In honor of Padres broadcaster Mark Grant’s criticism of the Padres’ high strikeout totals during the pre-game show and during play today, I submit for your review the following table courtesy of ESPN.
For informational and entertainment purposes, teams who made the playoffs have been highlighted. Anyone see a trend here? Because I sure don’t, and I’d love to hear Grant’s explanation:
|2007 Strikeouts by team|
Granted, high strikeout numbers aren’t a particularly good thing. But in the grand scheme of performance indicators they don’t mean a team isn’t playing well.
Further in his analysis, Grant goes on to advise hitters to shorten up their swings to put more balls into play. This plan will likely lower strikeout totals. The downside though, and this is a biggie, is it effectively eliminates power. I’d love to hear that conversation between he and Ryan Howard or Dan Uggla on the horrendous problem of strikeouts and why they need a new approach.
edit 5/18: Ray suggested I take a look at changes in hitting on two strike counts. The idea is that hitters often take the Grant’s suggested approach with two strikes on them. Batters shorten their swing to “protect the plate”, or avoid the strikeout. We can use this situation to imitate how slugging shapes up under Grant’s recommendation . Here’s the “pass through” count data from 2006 courtesy of Tom Tango:
|3 – 2||.380|
|2 – 2||.333|
|1 – 2||.294|
This simple analysis shows that when hitters (presumably) shorten their swing with two strikes, even with full counts, their power deteriorates significantly. It should also be mentioned that hitters’ OBP and wOBA drop way down with two strikes on the batter.
*This is 2006 median, not mean, slugging