This season, strikeout rate is something for San Diego Padres’ hitters to concentrate on. As has been proven, this statistic is very revealing.
Spring training, like the New Year for the rest of us, provides a perfect opportunity for players to make resolutions. A worthy goal for San Diego Padres’ position players would be to cut down on strikeouts. In fact, the dramatic rise in strikeouts affects all teams and has been decried by former players like Mike Schmidt and Don Mattingly.
“Analytically, a few years back nobody cared about the strikeout, so its OK to strike out 150, 160, 170 times, and that guy’s still valued in a big way,” Mattingly told Alec Nathan as quoted on bleacherreport.com. “Well, as soon as we start causing that to be a bad value—the strikeouts—guys will put the ball in play more.”
When a batter strikes out, he does the pitcher a favor, especially if he’s up there hacking and not working the count, thus allowing the pitcher to go deeper into a game. If he puts the ball in play, any number of outcomes can occur.
“Today, hitters refuse to shorten their swing, wait longer and hunt the ball with two strikes,” Schmidt told Fox Sports. “Today’s hitters should be motivated to make more contact, especially when the pitchers are punching them out at a ridiculous rate.”
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FanGraphs rates strikeout (K%) and walk percentages (BB%) on a scale: a 10 percent strikeout rates considered excellent, 27.5 percent awful, a walk rate of 15 percent excellent, 4 percent awful. Several players on the 2016 Padres roster found themselves near or above the awful range including Wil Myers. Albeit with limited plate appearances, Jabari Blash had a whopping 40.5 K%. Ryan Schimpf struck out more than 31 percent of at bats,
Myers struck out 23.7 percent of plate appearances with a less than excellent walk rate of 10.1 percent. Surprisingly, Travis Jankowski had similar results with 26.1 K%, 11 BB%. With their speed such performances defy logic. Both, especially Jankowski, should be able to put the bat on the ball and cause all kinds of havoc on the base paths.
As Crash Davis said in Bull Durham, strikeouts are not only boring; they’re “fascist.”