Yes, homers are up over the past two months. That has driven a slow, steady improvement in batting average as 2023 has progressed.
The HR uptick is not a healthy sign, as it suggests that we're still entrenched in the "launch angle" game. Pitcher injuries are up--particularly amongst top-flight starters--and that is also contributing to a measurable decay in pitcher quality during the second half of '23.
Let's go right to the data:
The troublesome areas are marked in yellow and orange; the HR/9 column at far right puts into bold type any monthly average that's above the current MLB HR/G average (1.22).
And as you can see, it's starting pitching that has been decaying over the past two months, in both leagues, as a year with elevated injury issues has taken its toll.
AL relief pitching has also hit the skids in the past two months; the NL, not so much, though there's been an milder uptick during August.
Our guess is that this is a temporary setback for pitching and that a counter-move will come into play early in 2024, but right now the game is showing that the odd-year "launch angle" pattern is still intact.
We'll follow up with a look at team pitching once the final August numbers come in, followed by a look at the Dodgers' run in August (24-5) in historical context. Stay tuned...