for the love of  baseball


Current Opinion Piece

June 2021 opinion piece   

are new baseballs to blame for the MLB's LackLuster

Offense this year?


In last month’s opinion piece, I talked about how there has been an unusually high rate of no-hitters across the MLB. Well, that trend has continued as in the past month there have been two more no-hitters courtesy of Spencer Trumbull and Corey Kluber. If you look at the no-hitters you do notice a trend. While there have been six no-hitters this year, there have only been three teams that have been no-hit: The Rangers, Mariners, and Indians. So maybe you could blame the spike in no-hitters on three historically bad offenses and argue that this isn’t a league-wide trend. That's the thing though, the entire MLB has been in a hit shortage. Currently the league average is .236 which would be the lowest single season batting average in MLB history if the season were to end today. All the possible reasons discussed in the last opinion piece regarding the rise in no-hitters including changes in the approach to hitting, increase in pitching speeds and the implementation of defensive shifts can be attributed to the league wide decline in hits. However, the defensive shifts have been a large part of baseball for years now and pitchers have been consistently throwing harder for years. The question then arises what makes this year so different? In 2019 and 2020 we were talking about the baseball itself because we were seeing baseballs fly out of the park at historical rates. In 2019 and 2020 the homerun per game rates were 1.39 and 1.28 which were the highest in baseball history. We saw hitters with career highs for home runs in the mid-teens suddenly hitting close to 30 home runs in a season. Pitchers were calling for a change in the baseballs as it was easier to hit home runs than it ever was before despite the pitchers pitching the same. The MLB announced that they’d be changing the balls going into the 2021 season with the hopes of taming the home run onslaught. They were able to achieve their goal as the home run per game rate is only 1.14 this year which is still high but nowhere near the past two years. Unfortunately, the deadening of the baseball not only reduced the number of home runs hit, but seemingly reduced the number of hits throughout baseball.

 
 

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                                              - Jackie Robinson