In the 1990’s and into the first ten years of the 2000’s college baseball was an absolute hitters paradise. The bats were out of control and EVERYONE could hit 10+ homers. College baseball changed the rules to deaden the bats after the 2010 season that saw the ERA of all D-1 schools skyrocket to 5.95. The new bats were supposed to play like a wooden bat despite not being wooden.

The results worked. Scoring was at the lowest it’s been in 40 years during the 2014 season and home runs were at an all-time low going back to 1970. The Baseball America link in the last sentence talks about a new baseball being used in college this year that is supposed to swing things a bit back towards the offense.

They are going with a “flat seam” baseball, which is what is used in professional baseball. The ball is not wound as tightly as a professional baseball though, which would help it go further. It’s an interesting situation though, as Cal State Fullerton right handed pitcher, and top draft prospect Thomas Eshelman says he’s noticed differences already.

“I like (the new balls) 10 times better. You can see a lot more difference in your ball—velocity, movement. It’s a plus for us as pitchers, but also could be a minus. It goes a lot farther. I’ve noticed.”

This is going to be something interesting to follow during the season. Pitchers may look better if Eshelman is correct. More movement is going to put the pitchers in a better light, especially from a draft perspective. At the same time, if the ball is now flying further that is going to help out the hitters as well. Figuring out the numbers in college baseball just got a whole lot more interesting as the season is about to get underway.

Will strikeouts be up, but home runs also be up? Is too much being made of the new baseball at this point? I’m not sure to be honest, but it will make comparing numbers for both pitchers and hitters in college a bit tougher when looking at guys taken even last year.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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