— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 28, 2019
The L.A. Dodgers baseball team hit a record 8 homers on Opening Day.
The 2019 season baseball season might resemble the kind of men’s professional softball of the 1970s in which beefy guys sponsored by breweries stood around waiting to see if the batter him a home run or not. Personally, I think baseball is more fun with not so many homers, where the batter trots smugly around the bases, and more doubles and triples where hitters, baserunners, and outfielders all have to run hard. (I offered a few suggestions for how to get more triples in 2014.)
In recent years, the Dodgers, who have gone to the last two World Series, have transformed a bunch of nobodies into guys who can hit 20 to 40 homers per season. This ESPN article explains that it is due to the Science of Launch Angles:
Prized hitting guru Robert Van Scoyoc, 3 others join Dodgers coaching staff for 2019
Nov 28, 2018
ESPN Staff Writer
LOS ANGELES — Robert Van Scoyoc, the 32-year-old cutting-edge hitting instructor who helped turn J.D. Martinez into a superstar, was announced as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ new hitting coach on Wednesday.
Van Scoyoc didn’t play baseball beyond college and spent several years working with hitters alongside Craig Wallenbrock in Santa Clarita, California, which resides about 30 miles northwest of Dodger Stadium. Van Scoyoc and Wallenbrock harped on the importance of launch angle before it became vogue throughout the industry. Van Scoyoc preached keeping swing paths through the strike zone as long as possible and lifting the ball in the air, concepts the Dodgers — and most of Major League Baseball — ardently adhered to this past season.
Martinez began working with Van Scoyoc after the 2013 season. Van Scoyoc repositioned Martinez’s hands, put him in a more athletic stance and introduced him to the benefits of launch angle, helping Martinez go from a middling fourth outfielder to a menacing middle-of-the-order bat. The Dodgers hired Van Scoyoc and Wallenbrock as consultants from 2016 to 2017, at which point the duo also helped launch the career of Chris Taylor.
Pro golfers optimized their tee shot launch angles about 15+ years to get enough distance to keep up with Tiger Woods, so it just took longer for baseball players to do the same.
The Dodgers have huge amounts of money and a lot of brains so this could be legit.