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A History of the Juiced Ball in Major League Baseball

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees hits a sacrifice fly scoring Mark Teixeira in the sixth inning.

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees hits a sacrifice fly scoring Mark Teixeira in the sixth inning. Aaron Judge hits the baseball hard. | Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Baseballs are flying out of the ballpark at an unprecedented rate in the 2017 season. At the All-Star break, 24 total players have hit 20 home runs or more. Compare that with the 2014 season when only 47 players hit 20 or more homers in the entire season, and we can clearly see a shift. According to the Washington Post, 14.2% of all hits so far in 2017 have been home runs — the highest rate in Major League Baseball history. The home run to batted ball rate has spiked in a way that we’ve never seen before.

So what about “juicing the baseball?” This is the phenomenon where Major League Baseball alters the balls used in games in a way that leads to move offense or home runs. Is this what’s happening? We took a brief look at the theory, as well as the history of the trends in offense and home runs.

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