By now it is no secret offense is up around MLB and baseballs are flying out of the park at a record pace. Take a look at MLB's home run rate the last few years:
- 2014: 0.86 homers per game
- 2015: 1.01 homers per game
- 2016: 1.16 homers per game
- 2017: 1.26 homers per game
Earlier this weekfound that baseballs used last year are fundamentally different than the baseballs used prior to the 2015 All-Star break. Specifically, the "cores of recent balls were somewhat less dense," which allows the ball to carry farther. That's what people mean when they say the ball is juiced. The ball itself has changed, and it's led to the home run uptick.
The thing is, Verlander is not upset the ball is juiced. As long as everyone has to pitch with the same baseballs, it's a fair fight, so to speak. He just doesn't like MLB insisting the ball has not changed.
All I’m saying is I don’t care if balls are juiced (seriously). We’re all using the same ball so it’s a fair field. My issue is I don’t like being lied to. I knew something was different. Century old records are being broken and numbers are skewed.— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) March 2, 2018
. Every time he meets with the media, commissioner Rob Manfred says the baseballs are within MLB's standards. It's possible for the balls to still be within MLB's standards, but different enough to result in more home runs, but the league seemingly refuses to acknowledge it.
Verlander is hardly the first player to say he believes the baseballs are juiced. Many others have said so, including other Astros players during the World Series last season. It's unclear whether the ball will be "un-juiced" this season. Either way, the players don't like being lied to. If the ball is juiced, the ball is juiced. They just want MLB to admit it.