When you read around the web that MLB, and baseball, have been changing for some time now, it’s absolutely true.
As with everything in life, the game has evolved in accordance to the appearance of more research about pitching and hitting, better training routines and conditioning exercises, plus other variables.
Pitchers used to max out at 96-97 mph at one time, with a few notable exceptions that could maybe uncork a 100-mph fastball from time to time.
Now, hurlers routinely throw at 102, even 103 mph.
They don’t pitch eight or nine innings anymore, though, because their arms are now designated to take care of outs, not innings.
Hitting has also evolved.
The things that made hitters excellent in the past are no longer valued anymore.
Time And Evolution Have Changed How Hitting Is Viewed And Evaluated
Once upon a time, batting average was used to determine which players were better offensively than others.
Now, and thanks to research, other stats have replaced batting average to measure offensive performance: wRC+, OPS, and OPS+ are some of them.
Hitters focus on hitting the ball with more authority, more power, even to the detriment of their batting average.
As a result, the number of hitters with a .300 average is decreasing every year.
“Apenas 12 tipos bateando para .300 en 2022. Fueron 36 en 2010 (Just 12 hitters have a .300 average in 2022. The number was 36 in 2010),” AP sports writer/editor Eric Nunez tweeted.
Apenas 12 tipos bateando para .300 en 2022. Fueron 36 en 2010 pic.twitter.com/73vZlnq0Mh
— Eric Núñez (@EricNunezAP) October 3, 2022
After Yordan Alvarez‘s .301, there are no more .300 hitters.
MLB pitching is becoming harder and nastier; and that, combined with hitters’ obsession with power (as they should), has decreased league-wide batting average.