Blow-your-mind MLB stat

From Tom Verducci of

During the 2018 season, there were 119,875 batted balls in play in MLB games. There were 125,753 foul balls. Meaning the fans in the stands could have fielded more balls than the players on the field (obviously not every foul ball went into the stands, but you get the idea). His takeaway from that: Pitching is really, really good.

Noticed Jalen Beeks got an opening-day relief outing for Tampa Bay. Rays were trailing Houston 5-1 in the seventh; all six runs scored on homers.

Pitching is great and hitting is at a all time modern low. Today, a guy who hits .250 is solid. .250 used to be a guy going back to the minors. If the ball were not wound as tight as a golf ball, I’m not sure baseball would survive. Watch the home runs hit in the stands…they bounce 50 feet into the air. No steroids these days, but the balls are on steroids.

A pitch clock would really help MLB. The pitchers just won’t throw the ball to the hitter. I never thought I would say this, but the game needs to be sped up. I’m not sure sped is a word, but you get the idea.

I’ll be honest - I never thought about this ratio before. But, at first glance, it really doesn’t look “surprising” to me. Maybe I’ll think so after giving it more thought - dunno.

But when I think back on all the at bats I’ve seen, I know that each batter can - at most - only put ONE ball in play per at bat. However, he can (may not, but sometimes does) have several foul balls in that same at bat. So, if you’d have asked me before I saw the numbers you posted, and I’d thought about it a few minutes, I’d have expected there to be more fouls than “non-foul”.

You seem to think the numbers you mentioned were “mind blowing”, and you may be right. What am I missing?

I think it’s a product of so many strikeouts, thus markedly decreasing balls in play. And the foul ball count is probably understated. If they pop up to the third baseman who makes the catch in foul territory, I believe that would be a ball in play. Also, if I read Verducci’s piece right, home runs do not count as a ball in play for this purpose because they’re not catchable, so the large number of homers in modern MLB also decreases the ball in play count.

OK . . . so, that is fine . . . and, I’ll agree somewhat interesting. But I don’t know that it means anything substantial. And I’m still not sure why any of that would be mind-blowing.

I’m really NOT trying to be a jerk here, SF - honestly. I just feel that I’m missing something that you think is kind of a “golly!” aspect to all of this.

By the way, omitting Home Runs from “balls put in play” seems unstable. For the purposes of analyses of this sort, it’s no different than an inside the park home run. The fact that the ball went over the fence instead of just past the outfielder is not really important. The ball was hit, no errors were made, and the batter got home before the ball did. In one case, it never gets home - but again - so what?