BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The long ball is alive and well in baseball.
In the first month of baseball, players had already whacked 863 home runs (the second most ever in April). The 2017 is tied for first with 2000 in home runs per game. A total of 5,610 home runs were hit in 2016, which was the second most in baseball history. That total was bested only in 2000, at the height of performance enhancing drug use by players. MLB is on a historic home run pace in this 2017 season.
Now the question is…why?
One reason is that hitters are keen on swinging away. Strikeouts in 2017 are the highest in the history of baseball.
Another reason is that in the last ten years, 4 out of 5 new stadiums have been built with shorter walls.
Finally, the average size of the players has been increasing. The average height of a major league player has increased almost 7% since the 1870’s, from 68.9 inches to 73.7 inches. In terms of weight, the average ballplayer is almost 14% heavier than the average player in the 1870’s, increasing from 167.3 lbs to 190.6 lbs.
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is slugging home runs faster than any rookie in the history of MLB.