Hershberger: What is going on in baseball? Nothing new at all

From SABR member Richard Hershberger at Ordinary Times on October 11, 2018:

What is going on with baseball? The game has changed from what it was when we were kids, and many think not for the better. Balls in play are down, strikeouts are up, and every hitter seems to be swinging for the fences all the time. The sexy big-ticket stat is that last season, for the first time ever, there were more strikeouts than there were hits.

What is going on with baseball? If you follow the baseball press you have probably read about hitters taking uppercut swings to get launch angles producing towering fly balls, and exotic bullpen strategies using more and more pitchers in ever-shortening outings. All this stuff is true and relevant so far as it goes, but takes a narrow view of what is happening. What is going on with baseball is in fact nothing new at all.

Take a look at Figure 1, showing the average number of hits (red) and runs (blue) per nine innings, from 1918 to 2018. Why 1918? That is the end of the dead ball era: the year that Babe Ruth got serious about hitting home runs, with everyone else soon to sit up and take notice.

Read the full article here: https://ordinary-times.com/2018/10/11/what-is-going-on-with-baseball/

Originally published: October 11, 2018. Last Updated: October 11, 2018.