After the jump is a table that shows the major league totals in various hitting categories for the 2013 regular season as compared to the 2012 regular season, and some discussion of what the table shows.
You’ll see that homers were down quite a bit from last year. That drop did not take homers all the way down to where they were in 2010 and 2011, but it does seem to suggest that the increase from 2011 to 2012 was not the beginning of a new direction but just a blip in an overall trend toward homer rates of less than one per team per game.
Strikeouts were up a little, and walks were down a little. That continues the overall direction of recent years, but much less dramatically than we had been seeing in prior recent years.
The numbers that jumped out at me most dramatically in the table below are the vary large 2012-to-2013 drops in the speed categories of triples and stolen bases. The general trend over the whole history of the majors has been a gradual but steady decline in triples, as ballparks have become less eccentric and outfielders more athletic and long hits have gone increasingly over fences rather than staying inside them. But the triples rate has been relatively steady over the last 15 years or so, until this big drop to an all-time historic low this season. Maybe it’s just a random fluctuation — triples rates are so low at this point that a season’s worth is now a relatively small sample — but it’s interesting that the same type of precipitous drop also appeared this season in stolen bases and stolen base attempts. Was there an unusual decline this season in playing time for players who emphasize the speed game?
By the way, you may notice, if you expand the table beyond 10 rows, that there was a bit of an increase in plate appearances and at bats this year that cannot be explained by a higher rate of hits or walks. I think the primary explanation for the increase in ABs and PAs is that there were 243 extra-inning games this season compared to 192 last season.
2012 2013 Pct. Difference
Singles 27,941 28,437 1.74%
Dooubles 8,261 8,222 -0.47%
Triples 927 772 -20.08%
Home Runs 4,934 4,661 -5.86%
Walks 14,709 14,640 -0.47%
Strikeouts 36,426 36,710 0.77%
Stolen Bases 3,229 2,693 -19.90%
Stolen Bases + CS
4,365 3,700 -17.97%
Total Bases 66,980 65,841 -1.73%
Hits 42,063 42,092 0.07%
Plate Appearances 184,179 184,873 0.38%
At Bats 165,251 166,070 0.49%
Games 4860 4862 0.04%