Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, July 02, 2012

Thoma: Taking a swing at a subtle change

Or to parmaphrase Michael the Kay…“Andy Pettitte now has *8* strikeouts in the game!! He must have discovered a strikeout pitch while he was retired!!” Uhh, no.

Strikeouts up. Walks steady. What in the name of Jim Thome is going on here?

I think it’s sabermetrics. Specifically, it’s rooted in the knowledge that strikeouts are not a zero-sum game.

The work of Bill James and others have determined that

  - Strikeouts are no worse than other outs for hitters. What is lost to the offense is often more than gained in increased power.
  - Strikeouts are a major positive for pitchers. Pitchers with better than league strikeout rates tend to be more successful and have longer careers.

These two facts have naturally led the statistically informed general managers to emphasize strikeouts for pitchers and ignore them for hitters.

And when enough teams do that, the strikeout rate is bound to rise.

...At that time, five strikeouts per nine innings was respectable. A pitcher could have, and maintain, success that way.

But the standards have changed. The new normal requires more strikeouts from pitchers.

Repoz Posted: July 02, 2012 at 06:10 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics, twins

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. John DiFool2 Posted: July 02, 2012 at 07:43 AM (#4171090)
Strikeouts are no worse than other outs for hitters.

But they are worse than balls in play. My fear is that we are currently headed towards an era with depressed batting averages with few balls in play; home runs are exciting of course, but most of the action in the game occurs when the ball is put in play.
   2. Srul Itza Posted: July 02, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4171518)
But they are worse than balls in play

After watching Robbie bounce weakly into a 1-2-3 double play in the first inning, effectively destroying a bases-loaded, nobody out situation, I have to say, not always.

Of course, Robbie redeemed himself later in the game, but still I was thinking at the time, God Dammit, why couldn't you just strike out there?

   3. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Anskeey" Posted: July 02, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4171556)
That was kind of the worst AB in the world, Srul. I told the wife during it that he was going to hit into a triple play, which I guess would have been worse than that. But Robby couldn't even hit it hard enough for that to happen.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF


Thanks to
The Ghost screws up everything with hubris
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogWhy Steve Bartman should throw the first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series
(25 - 2:05pm, Oct 23)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogOTP 2016 Oct 17: Politics, Sports, and the 'League of Legends' World Championship
(2031 - 2:04pm, Oct 23)
Last: BDC

Gonfalon CubsNL pennant thread
(23 - 1:58pm, Oct 23)
Last: BDC

NewsblogEpstein on Cubs clinching NLCS |
(4 - 1:21pm, Oct 23)
Last: JimMusComp misses Jerry Dipoto...

NewsblogESPN: Stark: Why super teams don't win the World Series
(15 - 12:27pm, Oct 23)
Last: BDC

NewsblogWelcome back, Kyle Schwarber! | 2080 Baseball
(5 - 11:42am, Oct 23)
Last: bunyon

NewsblogProspect Retrospective: Ricky Vaughn, RHP, Cleveland Indians - Minor League Ball
(12 - 11:36am, Oct 23)
Last: Greg K

NewsblogNLCS Game 6 Chatter
(674 - 11:18am, Oct 23)
Last: RMc is Fairly Irrefutable

Newsblog2016 Season Prediction OMNICHATTER
(79 - 11:16am, Oct 23)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogOT: NBA 2016-17 Preseason Thread
(227 - 10:29am, Oct 23)
Last: sardonic

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 2016 Discussion
(6 - 7:17am, Oct 23)
Last: bjhanke

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1998 Discussion
(16 - 7:13am, Oct 23)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogOT - October 2016 College Football thread
(152 - 12:24am, Oct 23)
Last: Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams)

NewsblogA well-rested Kenley Jansen makes Cubs’ task more daunting | New York Post
(5 - 11:46pm, Oct 22)
Last: CFiJ

NewsblogOT: October-November 2016 Soccer Thread
(70 - 9:31pm, Oct 22)
Last: Biff, highly-regarded young guy

Page rendered in 0.1522 seconds
47 querie(s) executed