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Home Runs and Drag: An Early Look at the 2022 Season

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The month of April is now complete and the verdict is in: The in-play home run rate for the 2022 season is down from recent seasons, as shown in Figure 1. Much has already been written about this feature by a variety of authors, including Jim Albert, Rob Arthur, Eno Sarris and Ken Rosenthal, and Bradford Doolittle, Alden Gonzalez, Jesse Rogers and David Schoenfield, and various reasons have been proposed for the relative dearth of home runs. Some argue that the baseball has been deadened, resulting in lower exit velocities and therefore fewer home runs. Others have suggested that the drag on the baseball has increased, perhaps due to higher seams. Yet others have argued that it is the effect of the universal humidor.

Figure 1

In this article, we will address the issue of reduced home run rates and hopefully add more light to the discussion. Specifically, we will examine home run rates during the month of April for the 2018-22 seasons, excepting the ’20 season for which there was no major league baseball in April. Here is our approach. Read the rest of this entry »