Scoring is up in Major League Baseball this year. Home runs, in particular, have been in abundance. The all-time record for home runs across Major League Baseball in a season is very vulnerable. The Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, and Minnesota Twins have all been on pace to break the all-time team record.

This is not necessarily a surprise. Offense has been trending up for a few years in the major leagues, but something else is different this time. There has been a similar home run explosion in AAA, the top level of Minor League Baseball. And some observers think they know why this is.

Some believe it's because of the baseballs

It's been long-established that the major leagues and minor leagues usually used different baseballs. The only exception had been if an MLB pitcher was on a minor league injury rehab assignment. In that case, they would be allowed to use an MLB-standard ball. But beginning in 2019, a new change took effect. AAA would be using the same type of baseballs as their major league counterparts.

Predictably, offense has significantly risen in AAA as well, especially home runs.

Newsday reports that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred denies that uptick has anything to do with the baseballs. Instead, he claims it's because of 'less drag' while the balls are flying. However, his reasoning in the past has been that balls drag less because they've been made differently in recent years. So, even if he's right, it's still because of the balls.

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More likely, Manfred was meaning to counter accusations leveled that the MLB was secretly changing the balls on purpose. The theory is that more home runs would attract more fans. Even some MLB pitchers have discussed the possibility in public. Many of them indicated that if Major League Baseball openly changed the balls, they would be okay with it. However, if MLB intentionally changed the balls and were covering it up, it would be a different story.

But there are some glaring problems with this theory, as Beyond the Box Score touches upon. Among them is that higher-scoring games usually take longer to complete.

The length of games has become arguably the biggest concern for baseball in recent years. Many have argued that the games go on for much too long with too many delays between the action. It's an issue that has become paramount during Manfred's tenure.

So far, he has struggled mightily to address it. A final score of 15-10 might please some of the audience. But a game lasting 4-5 hours might drive away just as many.

It is also possible that the change is an unintentional side effect of a change in manufacturing. Or perhaps because of a change in the quality of products used in the process. There are also some who seem to suggest the surge in the offensive isn't because of balls period. Rather, that it's because of matters such as the change of style of play.

The differences between balls in the majors and most of the minor leagues

MLB and AAA baseballs are manufactured in Costa Rica, whereas other minor league baseballs are made in China. Typically MLB and AAA balls are sewn tighter and are smaller in size. Other differences include materials used, such as the leather.

The reasoning for the difference seems simple enough. It costs more money to make the MLB-standard baseballs.

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