Striking out not all that bad?

6 03 2008

Todd Zolecki from philly.com wrote a very interesting article today about the nature of strikeouts and how they affect run production.  His argument is that the two do not have a correlation.  He uses the Phillies as an example.  Philly has ranked third in the National League in strikeouts, but lead the NL in runs scored.

Zolecki says that it’s the stigma connected with the strikeout.  It’s embarrassing.  The player has to walk back to the dugout after feebly swinging and missing.  He has to walk to the dugout in front of tens of thousands of people.  But in the end, an out is an out.  What is the difference between an inning that goes down as K-K-K or 4-3, 4-3, 4-3?  In the end, not much.  Perhaps striking out is not always a bad thing.

The Phillies’ hitting coach disagrees.  He says that striking out is really only an issue if there are two-outs and a guy at second or third.  Then the player needs to get the ball in play.  He needs to make the defense make the play to at least give the runner a chance to score.

This is an interesting argument that pertains to the Brewers.  Milwaukee is projected to be in the top 3 in strikeouts for the National League this year.  They brought in Mike Cameron who struck out 160 times last season.  Bill Hall, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, and Ryan Braun all have healthy strike out numbers.  Corey Hart is not far behind, striking out 99 times last season.  It looks like the Brewers will be whiffing a lot this season.  Zolecki is saying that this is not a problem.  Just look at the Phillies.

I agree that striking out is over-scrutinized, but it is still a big deal.  If there is a runner on base, a strike out does not make the defense make a play.  The batter should still make the defense work to get an out.  With that said, however, one would much rather have a strike out than a groundout into a double-play.  I don’t think there’s a right answer to this question, but it is clear that strike outs may not be as bad as everyone thinks.  It depends on the team.

Interesting…Read the article for the full story.  What do you all think about this argument?

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One response

6 03 2008
Nate

It really depends on the situation. Like you said a strikeout is better than a double play. But it’s not tough to argue that a sac fly is a better out than a strikeout. A sacrifice of any kind for that matter. By putting the ball in play, it allows the defense to make an error. Sure they probably won’t, but eventually they will, so it is beneficial.

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