Where did all this offense come from?
It’s harder to distinguish yourself in baseball than perhaps in any other sport. Look at the requirements that a batter faces: he must hit a ball roughly the size of a peach with a glorified stick within between .4 and .5 seconds from the time it leaves the pitcher’s hand to when it hits the catcher’s mitt. Pretty hard, right? So why have we seen such an explosion of offense in the first month of the MLB season?
Take Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He tied the record for most homeruns in April with 14, and also has driven in 37 runs and sports a .431 batting average. These numbers are off the charts, particularly the batting average. Remember that only one man has ever hit .400 for a season, and that was Ted Williams in the 1940s, long before dominant pitchers were commonplace. How has Bellinger been so successful?
The issue, however, is that this isn’t just isolated to Bellinger. Many other hitters are enjoying terrific seasons, while pitchers are struggling. And this is only a few short years after it was declared that there was a “pitching revolution” and that pitching was becoming too dominant.
That narrative has obviously flipped, but there is no obvious answer as to why. Some believe that it has to do with younger players learning the tricks of the trade and having a different hitting philosophies than their older coaches, who were raised with antiquated strategies. Others believe that pitchers are struggling to combat these smarter hitting techniques with more elusive pitches. However, I believe that this is simply a function of the seesaw effect that can be seen throughout sports, particularly baseball. I mentioned that a few, short years ago, there was a supposed “pitching revolution.” It seems that now, there is a “hitters revolution,” signifying the ever-existent tug-of-war that defines America’s Favorite Pastime.