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Too Many K's

Posted by mikelink45 , 19 April 2018 · 681 views

strikeouts pitchers nolan ryan pujols
Too Many K's Today, Sam Miller at ESPN wrote that the Strikeout rate in baseball is going up for the 14th year in a row. Last year pitchers struck out 8.2 batters per nine and this year it is 8.6 so far. The first question is why don't batters care? Second question is - how do we compare strikeout rates now with past pitching performances and careers - although Nolan Ryan is not only secure, his record means more because of when he set it.

A side note is the fact that starting pitcher strikeout rates is up and relief is down. Why. I suspect it is because they now have so many relief pitchers on every squad that there are bound to be some mediocre pitchers in the bullpen - look at our bullpen and then imagine the bullpens on poor teams!

Next I read an article by Jerry Crasnick on the path to 3000 hits by Albert Pujols. Pujols has never struck out more than 93 times a year and he also has over 600 homeruns. In the article Pujols states "Some guys in this league think the strikeout is overrated." "Its something in the game I really don't like. If you put the ball in play you give yourself a chance to put some pressure on the defense, and maybe they can make a mistake and make an error. If its two outs you can start a rally. If you strike out, you don't have a chance."

All I can say is AMEN. Imagine Buxton dropping his K rate in half and having a chance for an infield single every time he does, or causing an error because the fielder is in a hurry because of his speed. Imagine Sano dropping his K rate in half which would still be high, but he might not leave so many on base or kill so many innings.

Baseball is all about trends. Right now Ks are in and I am not pleased.

  • TiberTwins and Strato Guy like this



Part of it is that pitchers DON'T need to throw more than 100 pitches, and they play with the ball around the plate more so than ever. I think I bigger question is what is the average pitch conut in a game these days compared to previous years.

 

At some point in every batter's sequence, a pitcher will pitch once or twice to the weak spot. We see it with Sano for sure. He can't lay off those pitches, which are surely balls. Buxton, too. Buxton (as we said for Gomez and Revere) has to bunt more. Well, not actually bunt, but give the illusion that he might bunt a pitch in every at bat. Is that the answer? No. 

 

Pitchers are stronger. Bullpens are stronger, too. You can shuffle guys in and out on a whim.

 

Throwing for contact is fine, but there is also a lot of strength in batter arms these days that even the smallest guy on a team can be a long-ball or hard-hit threat (Escobar).

 

No answers. Shorter games? Longer games? Higher scoring games? 2-1 extra inning games still a good watch?

 

We can agree that the skill set of major league ball players, on the whole, has never been higher.

 

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MaxOelerking
Apr 20 2018 06:44 PM

I agree and disagree with you here: yes, putting the ball in play with two strikes can prove to be important. I too hate to see a lot of strikeouts, ESPECIALLY LOOKING! But...something that gets missed is that the "2 strike approach" has changed in the MLB.

 

Here are the hard hit ball stats in 2-strike counts:

 

2002 19.7%

2003 21.3%

2004 23.7%

2005 24.7%

2006 24.2%

2007 28.8%

2008 24.4%

2009 23.9%

2010 27.2%

2011 21.5%

2012 26.3%

2013 27.5%

2014 27.0%

2015 26.6%

2016 28.9%

2017 29.2%

2018 30.7%* through April 19th

 

Basically what has happened is that players want to stay on the attack. This results in more strikeouts, but it also results in more extra base hits. The trade off is higher K rate, but higher HR rate as well.

 

 

 

There is a mantra: The Game has Changed! But is it for the better. Some of the SO issue is mental, the SO has lost its stigma. Some of it is mechanical. The term 'launch angle' is another way of trying to hit a home run. Some will deny that fact, but it's true. You are changing your approach and swing, to attempt to hit a fly ball, preferably a long one. The benefits of HR production have been emphasized. Is that good or bad? The saber metrics guys are gonna have to argue that one out themselves. Working the count? Few hitters can work an AB like Mauer. Yet even he shows that when he has two strikes his BA drops drastically. Think how it drops for the common hitters in the league. Yet, in an attempt to drive an average starting pitcher out of a game, to get into someone's excellent BP, hitters continue to take get em over FB early in the count, and end up swing at someone's tempting slider off the plate on a 2-2 pitch. A good baseball minded friend of mine once told me, "you're gonna get one good pitch to hit in each AB, you better be ready for it". While it's quite possible metrics will show that more runs are scored following some of the newer takes on hitting, launch angle, deep counts, and less concern over SO and warning track FB's, SO seem to be one of the results. That and all or nothing offense. And to me, I just don't see that as good for the game.

I agree and disagree with you here: yes, putting the ball in play with two strikes can prove to be important. I too hate to see a lot of strikeouts, ESPECIALLY LOOKING! But...something that gets missed is that the "2 strike approach" has changed in the MLB.
 
Here are the hard hit ball stats in 2-strike counts:
 
2002 19.7%
2003 21.3%
2004 23.7%
2005 24.7%
2006 24.2%
2007 28.8%
2008 24.4%
2009 23.9%
2010 27.2%
2011 21.5%
2012 26.3%
2013 27.5%
2014 27.0%
2015 26.6%
2016 28.9%
2017 29.2%
2018 30.7%* through April 19th
 
Basically what has happened is that players want to stay on the attack. This results in more strikeouts, but it also results in more extra base hits. The trade off is higher K rate, but higher HR rate as well.

Is this a percentage of all the pitches? Strikes? Or balls put in play? Thanks.