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Thread: Power outage in baseball

  1. #1
    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Power outage in baseball

    I was looking at some stats from Baseball Reference. There is only one player in the NL that has an OPS over 1.000 and a slugging percentage over .600 this year. That player is Lance Berkman. In the AL, the only players with an OPS over 1.000 this year is Jose Bautista and Adrian Gonzalez. Jose Bautista is the only player in the AL that has a slugging percentage higher than .600 (.702). I know there has been some talk here wondering what happened with Votto's power or other talk with what happened to Pujols but it looks like baseball wide the power isn't there. Is this truely a sign that the steroid era in baseball is over with or is it just a weird year? What do you think could be the issue with the lack of power in MLB this year?
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  3. #2
    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    I don't think it's unusual.

    Over the past three seasons, here are the number of players per league with an OPS > 1.000:

    NL
    2010: 2
    2009: 2
    2008: 2

    AL
    2010: 2
    2009: 1
    2008: 0

    Having a SLG > .600 isn't exactly common:

    NL
    2010: 1
    2009: 2
    2008: 1

    AL
    2010: 3
    2009: 0
    2008: 0
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    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    MLB-wide offense in general (runs per game) and slugging is at its lowest level since 1992. OBP hasn't been this low since 1988.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/bat.shtml
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    Since the beginning of last year, we are playing 1992 baseball. The last time offensive numbers were this low we were in the 92 season.

    Just playing fantasy baseball I notice that no one really hits bombs anymore in this league. Home runs really are at a premium. A 30 home run season is a big, big deal again. And I do think Bautista is taking something beyond vitamins and milk for what it's worth. Guys don't homer like that.
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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    I can't really say if Bautista is on something or not. He hasn't really gained much muscle mass and there is a clear difference between his swing when he was with the Pirates and now with the Jays. The guy always had all the talent in the world so I think it is a case where he truely found the right swing. Maybe I'm a bit naive but I feel if Bautista was taking something he would have been caught already. We are just too jaded as fans to just recognize that someone is a great baseball player.
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    I think that whatever the answer is, it's a combination of things. It could be the lack of steroids, or more likely, amphetamines. It could be a simple shift in talent. It ebbs and flows and right now we're in a time where there's more good young pitching talent than hitters. Maybe its the changes in how teams handle pitchers or the quality of medical treatment whatnot allowing a higher percentage of talented pitchers to make it to the majors. Maybe its the increased use of the cutter, often at the expense of sliders. Maybe changes in the bat design requires meant to lower breakage have also reduced effectiveness.

    As for Bautista, the narrative he's given is simple. It's basically the David Ortiz story. Previous teams all wanted him to shorten up, to hit the other way, to be more of a situational hitters. The Blue Jays coaches told him "let 'er rip". And of course, he's made mechanical tweaks here and there.

    It's interesting, performance is a lot more approach than we give it credit for being. You watch a batting practice and you realize that most guys on the field have good raw power. Translating that in to game power is a different thing entirely. He always had good plate discipline. But now he's figured out how to crush those balls he can get to.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    I think the Tommy John surgery has been a big factor too...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    Reds fans are really in an alternate baseball universe this year, and last. Most everywhere else, teams are scrapping together giant 2 run rallies to win 3-2, etc. With pitching so dominant around the league, the Reds really have a lusty offense in comparison with most teams. Meanwhile, if people would forget the high praise they prematurely gave this Reds staff and realize much of it is/was a fluke, they would see the Reds are really bad in a really good stretch for pitching around the league.
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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    I guess the issue of the lack in power in baseball leads into another question. Is it actually good for baseball? I think most of us agree that it is great to get back to the day where a 30 home run guy is an elite power hitter and pitching is start to dominate. However, does anyone think that the lack of power has led to the decline in popularity in the game? I want it to where we can get back to that old school style of play but I'm kind of alarmed how baseball has taken sort of a back seat to other sports that have that instant gratification feeling to it such as the NFL and the NBA.
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    I just think the NBA had a great year last year and that has led to some comments about baseball's (mostly) weather related lower gates. I give credit to the NBA and am not worried about baseball. They needed the steroid era (they thought) after the strike, but it's not needed now, IMO. Hopefully stars with speed will have their place back in the spotlight?
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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    Quote Originally Posted by mdccclxix View Post
    I just think the NBA had a great year last year and that has led to some comments about baseball's (mostly) weather related lower gates. I give credit to the NBA and am not worried about baseball. They needed the steroid era (they thought) after the strike, but it's not needed now, IMO. Hopefully stars with speed will have their place back in the spotlight?
    I don't see the 60's-80's era speed guys in baseball again. The artificial surfaces of those days have gone the way of the dinosaur and ball parks are smaller. Even Whitey Herzog said that Whitey Ball couldn't be played in this era and he doesn't see it every really taking hold again.
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

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    Member mdccclxix's Avatar
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I don't see the 60's-80's era speed guys in baseball again. The artificial surfaces of those days have gone the way of the dinosaur and ball parks are smaller. Even Whitey Herzog said that Whitey Ball couldn't be played in this era and he doesn't see it every really taking hold again.
    That's true, but look how guys like Victorino, Nyger Morgan, Brown, etc are enthralling their fan bases. But you're right, it will never be quite like that era.
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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I can't really say if Bautista is on something or not. He hasn't really gained much muscle mass and there is a clear difference between his swing when he was with the Pirates and now with the Jays. The guy always had all the talent in the world so I think it is a case where he truely found the right swing. Maybe I'm a bit naive but I feel if Bautista was taking something he would have been caught already. We are just too jaded as fans to just recognize that someone is a great baseball player.
    HGH isn't tested for in the majors, so it's still possible he can take something and not get caught.

    That said, I don't discount some of his success is a new approach. But no one will ever convince me that a guy went from a HR% of about 1.6 in his career to knocking it out of the park 8% of the time. That just doesn't seem practical without some sort of help.
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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    HGH isn't tested for in the majors, so it's still possible he can take something and not get caught.

    That said, I don't discount some of his success is a new approach. But no one will ever convince me that a guy went from a HR% of about 1.6 in his career to knocking it out of the park 8% of the time. That just doesn't seem practical without some sort of help.

    HGH use would not explain a huge power increase in the case of Bautista. HGH and anabolic steroids are two completely different animals. The main concern with HGH use is players using it as an unfair advantage coming back from injuries or maintaining a certain level of health while dealing with nagging injuries. While HGH use does show a slight increase in muscle mass, the increase from that gain is insignificant enough to make a regular hitter into a home run hitter. You are right that there is no HGH testing so he could be taking that but HGH would not explain his power increase.
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

    “I just want to tell everyone Happy Easter and Happy Hanukkah.” says on the day before Easter

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    Re: Power outage in baseball

    There are several reasons that scoring is down, but the biggest one is that pitchers are better than ever. Pitchers are bigger and throw harder than they used to. The number of guys throwing 95+ MPH is out of this world. It used to be a guy that could throw that hard stood out in a crowd, now every team has several. Pitchers now are bigger and stronger than the hitters in many cases. Most of the biggest and tallest players in baseball are pitchers. Improved surgical and rehab techniques are keeping the best pitchers performing at their peak level. Many/most of the best pitchers in baseball have recovered from injuries that would have ended their careers or reduced their effectiveness in previous years.

    Despite what we have heard about pitching being diluted by expansion, the truth is the size of the population and hence the pool of young pitchers has grown at a greater rate than the number of teams in MLB. Teams have scouts and academies searching all over North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America and even in Asia. Baseball is a worldwide sport now more than ever. If you can pitch you can bet a team will find you no matter your race and homeland, and that was not the case in years gone by.

    The increasingly specialized use of situational relievers has had a huge effect. The availability of video from every game and the speed and ease of editing video has made scouting reports much more accurate in terms of identifying hitters's weaknesses.

    I think the biggest reason is one that RedsManRick mentioned earlier -- the cut fastball. The cutter is all the rage amongst pitchers this year and is very effective. Fastballs are not straight anymore. Almost every pitch a hitter sees has more movement and higher velocity than what hitters faced even a few years ago. It is a lot more difficult to square up a ball these days.


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