Last week, I posted a graph showing the history of MLB run scoring since 1946. The graph showed a steady decline in run scoring since it peaked in 2000, including a fairly precipitous drop over the last 4 years.
The most common thing, other than the exit of PEDs, that I’ve been hearing from commentators trying to explain the drop has been the growth of ‘power bullpens’ or ‘specialized bullpens.’ Generally, they’ll point to relievers throwing 96 coming out in the 7th inning, and talk about how that just didn’t happen a few years ago. Up until I started looking at the evidence, I believed that this was a big explanation for the decline in run scoring.
But not so much. Let’s start with RP usage:
This chart could be a post on its own. It’s pretty cool to watch relief usage grow over time. After four decades of growth, the starter/reliever shares of innings stabilized. 2014’s usage patterns are not significantly different from 2000’s. Continue reading MLB Run Scoring Decline Part 1: It’s Not About The Bullpens in 3 Charts