Cameron: Home runs have made their return to MLB

From Dave Cameron at FanGraphs on August 3, 2012:

The drastic decline in run scoring the last few years has been a major story, especially as it related to the rise in drug testing and the end of the so-called “steroid era” in Major League Baseball. There’s no denying the fact that offense has tumbled in the sport, with the league average wOBA falling from a high of .341 back in 1999 to the .316 of today. As baseball has worked to eliminate performance enhancing drugs, scoring runs has become more difficult.

But, perhaps an underreported aspect of this story is that home runs are making their way back into Major League Baseball this year.

2010 was the first year that league average HR/9 had fallen under 1.00 since 1993, and then it declined again to 0.94 last year. These were the kinds of power outages that lent credence to the idea that drug testing had wiped out a large amount of artificial power that had been hanging around the sport for the last 20 years.

That trend continued at the start of 2012, as league average HR/9 was just 0.95 in April. However, as the weather has gotten warmer, the ball has started flying again.

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Originally published: August 3, 2012. Last Updated: August 3, 2012.