Baseball changes. Just look back to the mid-1900s. There were basically no bullpens. The starting pitchers would typically pitch the entire game. Travel about 70 years into the future and bullpens are essential. Pitchers coming out of the bullpen are now making loads of cash. Just look at Colorado Rockies closer, Wade Davis. He is cashing in for about $17 million a year.
So let’s move from one trend to another.
We all know home runs are on the rise. That’s all everyone talks about. It’s the new trend of baseball and teams are trying to become “trendy.” Last season accounted for the most home runs ever given up in an entire season, with 6,105.
However, with the increase in home runs, there have also been an increase in strikeouts. Last season, there were 40,105 strikeouts, setting the MLB record for the most strikeouts in a season.
This year proves to be no different. In 2017, there were 1.26 home runs per game. This was the most ever, since Baseball Reference started keeping track back in 1871. As of today, the 2018 season would be the fifth most with 1.13 homers per game.
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The strikeouts are following the same pattern too. Actually, 2018 is projected to have even more strikeouts than 2017. This year, there are 8.64 strikeouts per game whereas last year there were 8.25.
The increase in strikeouts have also directly affected batting averages. The batting average last year was .255. So far, the batting average this year is .244. If this continues, the batting average for 2018 would be tied for the sixth-lowest recorded since 1871.
So should teams follow the home run trend? Or should they focus more on the batting average like they did in 1894 when the average was .309? I’m going to break down this year and the teams that are leading in the home run category versus the teams that are leading in batting average. After, you can make the call for yourself.
Editor’s Note: All numbers featured in this article were heading into Thursday’s play.