The MLBPA elects its player reps

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When I had a real job my boss used to call me the “shop steward.” But that was because (a) I was lazy; and (b) he hated unions and thought that laziness was the primary trait of unions. It was a great office.

In reality, union representatives do things, all while still having to focus on their actual job.  Keep that in mind when any of these guys — just elected to union leadership for the next two years — have a little slump:

Returning to their posts as association player representatives, the highest elected positions in the union, are Curtis Granderson (Yankees) and Jeremy Guthrie (Royals). Justin Masterson (Indians) was elected alternate association player representative, joining returnee Carlos Villanueva (free agent).

Chris Capuano (Dodgers) returns as one of two pension committee representatives to serve alongside newcomer Craig Breslow (Red Sox). Returning as alternate pension committee representatives are Ross Ohlendorf (free agent) and Kevin Slowey (free agent).

You may now all bash unions in the comments, just as you do every time I write something labor-related. Just remember: Marvin Miller is now in the afterlife, and he will come back and haunt your ass if you do. Just see if he won’t.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.