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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Red Sox lefty Chris Sale becomes fastest pitcher to 2,000 strikeouts in MLB history

Via Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, here are the six fastest in terms of innings needed to get to 2,000:

Sale, 1626 innings
Pedro Martinez, 1711 1/3
Randy Johnson, 1733 1/3
Max Scherzer, 1784
Clayton Kershaw, 1837 2/3
Nolan Ryan, 1865 2/3

While Sale, Scherzer and Kershaw are (or have been) excellent pitchers, it would be nice if articles like this would point out how much strike outs have increased in the game, for context—and the same holds for articles about home runs

Srul Itza Posted: August 13, 2019 at 10:15 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2019 at 01:49 AM (#5871201)
While obviously the change in pitcher usage doesn't suggest he'll end up anywhere near the top, he is just in his age 30 season. Johnson got his 2000th at the very, very end of his age 33 season. Pedro was early in his age 30 season and only had about 1100 innings left. Scherzer was in his age 32 season: Kershaw 29; Ryan 29. There's a nearly 7 month difference in birthdates between Sale and Pedro so I think Sale is younger but obviously not as young as Ryan or Kershaw. There may be some other young studs of yesteryear who got to 2000 at a younger age but in more innings.

Another 800-900 innings is probably enough to get him to 3000 but, at his recent pace, that's probably at least 5 seasons. That would still give him a 300 K edge over Randy by age but he had another 1900 innings and nearly 2200 Ks left in his body somehow. Realistically he might move into the top 10 (Maddux 3371) or, if he can really last, challenge W Johnson, Perry and Sutton in the 3500-3600 range. Top 5 (Blyleven 3701) is a real stretch.
   2. cookiedabookie Posted: August 14, 2019 at 10:01 AM (#5871231)
Agreed. It would be nice if BB-Ref had a K/9+ stat like they have ERA+, just to baseline it to league average.
   3. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 14, 2019 at 10:27 AM (#5871235)
Sale is on pace for the 2nd highest K/9 of any starter in baseball history. He's .09 K/9 behind Randy Johnson's 2001, so #1 is within reach. If the season were to end today, there would be a total of 19 seasons of a starter getting 12+ K/9. They would be 6 Randy Johnson years, Kerry Wood's 1998, Pedro's 1999, Jose Fernandez's 2016, 3 2017 seasons, 3 2018 seasons, and 4 2019 seasons. More individuals will have bested 12 K/9 in 2019 than in all of baseball history before 2016. Beside Sale at #2, Gerrit Cole's season would be 4th all time and Scherzer's 6th (and Verlander's 19th).
   4. ajnrules Posted: August 14, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5871399)
Chris Sale's currently at 11.087 K/9. If he maintains this strikeout pace then he can be expected to get strikeout number 5,715 with 4,639.1 innings. He's currently 3011.2 innings away, so he'll need to maintain this pace for another 15 200-inning seasons.
   5. Tim M Posted: August 14, 2019 at 03:59 PM (#5871408)
Sale is 6-11, 4.40 this year, despite unbelievable peripherals. I've watched most of his starts this year and he has looked every bit as sharp as ever (OK his 1.5 HR/9 is a career high, which I guess explains a surprisingly high 3.39 FIP), but incredibly unlucky in most every way possible, from timing of hits, to bleeders finding a hole, to cheap homers sneaking over a fence, to run support. Sox fans are down on him, but I think he'll be just fine.
   6. jingoist Posted: August 14, 2019 at 05:07 PM (#5871431)
As Eddie Murphy, under heavy makeup in the barbershop scene from Coming to America said, “that boy good, he good”
   7. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 14, 2019 at 06:43 PM (#5871465)
Another 800-900 innings is probably enough to get him to 3000 but, at his recent pace, that's probably at least 5 seasons.


As a Red Sox fan, I would love to see Sale be productive for another 5 seasons and rack up around 900 innings. However I am not confident this is going to happen as I think the injury bug will plague him here and there and cut down his average innings to about 150-160 over the next 5 years.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2019 at 06:59 PM (#5871789)
As a Red Sox fan, I would love to see Sale be productive for another 5 seasons and rack up around 900 innings. However I am not confident this is going to happen as I think the injury bug will plague him here and there and cut down his average innings to about 150-160 over the next 5 years.

Sure, wouldn't be surprising (why I said "at least" 5 seasons). But he has no real history of it. He rarely missed a start with the White Sox. He missed about 5-6 regular season starts last year but added 3 in the playoffs to still make 30. He hasn't missed a start this year. But he is down to a bit under 6 IP/start the last two years and given baseball trends and age, he's probably not gonna push 7/start ever again. So a full season will be about 180 IP. And of course every pitcher is healthy until he isn't and there's a good chance that he'll settle into a Kershaw-esque 25-26 starts a year pattern as well.
   9. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: August 15, 2019 at 07:55 PM (#5871808)
Tim, I've watched most of all his starts, and I agree the difference this year is the HR rate, which elevates his ERA, and the lack of run support.

That he's getting better as the season progresses is a good sign, and a change from past years.

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