Astrophysicist and sports data scientist Meredith Wills talks about why a subtle change in major league baseballs may be behind the jump in home runs after 2014.
Welcome to Scientific American’s Science Talk, posted on September 30th, 2018. I’m Steve Mirsky. On this episode:
That’s Meredith Wills (no relation to Maury). She has a doctorate in astrophysics and has authored studies that appeared in the Astrophysical Journal and in the journal Solar Physics. More recently, she’s been studying the game of baseball, as a sports data scientist. On September 19th she published an article in the online publication The Athletic about her studies of the baseball itself. In an attempt to figure out why home runs have gone through the roof—from 4,186 home runs in 2014 to 6,105 in 2017. I spoke with Wills by phone.
Going into the last day of the season, we had 5,550 homers in 2018. Not as many as last year’s 6,105 but still way up from the 4,186 in 2014.
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