Kagan: Juiced balls don’t explain the home run explosion

From SABR member David Kagan at The Hardball Times on November 7, 2019:

Well, the 2019 World Series was another postseason dinger festival. And why not? The last few years have seen an unprecedented number of home runs. The table below is a summary of combined postseason homers. You can see this year was just a bit shy of the insanity of 2017, with 2018’s rate noticeably lower.


If you just look at the World Series, the same pattern emerges. This year, Washington and Houston were only three blasts behind the record-setting 2017 matchup between the Astros and the Dodgers, who together clubbed 25 round-trippers.

There are many possible reasons for the recent uptick in home runs, both postseason and otherwise, beginning around mid-season 2015: some we can rule out, and one that is very likely but as yet not fully explained.

Last month’s episode of physics and baseball, The Challenge of Explaining the Home Run Explosion, focused on the reason why the cause of the home run explosion since 2015 has yet to be found. Well, it turns out that’s not exactly true: It is very likely the reason is a reduction in the drag on a baseball in flight. What we don’t know is the exact cause of the drag reduction.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/its-physics-juiced-balls-dont-explain-the-home-run-explosion/

Originally published: November 8, 2019. Last Updated: November 8, 2019.