We all heard a lot about them in 2013 and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed that they have been on the rise for a while now. Throughout the game, more batters are striking out and pitchers are accumulating K’s at a higher rate. The relationship between pitched strikeouts and strikeouts by batters is obvious, but let’s take a look at how the median strikeout rate by major league teams has changed over the last thirty years:
If that’s not a trend, I don’t know what is. Strikeouts are up, noticeably, but why? When we look at power numbers, they are up somewhat, too.
While the trend jumps more sporadically than strikeout rate does (thank you, steroids), power is still up across the time span. Apparently, hitters have traded strikeouts for power. As one can imagine, strikeouts are a lot more tolerable when you’re frequently hitting for extra bases or putting the ball over the fence.
So are the Diamondbacks following this trend?
In two words: not exactly. Arizona ranked 13th in the National League in strikeout rate (18%), with only the Cardinals and Giants striking out less often. On the one hand, this is great because the Diamondbacks are making a ton of contact. They are striking out less often than almost every other team in the league and giving themselves a chance by putting the ball in play.
But not all contact is created equal.
Arizona ranked tenth in the National League in isolated slugging (ISO). They hit for little power on the year, finishing 11th in the NL in home runs and 10th in wRC+. Yes, they made a lot of contact, but they didn’t capitalize on it. There were a lot of hollow singles hit with nothing to back them up as the team was 8th in the NL in hitting with runners in scoring position. Simply put, although they didn’t strike out a lot, that didn’t necessarily mean that they dominated at the plate.
While the rest of baseball has been trading strikeouts for power, the 2013 Diamondbacks clearly didn’t get the memo. They’re going to have to make strides in the power department in 2014 if they want to make a serious run. With that said, at least they have some strikeouts they can sacrifice in the process.
The Pool ShotEpisode 27 of The Pool Shot: With help from Twitter questions, the guys talk big picture (@IvoryTiger), Reed's removal as closer, the new approach of Tomas, and, of course, what that means for Jake Lamb (@JoeCB91). They also get in a question on Josh Collmenter (@coldblueAZ) which may or may not involve him throwing sidearm. Subscribe on iTunes!
- D-backs Aggressive With Stolen Bases, Situationally Smart as Well
- Minor Report: Kane County Cougars
- The Bat Is Back for Chris Owings
- Taking Inventory of Yasmany Tomas and His Adjustments
- Roundup: Reed Out as Closer; Do the D-backs Have a Humidor?
- Aaron Hill Trade Prospects Given Recent Offensive Surge
- Does Shuffling the D-backs Lineup Matter?
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- #walkoffhair http://t.co/ONC2lmeM0e, May 23
- Nick Ahmed did everything but steal second base tonight. Awesome game. #SLAPHANDS, May 23
- Randall Delgado out there for a rockin rollin extra inning game. Feeling shaky with no seagulls or chicken fingers. http://t.co/I0ZcG09nL0, May 23
- Forgot about pitches below the zone, the normal kryptonite https://t.co/b47G8bPDqa, May 23
- Five infielders could be Tomas kryptonite. Strong bet he would have been going for that up the middle liner/ground ball, May 23
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- Made it to Joshua Tree, see you on Monday https://t.co/t7eJHmKncY, May 23
- RT @BenCarsley: I've tried not to be that guy but Hanley's total disinterest in playing defense is starting to piss me off., May 23
- RT @Swydan: Hanley Ramirez plays left field like someone who wants to be moved out of left field., May 23
- RT @MRubio52: Touki Toussaint #dbacks https://t.co/fFTQf8FbXz, May 22
- RT @Ut26: I accept that the Phillies are bad but I'm still not sure I'm emotionally prepared to watch Sean O'Sullivan face the Nationals right now., May 22
FanGraphs Stats Glossary
Nick Piecoro Author Page
Cot's Baseball Contracts
BP Base Running Stats
Previously on The Pool Shot, the guys explained some of their favorite advanced stats. Hitting, including wRC+, HHAV and batted ball; pitching (38:00), including FIP, xFIP and SIERA; and baserunning and defense, including UBR, UZR and DRS (58:00).