The MLB ball change 2022 is not a secret anymore. The cat’s out of the hat, the players alerted us, and the numbers speak for themselves. Even if we didn’t have analytics and all those advanced metrics, you don’t need to be an expert or go through a meticulous eye test to realize that hitting is a dying breed in today’s baseball.
With offense down in MLB, fans are starting to lose even more interest in the game. Robert Manfred is making sure to put the last nail in baseball’s coffin, constantly making up experiments without even daring to face the players and let them know what’s happening.
Manfred’s ego and lack of true knowledge of this sport have the league in a chokehold. We have different baseballs in the minors for reasons he can’t explain. We had different baseballs in a single season last year, once again, without further notice or a reasonable explanation.
MLB ball change 2022
The players once again stepped up and talked. They know something’s wrong. Analytics prove that the average exit velocity of hits is harder than ever —because hitters are stronger and more prepared than ever— yet we’ve seen a massive dip in home runs.
“The walk rate (9.1%) is higher than it’s been since the 1950s,” reported Max Laughton of Fox Sports. “There are fewer singles (13.3% of plate appearances) than ever. Balls in play are turning into outs at the highest rate in three decades.
“And the deadened ball is clearly having an impact. Advanced tracking systems are able to predict how often a certain type of hit – based on its speed and angle – should result in a home run,” Laughton added.
“According to Statcast, flyballs hit this season should’ve resulted in a slugging percentage of .969. Instead the number is .721, a massive drop-off that means it is much harder than it ‘should be’ to hit home runs.”
Offense down in MLB
The logic behind deadening the baseball is simple.
If home runs are harder to hit, then players will need to shift their focus and make adjustments to make more contact and put the ball in play more often.
If Manfred had picked up a bat at least once in his lifetime, he’d know that’s not nearly as easy as it sounds, nor will it happen all of a sudden.
Harder hits, shorter distance
Despite posting records in exit velocity, the average travel distance on this year’s hits has gone down six feet. That may not seem like much but this often the difference between a home run and an easy, manageable fly-out. No wonder oddsmakers have adjusted and projected game totals at 6.5 and 7 runs more often than ever.
Baseball changes have pretty much killed offense. Teams are averaging roughly over 4.0 runs per game, the lowest total since the 1980 season. And yeah, it’s not like we don’t enjoy good old-fashioned pitching duels or defensive plays, it’s that we don’t even get to watch that.
With today’s model, most at-bats end in strikeouts, walks, or homers. The so-called ‘three outcomes’ prevent fans from watching elite fielding or how an outfielder can throw a rocket from the walls. Manfred is succeeding on his personal crusade to shoot this beautiful sport dead.
Mets players are on to something
In the meantime, New York Mets players have shared a rather interesting theory. They believe MLB is giving them ‘juiced’ balls for primetime games and deadened baseballs for everyday games. In a recent interview with News Day, Mets hitting coach Eric Chavez discussed the matter:
“The ball was traveling farther—balls that weren’t hit as hard,” Chavez explained. “And I’m like, wait a minute, that shouldn’t have happened. The ball was just traveling better. That was the eye test, but then we lined it up with what the analytics were telling us.”
“We’ve been hitting balls 104, 105 [mph] at the right launch angle that aren’t leaving,” Chavez added. “And all of a sudden, now we’re hitting balls 95—a little less hard than the other balls—and those balls are traveling on Sunday night.”
This wouldn’t be the first time that MLB uses two different sets of baseballs during the same season to try and fix the game in favor of offense. Once again, Manfred continues to play God and insult the fans’ and players’ intelligence thinking they won’t know the difference. We KNOW the difference.
Manfred’s excuse doesn’t add up
Back in 2021, players called the league out and stated that there were two different baseballs. Manfred claimed that the COVID-19’s impact on Rawlings — which manufactures the balls — had forced them to dig deep into their inventory of baseballs. Assuming that’s true, why not flat-out let the public or at least the players know beforehand?
It’s only normal to think the game could use a couple of changes as long as it doesn’t mess with its very essence. You can’t play puppet master and change the rules every time you please without a heads up. It doesn’t make sense and the poor ratings are living proof of that.
Analytics matter in baseball but so does the game. So do the fans who want to watch an actual baseball game rather than a Machiavellian experiment with players treated like Guinea pigs or rats trying to find their way out of a maze. These people have kept the game captive for way too long.