Major League Baseball has to solve its problems with their baseballs – Pinstripe Alley

    Amid the fallout from failed covid-19 negotiations, the looming labor fight, a crackdown on pitchers using sticky material, and a host of other issues, Major League Baseball has admitted to using two different balls without the knowledge of coaches or players during the 2021 season. Because of everything else going on at the time, this controversy didn’t get as much airplay as it probably would have if there hadn’t been so many issues getting everyone’s attention.

    well, it only took 18 games, but the baseball controversy is once again a point of contention between players and fans alike. After Pete Alonso was hit in the head for the second time this season, and the third time it has happened to the New York Mets, after Francisco Lindor was hit in the face in just his second game of the season, Chris Bassitt has vocally criticized MLB, stating that the league is knowingly using bad baseballs and just don’t care. if you haven’t already, you can see his full answer here:

    While most media sources have rightly taken your comment that mlb doesn’t mind bad balls and takes advantage of them, it’s important to note why you have such a problem with them: it’s all It boils down to a lack of consistency. . According to Bassitt, the feel of the baseball changes inning for inning, let alone game for game. if this is true, and i must stop here to acknowledge that miles mikolas disagreed with bassitt’s opinion, although part of that is likely due to the simmering tensions between the cardinals and mets at the moment, the commissioner’s office not only is looking down. of another controversy under Rob Manfred, but they are flirting with a legitimate player safety issue.

    For a little more detail, I went back to 2016 to see the full season hit rate per shot for the last five seasons, excluding 2020, to see how it compares to 2022 so far. To do this, I divided the total number of hits per pitch by the total number of plate appearances. (In terms of methodology, you can also take a look by game/innings pitched, but I decided appearance at the plate was the best denominator for this analysis.) this is what i found:

    As you can see, the numbers have been steadily increasing over the last five years. while they have decreased marginally so far this year, the rate at which they are occurring is still much more frequent than it was five years ago. So while Bassitt’s comments probably come from a place of frustration (after all, the Mets have been hit a league-leading 18 times), I think there’s something in what he says about the lack of consistency on balls that they are expected to hit. throw.

    Why do these inconsistencies have the potential to become such a serious problem for Major League Baseball? Beyond the marginal increases in hit batters we’ve seen year over year, we’ve also seen pitchers across the league struggle with command early on. With velocities increasing simultaneously throughout the league, this could spell danger for hitters.

    While most of the focus on the sticky ban was on increasing the spin speed of the fastball throughout the league, it’s not unreasonable to believe that some pitchers (also) were using those things to have more control over your pitches. Let’s look at the zone percentage of some key members of the Yankees pitching staff:

    While there are certainly some gradual fluctuations from year to year from 2018 to 2021, for these three pitchers to drop below 40 percent so far this season is pretty telling. while this has obviously led to inflated stats across the board for all three, I’m less concerned with that facet of this discussion at the moment. rather, I’m more concerned with the fact that each of these guys throws the high 90s and is capable of hitting 100 mph, but they all have trouble finding the strike zone. yes, the weather and a shorter spring are also likely factors in this, but it’s hard not to draw a correlation between these numbers and sticky bans.

    now, needless to say, this isn’t an issue affecting every pitcher on the yankees’ staff — jordan montgomery and chad green in particular are in line with their career ratings — but it seems to be one that is disproportionately affecting to power casters. when flamethrowers struggle to locate their stuff, well, standing in the batter’s box suddenly becomes a much more dangerous game.

    Finally, there’s been a lot of discussion about the offense lagging behind the entire league. while there are a number of factors at play in this: increased league-wide reliance on three true results, pitchers throwing harder than ever and putting up some ridiculous stuff, etc. -play. Just as Bassitt indicated that there is no consistency for the pitcher, there doesn’t seem to be any consistency for the hitters either. As the Bradford William Davis study cited above found, two baseballs were used in 2021, and there were even unsubstantiated rumors that MLB was using juice balls again for marquee matchups such as the Homefield Game of Dreams. this decline in offensive production, combined with some difficulties with extremely lively arm control, an increase in speed, and a general sense of frustration from several players, are just the early stages of a conflict that has the potential to boil over very seriously. quickly.

    I don’t think it’s particularly far fetched to believe that hitters don’t want to be hit by fastballs and pitchers don’t want to give up record levels of home runs year after year. somehow, though, the league needs to find a happy median, because what they currently have, a ban on goo with a baseball that may or may not be trash, clearly isn’t working. After a tense labor negotiation that dominated the offseason and Rob Manfred’s commitment to fix the league’s relationship with the players, deciding which baseball to use would be a good starting point. I can’t believe I had to write that sentence.

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