MLB - Where the Heck has the Offense Gone?

by ASA, Inc.

For those of you consistently playing Unders in MLB this season you’ve most likely taken home a nice profit thus far.  Prior to the games being played on May 9th the UNDERS in non-extra inning games have cashed at a rate of over 57% on the season – 197 Unders and 149 Overs (excluding ties).  As of May 9th, there are only 5 teams with an above .500 record on Overs and 22 teams with a below .500 record on Overs.  This year teams are averaging just 4.04 RPG thus far for an average run total of 8.08 per game.  We obviously are only a month into the season and things can change dramatically, however if the season did end today the 4.04 RPG per team average would be the lowest since 1981 when teams averaged only 4.00 RPG.  Along those same lines, the average hits per game and league batting average is way down as well.  The 7.64 hits per game (per team) and the league wide team batting average of .232 are BOTH on pace to be the lowest EVER dating back to 1900!  Let’s not forget the league average OPS (on base + slugging percentage) of .676 which is below the .700 mark (year-end numbers) for the first time since 1989.  
The oddsmakers have made some big adjustments on their totals as the season has worn on dropping the average total set each week since the beginning of the season.
WEEK 1 (Starting on Thurs, April 7 – April 10) – 49 TOTAL GAMES with an 8.75 AVERAGE TOTAL SET BY ODDSMAKERS 
WEEK 2 – (April 11 – April 17) - 94 TOTAL GAMES with an 8.54 AVERAGE TOTAL SET
WEEK 3 – (April 18 – April 24) – 95 TOTAL GAMES with an 8.10 AVERAGE TOTAL SET
WEEK 4 (April 24 – May 1) –95 TOTAL GAMES with a 7.8 AVERAGE TOTAL SET
WEEK 5 (May 2 – May 8) –91 TOTAL GAMES with a 7.6 AVERAGE TOTAL SET
Why the big drop-off from MLB offenses? The pitching in the Majors is getting better with multiple hurlers on each staff hitting high 90’s and even hit triple digits on the gun which was almost unheard of not all that long ago.  There has also been talk about a “dead ball” and that’s a legitimate concern as MLB made a point in early 2021 to change the baseball moving forward in an attempt to limit home runs which were at their highest point ever in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.  That change seems to have worked with teams averaging 0.91 HR’s per game this season after averaging 1.15 or higher per game in each of the previous 6 years.  Will the low scoring, poor offense trend continue?  There is hope for those that are looking for more runs.  April has always been a poor month for offense with early season struggles and poor weather factoring in.  The good news is MLB RPG, batting average, and OPS have been at their lowest point of the season in April in each of the last 6 years so an upward trend in offense can be expected.  

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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