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MLB News: Rob Manfred, Justin Verlander Share Words over Juiced Baseballs

The juiced baseball argument is on full display around MLB’s All-Star Festivities.

Houston Astros’ ace Justin Verlander is taking the argument against the alleged juiced ball to new heights.

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:

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:

Those are two takes on the situation from pitchers alone. How about we look at some stats to prove the ball is juiced?:

Home Runs

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.

Runs

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.

ERA

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%.

WHIP

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.

Overall

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?

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

One Comment

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  1. Don’t know whether the balls are juiced or not, but Verlander would know if anyone would. Having said that, I will say Manfred is as stupid as the previous commissioner. He’s a total joke to the game as was Bud Selig. Baseball owners always pick yes men, instead of people who understand and KNOW the game. Oh Well.

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