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IdahoBert

2019 REGULAR SEASON DISCUSSION THREAD

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17 minutes ago, Oblong said:

So even better then.  Thanks   Given all the hubbub over HR this year by the media I bought it would be higher.  

Run scoring isn't higher than you'd expect because all other hits are down, especially singles. Home run average in 2019 is up over 2003, .041 to .031, but singles (.156 vs .175) and non-home runs in general (.213 vs. .233) are down. Other things being equal, more home runs should mean more scoring, but fewer runners on standing on base during home runs today is holding that difference down a lot.

(FYI, BB + HBP is roughly the same for both years.)

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7 minutes ago, bobrob2004 said:

In 2019, offense has been the highest since the "post-steroid" era.  Pitchers have an ERA of 4.53, the highest since 2006.

In 2011, league ERA was 3.94, the first time it was below 4.00 since 1992.  The numbers are quite fascinating to see.  From 1994-2009, league ERAs ranged from 4.28-4.77, the "steroid" era. 

In 2010, league ERAs took a noticeable drop, ranging from 3.74-4.19 from 2010-2016.  Then it jumped up again in 2017 to 4.36.  This is when we first heard rumors of a "juiced ball."  League ERA dropped again 2018 to 4.15, but then jumped again in 2019 to 4.53 as we once again hear rumors of a juiced ball. 

Given a large enough sample, patterns are certain to emerge.  Some are easy to see why, like the lowering of the mound in 1969. Steroids are almost certain the cause in the late 90s, early 200s, but the juiced ball is still just speculation.  

Good post. Minor quibble: the juiced ball is not merely speculation. It is proven fact.

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46 minutes ago, chasfh said:

Good post. Minor quibble: the juiced ball is not merely speculation. It is proven fact.

the thing with the juiced ball is that while total offense is affected by many things, the longest HRs are affected by only one. The 450'+ HRs being hit are probably the single least ambiguous signal about the ball.

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3 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

the thing with the juiced ball is that while total offense is affected by many things, the longest HRs are affected by only one. The 450'+ HRs being hit are probably the single least ambiguous signal about the ball.

The 70% or so increase in home runs in AAA after switching to the major league ball this season might be an equally unambiguous symbol.

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2 minutes ago, chasfh said:

The 70% or so increase in home runs in AAA after switching to the major league ball this season might be an equally unambiguous symbol.

yes  - that's pretty clear also. So my question is that given that everyone with a brain has known what was going on, if they wanted to use one ball, why didn't they give MLB the clearly more honest MiLB ball instead of vice versa?

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7 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

yes  - that's pretty clear also. So my question is that given that everyone with a brain has known what was going on, if they wanted to use one ball, why didn't they give MLB the clearly more honest MiLB ball instead of vice versa?

Because they can't market warning track flies?

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23 minutes ago, chasfh said:

Because they can't market warning track flies?

I'll bet they could market warning track grasshoppers

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The Tigers can still make history this year.

They are 18-50 at home, with 13 home games left.

The "Modern Era" record for home losses in a season is 58, held by the 1962 Mets, who went 22-58 at home.  So if the Tigers lose eight of the remaining thirteen at Comerica, they'll tie that record, and, of course, if they lose nine or more they'll own it all by themselves.

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2 hours ago, chasfh said:

Good post. Minor quibble: the juiced ball is not merely speculation. It is proven fact.

Proven how?  There are ways to measure the "liveliness" of a ball and its flight characteristics, but I haven't seen any articles or reports on anyone having done that to compare the current ball with past ones.  The only thing  I've read on the issue is the stuff about manufacturing techniques doing a better job of "centering" the pill, which I thought was weak and unconvincing (in part because it came from MLB and Rawlings, and in part because it just seemed like a lame explanation).  If you know of any actual studies, I'd love to read them.

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15 minutes ago, six-hopper said:

Proven how?  There are ways to measure the "liveliness" of a ball and its flight characteristics, but I haven't seen any articles or reports on anyone having done that to compare the current ball with past ones.  The only thing  I've read on the issue is the stuff about manufacturing techniques doing a better job of "centering" the pill, which I thought was weak and unconvincing (in part because it came from MLB and Rawlings, and in part because it just seemed like a lame explanation).  If you know of any actual studies, I'd love to read them.

If you have the Athletic, you can read about it here:

https://theathletic.com/1044790/2019/06/25/yes-the-baseball-is-different-again-an-astrophysicist-examines-this-years-baseballs-and-breaks-down-the-changes/

If not, you can read about it here:

https://wtop.com/mlb/2019/07/why-so-many-home-runs-physicist-explains-how-changes-to-ball-are-energizing-stats/

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So, interestingly, I came across this article from USA Today I hadn't seen before, in which the committee Baseball hired to look into the physics issues related to the ball may have come up with the solution for changes that might address the runaway home run issue:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2019/08/02/mlb-juiced-baseball-problem-home-run-rate/1869584001/

At SABR last year I presented a poster that sought to identify the issues that have been leading to too many home runs, along with too many strikeouts, and the attendant effect of ever increasing game time, and came up with one main recommendation: change the ball. And the two main changes in the manufacture of the ball would be to reduce the spin of the ball, and deaden the ball.

The idea behind reducing the spin is that the ball would break less, batters could true up the ball better and put more balls in play, while reducing swing-and-miss and foul balls, which should lower strikeout totals. Of course, if batters can true up juiced balls that would just result in an explosion of home runs, so by deadening the ball, that would diminish its flight, reduce home runs and keep more balls in the park so fielders can make plays on runners running hard to make bases, instead of just looking up to see a ball fly out while the batter and runners leisurely jog around bases. The reduced threat of home runs should lead pitchers to decrease their tactic of pitching around batters or nibbling on corners all the time, resulting in more here-you-go-hit-it pitches (particularly down the order) which should result in more balls in play, fewer strikeouts, fewer walks, and ultimately more action in shorter games.

I met the man who is the chairman of the committee Baseball hired to look into the problem, Dr Alan Nathan, and we discussed some of the ways these two changes to the ball could be achieved. Their committee, and the SABR Science Committee, had already been talking about ways to slow down the velocity of pitches, a factor which their studies were showing explained something like 90% of all increased strikeouts in recent years, and they were thinking about possible solutions like making the ball heavier (which would make a lot of sense, since the ball has been the same exact size for 125 years while the size of players themselves have increased dramatically). But they had not considered changing the manufacture of the ball to reduce its spin, as my data showed a distinct correlation between increased spin and increased swing-and-miss on six of the seven most common pitches (all except the change-up).

One of the ideas we discussed to reduce spin was to redistribute the weight between the core and the surface of the ball so that basic physics change would act to lower the spin rate. If the spin reduction is enough, say 15% to 20%, that alone could increase contact rates by ten to twelve percentage points. Do that while deadening the ball by just 2%, and based on 2017 Statcast data, we could achieve -18% fewer strikeouts, -6% fewer walks, up to a -20% decrease in homers, and a 5-point increase in balls in play, all while maintaining a similar run-scoring environment.

The USA Today story makes it sound as though Baseball is considering implementing the changes the committee will (has already?) come up with, and I'm eager to find out whether any of the ideas we discussed last year are going to make the cut. I'm really excited to see what they've come up with. But mostly, I really want the skyrocketing home run and strikeout to reverse, and sharply.

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59 minutes ago, chasfh said:

So, interestingly, I came across this article from USA Today I hadn't seen before, in which the committee Baseball hired to look into the physics issues related to the ball may have come up with the solution for changes that might address the runaway home run issue:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2019/08/02/mlb-juiced-baseball-problem-home-run-rate/1869584001/

At SABR last year I presented a poster that sought to identify the issues that have been leading to too many home runs, along with too many strikeouts, and the attendant effect of ever increasing game time, and came up with one main recommendation: change the ball. And the two main changes in the manufacture of the ball would be to reduce the spin of the ball, and deaden the ball.

The idea behind reducing the spin is that the ball would break less, batters could true up the ball better and put more balls in play, while reducing swing-and-miss and foul balls, which should lower strikeout totals. Of course, if batters can true up juiced balls that would just result in an explosion of home runs, so by deadening the ball, that would diminish  its flight, reduce home runs and keep more balls in the park so fielders can make plays on runners running hard to make bases, instead of just looking up seeing a ball fly out while the batter and runners leisurely jog around bases. The reduced threat of home runs should lead pitchers to decrease their tactic of pitching around batters or nibbling on corners all the time, resulting in more here-you-go-hit-it pitches (particularly to down-the-order batters) which should result in more balls in play, fewer strikeouts, fewer walks, and ultimately more action in shorter games.

I met the man who is the chairman of the committee Baseball hired to look into the problem, Dr Alan Nathan, and we discussed some of the ways these two changes to the ball could be achieved. Their committee, and the SABR Science Committee, had already been talking about ways to slow down the velocity of pitches, a factor which their studies were showing having explained something like 90% of all increased strikeouts in recent years, and they were thinking about things like making the ball heavier (which would make a lot of sense, since the ball has been the same exact size for 125 years while the size of players themselves have increased dramatically). But they had not considered changing the manufacture of the ball to reduce its spin, as my data showed a distinct correlation between increased spin and increased swing-and-miss on six of the seven most common pitches (all except the change-up). One of the ideas we discussed to reduce spin was to redistribute the weight between the middle and the surface of the ball so that basic physics change would act to lower the spin rate. If the spin reduction is enough, say 15% to 20%, that alone could increase contact rates by ten to twelve percentage points. Do that while deadening the ball by just 2%, and based on 2017 Statcast data, we could achieve -18% fewer strikeouts, -6% fewer walks, up to a -20% decrease in homers, and a 5-point increase in balls in play, all while maintaining a similar run-scoring environment.

The USA Today story makes it sound as though Baseball is considering implementing the changes the committee will (has already?) come up with, and I'm eager to find out whether any of the ideas we discussed last year are going to make the cut. I'm really excited to see what they've come up with. But mostly, I really want the skyrocketing home run and strikeout to reverse, and sharply.

Thanks for posting this article. Interesting. Would definitely enhance the value of good defense. 

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2 hours ago, chasfh said:

Thanks.  I'll read them.  I read "The Physics of Baseball" years ago, and I've read quite a bit of stuff on the physics of the game done by a professor at Kettering University -- I can't remember his name -- but I don't remember any of it addressing the characteristics of the ball itself.  I have read stuff about the differences between golf balls in terms of spin and flight characteristics, like the effect of differences in dimpling.

Having played baseball for about a million years,  I've played with a lot of different brands and models of baseballs, and I've noticed significant variation in the hardness of various brands and models of baseballs, but in many cases the differences have seemed greatest in how well the balls have held up, which is an issue in amateur ball when you use four balls in a game, but not in the Majors when there's a new ball in play every few pitches.

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5 hours ago, chasfh said:

The 70% or so increase in home runs in AAA after switching to the major league ball this season might be an equally unambiguous symbol.

I didn’t realize they used different balls in MLB and AAA until lately. 

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3-13 in the last sixteen. And still no more space between the Tigers and Orioles than when I last checked. 

I know the 2020 draft is supposed to be “strong“ whatever that means. I sure hope with another season under its belt there’s some sort of a consensus, oh my God, can’t miss, player of the century for the #1 pick.  

It would be a drag to go through the futility of this season and not get a once-in-a-lifetime player. 

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2 minutes ago, IdahoBert said:

3-13 in the last sixteen. And still no more space between the Tigers and Orioles than when I last checked. 

I know the 2020 draft is supposed to be “strong“ whatever that means. I sure hope with another season under its belt there’s some sort of a consensus, oh my God, can’t miss, player of the century for the #1 pick.  

It would be a drag to go through the futility of this season and not get a once-in-a-lifetime player. 

did we get a once in a lifetime player in Mize? Did Houston get one in either of their #1's? 

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3 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

did we get a once in a lifetime player in Mize? Did Houston get one in either of their #1's? 

No, but the Angels did at #25.

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3 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

did we get a once in a lifetime player in Mize? Did Houston get one in either of their #1's? 

Well, we did with Verlander.  Although that was a #2.  Unfortunately that might’ve been our lifetime pick. It’s not like we’re in a James Bond movie and we only live twice. 

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5 minutes ago, IdahoBert said:

Well, we did with Verlander.  Although that was a #2.  Unfortunately that might’ve been our lifetime pick. It’s not like we’re in a James Bond movie and we only live twice. 

What is weird to think about is that the statistics tell you there are about 3 HOF players in every draft, the problem is they might be anywhere - or maybe in the overseas draft.

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Ironically the best pick we made in 2017 with the benefit of the to pick in every round, might be the one we got in the 9th round.

Hopefully next year, a Bryant or Correa will emerge.  Right now it sounds like Tork.

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On ‎9‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 11:31 AM, Oblong said:

So even better then.  Thanks   Given all the hubbub over HR this year by the media I bought it would be higher.  

It isn't a lot, but 2003 was a high scoring era and 0.12 runs/team/game is not all that small as these things go.

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On 9/7/2019 at 4:16 PM, chasfh said:

So, interestingly, I came across this article from USA Today I hadn't seen before, in which the committee Baseball hired to look into the physics issues related to the ball may have come up with the solution for changes that might address the runaway home run issue:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2019/08/02/mlb-juiced-baseball-problem-home-run-rate/1869584001/

At SABR last year I presented a poster that sought to identify the issues that have been leading to too many home runs, along with too many strikeouts, and the attendant effect of ever increasing game time, and came up with one main recommendation: change the ball. And the two main changes in the manufacture of the ball would be to reduce the spin of the ball, and deaden the ball.

The idea behind reducing the spin is that the ball would break less, batters could true up the ball better and put more balls in play, while reducing swing-and-miss and foul balls, which should lower strikeout totals. Of course, if batters can true up juiced balls that would just result in an explosion of home runs, so by deadening the ball, that would diminish its flight, reduce home runs and keep more balls in the park so fielders can make plays on runners running hard to make bases, instead of just looking up to see a ball fly out while the batter and runners leisurely jog around bases. The reduced threat of home runs should lead pitchers to decrease their tactic of pitching around batters or nibbling on corners all the time, resulting in more here-you-go-hit-it pitches (particularly down the order) which should result in more balls in play, fewer strikeouts, fewer walks, and ultimately more action in shorter games.

I met the man who is the chairman of the committee Baseball hired to look into the problem, Dr Alan Nathan, and we discussed some of the ways these two changes to the ball could be achieved. Their committee, and the SABR Science Committee, had already been talking about ways to slow down the velocity of pitches, a factor which their studies were showing explained something like 90% of all increased strikeouts in recent years, and they were thinking about possible solutions like making the ball heavier (which would make a lot of sense, since the ball has been the same exact size for 125 years while the size of players themselves have increased dramatically). But they had not considered changing the manufacture of the ball to reduce its spin, as my data showed a distinct correlation between increased spin and increased swing-and-miss on six of the seven most common pitches (all except the change-up).

One of the ideas we discussed to reduce spin was to redistribute the weight between the core and the surface of the ball so that basic physics change would act to lower the spin rate. If the spin reduction is enough, say 15% to 20%, that alone could increase contact rates by ten to twelve percentage points. Do that while deadening the ball by just 2%, and based on 2017 Statcast data, we could achieve -18% fewer strikeouts, -6% fewer walks, up to a -20% decrease in homers, and a 5-point increase in balls in play, all while maintaining a similar run-scoring environment.

The USA Today story makes it sound as though Baseball is considering implementing the changes the committee will (has already?) come up with, and I'm eager to find out whether any of the ideas we discussed last year are going to make the cut. I'm really excited to see what they've come up with. But mostly, I really want the skyrocketing home run and strikeout to reverse, and sharply.

That would be incredible if some of your and Alan's work helped influence a change in the game.  It would also be great for the game.  Some people might say a 5% increase in balls in play won't matter, but I think it would be noticeable in a good way.  

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I don’t know where else to put this, but why are the first two games of the Yankees series occurring 30 minutes earlier than usual? 

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