Home Runs Have Surged in MLB — Baseball Experts Explain Why | NBC Left Field


Since 2014, home runs have increased by
44 percent in Major League Baseball. That’s huge! We’re talking 4,186 home runs in 2014 and then just three years later we’re
looking at 6,015. But why? No one knows exactly. And, don’t worry,
I know what I sound like, but I have got some experts involved. Theory one: the
ball. It’s denser, drier, and travels farther. OK, so maybe we need to look a
little closer at this — which is what physicist Meredith Wills did over the
course of some particularly in-depth research, starting at the center of the
ball. It’s the pill, which is basically a rubber ball; the thinnest yarn; the next
thinnest yarn; the thickest yarn; a layer of sewing thread; and the leather is
laced together with thick red thread. She’d already been pulling apart
baseballs, both as a physicist but also as a knitting designer, actually using
the yarn to knit with. When the home run surge started, I thought, “Gee, maybe
there’s a difference in the yarn itself.” I found that the yarn is slightly drier
and hence there is more of it getting wound around. The actual red thread is
being laced more tightly, which leads to a slightly smaller ball that is more
dense. Hence it comes off the bat harder, faster,
the ball is livelier. Theory two: the swing. The angle at which
the ball flies after being hit is changing. Maybe it really is the players.
We’re starting to see a recognition that perhaps the way we’ve been teaching the
swing is wrong. Starting in 2015, thanks to something called Statcast, which is a
tracking tool, it has unlocked mountains of data, and the big thing is a number
called launch angle. And launch angle is changing. The first year of Statcast was
2015 and the average launch angle was 10.1 degrees. Last year it was 11 degrees.
So it’s gone up one full degree in three seasons — that’s a pretty big change. Theory three: the strikeout. Players are swinging
for the fences more often and striking out more as a result. But it also might
just be that players are hitting harder because they’re less concerned about
striking out. There’s probably a lot of fan stigma that’s still out there
around the strikeout. It may not be a great bit of baseball to watch.
Apparently that’s not a deterrent. The rate of strikeouts if you graph that,
that trend line has gone up pretty consistently. If you were to take a look
at 2016 and 2017, you would see that there have been a couple of very, very
big jumps. Some players are just kind of trading more power for contact. A
high-risk high-reward swing might lead to more strikeouts, but it’s also going
to lead to more home runs, and home runs are very, very valuable. If you strike out
more, but with those strikeouts you purchase something that’s even more
valuable, then a front office is going to want to encourage that.
This isn’t the first time home runs have spiked without a clear explanation and
we might never know exactly why. But what is known, is that these home runs are
fundamentally changing the game of baseball. Thanks for watching! If you’d
like to see some more videos, then subscribe to NBC Left Field. And if you
want to see some more mixed reality, then check out the piece that we made about
time zones in the U.S.

12 thoughts on “Home Runs Have Surged in MLB — Baseball Experts Explain Why | NBC Left Field

  1. The AR vive setup looks so cool. I'd love to know how you guys did it and where the idea came from.

    The actual explanations in the video where great too.

  2. I'm not a big fan, but even I know Babe Ruth was known as the King of Strikeouts. There's something to that.

  3. ขอบคุณครับ

  4. The reason is steroids and other drugs. You don't discount this possibility or even address it and you lose credibility for being too scared to address the "controversial" topic in your "science" video.

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