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2020 Juiced Ball Discussion


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I saw the 2019 Thread, but wondering if there needs to be some discussion heading into this season.

Guys are now playing Spring baseball and I heard yesterday on MLB Radio that “the seams feel raised again and you can expect less drag on the baseballs this season.” I apologize as I cannot remember who to attribute this quote to. But they had a whole conversation about it.

The question for us is if true, there are players who derived a ton of their value of the HR ball, and their value may crash.

Jose Altuve has been running much less, but propped up his value last season with with his first ever 25+ HR season. I could see his value dropping.

Anyone think the Twins will challenge the MLB record for HRs again?

There are guys who may not be affected as much. How will a guy like Alonso be affected? Hard to tell with a big-hitting rookie who we haven’t seen without the juiced ball. I’d assume he can muscle them out regardless. 🤷🏽‍♂️
 

Anyone else you’re worried about being affected in 2020 if in fact the baseball is back to “normal”?

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3 minutes ago, 6Kill said:

Bregman and Albies

Albies hit 24 HR two seasons in a row, and there wasn’t much of a jump in his ISO or HR/FB. Not sure I’m seeing it there.

Bregman had a big jump in HR, ISO, HR/FB. Good call. I’d bet closer to 30 than the 41 he hit last season. 

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41 minutes ago, Backdoor Slider said:

Guys are now playing Spring baseball and I heard yesterday on MLB Radio that “the seams feel raised again and you can expect less drag on the baseballs this season.” I apologize as I cannot remember who to attribute this quote to. But they had a whole conversation about it.

 

Eflin...

“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “To me, they feel a little softer and you can definitely notice the seams a little more. Last year, it was like throwing a cue ball.”

https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/phillies/zach-eflin-mlb-new-baseballs-grip

 

He's just one guy. Anyone else?

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29 minutes ago, Backdoor Slider said:

Albies hit 24 HR two seasons in a row, and there wasn’t much of a jump in his ISO or HR/FB. Not sure I’m seeing it there.

Bregman had a big jump in HR, ISO, HR/FB. Good call. I’d bet closer to 30 than the 41 he hit last season. 

Albies batted ball data was pretty weak last year. And the year before he had a lot of homers that were just barely homers.  He could certainly make some improvements and hit 24 again if the ball isn’t as juiced as last year.  But I’d bet on more like 17-20.

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3 hours ago, Light Tower Power said:

 

Eflin...

“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “To me, they feel a little softer and you can definitely notice the seams a little more. Last year, it was like throwing a cue ball.”

https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/phillies/zach-eflin-mlb-new-baseballs-grip

 

He's just one guy. Anyone else?

I believe another Phillies arm was saying similar things, though I can't recall who.

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14 minutes ago, Backdoor Slider said:

Yes. Fly ball pitchers were hurt exponentially more, and that could/should come down a bit. Good call. 

Yeah, I'm trying to figure out if worthwhile to alter my draft strategy based on a different baseball. My situation is not really important because I'm a casual player, but some who take it more seriously or play for higher stakes will have navigate the issue. 

 

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18 minutes ago, MrBrett said:

Yeah, I'm trying to figure out if worthwhile to alter my draft strategy based on a different baseball. My situation is not really important because I'm a casual player, but some who take it more seriously or play for higher stakes will have navigate the issue. 

 

Agree. Anecdotal, but last season in my league the leader in HR had 40 more than the previous season. It helps with projections. I’m targeting less than last season.

And Matthew Boyd and Caleb Smith are two SP who had HR issues last season that I may target because I like their skill set.

3 minutes ago, UberRebel said:

This is all based on the assumption that ST balls will be the same as RS balls. Who knows if that will be the case

While true, I can’t believe MLB will pretend they didn’t alter the ball last season, bring back the old one for spring training, then toss the cue ball out there again once games begin. 

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Right Handed Hitters

Pulled:  +129 HRs, (8.2% Increase from 2018) +.004 SLUG  

Center: +469 HRs, (32.5% Increase from 2018) +.048 SLUG

Oppo : +191 HRs, (65% Increase from 2018) +.067 SLUG

 

Left Handed Hitters

Pulled: +85 HRs, (7.3% Increase from 2018) + .020 SLUG

Center: +261 HRs, (28.1% Increase from 2018)  + .046 SLUG

Oppo:  +62 HRs, (34.4% Increase from 2018)  + .047 SLUG

 

Juiced ball dis-proportionality inflated non-pulled balls into the seats last year. All fields power is usually reserved for exceptional hitters or exceptional raw power. Be wary of investing in players who hit a lot of non pulled HRs last year that didn't previously have a track record of it.  Most no-doubters are pulled after all. 

Edited by Slatykamora
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If the ball is less juiced this season then steaming pitchers might be easier than last. Found it much more difficult last season. Closers who had a problem giving up the long ball could benefit from a less juiced ball.

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I hope the ball is juiced again, I changed my keeper strategy this offseason and loaded up on elite SPs. MLB shouldn't be altering the baseball season to season. It's already hard enough to predict baseball stats without wondering if the baseball itself will be different...

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55 minutes ago, Ecofolux said:

I hope the ball is juiced again, I changed my keeper strategy this offseason and loaded up on elite SPs. MLB shouldn't be altering the baseball season to season. It's already hard enough to predict baseball stats without wondering if the baseball itself will be different...

 

Exactly

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14 hours ago, Backdoor Slider said:

Albies hit 24 HR two seasons in a row, and there wasn’t much of a jump in his ISO or HR/FB. Not sure I’m seeing it there.

Bregman had a big jump in HR, ISO, HR/FB. Good call. I’d bet closer to 30 than the 41 he hit last season. 

I‘d even say closer to 25 for Bregman. 

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47 minutes ago, Thenewwildone8 said:

I‘d even say closer to 25 for Bregman. 

No can bangs for this twat either.  Probably biggest cheater on that team.  I’d take under 25.  Mainly because I suspect the smug prick will be dismantled by a pitch to put him out weeks at some point.

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15 hours ago, Backdoor Slider said:

Yes. Fly ball pitchers were hurt exponentially more, and that could/should come down a bit. Good call. 

 

Big boost for Matt Boyd if this comes to fruition.

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On 3/7/2020 at 9:28 AM, 6Kill said:

Albies batted ball data was pretty weak last year. And the year before he had a lot of homers that were just barely homers.  He could certainly make some improvements and hit 24 again if the ball isn’t as juiced as last year.  But I’d bet on more like 17-20.

Higher contact rate guys who put the ball in the air often are going to have more just enough HRs by volume. Not luck.

Albies is a HR by volume guy. Maintaining a 11-12 HR/FB shouldn't take a lot of raw power or "strong" metrics. In 2018, every single player(13) who hit 200 FBs reached 20 HRs besides one (Jose Peraza-14). 

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I think a lot of these expectations are being brought about the wrong way. I'd focus more on guys who had a lot of shorter home runs than guys who just had inflated totals. 

If the ball indeed his higher seams again (aka, de-juiced) then I'd expect guys like Oscar Mercado, DJ Lemahieu, Alex Bregman, Tommy Edman, Yuli Gurriel, Rhys Hoskins!, Yandy Diaz, Andrew Benintendi, others to be dinged most heavily. 

Among players with 350+ batted balls in 2019 Hoskins had the 13th worst average HR distance, Bregman 4th worst, Mercado 6th worst, DJ 7th worst. 

One important thing to note about Bregman, however, is he has a good profile to continue the home runs at home because of his heavy pull tendency and ability to get the ball into the air. There will be more "cheap shots" in the Crawford Boxes for him again. 

Hoskins is an interesting case. His exit velocity and launch angle were both up in 2019 vs 2018, but his barrels and barrel % were both down. This feels like he was hitting more long fly balls/getting under more pitches but getting just enough carry to go out (thanks to less drag on the baseballs). His XBA and XSLG last year of .221/.426 last year are not encouraging, either. Of the guys you'd expect to be home runs boppers Hoskins may very well be the guy to take the biggest hit in value. Of course, we aren't privy to what kind of approach he'll have at the plate, what he's worked on, etc, but if his batted ball profile remains the same we may see a very disappointing season coming (think like 25 home runs, .230 BA). 

Oscar Mercado, for me, is an easy avoid at this cost this year. He's going 114th in NFC when guys like Biggio, Gurriel Jr., and Michael Brantley are going after him (any of which I'd easily rather have). 

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On 3/8/2020 at 12:45 AM, Thenewwildone8 said:

I‘d even say closer to 25 for Bregman. 

It's worth noting that the last 2 seasons on the road Bregman has produced:

2018 - 76 G, 350 PA, 15 HR, .273 BA, .374 OBP, .510 SLG

2019 - 76 G, 345 PA, 25 HR, .315 BA, .446 OBP, .663 SLG

Either stat line is borderline elite. 

Expecting a drastic drop off is probably a bit unrealistic, really. If you want to factor in intangibles like a HBP making him miss a month of the season, well, ok, but that's a big of a leap. 

With 150+ games played he's a pretty safe bet for 30 home runs and a .285/.360/.500 line. In an elite lineup we're also going to get > 200 R+RBI. 

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1 hour ago, sngehl01 said:

I think a lot of these expectations are being brought about the wrong way. I'd focus more on guys who had a lot of shorter home runs than guys who just had inflated totals. 

If the ball indeed his higher seams again (aka, de-juiced) then I'd expect guys like Oscar Mercado, DJ Lemahieu, Alex Bregman, Tommy Edman, Yuli Gurriel, Rhys Hoskins!, Yandy Diaz, Andrew Benintendi, others to be dinged most heavily. 

Among players with 350+ batted balls in 2019 Hoskins had the 13th worst average HR distance, Bregman 4th worst, Mercado 6th worst, DJ 7th worst. 

One important thing to note about Bregman, however, is he has a good profile to continue the home runs at home because of his heavy pull tendency and ability to get the ball into the air. There will be more "cheap shots" in the Crawford Boxes for him again. 

Hoskins is an interesting case. His exit velocity and launch angle were both up in 2019 vs 2018, but his barrels and barrel % were both down. This feels like he was hitting more long fly balls/getting under more pitches but getting just enough carry to go out (thanks to less drag on the baseballs). His XBA and XSLG last year of .221/.426 last year are not encouraging, either. Of the guys you'd expect to be home runs boppers Hoskins may very well be the guy to take the biggest hit in value. Of course, we aren't privy to what kind of approach he'll have at the plate, what he's worked on, etc, but if his batted ball profile remains the same we may see a very disappointing season coming (think like 25 home runs, .230 BA). 

Oscar Mercado, for me, is an easy avoid at this cost this year. He's going 114th in NFC when guys like Biggio, Gurriel Jr., and Michael Brantley are going after him (any of which I'd easily rather have). 

Distribution of FBs is a very important caveat when discussing average distance. Something that you only highlighted with Bregman.

Hoskins has a healthy pulled FB percentage just like Bregman. He is going to get those cheap HRs too.

People are drafting Mercado in the hopes of 20/30. If he goes 15/30 in 600 PAs. People wont be dis-appointed and he wouldn't need a that high of a HR/FB rate to get back to 15 HRs in 100+ more PAs. Gurriel and Brantley are much better hitters. That is not why people are drafting Mercado over them.

Given that Beninteni was better in 2018. You have to think he could be capable to figuring things out and improving. Same with Hoskins.

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