We Live In The Dead Ball Era

jon abbey

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And this factors in weather already, to preemptively answer that.

"Ballpark Pal uses a model for park factors that estimates the "expected" outcome of a fly ball based on: Weather (temp, wind, humidity, etc.) Launch angle & speed Spray angle (direction of the fly ball) Stadium"
 

InsideTheParker

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Is there a rule about manufacture of balls for a given season? Do they all have to be finished before the season begins? If not, can they change it, b/c I know mlb loves home runs.
 

jon abbey

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Is there a rule about manufacture of balls for a given season? Do they all have to be finished before the season begins? If not, can they change it, b/c I know mlb loves home runs.
MLB owns the ball making company now and just does whatever the hell they want without informing anyone.
 

YTF

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MLB owns the ball making company now and just does whatever the hell they want without informing anyone.
Oh, they'll inform us. They'll inform us well after the fact, but only after there is a good amount of scrutiny and the information they give us will basically be the information that they want to give us. I'm still trying to decipher the possibility of how moving the "pill" more toward or away from the center of the baseball can affect the ball when by definition the "pill" is the core of the ball.
 

pokey_reese

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Maybe this is the league's way of responding to some growing fan complaints about three true outcomes baseball. Disincentivize the launch angle revolution, reduce the value of selling out for power, elevate the value of contact hitters who can put the ball in play, since K rates aren't likely to go down any time soon, but without HRs to balance them, a certain profile of hitter will take a huge hit to their perceived worth if this change persists.
 

wiffleballhero

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In the simulacrum
Maybe this is the league's way of responding to some growing fan complaints about three true outcomes baseball. Disincentivize the launch angle revolution, reduce the value of selling out for power, elevate the value of contact hitters who can put the ball in play, since K rates aren't likely to go down any time soon, but without HRs to balance them, a certain profile of hitter will take a huge hit to their perceived worth if this change persists.
I hope so.

The lack of disclosure is an issue, but I'd love to see a dead ball that was also harder to spin for the pitchers: more balls in play and more balls still in the park and therefore some changing incentives for approaching at bats.
 

LogansDad

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This touches on the ball issues too:

"Relative to the homer-happy 2019, balls have lost 12 feet of distance, and the batting average on those balls has fallen by 67 points, with the slugging percentages falling by a whopping 286 points."

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/welcome-to-hitless-baseball/
It blows my mind that they can continue to get away with this without any discussion or disclosure, in an era where gambling and fantasy have absolutely enormous amounts of cash exchanging hands (and some of if is sponsoring MLB).

I'm withholding judgement on whether the change is a good or bad thing as, like others above, I think it could lead to a more exciting game if implemented properly, but the fact that they did something that completely changes the game without so much as peeping about it is sickening to me. I'm just glad I don't have enough money to throw around and lose because of it.
 

jon abbey

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It blows my mind that they can continue to get away with this without any discussion or disclosure, in an era where gambling and fantasy have absolutely enormous amounts of cash exchanging hands (and some of if is sponsoring MLB).
Plus teams needing to decide whether to commit hundreds of millions to players, fully agreed on the blown mind.
 

NYCSox

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Maybe this is the league's way of responding to some growing fan complaints about three true outcomes baseball. Disincentivize the launch angle revolution, reduce the value of selling out for power, elevate the value of contact hitters who can put the ball in play, since K rates aren't likely to go down any time soon, but without HRs to balance them, a certain profile of hitter will take a huge hit to their perceived worth if this change persists.
You called?

51072
 

jon abbey

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Of course on the flip side with Gallo, he might be helped more than anyone in MLB if they put in anti-shifting rules next season.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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MLB owns the ball making company now and just does whatever the hell they want without informing anyone.
Having trouble finding where I first read this, but I believe that AAA and MLB don't use the same ball, either, which is one reason why so many prospects have struggled upon promotion. So, ok, the Spencer Torkelsons of the world will probably be fine, but it might make it look like someone like, I dunno, Jaren Duran is better than he maybe really is.
 

canderson

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Wouldn't a tweak to the seams cut down on the pitchers' ability to manipulate the ball, but by doing so making it much more uncontrollable?
 

soxhop411

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It blows my mind that they can continue to get away with this without any discussion or disclosure, in an era where gambling and fantasy have absolutely enormous amounts of cash exchanging hands (and some of if is sponsoring MLB).

I'm withholding judgement on whether the change is a good or bad thing as, like others above, I think it could lead to a more exciting game if implemented properly, but the fact that they did something that completely changes the game without so much as peeping about it is sickening to me. I'm just glad I don't have enough money to throw around and lose because of it.
Yup. I really want to see MLB explain why they are changing the makeup of the baseball pretty much every season
View: https://twitter.com/codifybaseball/status/1523666315956736010?s=21&t=Ypxrne8WXjU_UYWUOMBRmg


I highly doubt the Humidor is the main reason there is this large of a discrepancy when you compared total league stats from last year and this year

homers hit League wide as of May 3rd ( ) vs as of may 3rd 2021 ()
Eric Chavez (Mets hitting coach) thinks MLB is using different baseballs for nationally televised games.

https://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/mets-baseballs-home-runs-2022-ykpnv7ji
 

chawson

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Interesting thread on this stuff.

View: https://twitter.com/bbl_astrophyscs/status/1524040269980528640?s=21&t=ls_FC8cbolHjCD0VbXtD2w


Will Middlebrooks (and probably others) has theorized that the dead balls/humidor situation is an attempt by the league to speed up the game. Once hitters realize fly balls don’t travel as far, they’ll adjust in favor of more compact, line drive swings. Theoretically, that will cut down on whiffs, deep pitch counts, etc.

View: https://twitter.com/middlebrooks/status/1521900693753319426?s=21&t=ls_FC8cbolHjCD0VbXtD2w


I don’t typically look to Middlebrooks for wisdom, but this is as good an explanation as any that I’ve seen. MLB hasn’t addressed it at all. Of course, it also should suppress hitter salaries going forward, but gives the league plausible deniability for that intention.

Regardless, it makes for an inferior product.
 

bosox188

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The problem is, the reason hitters started selling out for fly balls to begin with was the shift was taking away hits. So if you've taken power away via the balls, but the shift still exists (at least for this year), you're stuck with low average and no power. Not great.
 

Harry Hooper

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Baccellieri in SI:




For context, these expected stats come from taking basic information about an individual batted ball—such as exit velocity, launch angle and the ballpark where it was hit—and comparing that to past data to determine the most likely outcome. But the key bit here is the data used to make those comparisons. The league calculates the baseline for that twice per year, according to MLB stats analyst Mike Petriello: once at the All-Star Break and once more after the end of the season. This means that before the All-Star Break—like, say, right now!—the baseline actually comes from past years.

Yes, this is all very wonky, (literally) inside-baseball stuff. But it’s crucial to understanding what these numbers are saying. In other words: When you see there was basically no league-wide gap between expected and actual stats in 2021 and 2020, you’re seeing there was basically no gap once the baselines had been adjusted to reflect the offensive environment for those years, which has not yet happened for 2022. In a world that didn’t have any dramatic, year-to-year swings in offensive environments, this wouldn’t mean too much. Unfortunately, MLB is clearly not in that world. If there’s a big change in the offensive environment from one year to the next—for instance, if the baseball itself is different—the numbers will show notably different things.

I am wondering if MLB was (over)worried about an offensive onslaught with universal DH and tinkered with the ball accordingly.
 

Sad Sam Jones

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If they want to promote small ball, maybe they should tell that to the teams and their ground crews. Minnesota is creating swamps in front of the bases by overwatering and then dumping a lot of loose dirt on top of it. As a result multiple players are going into their slide and just sticking. Max Kepler tore up his pants doing it last night and Austin Hedges came up two feet short on a force play at second base tonight. The infielders don't like it either, as both Gio Urshela and Jose Ramirez were doing their own landscaping at third base and kicking as much of the dirt as they could into foul territory.

The Twins rank 13th in the AL in stolen bases with 5 and have been thrown out 6 times.
 

Marciano490

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Why is baseball the one (well maybe hockey with the larger goalie pads) sport that wants to reduce offense? Wasn’t there a whole (dated) “chicks dig the longball” marketing push from this same sport, a sport that was reinvigorated in part by steroid junkies hitting lots of home runs? I get the launch angle revolution has resulted in more strikeouts, but strikeouts are awesome also.
 

Max Power

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Why is baseball the one (well maybe hockey with the larger goalie pads) sport that wants to reduce offense? Wasn’t there a whole (dated) “chicks dig the longball” marketing push from this same sport, a sport that was reinvigorated in part by steroid junkies hitting lots of home runs? I get the launch angle revolution has resulted in more strikeouts, but strikeouts are awesome also.
The goals isn't necessarily reducing offense as much as redistributing it. In 2019 homers were totally off the charts, but runs per game were basically in line with the early 90s. If MLB could swap a chunk of homers for doubles and two singles, they'd consider it a success.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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The goals isn't necessarily reducing offense as much as redistributing it. In 2019 homers were totally off the charts, but runs per game were basically in line with the early 90s. If MLB could swap a chunk of homers for doubles and two singles, they'd consider it a success.
Higher walls might work. Make them out of plexiglass so you don’t lose the outfield seating.
 

simplicio

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Sarris & Rosenthal had a great article in the Athletic last month: https://theathletic.com/3272450/2022/04/26/baseballs-arent-flying-as-far-and-home-runs-are-down-across-mlb-is-it-the-ball-itself?source=user-shared-article

tldr/s: the ball hasn't changed from the 2021 ball (though the 2021 season featured a mix of the 2021 ball and the previous version due to supply issues), but the humidor is increasing drag significantly in the early season. Parks with a high average humidity across the season are actually drier than the humidor in the early spring (Oakland gets singled out here, having lost an average of 24 feet on barreled balls in April) so the humidor has been adding moisture, where in the summer it'll be drying them and increasing offense. Having the humidor rehydrate the balls means the wool inside is pushing the seams up more (and perhaps asymmetrically), hence the increased drag. There are questions of whether the league-wide humidor settings are appropriate or should be altered for greater consistency between spring and summer ball, but any changes will likely be made in the offseason.
 

Max Power

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That's such a bullshit excuse. Hit by pitches were way up during the height of the spider tack era. Pitchers don't use tackiness to improve their command, they use it to try to throw insane RPM 95 MPH sliders and whatever happens to the hitters happens.
 

Jason Bae

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League batting splits, by month:

April: .232/.307/.369, 574 home runs (36.35 AB/HR) in 23,462 PA
May:.246/.313/.398, 904 home runs (31.39 AB/HR) in 31,579 PA
June: .247/.314/.408, 579 home runs (29.20 AB/HR) in 18,747 PA

League ISO has gone from .137 in April to .161 in June.
 

Marciano490

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Just looking at league leaders and playing fantasy - has there been a real rise in stolen bases this year? Is that because of the balls?
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Are they no longer rubbing mud on the baseballs before each game?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/mlb/mlb-standardizing-ball-rubbing-and-removal-from-humidors/2022/06/21/4feb199a-f195-11ec-ac16-8fbf7194cd78_story.html
Major League Baseball is standardizing procedures for rubbing baseballs and their removal from humidors in an effort to establish more consistency amid complaints about slickness that followed the crackdown on sticky substances.

MLB has been working on standards over the course of the season in response to feedback from players and sent a memorandum outlining the changes on Tuesday to general managers, assistant GMs and clubhouse managers. Titled “Updates to Baseball Storage & Handling,” a copy of the memo was obtained by The Associated Press.
...
“All baseballs projected to be used in a specific game must be mudded within three hours of all other baseballs being used in that game, and must be mudded on the same day that they are going to be used,” the memo states. “Baseballs should not be out of the humidor for more than two hours at any point prior to first pitch, and if it will take club staff longer than two hours, the baseballs should be pulled out of the humidor in smaller batches.”
...
and so on with more instructions for rubbing and storing
 

dynomite

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Humphrey

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"a basketball is a basketball". Except the other night in a Duke/FSU women's game, where the Dukies claim that a men's ball was used for the first half. Florida State and the ACC dispute that was the case, but I'd have to say something was amiss w/that ball, as they swapped it out at the half.
 

reggiecleveland

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"a basketball is a basketball". Except the other night in a Duke/FSU women's game, where the Dukies claim that a men's ball was used for the first half. Florida State and the ACC dispute that was the case, but I'd have to say something was amiss w/that ball, as they swapped it out at the half.
Yeah lost in much of the debate over carrying, palming the ball, and officiating is how much easier the newer basketballs are to palm and handle. Our high school league uses a "deep grooves" ball which is easier to shoot.