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Major League Baseball turns into home run derby again

Posted by Betonline Team on 7/19/2016 2:47:03 AM
Major League Baseball turns into home run derby again

The numbers are staggering.

Major League Baseball is hitting home runs at nearly the same rate of the steroid era. However, the baseball elite does not want you to believe steroids are a big part of the game although it seems as if they are.

Consider this. There were 33 players with 15 home runs or more the past two seasons during the all-star break. This season there are 58. And for the most part, the top home run hitters are not striking out at the same rate as previous sluggers. They are selling out but they are also making more contact.

Baltimore Orioles Mark Trumbo with an MLB-leading 28 home runs is no surprise. However, the Cincinnati Reds’ Adam Duvall, who entered the season with eight career home runs, has 23. Colorado Rockies rookie Trever Story has 21.

The all-time home run record was set in 2000 with 5,693 dingers during the peak of the steroid era. That record could be shattered this season. In 2003, baseball began testing for steroids and home runs decreased. Two years ago, 4,186 home runs were hit, the lowest total dating back to 1996.

You cannot blame expansion and diluted pitching. Fastball velocity continues to increase, which helps balls go further. Often the pitchers’ power helps the ball go over the gate.

There is more emotion in the game but less motion. Consider this; 22.6 percent of bats in 1976 ended up in a strikeout, walk or home run. In other words, it was motionless at best. Nobody except the batter, pitcher and catcher had to move. That number increased to 28.1 by 2006 and soared to 32.2 percent so far this season.

So is cheating back in the game? Not even Max Scherzer wants to speculate about that even though he’s given up more home runs than any other pitcher.

“I’m not going to be the one who throws that stone,” the Washington Nationals pitcher told the New York Times. “I’m not going to sit here and say anything and make accusations. That’s not the way you do things. But if they are up significantly, it would be interesting to see what MLB actually thinks about it.”

Some players said coaches want players to hit more balls in the air rather than slugging it out on the ground. However, Fangraphs reported that 34.2 percent of balls are fly balls. That is not a huge difference from previous years but 12.9 percent of those fly balls were home runs.

“Can you throw 98, 99 (miles per hour)? And a lot of breaking balls that are hanging end up getting hit out,” Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters told the Times. “That’s my theory. The type of arms that are getting moved through the system are guys that can really throw hard, and command sometimes comes later for them. But they get to the big league level while they’re throwing hard, and then they learn command. Home runs, more times than not, are mistakes. They’re not the wrong pitch; they’re just mistakes in the middle of the plate.”

Some catchers are calling for higher fastballs because umpires are trending toward calling them strikes more times than not. The culprit is the cutter, with which many pitchers are experimenting. The problem is when the cutter does not cut it looks like a fat pumpkin to well-trained hitters.

Pitchers need a third pitch because batters are pounding pitchers with two good pitches.

“Guys throw so hard now, you either become accustomed to it or you have to find another line of work,” said Daniel Murphy of the Atlanta Braves. “The more velocity you see, you’re able to slow it down a little bit more.”

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