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Strikeouts Newsbeat

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hank Aaron on the increase in strikeouts in MLB: ‘It’s embarrassing’

Former home run king Hank Aaron offered his opinion on the increase in strikeouts around Major League Baseball. Let’s just say it wasn’t a sparkling defense of players willingly sacrificing consistent contact for added power numbers.

The Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves legend was on hand before Game 3 of the World Series to present the prestigious award named in his honor, which recognizes the best hitter in each league as voted by the fans and media. This year the award went to J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox and Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers. Together, Martinez and Yelich hit a combined 79 home runs this season, while striking out a combined 281 times.

The latter number is the sign of the times. MLB saw strikeout numbers rise for the 11th straight season. Though he didn’t address Martinez and Yelich’s numbers directly, Aaron had a succinct two-word response when asked about the league-wide strikeout increase.

Fits a long-running pattern of commentary by former players, I admit, but still something that those of us with a historical bent have an interest in documenting.

 

QLE Posted: October 26, 2018 at 11:42 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: hank aaron, strikeouts

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Whiff of offense: Ks top hits, lowest average since ’72

NEW YORK (AP) — The most-heard sound at major league ballparks this year was “Strike three!”

A whiff of offense would be nice rather than all those nights filled with nonstop whiffs.

Strikeouts are likely to exceed hits over a full season for the first time in major league history. The overall batting average has dropped to its lowest level since 1972, the year before the designated hitter. Lefty hitters — facing smothering defensive shifts — have fared even worse, with their lowest average since 1968, before the pitcher’s mound was lowered.

The arguments as for the causes of this and any ways to solve it (or, for that matter, if it needs to be solved) continued long into the night.

QLE Posted: September 27, 2018 at 06:28 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: batting average, hitting, strikeouts

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Max Scherzer is 17th pitcher since 1900 to strike out 300 in season

WASHINGTON—Chalk up another milestone for Max Scherzer.

The Washington Nationals ace recorded his 300th strikeout of the season Tuesday night. The landmark whiff came in the top of the seventh inning, when Scherzer got Miami Marlins rookie Austin Dean swinging on a 3-2 slider for the second out.

Prior to ringing up Dean on the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Scherzer threw four consecutive fastballs, each of which the Miami left fielder fouled off. After every offering, the boisterous fans at Nationals Park, which included Scherzer’s wife, Erica, grew louder, chanting, “Let’s go, Max!” When Dean finally struck out, Scherzer smacked his glove in excitement and waved as the crowd of 26,483 gave him a prolonged standing ovation.

The other sixteen, for those curious:

Vida Blue- 1971
Steve Carlton- 1972
Bob Feller- 1946
Randy Johnson- 1993, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Walter Johnson- 1910, 1912
Clayton Kershaw- 2015
Sandy Koufax- 1963, 1965, 1966
Mickey Lolich- 1971
Pedro Martinez- 1997, 1999
Sam McDowell- 1965, 1970
J. R. Richard- 1978, 1979
Nolan Ryan- 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1989
Chris Sale- 2017
Curt Schilling- 1997, 1998, 2002
Mike Scott- 1986
Rube Waddell- 1903, 1904

QLE Posted: September 26, 2018 at 01:09 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: max scherzer, strikeouts

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mike Clevinger joins 200-K club; Cleveland Indians only team with four 200-strikeout pitchers

CLEVELAND, Ohio—Mike Clevinger, on a night when home plate was apparently jumping around, joined the 200-strikeout club to make the Indians the only team in history to have four pitchers with 200 or more strikeouts in one season.

Clevinger reached 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career when Boston center fielder Jack Bradley Jr. was called out on strikes for the second out in the second inning.

In the first two innings, Clevinger threw 47 pitches. He had three walks, four strikeouts and one hit batsman. The Red Sox put the ball in place twice.

Just in time for Terry Francona to either forget to use them or to horribly misuse them in the playoffs!

QLE Posted: September 23, 2018 at 12:01 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos carrasco, corey kluber, indians, mike clevinger, strikeouts, trevor bauer

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Baseball on pace for lowest batting average since 1972

Let the bickering about what this means begin!

The batting average for the major leagues is on track for its lowest finish in nearly a half-century.

This comes despite slightly more robust offense of late — hits topping strikeouts the past two months.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there were 7,134 hits and 6,818 strikeouts in August. That left the season totals at 34,350 hits and 34,103 strikeouts, the first time this season hits led at the end of a full month.

QLE Posted: September 04, 2018 at 08:00 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: batting average, strikeouts

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Don’t fix baseball, even if it’s broken

Today’s all-or-nothing baseball is too one-dimensional. There are too many strikeouts… Also, too many of the hits are home runs. It was imprecise for Crash Davis (Kevin Costner’s character in “Bull Durham”) to say that strikeouts are “fascist,” but he was right that they are “boring,” a… And “on average, you have to wait [3 minutes and 45 seconds] between balls put in play — 41 seconds longer between movement than 20 years ago.” Steals (hence pitchouts), sacrifice bunts, hit-and-run plays — interesting things for fans — are becoming rarer…

NattyBoh Posted: July 15, 2018 at 10:30 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: attendance, george will, shifts, speed-up-the-game, strikeouts

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Scherzer throws second immaculate inning

Scherzer struck out the side on 9 pitches for the second time in his career.

This seems more likely today than a 3 pitch inning.

, Posted: June 06, 2018 at 01:27 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, scherzer, strikeouts

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sullivan: Baseball’s Hardest Thrower Gets the Second-Fewest Strikeouts

Most counterintuitive observation of the day?

Or ever?

Part of this is easy to understand. Why doesn’t Hicks strike more batters out? Just look at the walks. He’s wild. Been better lately, but still wild. Hicks’ overall strike rate ranks in the sixth percentile. Batters are better when they’re not behind in the count. If you don’t have command, you want to at least have control.

Another factor here is that Hicks doesn’t throw a hard four-seamer. Rather, he throws a sinker, and while it’s a hard sinker, sinkers in general are more hittable. This year, four-seamers at 95 or harder have allowed a contact rate of 76%. Meanwhile, sinkers and two-seamers at 95 or harder have allowed a contact rate of 81%. Not all sinkers are created alike, and, of course, someone like Zach Britton can get whiffs on a sinker all day long, but the movement tends to just be more contact-friendly. We know that because it’s what the numbers have always suggested. A rising four-seamer can appear to be deceptive. Sinkers are thrown lower, and they drop closer to the bat path.

As you’d imagine, there’s still another factor. Hicks doesn’t exclusively throw his fastball — he also has a breaking ball around 85. But it’s not a slider he controls very well. I looked at pitcher swing rates, league wide, when they throw non-fastballs. The swing rate against Hicks’ non-fastballs ranks in the 1st percentile. Almost the lowest rate in the game. Which could be a good thing, if Hicks could reliably spot his slider around the zone edge. Instead, Hicks has been a fastball pitcher without a pitch for hitters to chase. As noted earlier, major-league hitters are exceptionally good, and they can time any existing fastball provided they don’t have to worry about anything else.

It seems bizarre for Hicks’ strikeouts to be where they are, just given his arm strength. And yet we should remember we’ve seen hints of this. Chapman has forever been a strikeout machine, because he’s paired his four-seam fastball with a dangerous slider. Yet Brian Ellington averaged almost 100, and he posted underwhelming strikeout rates. Ditto last season’s Joe Kelly. Ditto 2016’s Mauricio Cabrera. Cabrera’s fastball actually averaged over 100. He struck out 19.8% of opponents. Josh Collmenter struck out more batters than that. Hicks is the most extreme data point in both directions, but baseball has been telling us for a while that velocity doesn’t equal punch outs. Not, at least, at the velocity levels we’ve observed.

 

Stormy JE Posted: May 23, 2018 at 06:32 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, fastballs, jordan hicks, strikeouts, velocity

 

 

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