NPR had a nice story about some economics of juiced baseballs. Yes NPR.
There have been a record number of home runs this year, approaching 6,000. The evidence suggests that, due to changes in how the balls are being made, hits are going an average of seven extra feet. How do players and teams react to this?
More players now swing for the fences. Non-sluggers used to be content with just getting on base. Now they have a better shot at rounding the bases. We know this because there is also a record number of strikeouts.
SIEGEL: But given the number of strikeouts and given all the talk about the launch angle of the baseball as it leaves the bat, it seems that more baseball players are going up to the plate trying to hit a home run.
KERI: Well, that's certainly true. But it has to do with incentives. You know, if you hit a bunch of home runs and you strike out, there's nothing that's going to get you fired from your job for that. And Aaron Judge is a classic example of this. Aaron Judge has more than 50 home runs. He's going to win the AL Rookie of the Year, maybe MVP. He struck out more than 200 times this year. Only six players ever in the history of baseball, including Judge, have done that. And we don't say, Aaron Judge, tisk-tisk (ph), all those strikeouts. We say, Aaron Judge, what an exciting player.
Also, the premium teams pay for sluggers is likely to fall. Being able to hit 20 home runs a year used to be pretty rare. But the supply of pseudo-sluggers has just increased, causing the price to fall.
If you look at some other sluggers that have gone out on the open market and will this offseason, it's a supply and demand issue. If everybody's hitting home runs, why bother spending a lot for home runs?