Would Fewer Strikeouts Mean Fewer Home Runs, Too?

Over at Baseball Musings, David Pinto writes:

The only way to make high strikeout batters less effective is to take away the home run. Then, all those fly balls turn into outs, and the Brett Gardners of the world take over. Major League Baseball tried this for the first 40 years of its existence. Babe Ruth taught them there was a better way.

--snip--

While it might be fun to watch a league where Brett Butler, Juan Pierre, and Coco Crisp are extremely valuable players, I think I prefer to see the ball crushed, and batters get crushed by the likes of Justin Verlander along the way.

Well, then we've simply got a difference of opinion. I like home runs and strikeouts, too; I simply like them less than David Pinto likes them. But my point wasn't that the current levels of strikeouts and home runs are undesirable; my point is that the trends are clear and don't show any signs of letting up, and that in a few years even David Pinto might think there are too many strikeouts.

I'm also not sure I buy his premise, that fewer strikeouts necessarily means fewer home runs. If you dropped the mound by one inch, you would certainly have fewer strikeouts and more home runs. Also, more singles and doubles and triples.

I wouldn't necessarily prescribe a lowering of the mound. But the mound is one of the elements in the equation, along with the baseball and the strike zone and the bats. And lest anyone think that some or all of those elements are sacred, I will mention that all have undergone significant changes over the years.

You want sacred? I'll give you 90 feet between the bases, and 60 feet, 60 inches from the rubber to the plate. All the rest, I think, should be open for negotiation.

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