Major League Baseball has released a scientific study that was designed to examine “possible causes of the surge in home run rate in Major League Baseball in the past several years,” as its abstract puts it. The study itself is available at this link.
Per the report, the focus was on utilizing Statcast data and a variety of means of evaluating the physical properties of the game balls utilized in recent seasons. That follows years of increases in home runs — along with additional strikeouts and quite a few other changes in the game environment — that have led to accusations (increasingly supported by evidence and analysis) that some change to the game ball has occurred.
While the findings don’t suggest that there has been any change that increases the ball’s “launch conditions” — that is, the ball isn’t juiced — they do find that “aerodynamic properties of the baseballs have changed” in a manner that corresponds to the increase in batted-ball distance. In other words, balls are being struck in roughly the same manner, but are going further than previously.