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Fangraphs Asks: Is a Juiced Ball Good or Bad for Baseball?

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Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send 30 polls to plugged in fans from each team. Astros fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.

Astros fans continue to support the management of the Astros, but our national poll was a continuation of last week’s question: are the balls “juiced?”

This week we asked, are juiced ball good for baseball?

I am going to break from precedent and add a few editorial comments of my own for further discussion.

  1. This is a classic example of a slanted poll, using such a biased and negative term, even if in quotes, “juiced ball.” As if there is a known standard for just how lively the baseball should be. They could’ve said, “do you support baseball’s effort to overcome the dead ball era with a livelier hardball?” The term “livelier ball,” seems more neutral to me and probably would have gotten a different response.
  2. Just for discussion. It seems to me that pitching science has outpaced hitting science. There are faster velocities on average than ever, and pitchers are learning to maximize spin. Yes, it has become a game overly dependent on true outcomes, home runs, walks and strikeouts, and the lively ball seems to have cheapened the value and excitement of home runs. However, a lively ball may also produce more base hits as well. Base hits barely outnumbered strikeouts in 2018, and that trend seems to be holding in 2019.

Without a lively ball, would we be back to 1968, when only six players hit over .300, and the batting champion in the AL hit .301? The total dominance of pitching in those years led to rules changes, a shorter mound for example, and perhaps a livelier ball is accomplishing the same thing now without the drama of new rules.

So maybe the question should read, “Would you like baseball to keep a dead ball and for the typical scores of a baseball game to resemble those of soccer games?

Here’s the poll graphic.


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Author:

William Metzger(bilbos)

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