July 23, 2021

How much did baseball change during the 2010s? (ESPN)


The decade is just about over, though it has been in the books for baseball for weeks, ever since the Nationals finished off the Astros in Game 7 of the World Series back on Oct. 30. That has given us plenty of time to produce All-Decade teams and such, which is always fun to do. But I’ve got a more fundamental question to pose today: What just happened?

On the field, the game has changed. We can debate how much this is actually apparent when watching any given contest, but you can’t deny that baseball is different. More homers. Lots more strikeouts. Fewer singles. Longer games. But is it that different? Has the rate of change in these areas and others actually accelerated?

To put a little bow on the 2010s, that’s the line of inquiry we’ll follow today. Using league-level statistics from Baseball-Reference.com, I sliced per-decade numbers into as many different shapes as I could conjure. These are some of the highlights, shared in the form of a kind of All-Decade team, but one that features players who embody some of the changes we’ve seen.

Before we jump into that, there is a general observation to be made about these data. While we’re at record levels (high and lows) in several…

Read “How much did baseball change during the 2010s?” at ESPN