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The W - Baseball - Why is a K so bad?
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Guru Zim
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Since: 9.12.01
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#1 Posted on
Rather, why is striking out considered to be such a big deal?

If the other categories are there (RBI, Runs, HR, Slugging %) why should I care that a guy hit .220 and struck out 150 times?

Is this just a hold over from National League style baseball? I can see this being an issue when a hit and run is on, but in general - isn't striking out better than hitting into the double play?



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#2 Posted on
I would say the K is important from a lot of different stand-points.
You can help your team without getting a base-hit sometimes. A fly ball that is caught in the outfield or a fielder's choice that results in advancing the runner is always preferable to the K... By getting struck out you are doing nothing to help your team, so I would say that the more Ks you have, the less positive contributions to your team you have made.
On the other side of the ball, you have pitchers. Ks for them are a HUGE deal, Not only are they getting outs, but the batter is not even being allowed to put the ball in play.



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#3 Posted on
The only real positive I can see to a K is when you have a runner on first and less than 2 outs. By striking out, you didn't hit into a double play. But other than that, at least try and make contact. Then again, I'm a big fan of OBP, so...



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Since: 11.12.01
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#4 Posted on


    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    Rather, why is striking out considered to be such a big deal?

    If the other categories are there (RBI, Runs, HR, Slugging %) why should I care that a guy hit .220 and struck out 150 times?

    Is this just a hold over from National League style baseball? I can see this being an issue when a hit and run is on, but in general - isn't striking out better than hitting into the double play?



1. RBI and runs scored should be the primary stats to worry about, thats why McGriff THIS YEAR was better than Grace ANY YEAR for the Cubs.

2. When you put the ball in play many positive things can happen. When you strike out, only a couple can happen. A stolen base or wild pitch or passed ball.

3. A strikeout with no one on base is useless to the batter and team. Putting the ball in play might result in something.

4. A strikeout with less than two out and a man on third should result in a huge electric shock to the batter.

5. Striking out with two out and men on base is also useless. A grounder with men on base could result in an error or misplay.

So, while a K is usually better than a double play (unless the DP drives in a run), no one will hit into 150 DPs in one season.






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Since: 11.7.02
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#5 Posted on
This is a very good question. Most people consider Ks over-rated because it counts the same as any other out. It is considered very important when evaluating pitchers. It is one of the 5 most important criteria in Yahoo Fantasy Baseball. Nolan Ryan is considered so great because of all his strikeouts. The Angel's K-Rod, F. Rodriguez also gets a lot of hype because of all his Ks.

I think in situations with nobody on, it's not much worse than any other out. In situations with a runner on third and less than two outs, it is a horrible crime.

Contrary to conventional wisdom that McGriff is washed-up and should retire, he had a very good year.

If you don't count the Ks, Brewers shortstop Jose Hernandez had a great year. .288 Ave, 24 Hrs, 73 RBIs for a shortstop. But, he nearly broke the major league record for strikouts. So, if you place a greater importance on strikeouts, the Brewers should dump him.

It also depends what else the team can do. The Yankees had a lot of strikeouts, but a lot of homeruns. The Angels had less strikeouts and a high batting averege, and less homeruns. It's a trade-off.

(edited by skorpio17 on 1.11.02 0639)
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#6 Posted on

    Originally posted by skorpio17
    If you don't count the Ks, Brewers shortstop Jose Hernandez had a great year. .288 Ave, 24 Hrs, 73 RBIs for a shortstop. But, he nearly broke the major league record for strikouts. So, if you place a greater importance on strikeouts, the Brewers should dump him.




Jose Hernandez is a great example of why K's are bad. If you take away all 188 of his strikeouts (wishful thinking), he batted an astounding .448! That means when he made contact, he got a hit nearly 45% of the time.

JUST MAKE CONTACT, Jose! Don't swing for the fences.



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Since: 24.1.02
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#7 Posted on

    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    Rather, why is striking out considered to be such a big deal?

    If the other categories are there (RBI, Runs, HR, Slugging %) why should I care that a guy hit .220 and struck out 150 times?

    Is this just a hold over from National League style baseball? I can see this being an issue when a hit and run is on, but in general - isn't striking out better than hitting into the double play?



Yup. A K is just an out, no better or worse than any other out - sometimes advantageous, sometimes not; never really a good thing. Since since the object of the game is to score more runs than the other team before you reach 27 outs, there's no such thing as a "good out." Yet, the K is disparaged by the small ball numbskulls who think it's great to give up outs - I'm looking at YOU, Tim McCarver.

Granted, there are MANY times when making contact when making an out helps a team, but the whole bugaboo about K's is just ridiculous small ball McCarver-think. K's are up now because more guys can hit homers and swing wildly at all times within a count, thus guys like McCarver, who haven't gotten with the times, get all hot and bothered about a hitter's K stats.

Think of it this way - if K's really *WERE* such a problem, then why are some of baseball's most prolific run producers, high up on the all-time K list?





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Since: 4.1.02
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#8 Posted on

    It also depends what else the team can do. The Yankees had a lot of strikeouts, but a lot of homeruns. The Angels had less strikeouts and a high batting averege, and less homeruns. It's a trade-off.


Well, the Angels won the Series. I'd say they win the trade-off.





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#9 Posted on
Think about this: the only reason that Alfonso Soriano of the Yankees may not get MVP is because of his unusually high # of strikeouts as a leadoff hitter (157), in relation to the amount of walks that he draws (23--23??).



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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.21


Ahhh, finally someone hits on the key to the strikeout dilemma. It's not the number of strikeouts so much as plate discipline. If the walk/strikeout ratio is high, then the number of strikeouts is not so bad. OBP and slugging percentage (OPS) is really a much better "one number indicator" of batting performance. So, everybody is partially right in this discussion.



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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.33
An error occurs more often than not than a passed ball or wild pitch on a third strike. By making contact, you increase the odds of getting on base.

You take a look at Maddux, Glavine, Clemons, etc, they never seem to let runners on via a pass ball or wild pitch....but a pitcher can't help it if the shortstop makes an error.




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Since: 3.1.02
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#12 Posted on
I think the reasoning goes back to the whole "productive out" theory that Eddie was talking about earlier.

A K, for the most past, is going to be an unproductive out (with the aforementioned exceptions of a passed ball, etc.). If the ball is put in play, there's more of a chance that something good will happen as opposed to a strikeout.

I've never seen a stat on this, but I do wonder how many 1-out and 0-out K's have possibly played a team out of a big inning. (0-out K's, in this sense, would precede a double play for these purposes.)

As for myself, I'd draw the line when the strikeout average is higher than the batting average. (Alternatively, if the batter in question strikes out a lot in clutch situations, I wouldn't view that in a positive light either.)

However, I do agree with pieman's OBP/OPS argument.







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Since: 26.8.02

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#13 Posted on
Because power hitters are susceptible to Ks, and power pitching produces a lot of Ks or bad counts where all you can hit ends up a popout etc.

Therefore you have to hope:

1.anything that gets through is an extra base hit or out of the park.

2. You get multiple singles in a row.

3. You get a HBP/walk/single etc. and try to small-ball them over.

4. You work the pitch count or chain enough offense to get that guy out of the game and take your chances with relievers.
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Since: 9.12.01
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#14 Posted on
Alright, let's take this to the extreme to see if I can make the idea that is lodged in my head come out a little bit better...

Imagine two teams. One team is Team Small Ball - they hit for average, walk more than they strike out - but they get a lot of singles. These guys are contact hitters.

The other team is Team Long Ball. These guys don't get singles - they either hit the ball a mile or they strike out.

Out generation:

TSB - This team generates most of its outs via the ground ball at someone or by a line drive - some sacrifice fly or sac. bunts also I guess.

TLB - Mostly fly balls and strikeouts.

RBI production:

TSB - needs to have at least one man on base, possibly two in order to generate a run.

TLB - always a threat to bring in a run, although it would usually be one run.

Ok, so these are crazy teams that would never happen in the real world - but go with me on this for a bit.

Now, looking at these two teams, I'm asking myself if the K is really as bad as it is made out to be. A K seems to be really bad for TSB because it blows the possible hit and run opportunity. The odds are that this small ball team is working on the fact that contact will be made, so K's are especially dangerous.

HOWEVER - TLB doesn't have any such notion at play. They aren't the kind of team trying to out-hustle a ground ball in the infield... so the extra benefit of a possible E on an infield play doesn't really seem to be there for this team. For them, and out is an out...

This is where I was coming from. TSB is the old style National League, heavily managed team without a lot of power. TLB is the American League, video game style power offense team.

It's just seemed to me that more and more, from watching a small ball team like the Padres get mangled by teams like Arizona, that the K's that come with increased power really only hurt you if you don't manage around it correctly.

Does this make more sense? I guess maybe it really is more situational than anything -- but I know guys who will tell you that a K is always worse, and I've never really acecpted that thought.

Oh well, fun to think about... I already miss baseball.



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Since: 9.2.02

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.87

    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    I guess maybe it really is more situational than anything -- but I know guys who will tell you that a K is always worse, and I've never really acecpted that thought.
I am totally with the idea of everything having its place in baseball. There are times when a K rips the heart out of a team, and there are times when you pray for your weak-ass hitter (or pitcher) to strike out and turn the lineup over. Is a home run so wonderful when you have one out in the ninth, no one on, you are down by 4, and you want to get something going? I think in baseball, every play is a different situation, and the game changes with every pitch (especially in the later innings of a meaningful game), as well as what a team wants to do. A strikeout is a strikeout, sometimes just what you want, other times the last thing you want. Aren't there times that a basketball game rests on one foul shot? Other times, a foul shot is missed intentionally. Maybe 90% of the time, you don't want your guy to srike out, probably more than 90%, but you can't just say "putting the ball in play is better" without a specific situation. The game is just too specific (a good thing)
    Also posted by Guru Zim
    I already miss baseball.
I second that emotion....maybe my Yanks will get a Hampton in their stockings....



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Since: 15.10.02
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#16 Posted on

    Originally posted by pieman
    Ahhh, finally someone hits on the key to the strikeout dilemma. It's not the number of strikeouts so much as plate discipline. If the walk/strikeout ratio is high, then the number of strikeouts is not so bad. OBP and slugging percentage (OPS) is really a much better "one number indicator" of batting performance. So, everybody is partially right in this discussion.


You, sir, are the winner. For pitchers, Ks are a good indicator of how well they're dominating the opposition, especially when paired with a low number of walks - the best pitchers usually have a K:BB ratio of 4:1 or higher.

For a hitter, it's all about, yes, plate discipline. A high number of Ks when paired with a high number of walks indicate the hitter is patient at the plate, waiting for a pitch to drive - cf. Jim Thome. A low number of both shows that the hitter makes excellent contact and can hit anything in and around the strike zone - cf. Tony Gwynn. This still is an indication of plate discipline, because they're selecting a good pitch for them and making contact with it - and usually going for base hits rather than homers.

Lotsa strikouts and few walks generally indicate a hitter is just swinging at everything getting lucky occasionally, like Jose Hernandez. That approach may work for a while (Soriano, Jacque Jones) but isn't a recipe for continued success. In fact, if pitching in the majors wasn't so thin, I doubt those guys would be much good at all - check their respective playoffs numbers this year.

As for Guru's TSB vs. TLB, whether you have a team full of Gwynns (high contact, decent speed, not much power) or Thomes (great power, okay contact, little speed), you'll have a great offensive club - a K will be somewhat more damaging for the "Gwynns", but will happen much less frequently.

Oh, and I miss baseball too. Can ya tell?



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Since: 2.1.02
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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05

    Originally posted by Eddie Famous

      Originally posted by Guru Zim
      Rather, why is striking out considered to be such a big deal?

      If the other categories are there (RBI, Runs, HR, Slugging %) why should I care that a guy hit .220 and struck out 150 times?

      Is this just a hold over from National League style baseball? I can see this being an issue when a hit and run is on, but in general - isn't striking out better than hitting into the double play?



    1. RBI and runs scored should be the primary stats to worry about, thats why McGriff THIS YEAR was better than Grace ANY YEAR for the Cubs.

    2. When you put the ball in play many positive things can happen. When you strike out, only a couple can happen. A stolen base or wild pitch or passed ball.



passed ball -- you mean that's when the catcher drops the 3rd strike and the batter makes it to first w/o getting thrown out? that's one weird rule where sometimes the pitcher can get credit for 4+ SO's an inning. i never understood that rule and didn't that happen in MLB this year? where there was 7 or 8 strike outs on a Full inning? Sports Center made a big deal about it because it was so weird.



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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.87

    Originally posted by El Duderino
    check their respective playoffs numbers this year
And we all know that a player's playoff stats are so incredibly reflective of his ability. This is especially evident with Miguel Tejada, who patted .143 vs the Twins, hit a homer, walked once, struck out seven times. This is our MVP, this horrible player? Where is the plate discipline with Tejada?



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Since: 14.1.02
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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.33
Riki, you got it. If the catcher drops the ball (passed ball) on the third strike OR if there's a wild pitch on the third strike and the runner isn't thrown out at first, then it IS a 'K', but not an out. FYI;

Passed ball = Catcher's fault
Wild pitch = Pitcher's fault


Guru, I'd take Team Small Ball. You give me a team with filled with guys like Paul M, Wade B, and (of course) Tony G, how can you NOT expect to win?

Also, I'm going to once again point out that more magic happens when you make contact....ask Red Sox and Mets fans about this one. Also, I can almost hear managers saying; "put the ball in play....because you'll never know when you'll run into Jose Offerman!"


I miss ball too. Next season I'm going to start posting and looking here more often....it's nice to see others care about the fundamentals and science of the game! =)


(edited by El Nastio on 17.11.02 0852)

(edited by El Nastio on 17.11.02 0853)


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