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Old 07-07-2016, 06:51 PM  
chiefzilla1501 chiefzilla1501 is offline
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MLB on pace to hit 2nd most HRs in history

This has always been one of my favorite baseball debates so I'm curious what people think about this trend.

Hitters are on pace to hit the second most HRs in history. This is assuming PED testing has improved. That we are past the steroid era. Despite there not being any new expansion team.

So why is this happening? I've always been of the opinion that the impact of steroids has been overblown - an important factor, but not nearly as important as people make it to be. Is it possible that baseball has introduced a juiced ball to jump the ratings? And could that have played a big part in the massive #'s we saw in the steroid era?
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:52 PM   #2
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:53 PM   #3
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:55 PM   #4
C3HIEF3S C3HIEF3S is offline
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I believe that there is some external force being driven back into the game that maybe the testing isn't catching. There have already been more players suspended for PED's this season than all of last season:
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/lege...baseball.shtml

Could be coincidence, but I find it hard to believe that this jump in HR numbers just happens.
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:55 PM   #5
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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Batting average is at near historic lows.

I would say there are a couple of possible reasons:

1) Hitters have forsaken average for power and are swinging for the fences more, accepting weak contact and strikeouts for homers

2) PEDs are back in force, but defensive shifts have made it much more difficult to hit singles than in the past.

However, it will be difficult to draw a definitive conclusion, because we don't have exit velocity data for the PED era, nor the years that preceded and succeeded it.

I would say that a change in hitter approach combined with increased velocity is the most likely culprit.
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:57 PM   #6
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:15 PM   #7
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Hamas hit on one big thing... the strikeout just doesn't matter anymore. Teams aren't afraid to do it. That's the one thing that set the Royals apart offensively, most everyone else hacks away. Very little concern over a "two strike" approach.

Another facet is that so many pitchers throw hard. So many teams can run reliever after reliever throwing 90+ heat out there. That has helped keeping hitting numbers down, but when you make contact it can go a long way.

You can't make sweeping generalizations off one season though. The last couple years, hitting 30 HR was a real accomplishment, and nobody was talking then. It's not like everyone started taking steroids at the same time. It's like 1987... the balls were flying out, HR totals were up and people wondered if the ball was juiced. Every year is it's own beast.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:32 PM   #8
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:34 PM   #9
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And we still won't have a Royal break through the almighty 36HR in a season lead ceiling this year.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:43 PM   #10
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Look at some of the 98 rosters compared to today. That was when McGwire and Sosa broke the record. The Cubs made the playoffs, and having Kerry Wood come up as a rookie was huge, but their top three starters in IP were Steve Trachsel, Mark Clark and Kevin Tapani. Not sure any of those guys could be a #2 on a playoff team today.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:46 PM   #11
chiefzilla1501 chiefzilla1501 is offline
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I also wonder how much has to do with injuries. I remember last year Giancarlo Stanton was on pace to hit about 800 HRs before he got injured. Seems like most of the sluggers are still pretty healthy.

Most explanations here sound good. At the same time, I think it's more than a little interesting that the MLB goes into a major HR slump the year after steroids and then once everyone stops caring about the steroid problem and there's offseason debate about not scoring enough runs, the #'s jump up again. Enough to make you at least wonder.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:50 PM   #12
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:55 PM   #13
chiefzilla1501 chiefzilla1501 is offline
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Originally Posted by tk13 View Post
Look at some of the 98 rosters compared to today. That was when McGwire and Sosa broke the record. The Cubs made the playoffs, and having Kerry Wood come up as a rookie was huge, but their top three starters in IP were Steve Trachsel, Mark Clark and Kevin Tapani. Not sure any of those guys could be a #2 on a playoff team today.
That is a very popular explanation for the steroid era home run boost. After the expansion era, pitching staffs got spread thin and pitching staffs were pretty terrible. The steroid era also occurred as lots of hitter friendly parks got built and I think I remember there being some rules that made fields friendlier to hitters.

Wonder if the MLB also quietly snuck in a strike zone change this year. There was tons of speculation they would.

Lots of small little details go into home run eras.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:02 PM   #14
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It's pretty clear they juiced the ball. MLB probably had the ball wound tighter or used slightly different material for the interior. That is only thing I can come up with because they were rather down last year and years prior.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:05 PM   #15
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