Speier: Baseball’s strike zone has expanded and hitters aren’t happy

From Alex Speier at the Boston Globe on July 16, 2015, with mention of SABR member Jon Roegele:

Few property disputes are so pitched as that over baseball’s strike zone.

The interpretation of what is and is not a strike frames the game like little else, defining the terms of the battle between pitchers and hitters. As such, it comes as little surprise that home plate umpires are subject to endless scrutiny, their interpretation of the strike zone for decades subject to shouts, insults, and epithets, with ejections more often coming from disputed ball and strike calls than any other realm.

Given the role of the strike zone in defining the game, it should come as little surprise the prized piece of real estate has garnered considerable attention at a time when run scoring is at its lowest levels in decades.

In 2014, the average team managed just 4.07 runs per game, down nearly 12 percent from its 2009 levels and the lowest average since 1981.

The potential factors are numerous: Attempts to eradicate performance-enhancing drugs, an influx of smoke-throwing arms with wipeout secondary pitches, more emphasis on elite defenders and shifts . . .

Read the full article here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/07/16/baseball-strike-zone-expands-offense-shrinking/FenP9Yj0MLEgBlsELMDCfM/story.html

Originally published: July 21, 2015. Last Updated: July 21, 2015.