Monday, September 20, 2010

The Truth about Strikeouts

Managers hate when hitters strike out. The mainstream media often criticizes high-strikeout players like Mark Reynolds, much more than it should.

When it comes to winning and losing, strikeouts by hitters aren’t much more costly than other types of outs. While pitchers’ strikeouts have a major effect on run scoring, the same doesn’t hold true for hitters.

This insight comes from research using an advanced statistical technique called regression analysis. Without getting into the details, regression analysis determines how well statistics correlate with each other. Pitchers’ strikeouts have a much greater correlation with run prevention than hitters’ strikeouts have on run scoring.

How can this be? In general, hitters who strike out a lot also hit home runs and draw walks. On the other hand, strikeout pitchers limit offense better on average than pitchers who miss bats less often. They are also less dependent on their defense to make plays behind them.

Whether in arbitration or free agency, baseball agents can emphasize the value of high strikeout pitchers. And if you represent a high-strikeout batter, exhibits with this information provide hard evidence in his favor.

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