Maybe just maybe it isn’t Trevor Story’s fault. Or anyone else on the Red Sox roster, Or MLB for that matter. It seems the MLB dinger parade is over. At least for the first month plus of the major league baseball season. Over the last three seasons teams are averaging fewer and fewer home runs per nine innings. In 2022 the league average is 0.92, in 2021 it was 1.22 per nine and in 2020 a robust 1.39 in 2019.
Trevor Story wRC+ by season 2018: 128 2019: 122 2020: 118 2021: 100 2022: 84 Would be a damn shame to have this guy locked up to a nine figure contract — Barry (Aaron Judge enjoyer) (@YanksBar) May 3, 2022
But that isn’t the whole story. Numbers are in a freefall from 2017. coincidentally the year before MLB purchased Rawlings. In 2017 the league averages for BA/OBP/SLG and OPS were .255/.324/.426/.750/ in 2022 they have fallen to .233/.306/.372/.679 …. This is the cliff Max Kellerman thought Tom Brady was going to fall off six years ago.
this^ wasn't the most egregious dead ball non-HR but it's still clearly well-struck. it had a 102.3 MPH EV but the 36 degree launch angle may have been a bit too steep for example: this Austin Riley flyout was also at 36 degrees with a 105.4 MPH EV but he also seemed surprised pic.twitter.com/DRY62lr1EO — Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) May 7, 2022
Scoring down across the league
Going back to 2017 the year before MLB purchase of Rawlings . The average runs per game have dropped from 4.65 to 4.07. On the surface this doesn’t seem to be extraordinary. But when you couple it with the pitching numbers that are sweeping the league (4.03) ERA (3.68) here in 2022.. You can see that removing spider tack from the equation was simply a Band-Aid for the real issue. The ball is dead.
Bryce Harper off RHP Taijuan Walker – 108.4 mph, 35 degrees (409 ft Flyout, .890 xBA) 88.7 mph Splitter#Phillies @ #Mets (T4) — MLBBarrelAlert (@MLBBarrelAlert) May 1, 2022
The Pitching Game Changer
In 1968, pitchers averaged 6.65 innings per start. In 2021, the average was 5.09. More innings are going to relievers, who are averaging 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings. In 1968, the average was 5.83 strikeouts per nine. The entire don’t let pitchers go through the order after the second time through philosophy has taken its toll as well.
Barrel: Cody Bellinger (6) [LAD] off John Brebbia [SF]: 102.3 mph, 30 degrees (Flyout – 390 ft) — MLBExitVelocity (@MLBExitVelocity) May 4, 2022
In the end
Numbers don’t lie. The ball is definitely not flying as it has in years past. Balls you see coming off the bat at over 100 MPH are falling into gloves and not leaving the yard. And you can trace this back to MLB purchase of its own baseball provider. Then again maybe these guys need to get in the cage and make an adjustment.
As always you can follow/ give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207