Getty Images

Triple-A homers increased by nearly 60 percent this season thanks to juiced baseball

19 Comments

Minor league broadcaster and writer Tim Hagerty tweeted last night that the now-concluded Triple-A season absolutely shattered its all-time home run record. Last year there were 3,652 homers in the top minor league. This year: 5,749. The only significant difference between this year and last year: the introduction of the major league ball to the minors.

As Jayson Stark of The Athletic notes this morning, that number includes a 59 percent increase in homers in the Pacific Coast League over last year and a 57 percent increase in the International League.  Stark talks with a baseball executive who tells him that, from a development perspective, the PCL has now become essentially useless, and they are sending prospects to Double-A instead because the juiced ball is preventing clubs from accurately assessing players.

As J.J. Cooper of Baseball America convincingly argued a month ago, it is 100% the ball, too, in case any of you feel like claiming it’s about “launch angle” or what have you. The numbers in all the other minor leagues, which did not adopt the big league ball for 2019, are on par with the past several seasons. If there was some philosophical shift (a) it wouldn’t happen simultaneously for the Triple-A affiliates of all 30 teams; and (b) it would extend to Double-A and single-A.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball’s last comments about the very obviously juiced baseball were about how the “pill” is maybe more perfectly centered now, reducing drag, as if it’s some near undetectable flaw causing only slight change. These numbers — as well as the multiple studies showing clear changes in the seams and flight characteristics of the ball and the many, many complaints from big league pitchers about how the ball is obviously different on feel alone — present a pretty strong rebuttable to the claim that this is a tiny difference.

UPDATE: From Cooper, some numbers showing just how stark the Triple-A home run explosion has been:

Doubleheader between Cardinals and Tigers postponed

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
4 Comments

A doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers this week is being postponed to allow more time for additional COVID-19 testing.

MLB opted to postpone Thursday’s doubleheader to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play. More details about the Cardinals’ resumption of play will be announced later this week.

The Cardinals had a series against Pittsburgh set to start on Monday postponed after a weekend series against the Cubs was scrapped due to three positive coronavirus tests.

St. Louis had two more players and a staff member test positive for the virus on Friday and have had eight positive players overall, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

There have now been 29 games postponed by Major League Baseball because of coronavirus concerns. The Cardinals have not played since July 30 and have had 15 games scrapped.

Miami and Philadelphia each had seven games postponed earlier and have returned to the field since the disruptions.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports