The Atlanta Braves are tied for the NL lead in home runs, but players and fans say that this year’s baseball cost them at least ten more.
Way back in 2019, Alan wrote that the baseballs were juiced, and the Atlanta Braves were taking advantage of it. Flash forward to 2022, and you’ll find players and fans screaming that MLB deadened the ball.
MLB’s kept mum on the subject so far, leading to uninformed speculation from fans, batters, and some unrelated, ill-conceived complaints from a pitcher. So, let’s look at those home runs that stop short of the fence.
Where to begin?
In Thursday’s issue of The Athletic (subscription required), David O’Brien wrote about the reaction of Atlanta Braves players to those home runs that don’t quite get there,
Austin Riley says the ball leaves the bat as it did in the past, then runs out of gas.
"What I’ve noticed, the ball comes off (the bat) fine, but it gets out there and just dies . . ."
Teammate Travis d’Arnaud believes he knows why.
"“I think because of the bigger seams, if you put it in the air it’s going to go higher instead of farther now. Whereas the line drive . . . (stays) low but (keeps) carrying. . . that tells me the ball we have been using, the seams are higher. . ."
TDA is right about the physics involved, but he was probably wrong when he said the balls were slicker than in the past. Justin Verlander said the balls were too slippery during the 2017 World Series. If Verlander was right and d’Arnaud is right today, how does anyone hold on to the ball?