Last year I wrote a piece for KFFL entitled Maybe Hitting is Just Lousy.
In it--and I encourage you to hit the link--I noted how terrible OBP was last year, and that maybe these days of great pitching is helped a lot by crappy hitting.
Well, on the heels of Matt Cain's perfect game--and, sorry, I was not there, so I did not work it--I started thinking more about that crappy hitting in the context of the perfectos.
Well, think about this:
Now, surely some of the frequency of this occurance has to do with that expansion as more teams means more hitters, and instead of the 224 best hitters alive, which is what there was essentially to 1962 with the first expansion, to now 30 teams, who, at 14 hitters per team, 644 hitters.
So, again, there is the factor to the hitting base is diluted.
Now, again, the focus on that KFFL piece I wrote is how terrible hitting--and in particular OBP--how suffered over the past few years, partially because younger players are being promoted sooner.
I think part of this is also that home runs are much not just what owners want, but how a player gets noticed, so working a count and taking advantage of strike zone knowledge have become less of a focal point it seems.
Which supports my thought that the "art" of hitting has shifted from Rembrandt and Matisse to the likes of Thomas Kinkade.
Of course this makes my brain kind explode with possibilities for study, from strikeouts per year, to number of walks to number of home runs, and then pro-rating everything to see how per player of "x" games--for remember, before expansion, 154 games was a season--strikeouts and OBP totals for hitters, while strikeouts and HRs allowed, for example among pitchers has changed.
Now, I do realize that a lot of the above might have already been done, but well, I am thinking about stuff I might do when I retire from having to do anything other than baseball to generate income (I do, but almost there).
But, I do think there is something to 22% of the total of one of baseball's rarest occurances all took place over the past three years.
Mind you, I am not trying to diminish the accomplishments of those who have indeed tossed perfect games.
But, well, there is indeed something happening here and what it is is really not exactly clear. You know?