The 2021 MLB season is underway, and unlike 2020, this season features a full 162-game schedule for every team in the league. Just like every year, however, the season has begun with plenty of speculation about the altered game ball.
The league announced before the start of the season that they were tightening the seams of the balls for 2021, which will likely have the effect of making the ball less bouncy off the bat. Many have speculated that this change in the ball will lead to a significant decrease in home runs across the league, and thus a decrease in total offense.
But how much do home runs matter? Will less homers make or break your team? Below are charts with a visualization of home runs vs. winning percentages for every MLB team last season.
As you can see, there is a significant correlation between the home runs hit by a team and their wins. This makes sense, as homers are automatic runs for your team, but it is also interesting that some teams still manage without.
For example, the 2020 Rays were in the middle of the pack in home runs hit last season, yet they had the second best record in baseball next to the Dodgers.
MLB’s new baseball is sure to make an impression on how teams approach the game, and potentially could lead to less of a correlation between home runs and winning in the future.
Data from https://www.baseball-reference.com/