NEW YORK – Major League Baseball’s batting average declined to .244 this season, representing its lowest level since the pitcher’s year in 1968, though the offense improved markedly after the majors took action in mid-season. season on substances to improve ball grip by pitchers.
The strict measures of the Major Leagues had the desired impact, ending a streak of 12 consecutive seasons in which strikeouts had set records.
From Opening Day through June 2, the last day before the measures went into effect, hitters averaged .236 with a .395 slugging percentage, a .707 OPS and a 4.36 run average. per team in each game. From June 3 through the end of the regular season, the batting average increased .248 with a .419 slugging percentage, a .738 OPS and a 4.62 run average.
There was a record 2,664 more strikeouts than hits, an increase in the gap from 1,147 in the shortened 2020 season and 784 in 2019, when strikeouts outnumbered hits for the first time.
Although 42,145 strikeouts were recorded, a slight decrease from 42,823 in 2019, hits dropped from 42,039 to 39,481 as special defensive formations proliferated. The Major League Baseball batting average was .271 in 1999 – at the height of the steroid era – when there were 45,327 hits.
The batting average of the majors dropped to a low of .237 in 1968, prompting the MLB to lower the pitchers’ mound from 15 to 10 inches the following season and reduce the strike zone.
Baseball officials are concerned about the decline in action caused by the dominance of the three basic outcomes: home run, walk, and strikeout.