Houston Astros’ ace Justin Verlander is taking the argument against the alleged juiced ball to new heights.
Verlander absolutely going in on the juiced ball is my shit pic.twitter.com/syml6m3t8E
— David Skiba (@SkibaScubaShop) July 8, 2019
Verlander, one of the best pitchers in the game, is exactly right. Major League Baseball should be one hundred percent transparent when it comes to whether or not the balls have been enhanced to support offensive production. It is a no-brainer.
Something important that Verlander denotes is that MLB bought Rawlings, the company that produces the balls used in MLB games. Therefore, Commissioner Rob Manfred has to know one way or the other if the balls are juiced or not (they are). After all the Verlander speculation and controversy came about, Manfred had this to say regarding the situation:
Rob Manfred: MLB has not made any changes to the baseball to increase offense. pic.twitter.com/aYarnryPoo
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) July 9, 2019
I think that the issues with the baseballs that’s really the most important one – it’s a hand made product with all natural materials. There’s gonna be variation in the baseball year to year. That’s just the reality.
We’ve tried to be absolutely transparent on the ball. We published a study, we put it out to the press. If there comes a point where we decide to make a change to the baseball, you guys will know about it first.
Recently, Dodgers’ right-hander Ross Stripling took the time to discuss the juiced ball dilemma with our Blue Heaven podcast as well:
— Clint Pasillas (FRG) (@realFRG) July 8, 2019
Those are two takes on the situation from pitchers alone. How about we look at some stats to prove the ball is juiced?:
Through the All-Star Break in 2019, there have been 3,691 home runs hit. In 2018, there were 3,096. In 2009, one decade ago, there were 2,610 home runs hit through the All-Star Break. This means that over the last decade, there has been a 41.4% increase in home run rate across Major League Baseball in the first half. Just this half alone, there has been a 19.2% increase.
Through the All-Star Break in 2019, there have been 12,907 runs scored. In 2018, there were 11,950. In 2009, one decade ago, there were 11,746. Over the last decade that is a 9.9% increase and this year alone, an 8% increase. This is not as dramatic as the home run increase, but still an increase nonetheless.
Through the All-Star Break in 2019, the league-wide earned run average is 4.48. In 2018, it was 4.14 for the entire year. That is, once again, an increase of 8.2%.
Through the All-Star Break in 2019, the league-wide WHIP is 1.33. In 2018, for the year, the league-wide WHIP was 1.30. Fairly close.
The balls have to be juiced. The stats prove it. The players are taking notice.
What do you think, Dodgers Nation? Are the balls juiced?