Prince Fielder is going through a divorce

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Prince Fielder is having an off year. The other day teammate Torii Hunter came to his defense in a radio interview saying:

“A lot of people don’t know what’s going on in his life … He’s out there every day, won’t come out of the lineup, no matter what’s going on off the field or on the field. … Us as players, we know what’s really going on. And we appreciate him going out there every day, despite…”

That apparently made some reporters go looking for what might be going on off the field for Fielder. Some of them found it. From the Detroit Free Press:

A day after he declared that “everything’s fine,” news broke that Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder filed to end his marriage in May. According to court records in Orange County, Fla., Fielder filed a dissolution-of-marriage case on May 28, asking a judge to end his marriage to Chanel Fielder.

Wow, thanks for the tip, Torii. I’m sure Fielder really appreciates that.

But yeah, divorce sucks, and it’s understandable if it has shaken Fielder’s focus at times this season.

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.