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No juiced ball thread ???

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https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/07/justin-verlander-mlb-juiced-baseballs-balls-home-runs-surge-quote-reaction-story-all-star-game?fbclid=IwAR1MMnZSCbMSseb-x8so0ObU7Vhk2s0XMK0IehCsjTj3ZgHj_hSRKQRKO00

JV thinks there should be one.  If there's one on Surly, I couldn't find it.

This is one conspiracy theory that the facts seem to support.  The league wide numbers this year are astonishing.

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Balls seem like they've been juiced a couple of years. When I was a kid in the 90s and 2000s there was only a handful of pitchers that threw 95+ and over 100 was super rare.

 

Nowadays you see guys in their mid 30s who sat low 90s most of their career up over 95. Basically every relief pitcher throws 95+. The Cardinals have a dude that throws 104! 

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On my phone, but earlier I saw some good analysis that this probably goes back a few years and didn't just start in 2019.

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the home run surge could be due to the fact that every single hitter is swinging for the fences on every single pitch without any regard for situation or game scenario.  

Do you remember when it was fucking insane for one pitching staff to notch 1000 strikeouts for the season?  Now every single staff does that.  Every single team strikes out 1200 times a year.  It's at all-time epidemic levels.  Yeah more Home Runs are gonna get hit when your whole fucking team thinks they're a lost sibling from the Bash Brothers.  

An MLB staff has to have about 1,600 strikeouts a year to lead the league, that's insanity.  

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1 hour ago, David Dennison said:

If they are, they're juiced for everyone. No big deal.

Pretty much this. It wouldn't be the first time that MLB has changed things up to create fan excitement and it probably won't be the last.

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1 hour ago, bschoolprof said:

I have no problems with this. Dingers are fun. 

This post is terrible.

The three true outcomes are solid analytics and are effective, but that kind of baseball is boring as fuck. A bases loaded gapper is the most exciting play in baseball. We need fewer walks, fewer strikeouts, and fewer home runs.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, El Diablo said:

Pretty much this. It wouldn't be the first time that MLB has changed things up to create fan excitement and it probably won't be the last.

I mean, yeah.  They've changed the seams on the ball, lowered the mound, etc many times over the years.

It's really obvious that the balls have been, let's say, adjusted this year.  

But the longer trend, over 10+ years, is due to two things, imo.  One is the analytics trend pushing for launch angles and homer-or-strikeout mentality.  The other is HGH.  I suspect just about every pitcher in the league is on it and that explains the increase in velocity better than any changes to the ball.  Guys are stronger and they no longer worry about overthrowing because HGH helps with recovery time in a big way.  When I was a kind in the 80s, half the starters in the league topped out at 90-92 and like two guys could touch 100.  Now everybody throws 95+ and several guys can hit 102-104.  That ain't a juiced ball and it ain't some revolution in pitching mechanics.  It's HGH.

And when every fastball has another 5 mph on it, warning track fly balls become homers.  Especially when the hitters are all on HGH, too.

It's just a different game now.  The 1-0 ballgame will become as rare as the 7-0 NFL game of days long gone.  It is what it is.

Edited by TexArcher

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To me it doesn't seem that it would be very difficult to dissect a ball from this year and one from a previous year and find the difference yet no one has bothered to offer up any actual evidence of juicing. With as many workers involved in the manufacturing process as there must be then it rivals the moon landing in the scope of the fraud being perpetrated. It is odd. I do believe that there has been some juicing of the ball but the fact that someone hasn't offered up any proof is just strange.

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The ball is more perfectly rounded and lower seams than past years resulting in less drag and farther ball flights.

I thought this was common knowledge?

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29 minutes ago, El Diablo said:

To me it doesn't seem that it would be very difficult to dissect a ball from this year and one from a previous year and find the difference yet no one has bothered to offer up any actual evidence of juicing. With as many workers involved in the manufacturing process as there must be then it rivals the moon landing in the scope of the fraud being perpetrated. It is odd. I do believe that there has been some juicing of the ball but the fact that someone hasn't offered up any proof is just strange.

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

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Games change. When I was in college, the Fridge was the only 300 pounder in the NFL. 

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7 hours ago, UTexasFight said:

The ball is more perfectly rounded and lower seams than past years resulting in less drag and farther ball flights.

I thought this was common knowledge?

^^^ this. and they sent their private stock to London with Sox and Yanks.

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Heard on the sports ray-dee-o station this morning that if the pace continues, there will be 500+ more home runs this year than in any other year.  I'm sure there are several reasons for that but one of the has to be the ball.  

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12 hours ago, cmontexas said:

Balls seem like they've been juiced a couple of years. When I was a kid in the 90s and 2000s there was only a handful of pitchers that threw 95+ and over 100 was super rare.

 

Nowadays you see guys in their mid 30s who sat low 90s most of their career up over 95. Basically every relief pitcher throws 95+. The Cardinals have a dude that throws 104! 

I don't think this guy understands what a juiced ball means.

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Yeah, they've established that the ball is different. Guys have a different approach geared toward hitting for power, but that's been the trend for a while and the power spike this year obviously has to be the ball. They also started using the MLB ball in AAA this year, and guess what? HR are way up there too. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Hank Chinaski said:

 They also started using the MLB ball in AAA this year, and guess what? HR are way up there too. 

 

 

The last stat I saw was a few months back but AAA HR totals are up by around 50% after switching to the MLB ball.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, bschoolprof said:

I have no problems with this. Dingers are fun. 

Pizza is great...unless you started eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. 

HRs were fun because guys had to square up the ball, hit it at the right angle, etc in order to get it out - i.e., it wasn't easy to do. Now you have guys hitting balls off the end of the bat that look like popups that just carry and carry. 

You watch sports to see exceptional performance, not exceptional equipment. 

Edited by Hank Chinaski

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9 hours ago, Huckleberry said:

This post is terrible.

The three true outcomes are solid analytics and are effective, but that kind of baseball is boring as fuck. A bases loaded gapper is the most exciting play in baseball. We need fewer walks, fewer strikeouts, and fewer home runs.

If you played ball growing up for damn sure, but so many people haven't and think HR's are the epitome of a great play.  I love a tied game going into late innings as coaches use strategy  to get guys on base and advanced.

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3 minutes ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

If you played ball growing up for damn sure, but so many people haven't and think HR's are the epitome of a great play.  I love a tied game going into late innings as coaches use strategy  to get guys on base and advanced.

I'd much rather see a 3-2 game than a 13-12 game.  

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3 minutes ago, smwhorn said:

I'd much rather see a 3-2 game than a 13-12 game.  

Yep, I should have clarified.

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15 minutes ago, smwhorn said:

I'd much rather see a 3-2 game than a 13-12 game.  

Same...unless it was game 5 of the 2017 World Series. But even then, I’d only want to see one 13-12 game in the World Series 

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Posted (edited)

when I spent 5 minutes in pro ball in 1990 the ball was very different than it is today.  it actually had seams on it.  The avg fast ball was 86 mph, and there were very very few guys who threw over 94.  in my short stint I faced one guy who threw 95, and I knew there was no f*cking chance I could hit it.  I couldn't even see the damn ball.  I was good to about 93-94, but anything over that was like a line of demarcation for my eyesight that I simply couldn't pick up.  

 

I love where the game is today, honestly.  more offense, more round balls, wound tighter, lower seams, and thrown harder = more offense and more entertaining.  Watching those guys at the HRD last night was a freaking show. 

Edited by pepper brooks

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1 hour ago, TonyTexas said:

The last stat I saw was a few months back but AAA HR totals are up by around 50% after switching to the MLB ball.

I knew they'd started using ML balls in the minors this year but didn't know the HR stats. Everybody gets a ribbon!

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47 minutes ago, pepper brooks said:

 

 

I love where the game is today, honestly.  more offense, more round balls, wound tighter, lower seams, and thrown harder = more offense and more entertaining.  Watching those guys at the HRD last night was a freaking show. 

Had no idea Rob Manfred posted under Pepper Brooks...

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19 minutes ago, SuingToGetAMessageBoard? said:

women get weary.

Have ya been to Eastern Europe ?  There are wooly women everywhere...

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56 minutes ago, pepper brooks said:

when I spent 5 minutes in pro ball in 1990 the ball was very different than it is today.  it actually had seams on it.  The avg fast ball was 86 mph, and there were very very few guys who threw over 94.  in my short stint I faced one guy who threw 95, and I knew there was no f*cking chance I could hit it.  I couldn't even see the damn ball.  I was good to about 93-94, but anything over that was like a line of demarcation for my eyesight that I simply couldn't pick up.  

 

I love where the game is today, honestly.  more offense, more round balls, wound tighter, lower seams, and thrown harder = more offense and more entertaining.  Watching those guys at the HRD last night was a freaking show. 

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree on "where the game is today."  If they want to juice the balls for the HR Derby so it becomes a freak show, so be it.  

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I don't have a problem with offense. I have a problem with boring offense. Earl Weaver baseball is effective but boring.

I mentioned fewer strikeouts for a reason. More actual action on the field is exciting. Deaden the ball but also lower the seams. More balls in play is what we need (that's what your mom said). More defensive plays, more baserunners, more actual action.

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10 minutes ago, Huckleberry said:

I don't have a problem with offense. I have a problem with boring offense. Earl Weaver baseball is effective but boring.

I mentioned fewer strikeouts for a reason. More actual action on the field is exciting. Deaden the ball but also lower the seams. More balls in play is what we need (that's what your mom said). More defensive plays, more baserunners, more actual action.

Besides, ground balls are more democratic.

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13 hours ago, Huckleberry said:

This post is terrible.

The three true outcomes are solid analytics and are effective, but that kind of baseball is boring as fuck. A bases loaded gapper is the most exciting play in baseball. We need fewer walks, fewer strikeouts, and fewer home runs.

I too would like to see more pure hitting and balls in play.  But I think that ship sailed  before the juiced balls of the past couple of years.  The fly ball revolution started before MLB changed the ball in 2017.  Perhaps the change was in response to hitters' change in approach at the plate and it has only reinforced the hitting trends you don't like.

But at this point I think because of Turner, Donaldson, etc, more players would be swinging for the fences anyway.  The main thing the juiced ball is doing is turning what would have been a routine F8 into something that is more likely gone.   I'm not sure that's a more boring brand of baseball.

The only way we are getting more bases loaded gappers with fewer HRs and fewer walks is if hitters consistently increase their number of singles, which seems much harder to do against today's pitchers and shift defenses.  

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I agree with Huck.  A juiced baseball is a (crude) analogy to NFL rules protecting quarterbacks.  I'm not sure I want to go back TOO far on the reduced strikeouts, reduced walks, reduced home runs spectrum, but as it stands now I'm reminded more of beer league softball than baseball.

As far as HGH goes, I have no doubt plenty of pitchers are juicing, but they didn't just start this year.  The ball caught up, which ironically makes the problem worse.  It may be harder to make contact with a 100 mph fastball, but it's for damn sure going somewhere if you do.  Now, the ball goes even a bit farther.

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Last time they claimed the ball was juiced, it turned out that all the hitters were juiced.  In 5-10 years, it will all come out that once again, the hitters caught on to some drug/supplement and went wild.

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DO better, Verlander.  Every game I attended this year where he has pitched....10-16 strikeouts, 2-3 homeruns.  And those homeruns are the only hits.  Twice he had a no-hitter going into the 8th...only to give up a HR.

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16 hours ago, Lobo said:

the home run surge could be due to the fact that every single hitter is swinging for the fences on every single pitch without any regard for situation or game scenario.  

Do you remember when it was fucking insane for one pitching staff to notch 1000 strikeouts for the season?  Now every single staff does that.  Every single team strikes out 1200 times a year.  It's at all-time epidemic levels.  Yeah more Home Runs are gonna get hit when your whole fucking team thinks they're a lost sibling from the Bash Brothers.  

An MLB staff has to have about 1,600 strikeouts a year to lead the league, that's insanity.  

This is my feeling.  And the analytics seem to support that approach as the most effective way to score.

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Just now, Surly Bevo said:

Chicks dig the long ball

That said global thermonuclear war gets to be a boring game after a while and that is what baseball is becoming with al the HR and K outcomes. 

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47 minutes ago, bschoolprof said:

I too would like to see more pure hitting and balls in play.  But I think that ship sailed  before the juiced balls of the past couple of years.  The fly ball revolution started before MLB changed the ball in 2017.  Perhaps the change was in response to hitters' change in approach at the plate and it has only reinforced the hitting trends you don't like.

But at this point I think because of Turner, Donaldson, etc, more players would be swinging for the fences anyway.  The main thing the juiced ball is doing is turning what would have been a routine F8 into something that is more likely gone.   I'm not sure that's a more boring brand of baseball.

The only way we are getting more bases loaded gappers with fewer HRs and fewer walks is if hitters consistently increase their number of singles, which seems much harder to do against today's pitchers and shift defenses.  

Maybe, but it kind of works hand-in-hand...the juiced ball incentivizes hitting fly balls (because they're more likely to leave the park). If the ball were "normalized" and these fly balls were caught instead of landing in the first row, a hitter's incentive structure changes (for many hitters). In other words, the launch angle/exit velocity formula works better when the exit velocity part of the equation is artificially elevated (with a juiced ball). With a normal ball, a lot of players could see better results with a decrease the launch angle - to hit more line drives instead of fly balls that no longer make it out of the park.

Here are the number of teams with a HR/Fly Ball ratio of 15% or greater, by year:

2019: 16

2018: 3

2017: 7

2016: 3

2015: 1

2014: 0

2013: 0

2012: 1

In 2019, everyone should try to hit it in the air every time; before 2017, that wasn't really the case. 

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17 hours ago, GSU&UT said:

On my phone, but earlier I saw some good analysis that this probably goes back a few years and didn't just start in 2019.

The thing that showed up this year is that they started using a MLB ball in AAA, and AAA homers have nearly doubled.

I don't think the ball is juiced intentionally; I just think for some inexplicable reason, MLB (and the NCAA) has lax quality control at the plant that makes them.  Would be nice if they had some sort of in-plant testing of the balls once they come off the assembly line. 

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10 minutes ago, Beau Vine said:

I don't think the ball is juiced intentionally; I just think for some inexplicable reason, MLB (and the NCAA) has lax quality control at the plant that makes them.  Would be nice if they had some sort of in-plant testing of the balls once they come off the assembly line. 

Lax quality control would most likely show up as higher variablity.  That doesn't preclude more home runs, but it would tend to indicate more spread (more short fly balls PLUS more home runs).

This assumes there is some sampling basis in the first place, but that it's not adequate to assess the spread.  If they don't sample at all, which I find ludicrous, then yes, the balls could have fundamentally changed at the factory and noone would be the wiser.

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38 minutes ago, Hank Chinaski said:

Maybe, but it kind of works hand-in-hand...the juiced ball incentivizes hitting fly balls (because they're more likely to leave the park). If the ball were "normalized" and these fly balls were caught instead of landing in the first row, a hitter's incentive structure changes (for many hitters). In other words, the launch angle/exit velocity formula works better when the exit velocity part of the equation is artificially elevated (with a juiced ball). With a normal ball, a lot of players could see better results with a decrease the launch angle - to hit more line drives instead of fly balls that no longer make it out of the park.

Here are the number of teams with a HR/Fly Ball ratio of 15% or greater, by year:

2019: 16

2018: 3

2017: 7

2016: 3

2015: 1

2014: 0

2013: 0

2012: 1

In 2019, everyone should try to hit it in the air every time; before 2017, that wasn't really the case. 

Interesting how sharp that rise is.  They need to deaden the ball or push the fences out to 420'.  Either one would greatly change the analytics.  I'd prefer the latter.  Get rid of 20 feet of seats, make the outfield huge and keep the rabbit balls so triples are back in vogue.

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Posted (edited)

Of course it's intentional. MLB knows what their casual fans want. And casual fans are the ones filling most of the seats.

Edited by Onboard 2.0

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4 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Lax quality control would most likely show up as higher variablity.  That doesn't preclude more home runs, but it would tend to indicate more spread (more short fly balls PLUS more home runs).

This assumes there is some sampling basis in the first place, but that it's not adequate to assess the spread.  If they don't sample at all, which I find ludicrous, then yes, the balls could have fundamentally changed at the factory and noone would be the wiser.

Sure, pull out your engineering degree and beat me with it.

By "lax quality control," I was mainly referring to both the NCAA and MLB being seemingly clueless to how a change in the raw material would affect the finished product.   Both organizations had (the opposite) problems with their balls because of a change in the thread used. 

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6 minutes ago, Beau Vine said:

Sure, pull out your engineering degree and beat me with it.

By "lax quality control," I was mainly referring to both the NCAA and MLB being seemingly clueless to how a change in the raw material would affect the finished product.   Both organizations had (the opposite) problems with their balls because of a change in the thread used. 

Not trying to diminish the point . . . you're right, it's probably closer to a design issue than a manufacturing issue.

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14 hours ago, UTexasFight said:

The ball is more perfectly rounded and lower seams than past years resulting in less drag and farther ball flights.

I thought this was common knowledge?

more importantly less break when pitching

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Posted (edited)

Also in the mix is the shortage of quality starting pitching across the league.  This shortage is exacerbated by the throw hard mentality.  Very few pitchers can manage their level of effort to extend much beyond five innings of quality work.  It’s hair on fire, pedal to the metal until they run out of gas.  Bullpens are carrying more and more of the load and those guys are wearing themselves out, too.  Crappy pitching plus juiced balls plus new school plate approaches create the perfect storm we are witnessing.  

Edited by Guadaloopy

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