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Today's MLB players just can't hit

June 3, 2019

 

Ted Williams famously said that hitting a baseball is the most difficult thing to do in sports. He was right then. And boy is he still correct NOW! 

 

If the greatest hitter that ever lived was alive today, his head would melt like that Nazi guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark if he were forced to watch todays players flail away at the plate as they meekly try to make contact, only occasionally putting a ball in play. Meanwhile base hits are becoming as rare as a positive Twitter post. 

 

Todays MLB stars can’t hit. Or choose not to try to attempt anything other than to hit home runs. Sure, chicks did the long ball, but surely they hate strikeouts and crappy batting averages, right?

 

In 2000, 53 players finished the season hitting over .300. Todd Helton and Nomar Garciaparra led the way each hitting .372.

 

Last year only 16 guys managed to finish over .300. Mookie won the title at .346.

 

Last year the league wide MLB batting average was a dismal .248. That’s the lowest number since 1972. This year, a third of the way through the schedule, the league average have risen to .249. Yay! Off course that average is still down 12 points since 2000.

 

Hope you go to the ballpark for the cheap parking and fine, inexpensive cuisine because on the field the product is not what it used to be.

 

This new generation of multi millionaire players also continue to strikeout at a record pace. In 2018, there were 188 more strikeouts than hits. It was the first season with more strikeouts than hits in MLB history.

 

Are you curious how many homemade K signs could have been posted around baseball parks last year? 41,207. And like the finale of Game Of Thrones, it’s getting bad. Strikeouts are on pace to top a whopping 43,000 this season. 

 

Batters are averaging 8.86 strikeouts per game, up from 8.48 last year. This is the 11th consecutive record year for whiffs. Before 2017, the number of strikeouts never exceeded the number of hits over a full calendar month. There were more whiffs than hits in April, June and September last year, and more in April and May of this year.

 

No pitcher in the modern era has recorded 400 K’s in a season. Nolan Ryan had 383 in 1973. Randy Johnson 372 in 2001. But I can guaran-damn-tee you those guys would have more than 400 this year. Probably Pedro, Clemens and others too. 

 

Welcome to the dismal new norm. And with attendance down at most ballparks, this new style of play clearly is not a hit with fans. 

 

jeff@sportschowdah.com

 

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