In recent seasons, most notably 2019, MLB was trending to home runs and strikeout rather than the so-called “small ball” consisting of stolen bases, more contact, and fewer homers.
But Sunday was a weird day, and may be the start of a reverse trend.
According to Baseball Reference statistician Jeremy Frank, “across 14 MLB games today, there were 19 stolen bases and 15 home runs. It’s the first day of double-digit games since April 7, 2018 to feature more stolen bases than home runs across the league.”
Across 14 MLB games today, there were 19 stolen bases and 15 home runs.
It’s the first day of double-digit games since April 7, 2018 to feature more stolen bases than home runs across the league.
— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) April 18, 2022
He is referring to Sunday: it was definitely odd seeing so many stolen bases and so few homers, out of tune with what he have been seeing in recent seasons.
Whether The Recent Shift Is Good Or Bad Is An Entirely Subjective Exercise
Whether that’s good or bad will depend on each person’s view.
Lots of traditionalists defend that there should be more balls in play in baseball: more bunting, more stolen base attempts, and more strategy, like squeeze plays, hit-and-runs, and similar plays.
Other people, with a more modern way of thinking, prefer to watch pitchers throwing impossible pitches to strike out hitters, and batters knocking huge home runs when they can decipher the hurler.
It’s a matter of preference, but be that as it may, Sunday was a day for the old-schoolers.
We will need more data to confidently announce that MLB is trending in the opposite direction, but at least on Sunday, that was the case, and it was evident.
Whether that’s good or bad for the game, it’s a debate for another day, and one that will likely be decided by attendance and ratings numbers.
The next couple of days will be crucial for stat-heads, as they try to determine where the league is headed regarding playing approach and style.