This is an excerpt from the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.
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"For all of the complaints about the way batters approach their job now, what’s clear is that it works. Trading contact for power is producing the best on-contact results ever, despite what the old guy in the booth, who never in his life saw a 94-mph cutter, says. Five years ago, the league hit .251 and slugged .386 while scoring 4.2 runs a game. The pitchers are even better today, and it’s even harder to get a hit, but slugging is up 34 points and isolated power is up 40. Runs scored are up to 4.7 a game. We can have a debate about the aesthetics of it all, but you can’t argue the value of these approaches."