The first half of the MLB season is in the books, and what a first half it was. Between all the rule changes and Shohei Ohtani doing things on the diamond we’ve never seen before, this season has been unprecedented. Let’s get you caught up on the biggest stories of the first half.
In short, many of the rule changes are doing exactly what Rob Manfred and the rest of the MLB office wanted. Games are shorter, there’s more action on the base paths, and batting averages are up (though they are still not close to what it was in the 80s and earlier).
The average time of a 9-inning MLB game is 2:38 this season LINK, down from 3:03 last year and 3:10 in 2021 (which is the highest season on record). That’s on track to be the lowest 9-inning game average in a single season since 1984 (2:35).
BIGGER BASES/LIMITS ON DISENGAGEMENTS
There have been 2,466 stolen base attempts this season, the most prior to the All-Star break since there were 2,548 in 2011. Caught stealing didn’t become officially tracked until 1951, and the 79.4% SB success rate so far this season is the best prior to the break in that time.
There have 1,957 SB so far this season, the most ever prior to the All-Star break (previous record was 1,912 in 1987).
HOW THE SHIFT BAN AFFECTED THE MLB SEASON
The overall MLB BA is .248 so far this season, up from .242 prior to the break last season and .240 in 2021 (which was the lowest since .233 in 1968, the year before the mound was lowered).
Batting Average on Balls in Play is .297 this season, on pace to be 7 points higher than it was last season (.290 BABIP, lowest in a single season since 1992).
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY AMONG THE DIVISIONS
The Cleveland Guardians entered the All-Star break with an AL Central division lead and .500 (45-45) record. It’s the first time every team in a division was .500 or worse at the break since the 2008 NL West and fourth time it’s happened in the Divisional Era (since 1969).
The AL East, conversely, is the first division in the Divisional Era with each team above .500 at the break. Pete Sheppard’s beloved Red Sox are in last place in the division but 5 games over .500 and only two games behind for a wild card spot.
The second half of the MLB season will begin on Friday. All teams are in action.