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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/26/23 : Did Ya Know 🧐

Catching up on some things I’ve heard or read in regard to a few baseball matters.  Thought I’d share with those of you who may be interested.

Playoff and Regular Season Winners :

During the playoffs it was debated by many whether the impact of a “first round bye” negatively impacted teams who earned such privilege with having the best regular season records.  I went digging for some facts as to how often the team with the best regular season record also won the playoff crown.  I found that the research had already been done by a writer named Will Moon

who published it for Fansided in an August article.  As I suspected having the best regular season record doesn’t always equate to a World Series title, in fact since 1969 in the 54 seasons played the team with the best regular season record won the World Series just 15 times (28 %).  Here are a few notes from the article.

“Prior to 1969, there were no divisions, just the American and National Leagues. So the long regular season (either 154 or 162 games) was designed to produce the two “worthiest” clubs to then play in the World Series.  In that era, having the best record in baseball gave you a 50/50 shot at winning the title, but when further expansion brought about division play in 1969, things changed.   During the four-division era from 1969-1993, which covers 25 seasons, the team with the best regular-season record only won the World Series eight times.  To be honest, I was surprised it didn't happen more often. Here are those squads that did it.

1970 Orioles (108-54)1975 Reds (108-54)1976 Reds (102-60)1978 Yankees (100-63)1983 Orioles (98-64)1984 Tigers (104-58)1986 Mets (108-54)1989 Athletics (99-63)

The wild card took hold in 1995.  Since then we've had 28 seasons played and the team with the best regular-season mark has only won the whole ball of wax seven times. Those teams are :

1998 Yankees (114-48)2007 Red Sox (96-66)2009 Yankees (103-59)2013 Red Sox (97-65)2016 Cubs (103-58)2018 Red Sox (108-54)2020 Dodgers (43-17 in the Covid year)”

Source - writer - Will Moon - 8/31/23 - Fan Nation  - link to full article :

The Impact of 2023 rule changes :

Earlier this summer I did some of my own research in regards to the 2023 rule change impacts on Major League Baseball.  However I’ve also found information for two great sources, an article published in Forbes Magazine written by a gentleman named Brad Adgate in October and another in the Athletic written by the great Jayson Stark.

It’s been my findings for a few years now (including minor league data) that “banning the shift” by merely eliminating the placement of an infielder in short right field wouldn’t have a huge impact.  See below for Mr. Stark’s findings which confirm that.  Also felt that the pitch clock would return the pace of play to the pre walk-up music era when games were policed by umpires and the players themselves.  That proved to be true - 2023 games were crisper and once the players got used to the clock it had minimal impact in regards to the penalties imposed for non-compliance.  Here’s a few excerpts from the articles.

“Attendance: The total attendance for the 2023 MLB season was 70.7 million, a 9 .6% increase from the previous season. It was the first time since 2017 total attendance had surpassed 70 million. MLB reported that year-over-year the attendance had increased for 26 of the 30 ballclubs. The average attendance for an MLB game was 29,295.

MLB reports that 17 teams had total home attendance exceeding 2.5 million. In addition, for the first time in a decade, there were eight ball clubs surpassing three million in home attendance; the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays. MLB also noted that there were 11 weekends in which total attendance surpassed 1.5 million, the most since 2017.

MLB average time of game by season :

9-inning games only

2015 — 2:56:14

2016 — 3:00:42

2017 — 3:05:11

2018 — 3:00:44

2019 — 3:05:35

2020 — 3:07:46

2021 — 3:10:07

2022 — 3:03:44

2023 — 2:39:49

More Action:

The rules changes designed to make the game more exciting were successful. The batting average in 2023 was .248, a five-point increase from 2022. The average number of runs scored per game increased from 8.6 in 2022 to 9.2 in 2023. The number of stolen bases were also up, in 2023 there were 1.4 stolen bases per game in 1.8 attempts. In 2022 there was an average of 1.0 stolen bases per game with 1.4 attempts. MLB noted the success rate of base stealing attempts increased from 75.4% in 2022 to a record high 80.2% in 2023.  The total number of home runs also increased from 5,215 in 2022 to 5,868 in 2023. The number of strikeouts grew to 41,844 in 2023 from 40,812 in 2022. The number of walks also rose to 15,819 in 2023 from 14,853.”

The Shift :

“What the shift ban didn’t do — No one thought that every ground ball to the right side would now be a hit. We still live in an age of precise, computer-driven defensive positioning.  So while left-handed hitters’ batting average on ground balls did go up, from .226 to .239, that still was lower than it was as recently as 2017.  So that impact was modest.

On the other hand, consider … What the shift ban did do — At least when those left-handed hitters squared up one of those ground balls to the right side, they sure didn’t miss seeing the second baseman, hanging out in short right field, slurping up nearly every one of them. The numbers on hard-hit pulled ground balls told that story.”

Japanaese Imports :

Lastly with the flurry of attention this year surrounding Japanese free agent pitchers Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shota Imanaga I thought I’d review the history of Japanese players in the major leagues.

“In the entire history of Major League Baseball a total of only 67 Japanese-born players have played in at least one Major League Baseball (MLB) game. The first was Masanori "Mashi" Murakami who pitched for the San Francisco Giants in 1964 and 1965 before heading back to Japan due to contractual obligations, where he played for another 17 years.  For thirty years Murakami was the only Japanese player to appear in an MLB game.  Pitcher Hideo Nomo became the second Japanese player to play in MLB in 1995.” - Wikipedia

There were eight Japanese players in the major leagues in 2023 ( RHP Yu Darvish, RHP Kenta Maeda, DH/RHP Shohei Ohtani, LHP Yusei  Kikuchi, OF Yoshitomo Tsutsugo,OF Seiya Suzuki, OF Masataka Yoshida, RHP Shintaro Fujinama and RHP Kodai Senga).   Three made their debuts in the 2023 season and one did so in 2022.  They represent 12 % of the 67 player total who have played in the major leagues who were born in Japan.  It’s about time that Major League Baseball imports the enormous talent from Japan on a grander scale.  Here’s a look at each team’s history with Japanese players (source - Wikipedia).

The number of Japanese born players who’ve played for each MLB team ( note - many players played for more than one franchise).

New York Mets - 14

Seattle Mariners - 11

Los Angeles Dodgers - 9

Chicago Cubs - 9

Boston Red Sox - 9

Texas Rangers - 8

New York Yankees - 7

Toronto Blue Jays - 6

Milwaukee Brewers - 6

Oakland Athletics - 5

Los Angeles Angels - 5

San Francisco Giants - 5

Cleveland Indians/Guardians - 5

San Diego Padres - 4

Tampa Bay Rays - 4

Kansas City Royals - 4

Pittsburgh Pirates - 4

Colorado Rockies - 3

Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals  - 3

Chicago White Sox - 3

Minnesota Twins - 2

Baltimore Orioles - 2

Detroit Tigers - 2

Miami Marlins - 2

Philadelphia Phillies - 2 ( So Taguchi - 2008 and Tadahito Iguchi - 2007 to 2008)

Houston Astros - 2

Atlanta Braves - 2

Arizona Diamondbacks - 2

Cincinnati Reds - 1

St Louis Cardinals - 1

Just some stuff I found interesting - did ya know?

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Note : I've partnered  with Fanatics on Phillies Merchandise - if you would like to help support my website and articles here's a link to order merchandise - I get a small commission on any sales - thanks for the support.

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