MLB Experiencing the Lowest BA Since 1968
MLB Experiencing the Lowest BA Since 1968 – It seems that batting in the MLB has taken a significant dip. Fans have noticed and the statistics are there to back it up. In 1968, the last season the pitcher’s mound was fifteen inches (it was lowered to the ten inches we currently use), the batting average was .229. Right now, so far, the batting average is .236. The usual batting average hovers around .250, so while only a .014 dip, this is the farthest it has dropped in over fifty years.
Are hitters getting worse or pitchers getting better? Probably a combination of both. This season has also seen an uptick in strikeouts and there has been a popular conversation about strikeouts as of late. Fans are frustrated at the lethargic pace the game is played out with innings going by without any action. It seems batters don’t mind striking out as long as they hit homers and pitchers are okay chasing those strikeouts. It is a bad combination when pitchers want strikeouts, and batters are okay giving it to them.
The result of this showed in April when strikeouts were greater than hits by 1,091. Thankfully, for the hope of exciting baseball, this dipped in May when strikeouts were greater than hits by 838, but that number seems normal on its own. However, this difference had never existed before May 2018 when for the first time ever Major League Baseball saw more strikeouts than hits.
What’s the Fix?
It’s important to note that part of the issue is pitchers are just only getting better. They are throwing harder than they have ever thrown and hitting a baseball is just a really tough thing to do. Sure, these guys are professionals, but the average is normally only .250. With that said, the style of baseball that doesn’t mind striking out as much and searching only for homerun balls is problematic.
How do you tell a baseball team to stop doing what’s best to win the game and start playing baseball that is more enjoyable to watch? It’s a difficult thing to do. But, right now, it’s not even just strikeouts. Hits are at 7.78 per team per game which is only beat by 7.75 in 1908 at the peak of what is characterized as the dead-ball era. Named as such because baseball leagues were cost-conscious and would use balls until they started to unravel. Overused balls became soft and soft balls were difficult to hit hard and difficult to hit far. Thus, nobody got on base.
Home runs are also down. Quite frankly, nobody seems to be able to get a hit. Especially the Seattle Mariners who have the lowest average in the MLB at .205 and are well on track to set the record for lowest batting average. They have to get above .211 if they want to pass the 1910 White Sox who ended the season with a win-loss percentage of .444. The Mariners sit at a win-loss percentage of .500.
Maybe if the Mariners pick up their batting average the rest of the league will follow and they might avoid a record breaking season, but it seems that the style of baseball will have to make an abrupt change if anybody wants the batting average to shift.