Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Baseball, Despite A Cold April, Not Statistically Different This Year

It's been a cold April in much of the country -- specifically the Midwest and Great Lakes, where weather has fouled up nearly two dozen games so far this year thanks to rain, snow, and everything in between.  We're just missing a random locust plague or something like that to complete the trinity of acts of nature.  That said, despite a pretty cold April in a good chunk of the country, the statistical reality is that 2013 is pretty similar to 2012.

Homers are up a notch so far this year, from 0.94 last year to 0.98 this year.  Runs are up modestly as well, from 4.16 per team per game in 2012 to 4.19 this year.  That slight uptick in power has translated to a very modest uptick in offensive production in MLB so far -- the 30 teams through Sunday have a collective slugging percentage of .396, up a thousandth of a point from last year.

Last April was rather warm across the middle of the country and modestly cool in the Northeast...although it wasn't below average outside of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and perhaps Cincinnati.   The Midwest, South, and Rockies were all basking in a warm April that foretold a rather toasty and incredibly dry summer across much of the middle of the nation.  This year, the tale is much different.  While it has been mild at times in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic, there have also been rather chilly intrusions of air as well, with the Midwest bearing the brunt of that chill for much of the month.

While there is a pretty decent correlation between humidity, air pressure, wind direction, temperature, and offensive production (specifically from the power side of the equation), this year's colder April hasn't manifested in a markedly lower scoring or poorer-producing offensive game compared to last year in a significant way. Homers are up slightly and so are runs.

We'll see how the rest of the year pans out...but so far, weather can only be blamed for cancelling games and not all that much for keeping the ball in the yard.