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2010 offense in April & May

Posted by Andy on June 4, 2010

I wanted to check how the offensive levels this season compare with past years, but to do it right I extracted the April and May numbers from each season.

This plot shows a few things:

  • The rise starting in 1993 is apparent although it's interesting that numbers that year didn't get quite a bit higher until later in the year. 1994 was the first full season with elevated offensive levels.
  • The peak of the recent offensive era was in 2000.
  • In 2001 (when anonymous drug testing started) the offense dropped dramatically.
  • 2010 is the lowest (or tied for lowest) in both OBP and SLG since 1993.

I did some calculations to figure out the impact on a game for the difference in OBP and SLG between 2000 and 2010:

  • The SLG difference of 47 points translates to about 1.5 fewer total bases per game per team. Think about it this way: in 2000, a double was replaced by a homer 3 out of every 4 games. Or, every 2 games, 3 singles turn into doubles. Big difference.
  • The OBP difference of 19 points translates to about 1.5 fewer walks plus hits. So far in 2010, each game has an average of about 12.2 walks plus hits but it was 13.7 in 2010.

7 Responses to “2010 offense in April & May”

  1. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    The HGH era definitely influenced these numbers, but to disregard accomplishments based on this would be wrong. If you did that, for example, then where does it stop? Should we also disregard any stats acquired when players were influenced by alcohol {Mantle, for example, would definitely be screwed on this one; not to mention Babe Ruth}? Do we go back to before Wheaties were invented?

  2. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I don't think there was necessarily a connection between drug testing and reduced offense. 2000 was the highest scoring season in the majors in 74 years. It was to be expected that scoring would drop the next season. And it dropped all the way to the same level as 1997-1998, when I recall homers flying out of the park and steroids flowing through the basepaths. Since then scoring has remained at pretty much the same level it was from '93-'99 (3% less) (not including this year).

  3. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Of the new parks in the past 10 years or so, I think a slight majority are actually more pitcher-friendly than their predecessors. Add in the humidor-effect at Coors Field, and that alone could cause a slight decrease in scoring.

  4. Andy Says:

    Yeah, I had a long discussion with a friend about this yesterday. If you split up the last 20 years for 'pre-2000' and 'post-2000' I think it's clearly true that the new parks post-2000 are on average more pitcher friendly than the new parks pre-2000. That could be a significant factor for sure.

    The size of the park and distance that fly balls go really matters. Aside from more HR, when balls travel far, the outfielders have to play much deeper and this leads to more singles and doubles that otherwise would be caught or held as singles. This was true in pre-humidor Coors where not only homers were up but all kinds of hits.

  5. Peter Says:

    Ken Griffey Jr.'s career, interestingly, follows the trend pretty closely: rise in 1993 (his HRs go from 27 in '92 to 45 in '93), peak in 2000 (his last very good year, hitting 40 HRs for the Reds), bottom out in 2010 (retirement). Obviously the fact that he was 23 in 1993 and is 40 today has more to do with this than steroids, and I have no reason to suspect Griffey ever did roids. Just an interesting coincidence.

  6. Andy Says:

    You're reading my mind, Peter. Check back on this blog tomorrow morning for a Card of the Week post about Griffey.

  7. Casey Abell Says:

    PED testing of any kind didn't begin in the majors until 2003. Minor league testing began in 2001, but it's hard to see how that would affect major league offensive totals much.