MLB errors are on track to set a record low for the 3rd year in row

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FILE - San Diego Padres' Manny Machado, left, scores from third base off a fielder's choice by Luis Campusano as Philadelphia Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs can't reach the throw during the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, in San Diego. San Diego Padres' Xander Bogaerts scored and Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott picked up a throwing error on the play. Errors are becoming increasingly rare in the major leagues. There were just 2,459 errors entering the final weekend of the regular season, on track to finish the fewest in a non-shortened year since 1960 _ when there were just 16 teams. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

NEW YORK – Make no mistake, errors are becoming increasingly rare in the major leagues.

There were just 2,459 errors entering the final weekend of the regular season, on track to finish as the fewest in a non-shortened year since 1960 — when there were just 16 teams. The per-game average of 0.52 will set a record low for the third straight season.

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Some are convinced standards have changed and more hits are awarded.

“I believe that some of the balls that are hit that are called hits are clear errors,” YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay said. “I’ve seen it to an extent this year I’ve ever never seen before. ... It’s insulting to real baseball fans.”

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso credits the rise of computer programs.

“Defenses are super, super accurate with their field positioning,” he said. “Now with the scouting being so advanced, the metrics being so advanced as opposed to a guy having to move right or left, he’s just standing right there and then the ball’s right there, step and throw, easy out.”

Philadelphia shortstop Trea Turner and Washington shortstop CJ Abrams share the major league lead with 22 errors — the fewest in a full season for the big league high and on track to be two under the previous low set by four players in 2021. Detroit shortstop Javier Báez led with 26 last year.

No player has reached 30 since Baltimore’s Mark Reynolds had 31 at third base and first in 2011. The last player in the 40s was Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jose Offerman with 42 in 1992 and no player has reached 50 since Chicago Cubs shortstop Roy Smalley in 1951.

“There’s largely been some inconsistencies with what’s an error and what’s a hit across the sport,” Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “Whether that’s intentional or just random is up to any person’s interpretation. I know there’s certainly been some plays that everyone’s questioning and one thing you learn about baseball people is we all have an opinion.”

Fielding percentage is a record .986, up one percentage point from the previous two years. It topped .980 for the first time in 1987.

The Official Baseball Rules define eight situations in which an error shall be charged and repeatedly reference an “ordinary effort” standard to delineate whether a play could have been made. A comment contained in the rules defines “ordinary effort” as “an objective standard in regard to any particular fielder. In other words, even if a fielder makes his best effort, if that effort falls short of what an average fielder at that position in that league would have made in a situation, the official scorer should charge that fielder with an error.”

Official scorers said MLB asked them not to speak publicly. MLB says there has been no change in guidance to scorers on what is an error.

MLB says the amount of official scorer decisions that have been changed by the league office has been consistent. Since 2019, appeals have been decided by former players Gregor Blanco, Rajai Davis, Raul Ibañez and Dan Otero.

Going into the final week of the season, 82 of 358 decisions appealed to the league were changed, or 22.9%. That is down from 26.6% in 2021 and 28.2% in 2022.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB