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#pounditMonday, December 5, 2022

Giants exec has theory for drop in home runs around MLB

Farhan Zaidi talking into a microphone

Apr 5, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi is interviewed on the field before the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Home runs are way down in the first month of the 2022 MLB season, which has given rise to a lot of conspiracy theories. One popular one is that the league is deadening the baseballs, making it harder to hit and reducing offense across the league.

As of Thursday, teams were averaging a total of 0.90 home runs per game, according to CBS Sports. That is down significantly from 1.22 home runs per game in 2021. While the deadened ball theory is a popular one, San Francisco Giants president Farhan Zaidi had a much more balanced take on the home run drop. Zaidi believes it to be a combination of multiple factors, including the universal use of humidors and shortened spring training being more beneficial to pitchers than to hitters.

“I don’t see anything intentional there, it’s possible the production process something happened and the balls are deader,” Zaidi told KNBR 680’s “Tolbert & Copes” on Thursday, via Taylor Wirth of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I think the humidor actually, standardizing that, has a good amount to do with it. We’ll just have to see as we get a bigger sample when the weather warms up if things normalize a little bit.

“We also had a shorter spring training and they always say that the pitchers are ahead of the hitters so maybe we’re seeing a little bit of that. We’ve had our better hitters get off to slow starts even though our offense overall has been pretty good.”

Both of Zaidi’s theories make sense. Conventional wisdom states that pitchers need less time to prepare for a new season than hitters, and batters may still be getting up to speed when it comes to facing MLB pitching again. The use of humidors in every stadium, which was reported prior to the start of the season, would also theoretically be more helpful to pitchers than to hitters.

Conspiracy theories are nothing new when it comes to baseballs. Three years ago, there was talk that the ball was juiced, while another conspiracy theory popped up last year with offense down. As fun as it may be to speculate, Zaidi’s more realistic explanations are more likely to be correct.

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