Miller: Baseball Becoming "All Or Nothing" Game

“I hate to see where we’re at this year," Scott Miller says. "It’s home run or strikeout."

August 24, 2018 - 11:53 am
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It appears that baseball has a hitting problem.

Currently sitting with a .248 MLB batting average for the season, the league is facing its lowest numbers since 1972, and things are not projecting to get any better. During the course of August, the amount of strikeouts officially surpassed the total of hits for the year. If this trend stays true for the remainder of the season, this would be the first time that this has ever happened.

Speaking with CBS Sports Radio about the present dilemma, Bleacher Report senior MLB writer Scott Miller stated that baseball has turned into a game that's either home run or bust.

“It’s become an all or nothing game — It’s home run or strikeout,” Miller said on Ferrall on the Bench. “There are so many high strikeout games. Baseball has set a record for strikeouts in a season for the last several years in a row, and this year is going to surpass that. I hate to see where we’re at this year.”

Living in the analytics era, baseball has morphed into a sport that heavily relies on statistics and probabilities. Miller believes this dependency on analytics has been one of the cause for this decline in batting averages.

“Some of this stuff was brought about with the analytics revolution,” Miller said. “I’m not an anti-analytics guy, but I think we’ve swung too far in that direction. I think extremism in any direction is bad. Life is all about moderation — a little bit of this works and a little bit of that works. I love ice cream, but if all I ate was ice cream everyday and nothing else, it could get really ugly, really fast. Baseball has always been a game of nuance. Little things matter. Stolen base attempts per game this year are the lowest since 1964. Again, all or nothing — home run or strikeout. Analytics has led teams to playing to percentages, which I get, but because of that, you don’t steal as much because god forbid you’d give up an extra out on the off chance of getting caught.”

The main issue that Miller has with the modern state of baseball is every hitter has become uniform — everybody is trying to knock the ball out of the park. Miller hints that for the game to improve, changes definitely have to be made to fix baseball’s hitting problem.

“A lot of my problem with what’s going on today is every hitter is trying to be the same,” Miller said. “Not everybody can be a magician with a bat like George Brett, Tony Gwynn and Ted Williams, but I don’t think, starting in the minor leagues today, that clubs are developing players in a way they should. If you want to teach guys to try to hit it over the shift and put the ball out of the park, that’s well and good when you’re David Ortiz. You got your home run boppers and you’ll always will, but you’ve also got infielders that aren’t home run hitters that ought to be able to get on base more than they are. You want those guys on base so (guys like David Ortiz) can hit the three-run homers. Instead, you’re getting little second basemen swinging for the fences and little shortstops swinging for the fences. It’s just reached a point where hopefully some people can begin to see this and try to correct it.”