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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Félix Hernández passes Don Drysdale on all-time strikeouts leaderboard

Mariners starter Félix Hernández pitched well enough for a win on Wednesday afternoon, but Padres starter Chris Paddack was just a little bit better. Hernández allowed one run on three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in the Mariners’ 1-0 loss. Paddack tossed seven scoreless innings on one hit and one walk with nine strikeouts.

With eight strikeouts on the day, Hernández passed Don Drysdale to move into 36th place on Major League Baseball’s all-time strikeouts leaderboard at 2,488. Max Scherzer currently sits in 35th place at 2,493. Christy Mathewson is Hernández’s next target at 2,507.

I have to wonder: Where would Hernandez be on this list if the last few seasons hadn’t taken the tole that they did?

 

QLE Posted: April 25, 2019 at 05:50 AM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: don drysdale, felix hernandez, strikeouts

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   1. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 25, 2019 at 08:55 AM (#5835175)
I have to wonder: Where would Hernandez be on this list if the last few seasons hadn’t taken the tole that they did?


Higher? I think?
   2. salvomania Posted: April 25, 2019 at 09:25 AM (#5835181)
I still remember when Bob Gibson became just the second pitcher to 3,000 strikeouts, some 50 years after Walter Johnson become the only one.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2019 at 09:41 AM (#5835188)
Yeah, it is ridiculously easier to rack up strikeouts today vs. 50+ years ago. 3000 today is far less impressive than 2000 was in the 1970s.

   4. Davo Posted: April 25, 2019 at 09:45 AM (#5835189)
2- I had no idea. That’s crazy!
   5. PreservedFish Posted: April 25, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5835194)
Is it mostly the pitchers or the hitters?

If you could magically fill the 60s with today's pitchers, and then in a separate experiment magically fill the 60s with today's hitters, which experiment would yield more strikeouts?
   6. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 25, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5835198)
Yeah, it is ridiculously easier to rack up strikeouts today vs. 50+ years ago. 3000 today is far less impressive than 2000 was in the 1970s.


Lefty Grove led the AL in Ks for 7 straight years. His high was 209. He led the league in 1925 with 116. In 1924, Dazzy Vance led the NL with 262, nearly twice as much as second place, the only other pitcher with more than 90. Even as late as 1980, the league leader had 187.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2019 at 11:02 AM (#5835222)
Is it mostly the pitchers or the hitters?

If you could magically fill the 60s with today's pitchers, and then in a separate experiment magically fill the 60s with today's hitters, which experiment would yield more strikeouts?


I don't think it's skill as much as it is mindset. BITD pitchers couldn't try and strike so many people out, because they were expected to go 8 or 9 innings every game, and hitters did their damndest to not strikeout, as it was considered embarrassing.

The whole culture of the game was to put the ball in play.

If you put today's pitchers and hitters in the 1960's environment (ball parks, dead ball, and "culture" around striking out and completing games) they would have much, much lower strikeout rates than they have today.

If you put 1960s players in today's environment (rabbit ball, small ballparks, no stigma around batter Ks) you'd have much, much higher strikeout rates than they had back then.

   8. Rally Posted: April 25, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5835227)
In the 60s wasn’t a 10 pitcher staff commonplace? Move modern pitchers to the 60s and one side has to give with the roster space.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: April 25, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5835228)
Is it mostly the pitchers or the hitters?


I say it's the hitters, with usage also playing a role. Every type of pitcher strikes out more guys on a rate basis today than they did 30 years ago: One-inning relievers, top of the rotation starters, soft-tossing lefties.
   10. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: April 25, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5835274)
I don't think it's skill as much as it is mindset. BITD pitchers couldn't try and strike so many people out, because they were expected to go 8 or 9 innings every game, and hitters did their damndest to not strikeout, as it was considered embarrassing.
With a minor caveat that I think overall pitchers' "stuff" is better now (velocity and movement), snapper's take seems pretty spot-on to me.
   11. salvomania Posted: April 25, 2019 at 12:47 PM (#5835278)
Just go back 20 years---the MLB-average K rate was 6.5 per 9. It was only 7.0/9 just 10 years ago!

In 2019, so far, it's 8.9 (before yesterday's games it was exactly 9.0, which I was shocked to see!). That's a 27% increase in just 10 years, and 37% increase in K rate in just 20 years.
   12. salvomania Posted: April 25, 2019 at 12:50 PM (#5835279)
While pitchers' stuff as a whole is probably much nastier than 50 years ago, I don't think pitchers' stuff has improved so much in the last 10 years that it is the main reason why K rates are 27% higher than they were just 10 years ago.

I think hitters selling out every swing---the culture, if you will---is at least as responsible, along with the movement to replace tiring starters' innings with fresh, hard-throwing relievers.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2019 at 01:46 PM (#5835303)
While pitchers' stuff as a whole is probably much nastier than 50 years ago, I don't think pitchers' stuff has improved so much in the last 10 years that it is the main reason why K rates are 27% higher than they were just 10 years ago.

I think hitters selling out every swing---the culture, if you will---is at least as responsible, along with the movement to replace tiring starters' innings with fresh, hard-throwing relievers.


I'd agree. I's also say that while there's a strong return on having plus velocity for the individual pitcher, for the whole league, increasing velocity isn't as beneficial. Now that hitters regularly see 95-99 MPH FBs, on a daily basis, they aren't nearly as hard to hit as when the average FB was 88.

In other words, throwing 98 in an 88 MPH league is a huge advantage for the pitcher. Throwing 98 in a 95 MPH league is much less beneficial. Hitters adapt.
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2019 at 01:55 PM (#5835308)
I think hitters selling out every swing
Where did this use of "selling out" come from? I only started hearing/seeing it in the last couple years, but now it's ubiquitous. It's not quite the same as, for example, when people accuse a band of "selling out."
   15. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 25, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5835314)
Where did this use of "selling out" come from? I only started hearing/seeing it in the last couple years, but now it's ubiquitous. It's not quite the same as, for example, when people accuse a band of "selling out."

Only a sellout would need to ask.
   16. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 25, 2019 at 03:15 PM (#5835350)

In other words, throwing 98 in an 88 MPH league is a huge advantage for the pitcher. Throwing 98 in a 95 MPH league is much less beneficial. Hitters adapt.


While technically correct, you argument is a bit off here. Since 2002 average velocity on fastballs has increased from 89.0 to 92.9 MPH, but top end has also increased up to 105 obviously very rarely, but it's been done. Change "throwing 98 in a 95 MPH league" to throwing 100 in a 93 MPH league and instead of comparing a 3 MPH delta to a 10 MPH delta you are comparing a 7 MPH difference to 10.

And that being said - once you hit the upper limits of speed every MPH gained is more valuable than the next. At 100 MPH the batter has approx 150 milliseconds to decide to swing or not, start getting the ball to the plate faster than that is the batter essentially has to decide to swing before the pitcher even releases the ball.
   17. Adam Starblind Posted: April 25, 2019 at 04:13 PM (#5835394)
Are there theories about how top velocity has increased from about 100 all the way to 105? Not too many years ago I read an article saying that 100-102 seemed to be the limit to what human tendons and ligaments could produce, no matter how much muscle a person had. Did pitchers/coaches figure something out or do we just have a couple of freaks in the league right now (mostly Chapman)?
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 25, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5835399)
but top end has also increased up to 105 obviously very rarely, but it's been done.

No it hasn't. Measuring technology has added 3-4 MPH to a FB since the 1970's. The speed is now measured right out of the pitchers hand rather than 10 feet in front of the batter. A MLB FB decelerates about 1 MPH per 10 feet.

Nolan Ryan and Bob Feller would be throwing "105 MPH" if they pitched today. The guys throwing 105 today would be throwing 101 in 1975.
   19. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: April 25, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5835401)
Are there theories about how top velocity has increased from about 100 all the way to 105?


This isn't a theory, but rather a fact ... velo is now recorded out of the pitcher's hand, rather than on the way to the plate. It essentially explains the spike.

The scoreboard at Citi Field showed Jacob deGrom hitting 98 mph, and the ballpark buzzed with the Mets star back in top form.

In Seattle, fans surely thought the same when Felix Hernandez's fastball ticked up on opening day. And how about that extra juice from Detroit ace Justin Verlander?

All across the majors, pitchers are ramping up the velocity this season — or at least it seems that way.

Not so fast. They're actually getting a little help: Major League Baseball has changed the way it's recording and reporting pitch speeds, driving up readings all over the league.

After previously using PITCHf/x to provide velocities to broadcasts and ballparks, Major League Baseball Advanced Media is instead supplying numbers from its Statcast system. The key difference is that PITCHf/x calculates velocity at a set point — usually 50 or 55 feet from the back of home plate — while Statcast measures velocity directly out of the pitcher's hand.


Link

[edit] Coke to Snapper.
   20. Man o' Schwar Posted: April 25, 2019 at 04:25 PM (#5835402)
Where did this use of "selling out" come from? I only started hearing/seeing it in the last couple years, but now it's ubiquitous. It's not quite the same as, for example, when people accuse a band of "selling out."

To me it's an extension of the basic meaning of selling out - exhausting one's supply of something. (A store sells out of Wilco CDs on release day.)

A batter who "sells out" exhausts his energy, putting it all into a single swing.
   21. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: April 25, 2019 at 04:36 PM (#5835407)
A batter who "sells out" exhausts his energy, putting it all into a single swing.


It's odd that you only hear the phrase when talking about batters, but I wouldn't say that I agree with #20, exactly, it's not that the batter "exhausts his energy", it's that he commits to a singular course of action that precludes (more or less) another course of action. A hitter "sells out" to catch up to an hard, inside fastball, or sits on a curveball or slider (etc). If it doesn't come, there's been such a commitment to the idea of what the pitch is going to be that there's almost no point in swinging (if he can even adjust) ...
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5835411)
It's odd that you only hear the phrase when talking about batters,
You don't - I've heard it applied to fielders trying to make a diving catch.

it's that he commits to a singular course of action that precludes (more or less) another course of action
This definition is accurate.

   23. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: April 25, 2019 at 04:45 PM (#5835416)
You don't - I've heard it applied to fielders trying to make a diving catch.


Not as often, but yeah, you're right, it does get used to describe those situations in the (out)field ... those (usually) "I'm gonna make this crazy diving catch ... oops, now it's a triple" brain-fart moments.
   24. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 25, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5835425)
Are there theories about how top velocity has increased from about 100 all the way to 105?

different radar guns
   25. caspian88 Posted: April 25, 2019 at 05:14 PM (#5835443)
Max Scherzer passed Drysdale earlier this year. Grienke and Hamels will pass Drysdale within the next month or so.
   26. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 25, 2019 at 06:11 PM (#5835472)
he commits to a singular course of action that precludes (more or less) another course of action.

First time I could remember hearing the phrase was in football in recent(?) years to describe defensive players "selling out for the pass" or "for the run" as if there was no way they expected the other kind of play could happen, usage that fits right in with this description.
   27. BrianBrianson Posted: April 26, 2019 at 03:22 AM (#5835545)
Is it mostly the pitchers or the hitters?


It's definitely both, because their goals align kinda strangely. Batters influence the quality of batted balls, but pitchers (almost) don't. So, as a pitcher you optimise yourself to produce strikeouts, since that's your best outcome. But as a batter you don't worry about minimising strikeouts, since they're not worse than lousy contact. And so the batter/pitcher relation goes searching for a new equilibrium.

It probably is Sabremetrics' fault, for showing us Ks aren't much worse than grounding out.
   28. Sunday silence Posted: April 26, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5835609)
439 of which were bad 3rd strike calls which probably should be credited to his catchers...
   29. Sunday silence Posted: April 26, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5835614)
It probably is Sabremetrics' fault, for showing us Ks aren't much worse than grounding out.


well Im not sure it does show us that. GBs go through the infield for hits about 3% more often with men on base. GB Errors with men on base (typically in DP sitations) go from 2.5% normally to 7-8% in certain base/out situations. Those are not going to be charged to the pitcher and will often result in unearned run. So the pitcher wont get blamed for the error; but in reality you'd rather prefer to have KO to prevent just that.
   30. Zach Posted: April 26, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5835630)
Just go back 20 years---the MLB-average K rate was 6.5 per 9. It was only 7.0/9 just 10 years ago!

Yeah, I remember looking at a minor leaguer's numbers, seeing a strikeout an inning, and thinking, "Wow, great arm!"
   31. BillWallace Posted: April 26, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5835691)
Where did this use of "selling out" come from?


The use of this phrase with this meaning in sports was common to me at least 20+ years ago.
It may have started to be more common in sports other than baseball first, I don't really remember.
But I definitely remember using and hearing it a lot in high school and college in the 90s.

re: Felix
I watched this last start very carefully, and it was very promising in that he had pinpoint control. It wasn't just the vagaries of baseball luck that the results were good. Whether he can sustain it or not is another story.

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