A new way to look at strikeout rates

The Big Three K's Craniosynostsis Update
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Rich Lederer over at Baseball Analysts took a look pitchers around the league based on strikeouts per 100 pitches, rather than the usual Kper9IP. Lederer explains how K/100 has a strong correlation to the number of runs a pitcher allowed, and backs it up with some data. The far and away leader in K/100 last year was Rich Harden at 7.37, and he was followed by Timmy Lincecum at 7.20. Three Yankees finished in the top six, as Joba came in third (6.90), CC Sabathia fourth (6.58) and AJ Burnett sixth (6.33). It’s interesting to see that the top thirty pitchers in K/100 last year were basically the thirty best pitchers in the game, while the bottom thirty were essentially the thirty worst pitchers. Check it out.

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The Big Three K's Craniosynostsis Update
RAB Live Chat
  • A.D.

    Why the article does point out some of the differences, it pretty much just slightly changes the K/9 list. Its not like Blackburn or Saunders is any good by K/9 metrics.

  • Colombo

    “Joba Chamberlain only started 12 games while making 30 appearances out of the bullpen. He threw a total of 100.1 innings, striking out 118 (10.58 K/9). The hard-throwing righthander whiffed 27.0 percent of batters as a starter and 30.8 percent as a reliever. He began and ended the season in the latter role and is expected to serve as a set-up man for the Yankees in 2009.”

    WHAT THE HELL?!?! WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP DOING THIS!!!??!?!

    • andrew

      beat me to it

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The hard-throwing righthander whiffed 27.0 percent of batters as a starter and 30.8 percent as a reliever. He began and ended the season in the latter role and is expected to serve as a set-up man

      In a related story, John Holmes was an exceptionally good carpenter and made wonderful cabinets, dressers, and chests of drawers. As a carpenter, he was one of the best in the world, and surely could have revolutionized the cabinet-making world.

      However, despite his prodigious skill as a carpenter, he wisely chose to give his gifts to the world as a pornstar. Because, you know, he’s got a huge cock and all.

      • kunaldo

        haha nice one

  • A.D.

    Joba Chaimberlain…is expected to serve as a set-up man for the Yankees in 2009.

    The site has lost credibility

    • steve (different one)

      Three Yankees finished in the top six, as Joba came in third (6.90), CC Sabathia fourth (6.58) and AJ Burnett sixth (6.33).

      this is a VERY good sign for 2009.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’m VERY aroused…

        • RustyJohn

          Lol…I’m even more aroused when looking at the bottom 30 and seeing Ponson and Rasner who will be replaced by CC and AJ.

          Also that bottom 30 confirms the crappiest rotation in baseball last year had to be the Mariners. Outside of Felix Hernandez, I think every Mariner starter was in the bottom 30.

  • http://mvn.com/milb-yankees Eric

    They corrected it.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Behold the power of RAB.

      • Colombo

        Praise be to Mo

    • A.D.

      excellent

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

    A pitcher who gives up a lot of walks and hits is going to face more batters and increase the likelihood of striking out more hitters per inning pitched. Therefore, strikeouts per batter faced tells us more than strikeouts per inning.

    I like it.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Similarly, strikeouts per 100 pitches tells us even more than strikeouts per batters faced, since a 3 pitch strikeout is oodles better than a 9 pitch strikeout.

      Roy Halladay, who has filthy stuff that will either induce strikeouts or easy groundballs, allowing him to prevent baserunners AND go deep into games is much better than Oliver Perez, who nibbles, has no command, and goes to a full count on every batter and uses up his pitchcount midway through the 4th inning.

    • Ed

      Agreed, this sounds like a much more meaningful measure.

      It also gives far more value to a 3 pitch strikeout than a 10 pitch strikeout. A high strikeout rate is far less valuable to the team if it forces you out of the game earlier.

      I’ve always loved Wang’s 80-90 pitch complete games. Less workload on the bullpen and on his arm than if he did a 100 pitch, 7 inning outing with more strikeouts.

  • Mike

    I like that

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    It’s interesting to see that the top thirty pitchers in K/100 last year were basically the thirty best pitchers in the game, while the bottom thirty were essentially the thirty worst pitchers.

    #30: Oliver Perez
    For ever statistical agglomeration, there’s always an outlier, eh?

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Heh, from the site comments:

      “Thanks for this, Rich. As a Mets fan, I liked seeing Oliver Perez sneak into the top 30; I really hope they re-sign the guy. And I also can’t be surprised that Mike Pelfrey is in the bottom 30. I would seriously investigate trading him for an outfield bat or credible 2d baseman while his value is high, rather than wait for his results to regress.”

      This Mets fan wants to resign Oliver Perez and dump Mike Pelfrey. And you wonder why that team sucks balls.

      • steve (different one)

        or, you could, i don’t know, just sign Abreu or Dunn who are sitting out there begging for employment instead of trading your best young pitcher.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          A man don’t walk on the lot, ‘les he wants to buy… They’re sitting out there, waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

          You know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes brass balls to sell real estate.

          • Arin

            Are you sure that your upside is only ridiculous? I have been reading for a few weeks now and don’t think ridiculous even begins to do it justice.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Flattery will get you everywhere.

          • bobtaco

            Tell that to Mitch and Murray.

    • steve (different one)

      speaking of statistical outliers, i wonder where Wang is.

      pretty sweet that the Yankees have 3 of the top 6 and their fourth is CMW, who has shown the rare ability to succeed without a high K-rate.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        Wang was at 3.83 last year, which put him just outside the bottom 30. Last year he was at 3.64.

  • huuz

    only one sox pitcher in the top 30…

    yippee for us

    • Mike Pop

      Strikeouts don’t matter. Grits, glory, and the love of the game is what matters.

  • Ed

    One thing that feels contradictory to me about sabermetric stats…

    When talking about pitchers, strikeouts are considered the best thing a pitcher can do. It’s considered much more valuable than any other type of out.

    But then when you look at it from the hitting side, people consider an out to be an out. People write off Adam Dunn’s huge strikeout totals as meaningless, no different than any other type of out.

    To me, it feels like you can’t stand by both ideas, you have to pick one or the other to support. Can anyone explain it?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      It’s not that they’re meaningless, it’s just that they’re more tolerable for some hitters than others. Dunn has still shown great ability to get on base and be a productive hitter despite all the strikeouts. And trust me, if he wasn’t K’ing 200 times a year he’d be an even better hitter.

      It’s more of a trade off for hitters. You live with the K’s as long as they’re still productive. A-Rod K’s a ton too.

      • JJ

        It’s basically an out is an out. Flyout, K, whatever. No matter how you do it. The other things you do get on base, hot power etc far outweight the one out.

        With pitchers K’s are the best thing to judge because that means theres no chance of anything happening once the ball is in play. There is no chance. No luck involved.

      • Ed

        Thanks Mike. That’s roughly how I viewed Dunn in my head, but most of the time you see an argument about him, people take one extreme or the other and no one acknowledges the middle ground.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Nuance is for sissygirls.

          I DEMAND BLACK AND WHITE EXTREMES!!!!!

      • steve (different one)

        It’s not that they’re meaningless, it’s just that they’re more tolerable for some hitters than others.

        this is the key point here.

        it is also my biggest concern with Brett Gardner.

        for Brett, strikeouts are bad b/c when he does connect it’s likely to only become a single. and a strikeout prevents any opportunity for his speed to create a hit. so he needs to connect more often to provide value.

        for A-Rod, strikeouts are OK, b/c when he does connect, the ball often leaves the park.

    • Steve B

      If your point is “number of outs per 100 pitches” is a lot more important than “K’s per 100″, you sir are dead balls accurate.

      I like stats of all kind, but I’ll take WHIP as an indicator over this stat everyday of the week and twice on Sunday

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        WHIP’s good, but the biggest problem is that equates everything to being equal, that is a walk allowed is just as bad as a single, double, triple or homer, which it most certainly is not.

        • A.D.

          Need OPS against

        • Steve B

          Agreed Mike. Lies, damn lies and statistics and all that.

          All stats have their flaws. In this particular case, it doesn’t recognize that Wang or Halladay’s three pitch groundout is better than Burnett’s or Lincecum’s 8 pitch strikeout more often than not.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yeah, WHIP is good, but again, WHIP involves the defense, and that’s where things get muddled a bit.

        The basic problem here analytically is that for a batter, total production is all that truly matters, as it’s the one player vs. the pitcher and defense. For pitchers, you’re attempting to pull from the totality of the results accumulated by the pitcher AND the other 8 guys on the field what value that pitcher actually added. It’s exceedingly difficult to do, as different pitchers seek out similar results in very different methods.

        The basic theory is, while there are certainly some pitchers who are good at creating defense-independent outs (strikeouts) but not good at preventing baserunners and runs (like Ollie Perez) and some pitchers who are poor at creating defense-independent outs but are good at preventing baserunners and runs (like Wang), generally speaking there is a strong correlation between the ability to produce K’s and the ability to prevent runs.

        It doesn’t dovetail as nicely with success as wOBA, but it’s still fairly good. You just need a bigger grain of salt.

    • steve (different one)

      this article touches on it a little:

      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....8;c_id=mlb

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      When talking about pitchers, strikeouts are considered the best thing a pitcher can do.

      Because they take the defense out of the equation. A strike out is an out (well, unless strike 3 gets by the catcher allowing the runner to reach), whereas a grounder to SS may result in the runner reaching due to 1) the SS not getting to the ball, 2) the SS dropping the ball, or 3) the SS making an error on the throw.

      But then when you look at it from the hitting side, people consider an out to be an out.

      That is only true some of the time. With no one on base, a strike out is the same as any other type of out. However, in certain situations, an strike out is indeed worse than some other types of outs. With less than 2 outs and a runner on 3rd, a strike out is obviously worse than a sac fly or an RBI grounder.

      As with so many things in life, generalizations only go so far because, well, there generalizations.

  • A.D.

    Ks per 100 is also interesting as a pure fan. You go to the ballpark, knowing that Joba will throw ~100 pitches, maybe a few more. So you know on avg hes going to strikeout about 6 or 7 guys… something to look forward to.

    • Hobs

      God help him if that SOB only strikes out 5 when I go to see him

      • A.D.

        They should give everyone 15% of their ticket price back when that happens

  • Jake K.

    Mike, I know this is a little off topic, but today KLaw listed each org’s potential candidate for next year’s Top 100 prospect list. For the Yanks, it’s Arodys Vizcaino. What do you know about this guy?

    • A.D.

      ask in the chat

      • Jake K.

        Good point.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Don’t know much about him. I know the Yankees love him, and BA has raved about him.

  • Ellis

    Hey does anyone know a site where we can easily keep tabs on K/100p for 2009?

    • whozat

      Try baseballanalysts.com

      ;-)

  • ortforshort

    Another useless stat.

    • steve (different one)

      incredible. are you TRYING to be ignorant?

  • RustyJohn

    I’d be curious to see year-by-year stats for Greg Maddux- since he is famous for his 85 pitch complete games and had those sick years in the 90s where he struck out at or just below 200 batters a year, I’d ahve to guess those numbers are sick.