Cincinnati Reds: Deadened ball will affect Eugenio Suárez’s aspirations

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds bats. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds bats. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Major League Baseball is making some changes and deadening the ball heading into the 2021 season. While it may be good for the game, it’s going to affect Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suárez‘s pursuit of 50 home runs.

I, for one, love the idea of deadening the baseball. Of course, I’m old school and love sacrifice bunts, the hit-and-run, a double-steal; essentially all the things we rarely see in the game of baseball anymore. Analytics has changed the game in the traditional sense, and we’ve now become used to the three true outcomes; a walk, a strikeout, or a home run.

Reds third baseman Eugenio Suárez is targeting 50 home runs.

Eugenio Suárez is one of the more exciting players on this year’s Reds team and the former All-Star is setting his sights high this season. Geno is looking to break his own record and has set the bar at 50 home runs for the upcoming season. Suárez spoke, via MLB.com, during a press conference yesterday and this to say about his 2021 goal:

"“This year, my goal is to break my own record. This year in 2021, I hope, and I believe and I feel it’s going to be a special year for me. I’m going for 50 homers. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I will go for 50.”"

Suárez, in 2019, broke the record held by Andrés Galarraga for most home runs in a season by a Venezuelan-born player. Galarraga led the league and mashed 47 long balls while playing for the Colorado Rockies in 1996. Suárez eclipsed that mark two years with 49 homers, finishing second in the league to New York Mets’ Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso.

The deadened ball will affect Eugenio Suárez’s pursuit.

Eugenio Suárez’s pursuit of 50 home runs in 2021 will not be easy. While Geno plays half his games in the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park, the 50-plus home run mark isn’t very prevalent.

In 2019, when we saw a the record home run-rate of 1.39 home runs per team per game, only Alonso hit more than 50 home runs. No player hit 50 or more homers in 2018, and just Giancarlo Stanton (59) and Aaron Judge (52) hit 50-plus round trippers in 2017. Prior to that, you have to go back to 2013 when Baltimore’s Chris Davis hammered 53 home runs for the Orioles.

So, it can be done, but it’s no easy feat. And, with a deadened ball, that task became all the more difficult. According to ESPN.com, MLB anticipates the changes will be subtle, and a memo to teams last week cites an independent lab that found the new balls will fly 1 to 2 feet shorter on balls hit over 375 feet.

One to two feet may not sound like a lot, but a few of those 49 homers that Geno saw leave the yard in 2019 might be turned into doubles or very loud outs in 2021. Suárez, who’s noticeably leaner this spring, doesn’t think his weight loss will affect his power.

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Eugenio Suárez feels like it’s his year, and I’m here for it, but reaching 50 home runs is a lofty goal. That said, Reds Country will fully embrace Geno’s pursuit, and hopefully there’ll be fans in the stands to witness it.