Baseball has been continued to see a rise in home runs during its first six days of the 2018 season, this is a trend that dates back to the second half of the 2015 season.
Joe Panik was responsible for the first three runs the San Francisco’s Giants score in their first five games, all three were solo shots. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz has hit two monster bombs at Safeco Field, in April, for his only two hits of the season… Edwin Encarnación also hit a pair of moon shots at the Safe to open up the season. Even Dee Gordon has jumped on board with a roof scrapping shot.
It’s April, and we’re already seeing a home run to fly ball ratio hovering around 12% in the first week of the season. The weather is colder, pitchers are fresher cause, and baseballs are flying out of the ball park at a rate that hasn’t been seen in the last decade (and I know from 2009-2013 was a miniaturized version of the dead ball area). Take a look at the home rub to fly ball ratio from 2009 to today.
2018 – 12.2%
2017 – 13.7%
2016 – 12.8%
2015 – 11.7%
2014 – 9.5%
2013 – 10.5%
2012 – 11.3%
2011 – 9.7%
2010 – 9.4%
2009 – 10.1%
If a hitter gets the ball into the air they’re more likely to see it sail over the fence. And it wasn’t like there was a slow build to it either — there was a 2.2% jump from ’14 to ’15. It’s not just that fly balls are turning into singers, balls are also being hit harder than ever before too.
To emphasize the point Justin Verlander is making, Hard contact was 26.9% of all balls put in play in 2009…through the first week of 2018 it’s at 32.6%.
The realities on the field, plus scientific studies of the balls used before and after the 2015 All Star break, clearly lay out a trail of evidence that the balls are different.
Offensive production had dramatically changed in the last two and a half seasons. We’re seeing more dingers, strikeouts, and runs scored than has ever been seen in this history of baseball. All evidence points to the baseball as the reason.