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Juiced Baseball Update

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#21 notoriousgod71

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 08:42 AM

 

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. 

 

There are a number of stadiums where the fences have already been brought in. Move them back to their original dimensions. Fans sitting in left field in Detroit would probably enjoy not being 30 feet from the field.

 

Detroit, SD, NYM, and Seattle off the top of my head have all moved fences in recently.


#22 Vanimal46

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 11:44 AM



Trevor Plouffe had a funny reply to this tweet:

"Can't wait to tell my kids I played in the dead ball era."
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#23 SomeGuy

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 12:51 PM

From Fangraphs, Makes it sound like they have mastered the art of making a baseball. Less seam drag, smoother leather, and a more perfect round to the baseballs. 

https://blogs.fangra...oo-many-homers/

 

 

While one can point to the general trend of batters making greater efforts to elevate the ball — whether to hit it over shifted infielders or not — it’s more accurate to call that an adaptation to the new reality. The scientific evidence again points to the ball itself as being the driving factor. Earlier this week at The Athletic, Dr. Meredith Wills published a follow-up to last year’s breakthrough article, which itself was a follow-up to MLB’s Home Run Committee report. That committee, led by Dr. Alan Nathan, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Illinois, had found that the recent home run spike was caused by a decrease in the ball’s aerodynamic drag, but found no physical difference in the balls that would explain the change.

 

Conducting her own measurements using digital calipers and disassembled baseballs, Wills concluded that post-2015 balls’ laces, which were an average of nine percent thicker than balls from the 2010-14 period, were producing less bulging at the seams, yielding a more spherically symmetric ball with less aerodynamic drag — thus allowing them to fly further.

 

For her latest study, Wills examined 39 balls from this season, which she found differed from the 2015-18 balls and even earlier ones. Most notably, she found “demonstrably lower” seams, only 54.6 percent ± 15.0 percent as high as those on balls from previous seasons. By measuring the coefficient of static friction, she also found that the leather on this year’s balls is relatively smoother, concluding, “the static friction for the 2019 balls is 27.6 percent lower, a statistically significant result demonstrating the leather covers are genuinely smoother.” She measured the bulging of the seams and found, “Not only were the 2019 balls virtually round, what bulging they did show was slightly negative, suggesting the seams might be slightly ‘nestled’ into the leather.” The significantly rounder balls, which have thinner laces than last year’s (more in line with 2000-14 samples) produce even less drag than before, and thus even more carry. Wills noted that both the seam and smoothness issues jibe with anecdotal reports from pitchers about difficulties in gripping this year’s balls, as voiced by players such as Sean Doolittle, Jon Lester, and Noah Syndergaard.

 

As for commissioner Rob Manfred’s recent suggestion that a better-centered pill (the core of the ball) is a factor in creating less drag, Wills was largely dismissive, writing, “[T]his is the most difficult result to produce without significant manufacturing changes, since existing techniques make it hard to keep the pill from being centered to begin with… Therefore, it seems unlikely that pill-centering would explain a sudden change in drag; at the very least, we would be remiss not to also examine other possible sources.”

Edited by SomeGuy, 28 June 2019 - 12:53 PM.

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#24 Vanimal46

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 07:06 PM

I concur with Mr. Verlander.

IMG_20190708_200521.jpg


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Edited by Vanimal46, 08 July 2019 - 07:16 PM.

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#25 Carole Keller

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 09:00 AM

I'll say this ... I much prefer a close 2-1 game than a blowout. While home runs are fun ... only when your team is hitting them ... they get boring when you see them 5-7 times/game. They are no longer 'special.'

 

That said ... when pitchers are being developed to pitch in the triple digits ... I do see this as a counter to that.

 

However, this 'all or nothing' approach takes the nuance out of it, which is why I like baseball ... for all the in betweens.

 

At least with the 'juiced ball' ... everyone is on the same playing field (I guess pun intended). It's not a case of juiced player vs non-juiced player (at least in theory and hopefully in practice).

 

But ... Verlander has really the best, and maybe truly only, serious argument. The MLB will end up killing their own sport in the effort of ... what? Satisfying the owners' wallets today without thinking of the cause/effect of the future of the sport? That, to me, is, well, criminal.

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#26 Vanimal46

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 09:29 AM

I'll say this ... I much prefer a close 2-1 game than a blowout. While home runs are fun ... only when your team is hitting them ... they get boring when you see them 5-7 times/game. They are no longer 'special.'

That said ... when pitchers are being developed to pitch in the triple digits ... I do see this as a counter to that.

However, this 'all or nothing' approach takes the nuance out of it, which is why I like baseball ... for all the in betweens.

At least with the 'juiced ball' ... everyone is on the same playing field (I guess pun intended). It's not a case of juiced player vs non-juiced player (at least in theory and hopefully in practice).

But ... Verlander has really the best, and maybe truly only, serious argument. The MLB will end up killing their own sport in the effort of ... what? Satisfying the owners' wallets today without thinking of the cause/effect of the future of the sport? That, to me, is, well, criminal.

I couldn't agree more about home runs no longer being special. I think the MLB has the wrong strategy for trying to acquire a new audience... It's clear baseball wants more offense, more home runs, and more strikeouts to cater to the 15 second highlight watchers. I don't think this is doing anything positive to catch young kids' attention to the sport, and driving away some who enjoy the strategy of the game.

Like you I enjoy the in betweens the game has to offer. Hit and runs, double steals, sacrifices to advance runners. All of that is being thrown out the window because they determined statistically it's better to swing for the fences every time.

More home runs isn't getting more butts in seats at the ballpark. Competitive balance in the league and winning accomplishes that. Has Oakland seen a surge in attendance because they've hit 145 home runs? Doubtful.

I think this issue would gain more traction if another all time great hitter like Albert Pujols said, "You know, it used to be way more difficult to hit these baseballs out when I was 22. I shouldn't be able to hit a pop up at 39 and have it go over the fence."

Edited by Vanimal46, 09 July 2019 - 09:30 AM.

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#27 wsnydes

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:00 AM

I'm also wondering what impact the lesser drag has on a given pitch - particularly a fastball. How much does that aid guys hitting triple digits? How much does that impact movement of a breaking ball? 

 

Also, and I've been saying this for a few years now, but as exit velocities increase the odds of a pitcher getting killed go up. MLB is protecting fans more (with calls for even more protection) but there doesn't seem to be a lot of consideration to the one guy that is most exposed in all of this. I know there were experiments with helmets or armored/padded hats and the like a few years ago, but it seems as though a pitcher is going to have to get killed on the field by a batted ball in order to change this aspect. Batters are doing more to protect themselves, yet the pitcher is just left there with only a glove, cup and ability to react as their protection. I really hope that something far more serious doesn't need to occur in order for baseball to acknowledge this problem that they've help create.

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#28 Kelly Vance

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:28 AM

Maybe its just me, but if baseball is juicing baseballs to increase the number of home runs, then why all the fuss about steroids doing the same thing?Why the hypocrisy?

 

Bonds, Sosa, Magwire and Conseco took steroids and their HR numbers jumped.That was illegal enough to keep them out of the HOF?Then a few years later MLB buys Rawlings and juices the baseball.But that is ok?Really?

 

I realize that the baseball is juiced for all, and only some players used steroids.But I remember Jim Bouton's book "Ball Four" and he talked about how, in the 60s and 70s many players used "greenies" to get "up for the game."Bowie Kuhn called him to the Commissioner's office to dress him down for mentioning that .Made his book sales soar. Greenie use continued. 

 

Anyway, this makes me think that, in hindsight, steroids era players got a bad deal. At least they should't be judged as harshly as they are and the doors to the HOF should be open to them. 

 

and Pete Rose

Edited by Kelly Vance, 09 July 2019 - 10:35 AM.


#29 ashbury

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:43 AM

Bonds, Sosa, Magwire and Conseco took steroids and their HR numbers jumped.That was illegal enough to keep them out of the HOF?Then a few years later MLB buys Rawlings and juices the baseball.But that is ok?Really?

I have never seen the medical community issue warnings about the health risks to players throwing or swinging at livelier baseballs. Maybe the teams will need to install netting around the players, as they do for fans further and further down the foul lines.

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#30 wsnydes

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:44 AM

 

Maybe its just me, but if baseball is juicing baseballs to increase the number of home runs, then why all the fuss about steroids doing the same thing?Why the hypocrisy?

 

Bonds, Sosa, Magwire and Conseco took steroids and their HR numbers jumped.That was illegal enough to keep them out of the HOF?Then a few years later MLB buys Rawlings and juices the baseball.But that is ok?Really?

 

I realize that the baseball is juiced for all, and only some players used steroids.But I remember Jim Bouton's book "Ball Four" and he talked about how, in the 60s and 70s many players used "greenies" to get "up for the game."Bowie Kuhn called him to the Commissioner's office to dress him down for mentioning that .Made his book sales soar. Greenie use continued. 

 

Anyway, this makes me think that, in hindsight, steroids era players got a bad deal. At least they should't be judged as harshly as they are and the doors to the HOF should be open to them. 

 

and Pete Rose

Interesting and valid point. I guess, in my view, is that one is considered cheating and the other isn't. That does make a difference to me, but others will disagree. To each their own there.

 

It's interesting to note the connection with this and the steroids era though. Waning interest in the game in both scenarios with basically the same thought process to bring it back - the HR. The only real difference being the league office turned a blind eye to what was going on and in the other they instigated it.

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#31 raindog

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:46 AM

If you read The Athletic article by Meredith Wills, it's not that far-fetched that they didn't intentionally "juice" the baseball. They made process improvements that make logical sense. A more perfectly round baseball, lower laces, (this theoretically was to help decrease blisters for pitchers), smoother leather. 

 

I don't think they realized how much the smoother leather would decrease drag on the baseball. They surely knew a rounder baseball would have an effect, but it doesn't make sense to not make a perfectly round baseball. They also have a more uniform size, due to process improvements. 

 

Unfortunately, the smoother leather has also caused grip issues for pitchers. So most aren't getting blisters from the laces, but blisters under their fingernails from digging into the ball, (Like Odorizzi).

 

I think what they need to do is just make the leather rougher. This would create more drag and improve grip for pitchers. And maybe test the balls in the real-world before making changes. 

Edited by raindog, 09 July 2019 - 10:47 AM.

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#32 nicksaviking

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:06 PM

 

I'll say this ... I much prefer a close 2-1 game than a blowout. While home runs are fun ... only when your team is hitting them ... they get boring when you see them 5-7 times/game. They are no longer 'special.'

 

 

I agree, though my top priority is for the Twins to win. They seem to be good at this juiced baseball game, so until that stops working, I'm willing to see how this all plays out.

 

It would be a totally Minnesota thing for the club to build up the system with big thumpers the last three years only for MLB to change course and pull the rug out from underneath them when it appears their plan might actually pay off.

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#33 biggentleben

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:08 PM

 

I'm also wondering what impact the lesser drag has on a given pitch - particularly a fastball. How much does that aid guys hitting triple digits? How much does that impact movement of a breaking ball? 

 

Also, and I've been saying this for a few years now, but as exit velocities increase the odds of a pitcher getting killed go up. MLB is protecting fans more (with calls for even more protection) but there doesn't seem to be a lot of consideration to the one guy that is most exposed in all of this. I know there were experiments with helmets or armored/padded hats and the like a few years ago, but it seems as though a pitcher is going to have to get killed on the field by a batted ball in order to change this aspect. Batters are doing more to protect themselves, yet the pitcher is just left there with only a glove, cup and ability to react as their protection. I really hope that something far more serious doesn't need to occur in order for baseball to acknowledge this problem that they've help create.

 

From a few analytics guys that have talked with me, the big thing noted is that fastball variants are taught much more. Sliders do not break the same way. Big, looping curves don't work the same way (unless you have unbelievable command of one like Greinke), so you see much more movement to hard curves over sliders and cutters and split-fingers over sliders.

 

As far as velocity, Alan Nathan's report stated that in a pitch, there would not be enough force applied by an arm to affect a difference in drag to encourage velocity.

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#34 jkcarew

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:24 PM

 

As far as velocity, Alan Nathan's report stated that in a pitch, there would not be enough force applied by an arm to affect a difference in drag to encourage velocity.

That's the correct conclusion, but wrong reason. The reason is time. The effect of drag is exponential over time (for any given 'amount' of drag). That is to say, there is not enough TIME for drag to (significantly) impact a baseball over 60 feet....the ball is only traveling in the air for about one-half second (at the most).

Edited by jkcarew, 09 July 2019 - 12:25 PM.

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#35 jkcarew

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:29 PM

 

I agree, though my top priority is for the Twins to win. They seem to be good at this juiced baseball game, so until that stops working, I'm willing to see how this all plays out.

 

It would be a totally Minnesota thing for the club to build up the system with big thumpers the last three years only for MLB to change course and pull the rug out from underneath them when it appears their plan might actually pay off.

I'm torn. On the one hand, it's out of hand...gotten almost to the point of embarrassing for MLB. On the other hand, I agree, this club is probably the first club the Twins have had since the 1960's that's constructed to take advantage.

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#36 dex8425

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:46 PM

 

Maybe its just me, but if baseball is juicing baseballs to increase the number of home runs, then why all the fuss about steroids doing the same thing?Why the hypocrisy?

 

 

Uh, because steroids are an illegal performance enhancing drug. There's many reasons why they're illegal. Google for yourself. Everyone is using the same ball, so the playing field is level. But more importantly, the ball itself isn't medically and physically harmful to every single user, nor is it morally wrong. 

 


#37 biggentleben

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:52 PM

 

Uh, because steroids are an illegal performance enhancing drug. There's many reasons why they're illegal. Google for yourself. Everyone is using the same ball, so the playing field is level. But more importantly, the ball itself isn't medically and physically harmful to every single user, nor is it morally wrong. 

 

...and virtually none of those who used PEDs were using illegal supplements. That argument doesn't work in the world of baseball and substances from that era. Many of the most widely used are still very legal, albeit often banned by professional sports leagues.

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#38 wsnydes

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:54 PM

 

That's the correct conclusion, but wrong reason. The reason is time. The effect of drag is exponential over time (for any given 'amount' of drag). That is to say, there is not enough TIME for drag to (significantly) impact a baseball over 60 feet....the ball is only traveling in the air for about one-half second (at the most).

If that were the case, if a softball had the same weight of a baseball, there would be no impact? When we're talking such small time frames, even a small impact can make quiet a difference.

 

Not trying to argue, that's an honest question. I understand that it's an exponential force, so that part makes perfect sense. I realize that this example isn't truly apples to apples given we're talking very small change versus relatively larger change. 

 

Also, I think you can both be correct. Ben's talking about impact on the arm and you're referring to the ball in flight. I'd imagine that both are probably correct assessments. 

Edited by wsnydes, 09 July 2019 - 01:28 PM.

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#39 dex8425

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:55 PM

 

I'm also wondering what impact the lesser drag has on a given pitch - particularly a fastball. How much does that aid guys hitting triple digits? How much does that impact movement of a breaking ball? 

 

Those in the cycling, airline and auto industries know the importance of aerodynamics. How aero a bike is is way more important than how much it weighs. The easiest way to get faster on a bike is to wear tighter clothing and get lower. No doubt the aero drag has an impact on baseballs flying in as well as out, though the aero drag becomes more noticeable on a ball flying 400 ft vs 60.5 feet. If there's a 2 percent change, that's a 1-2 mph difference in pitch velo but could very well be the difference between hitting the cf wall and going out. 

 

The changes to the ball in and of themselves aren't making the pitcher less safe, since the core of the ball reportedly is the same. I'd venture that the increased exit velo is mostly just dudes swinging harder to take advantage of the improved aerodynamics of the ball, combined with more pitching velo. 


#40 dex8425

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:58 PM

 

...and virtually none of those who used PEDs were using illegal supplements. That argument doesn't work in the world of baseball and substances from that era. Many of the most widely used are still very legal, albeit often banned by professional sports leagues.

 

You know what I mean. Banned=illegal. Just because EPO is legal to buy over the counter in Kenya doesn't mean it's legal to use for training for the NYC marathon. Whatever is banned by USADA or WADA is illegal to use in sports. They were using banned substances.