Linden: Big-league balls in minor-league stadiums

From Jason Linden at The Hardball Times on June 5, 2019:

There is a new baseball in Triple-A, which now has the same one used in the majors, and it’s obvious the game there has changed. I’ve spent the last four years as a semi-frequent occupant of the press box in Louisville, and until this year, I’d grown accustomed to watching balls die in the outfield, especially in left. But not now. Last year, the Bats hit their 50th home run on June 23. This year, they hit it on May 23. No, the Triple-A season did not start a month earlier this year.

In 2018, International League teams scored 4.16 runs per game and Pacific Coast League teams scored 4.97 runs per game. This year, it’s 5.20 and 5.65, respectively. Yeah, the ball is carrying farther. The Bats have had a couple of players with breakout power years as at least a partial result of the new ball. Josh VanMeter, in 131 plate appearances, was one homer short of his career best in this, his seventh season as a pro, when he was called up by the Reds. Notably, he’s made changes to his approach that can be seen in his second-half numbers from last year, but he never had shown power on this level.

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Originally published: June 5, 2019. Last Updated: June 5, 2019.