Saturday, September 22, 2012

Is MLB Going From MoneyBall To WeaverBall?

Weaver: The Pope Of Pop
In a recent article by Sports Illustrated's Joe Sheehan (September 17th issue), it becomes clear that baseball has moved out of the so-called MoneyBall Era into one more attuned to the tenets of former Orioles manager Earl Weaver. Basically, the home run is back! As Sheehan points out, while overall runs scored, OBP, average and singles are all down, teams are hitting 1.02 HRs per game—the highest in years. The Yankees and Orioles are among the top five teams in 'homer-centric' offense (48.6% and 47.5%, respectively). Among those top five, only the Blue Jays (#1) are not playoff contenders. Since base runners are rarer than ever, it's seems counterproductive to do the "small ball" things like moving runners along and stealing bases. Just hack away for the fences. And the rate of homers per fly ball is way up, too—at 11.3%. The Yankees are #1 in that department at an incredible 16.8% followed by the Birds at 13.8%. With so much money to spend in the off-season, the Red Sox might want to invest in a few positional boppers—after they get some starting pitching. As Earl Weaver said, "The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers." Maybe the tide is turning back.