MLB can’t cover its eyes and ears anymore: the ball is clearly different this year, and it isn’t traveling as much as in recent seasons.
It’s evident, and the numbers back that up.
In fact, offense league-wide is significantly down in comparison to recent years: homers are down, slugging percentage is down, and even batted ball distance has decreased considerably.
Data scientist Jeremy Frank posted some jaw-dropping facts on Twitter that prove MLB is definitely doing something to the ball.
“The average batted ball hit between 102 & 103 mph with a launch angle between 32 and 34 degrees went 394 feet last year. Since 2015, no ball hit in that range has gone less than 335 feet until this one,” he tweeted.
The average batted ball hit between 102 & 103 mph with a launch angle between 32 and 34 degrees went 394 feet last year.
Since 2015, no ball hit in that range has gone less than 335 feet until this one https://t.co/6v5398xx14
— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) May 10, 2022
The batted ball he is talking about is one hit by Detroit Tigers’ young slugger Spencer Torkelson.
Torkelson hit a 95.2 mph four-seam fastball at a 102.5 mph exit velocity and with a 33 degrees launch angle.
The outcome of the play?
A 318-foot flyout.
Something Is Wrong With The Ball
We have seen many barrels (the ideal type of batted ball, within a specific range of exit velocity and launch angle) find fielders’ gloves instead of grass or the stands.
Hitters have said that the 2022 ball feels like hitting rolled up socks, a way of stating that it doesn’t travel at all.
With each passing day and game, there is more evidence that the league is messing with the ball.
The most baffling thing of all is that nobody really does anything to stop it or raise their voices in protest.
MLB fans love home runs, it’s the most exciting play of all.
Nobody is asking for the 2019 ball to return: that would be the other end of the spectrum.
But a return to last year’s ball, or even the 2020 edition, would be welcomed by many.