fan of the rabbit ball. The minors are using it this year too. The "3 true outcomes" (homerun, walk, strikeout) style of baseball is boring. Unjuice the ball, push back the fences some. Base hits rattling around inside the park are much more fun, for everyone.

 

While I enjoy that more classic style of baseball, our Twins were built to compete in the HR derby-style game.

 

So, I'm going to have to pass on any changes if it's going to make the Twins obsolete once again, because I enjoy winning more.

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#10 jkcarew

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 11:11 AM

It's a fine line, and we've crossed it. When all the guys in the batting order regardless of athletic/agility/speed profile and position played can reach the fence easily, then everyone develops the same approach and the same swing. And then pile on the analytical case for HR and K's over BA and balls in play. Diversity dies.

 

Don't really have an answer...but don't know why we have to have a juiced ball on top of it. Maybe when a pitcher gets killed by a line drive, we'll think about doing something. Although, I don't know if it's the 'rebound' properties (exit velo) that are contributing as much as the reduced wind resistance. And if you raise the seams to retard carry, guess what the pitchers will do with that...even more K's. No easy answers.

 

Very long term: the league should implement significantly greater dimensional minimums for new parks going forward.

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#11 Vanimal46

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 11:32 AM

It's a fine line, and we've crossed it. When all the guys in the batting order regardless of athletic/agility/speed profile and position played can reach the fence easily, then everyone develops the same approach and the same swing. And then pile on the analytical case for HR and K's over BA and balls in play. Diversity dies.

Don't really have an answer...but don't know why we have to have a juiced ball on top of it. Maybe when a pitcher gets killed by a line drive, we'll think about doing something. Although, I don't know if it's the 'rebound' properties (exit velo) that are contributing as much as the reduced wind resistance. And if you raise the seams to retard carry, guess what the pitchers will do with that...even more K's. No easy answers.

Very long term: the league should implement significantly greater dimensional minimums for new parks going forward.


I concur... We're past the fine line now with the ball and something needs to be done about it. It's pretty silly when someone who's 5'9" 165 lbs soaking wet can mash 20 HRs a season.

There's going to be a lot of unnecessary clamoring for career minor leaguers because they're hitting 30 HRs with a juiced baseball.

#12 AceWrigley

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 11:37 AM

 

I agree. But I think the changes you recommend have to be coupled with some kind of change to pitching. I do not think the increase in strikeouts is only because hitters are swinging for the fences all the time. Pitchers are throwing so much harder than they were just 10 years ago. If pitching isn't fixed somehow, than any ball/ballpark changes will just lead to more outs.

Possibly. Major League hitters can time the big heaters. Players used to use bats with fatter handles for more surface area to connect with the baseball. Contact was key. Now everybody uses the thin-handled weighted bat they can hammer through the strike zone trying to drive the ball out of the park. I mean, you could lower the mound a little I suppose. You aren't going to get guys to throw the ball with less velocity, so I'm not sure how much tinkering on the pitching end would be useful. Maybe we'll just have to send hitters to the La Tortuga Hitting Academy. I still marvel at Joe Sewell's batting stats (1920-33). He averaged 10 strikeouts per 162 games. 114 Career strikeouts in 1,903 games. That's an average total for a full season today. Man, talk about contact.

Edited by AceWrigley, 01 May 2019 - 11:38 AM.

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#13 TheLeviathan

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 11:23 PM

I'm just happy the days of using two different baseballs is over.

 

That never made any sense to me.

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#14 Mike Sixel

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 10:43 AM

 

I'm just happy the days of using two different baseballs is over.

 

That never made any sense to me.

 

only in AAA, though. Still weird, but an improvement!

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#15 Danchat

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 11:59 AM

I'm confused why AAA used different balls... was there a reason, or just tradition? Is it because they have extra-small stadiums that have short distances to the outfield wall?

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#16 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 12:54 PM

 

I'm confused why AAA used different balls... was there a reason, or just tradition? Is it because they have extra-small stadiums that have short distances to the outfield wall?

all of the minor leagues do... different manufacturer. The switched AAA to MLB balls this year. 

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#17 cardsfan

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 02:38 PM

Don't they re-use the ball more often than big leagues?

#18 Vanimal46

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 07:55 AM

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#19 Nine of twelve

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 07:31 PM

 

The "3 true outcomes" (homerun, walk, strikeout) style of baseball is boring. Unjuice the ball, push back the fences some. Base hits rattling around inside the park are much more fun, for everyone.

A. The ball should have a higher air resistance and possibly a decreased hardness.

B. The mound should be lowered.

C. The strike zone should be enlarged.

 

A. and C. will result in fewer home runs. B. will result in fewer strikeouts. C. will result in fewer walks.

 

Pushing back fences, while probably a good idea for some stadiums, is plain and simply not possible except for very few stadiums. The same is true for increasing the height of outfield walls. 


#20 sftwinsfan

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 09:44 PM

I think even Al Newman would have hit at least 15 this year if he were still playing.A game in Seattle comes to mind as I thought it was just crazy to see this little guy just barrel a ball with not even an aggressive swing and watch it sail out to dead center.Pretty much makes the rule book irrelevent, kind of like the NFL. Maybe deadening the ball along with banning the defensive shifts would result in more players going for the base hit over trying to launch it over the fence.