CLEVELAND – The Home Run Derby has already begun.
The Minnesota Twins broke the record for the most homers hit before the All-Star Break.
That was Friday.
Since then, Major League Baseball, as a whole, has cranked out a couple more to bring the record-breaking first half total up to 3,691, shattering the old mark of 3,343 set two years ago.
The actual baseballs appear to be more aerodynamic than in the past.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred described what he believes to be at the center of the issue to Newsday last month, insisting Rawlings hasn’t “changed their process in any meaningful way.”
“We believe that the batch of baseballs that we have this year have less drag,” Manfred said. “Our thinking in that regard was colored by the report that was done last year that identified that as an issue. Our ongoing conversations with the scientists suggest that. We continue to focus on trying to figure out exactly why that is.
“They haven’t changed their materials. There’s two points that I would make, even in the report last year: The scientists identified the pill in the baseball — not what it was actually composed of — but the centering of the pill in the baseball as something that could be a drag issue. To the extent that the pill is not perfectly centered, the ball wobbles when it’s hit, creates more drag. We think one of the things that may be happening is they’re getting better at centering the pill. It creates less drag.”
In June, the league set the record for most HRs in a month – for the second straight month.
It’s not just the majors either.
Triple-A started using MLB baseballs this year and balls are flying out at a record rate.
Nearly half of the International League has already surpassed its 2019 season total with more than a third of the schedule left to play.
The MLB combined single-season record of 6,105 was set in 2017. It looks like it could be crushed with the league on pace to club 6,657, according to USA TODAY.
Joe Maddon summed it up best this weekend:
“You could just have stamped Titleist on the side of these things.”
— Jared Wyllys (@jwyllys) July 7, 2019