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NJReds
10-24-2006, 11:23 AM
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal -- link to full article (http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=521991), which is mostly Brewer related.

Here's the "Reds relevant" paragraph:


Meanwhile, Melvin has begun the process of replacing dismissed coaches Butch Wynegar and Davey Nelson by interviewing internal candidates.

In search of a hitting coach to replace Wynegar, who apparently is in the running for the vacancy in Cincinnati, Melvin interviewed Jim Skaalen, the Brewers' minor-league hitting coordinator for the last seven seasons.

Chip R
10-24-2006, 11:57 AM
Another former Twin.

Ravenlord
10-24-2006, 12:05 PM
Another former Twin.

and a guy with nearly 200 more walks than strikeouts for his career, while having nothing resembling power.

seems a perfect match for Krivsky if that's Wynegar's general hitting philosophy.

Johnny Footstool
10-24-2006, 12:18 PM
He worked wonders for the Brewers last season.

12th in the NL in OPS, 13th in OBP, 14th in Runs. But they did hit one point higher in BA than the Reds, so he must be an improvement over Chambliss.

macro
10-24-2006, 12:33 PM
http://www.aarongleeman.com/uploaded_images/top40butchwynegar-725089.jpg

Falls City Beer
10-24-2006, 12:44 PM
http://www.aarongleeman.com/uploaded_images/top40butchwynegar-725089.jpg

Timothy Busfield.

NJReds
10-24-2006, 01:01 PM
This...from a Brewers blog:


Despite Butch Wynegar's best efforts, Brewers hitters have whiffed 864 times this season, the second most in the Majors entering the weekend, behind Florida's 883.
"You can't sustain anything," Wynegar said. "You can have some innings, just because of the long ball, but you're going to have more down innings. I stress to these guys in [batting practice], 'Don't hit the ball out of the ballpark.' I've said it to them right to their faces in our meetings. If it happens to go out because of something else you're working on, great. That's the way home runs happen in the game."

Strikeouts have been an ongoing problem in Milwaukee. Beginning in 2000, the Brewers have ranked last or next to last in the Majors in strikeouts in five of six seasons. Jose Hernandez, Jeromy Burnitz, Richie Sexson and company set a Major League record with 1,399 whiffs in 2001 under manager Davey Lopes.

Since Yost and Wynegar took over in 2003, the Brewers have finished with the second-highest strikeout total in each of three full seasons, trailing Cincinnati each time.

You know, maybe yelling at them isn't working. I like Butch "Piss and" Wynegar, but how has he managed to hold onto his job for so long? I know, Ballgame's "patient."

Johnny Footstool
10-24-2006, 01:08 PM
Since Yost and Wynegar took over in 2003, the Brewers have finished with the second-highest strikeout total in each of three full seasons, trailing Cincinnati each time.

They've also seen their Walk totals and their Runs Scored totals decrease each year.

flyer85
10-24-2006, 01:25 PM
Seeing Ks as the major problem of the offense and focusing on their reduction as a solution to the offensive problem is a red herring.

Kc61
10-24-2006, 02:00 PM
Seeing Ks as the major problem of the offense and focusing on their reduction as a solution to the offensive problem is a red herring.

Ks are a relevant factor. They are certainly not the only relevant factor and I wouldn't exaggerate their importance, but they are relevant as a team stat.

This year the highest K total in the majors wa 1249 (Fla) and the lowest 872 (Minn). Minn also had the most hits in baseball and was 13th in runs. Fla was 23rd in hits and 19th in runs.

With a gap of almost 400 strikeouts, Minn surely had many more opportunities for base hits than did Florida. Not talking about the impact of the strikeouts -- I agree with most that it is just another out -- but the lack of contact does diminish the base hit opportunities.

Of course, there is often a trade off so that a low strikeout team may not have much power. I don't advocate a slap hitting team.

The Reds this year were 6th in baseball in strikeouts. While they were 3rd in homers, they were 14th in extra base hits, 22nd in runs, 26th in hits.

When a team is 6th in strikeouts and near last in hits, I think it can use a few more guys who get the bat on the ball.

Cyclone792
10-24-2006, 02:10 PM
Ks are a relevant factor. They are certainly not the only relevant factor and I wouldn't exaggerate their importance, but they are relevant as a team stat.

This year the highest K total in the majors wa 1249 (Fla) and the lowest 872 (Minn). Minn also had the most hits in baseball and was 13th in runs. Fla was 23rd in hits and 19th in runs.

With a gap of almost 400 strikeouts, Minn surely had many more opportunities for base hits than did Florida. Not talking about the impact of the strikeouts -- I agree with most that it is just another out -- but the lack of contact does diminish the base hit opportunities.

Of course, there is often a trade off so that a low strikeout team may not have much power. I don't advocate a slap hitting team.

The Reds this year were 6th in baseball in strikeouts. While they were 3rd in homers, they were 14th in extra base hits, 22nd in runs, 26th in hits.

When a team is 6th in strikeouts and near last in hits, I think it can use a few more guys who get the bat on the ball.

Which of the following charts isn't like the other two ...

http://www.thediamondangle.com/archive/mar02/obpcor.jpg

http://www.thediamondangle.com/archive/mar02/slugcor.jpg

http://www.thediamondangle.com/archive/mar02/kcor.jpg

And just for the record, here's a BP chart on strikeouts to runs correlation from 1950-2002:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/images/2617_02.gif

Avoid outs. Acquire bases. How the outs that are made are actually made isn't something to fret about.

flyer85
10-24-2006, 02:25 PM
Avoid outs. Acquire bases. How the outs that are made are actually made isn't something to fret about.Nah, avoiding K's, that's the ticket. :thumbup:

In 2005 the Reds were 1st in the NL in runs and were 1st in Ks. How could that be?

RedsManRick
10-24-2006, 02:38 PM
Sounds like Butch has himself confused. He's right in so far as going up to the plate thinking homer or bust is a bad approach. The problem is, that he equates strikeouts as people taking the wrong approach to hitting. Batters need to be selective in their approach, only swing at balls they can drive unless the situation requires an expansion of their zone.

Trying to avoid strikeouts too easily means swing at the 2nd pitch of the AB and grounding out to 2B rather than working the count for the fastball you can drive 3 pitches later. I'm no pitching coach, but I just don't understand how the "swing at what you can hit well, don't swing at what you can't hit" philosophy is hard to get.

The Brewers were 24th in SLG, 26th in OBP, and 27th in runs.

Meanwhile, the Indians were 3rd in SO and 2nd runs. They just so happened to be 3rd in OBP and 4th in SLG. This really isn't complicated.

15fan
10-24-2006, 02:46 PM
Regression analysis.

Swwwwwwweet.

Who was the team that scored 6.5-ish runs per game while only striking out about 3.6 times per game? That's phenomenal.

ochre
10-24-2006, 03:00 PM
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/images/2617_02.gif


That diagram makes me want to sing! Why, it's a heart-shaped box.

She eyes me like a pisces when I am weak
I've been locked inside your Heart Shaped box for weeks
I've been drawn into your magnet tar pit trap
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black

Roy Tucker
10-24-2006, 04:06 PM
Just wondering, do team K's correlate at all to team wins?

My poor little brain still struggles with the 2 facts of K's matter for pitchers but K's don't matter for batters.

Cyclone792
10-24-2006, 04:22 PM
Roy, check out this post from RedsManRick earlier this season. It may help you better understand the relationship with strikeouts and how it's a positive correlation for pitchers but has no correlation for hitters:

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1021824&postcount=37

GAC
10-24-2006, 04:29 PM
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/images/2617_02.gif
[/img]

Looks like an aerial shot of I-75 through Cincy and all the fastfood restaurant locations. :lol:

Kc61
10-24-2006, 04:35 PM
A strikeout is just an out. Like any other out. I agree. I also think this misses the point. It focuses on the impact of the strikeout.

The real point is the "opportunity cost" of a failure to make contact. If you don't hit the ball, and don't walk, you can't get on base. You can't "avoid an out." You can't "acquire bases."

The problem is not the impact of the strikeout itself; the problem is the failure to hit the ball (or walk). A batter who hits the ball has a chance to reach base. A batter who walks reaches base. A batter who fails to hit or walk cannot reach base.

The reason for all these diagrams and stats showing little correlation with runs scored is that teams vary in their production when not striking out. Some teams compensate for high strikeout totals with power, timely hitting, etc. This is true. This is why strikeout totals are not themselves determinative of offensive performance.

But striking out a lot is a handicap; it means that you have fewer opportunities to reach base. It makes it harder to score runs. Teams can compensate for this, surely. But it is not irrelevant.

Raisor
10-24-2006, 04:39 PM
But striking out a lot is a handicap; it means that you have fewer opportunities to reach base. It makes it harder to score runs. Teams can compensate for this, surely. But it is not irrelevant.


ANY out means fewer opportunities to reach base.

It's how often a player/team makes an out, and what a player/team does when NOT making an out that drives runs.

Not what kind of out it is.

TRF
10-24-2006, 04:46 PM
But striking out a lot is a handicap; it means that you have fewer opportunities to reach base. It makes it harder to score runs. Teams can compensate for this, surely. But it is not irrelevant.

This is correct if you are Jose Hernandez. Not if you are Adam Dunn.

Because regardless of K's, Dunn still manages 100 BB's a year. So all of those K's could have been popouts to 2B, and his numbers would have been exactly the same.

Now if he can turn K's into hits or BB's, I'm for that. But to just tell a guy to cut down on K's is over simplistic. That's a round about way of saying get more hits. Hey, I'm for that too.

Except I don't want power hitters doinking singles because they changed their approach so much they can't hit for power. .340 with 10 HR's ain't as productive as .250 with 40 HR's. Especially if the walk totals DON'T stay the same. If the OBP is the same, gimme the 40 jacks.

Kc61
10-24-2006, 04:47 PM
ANY out means fewer opportunities to reach base.

It's how often a player/team makes an out, and what a player/team does when NOT making an out that drives runs.

Not what kind of out it is.

Respectfully, I don't think that's the point. The issue is not the impact of various "outs."

The issue is failure to hit the ball. Excluding walks, the only way to get on base is to hit the ball. When you strike out, you fail to hit the ball. You have no chance for a hit.

When you hit a fly ball, a grounder, a line drive, it has some chance of being a hit. When you take a strike, or swing and miss, you have no chance of getting a hit.

That is what is meant by "avoiding strikeouts." It's not the impact of the out. It's the failure to have any chance for a hit because you didn't hit the ball.

I hope that more clearly states my point.

rdiersin
10-24-2006, 04:50 PM
Just wondering, do team K's correlate at all to team wins?

My poor little brain still struggles with the 2 facts of K's matter for pitchers but K's don't matter for batters.

Roy,
I wondered this at one time as well, as well as other differences using game to game data. What I found from the game logs (thanks Retrosheet) is that the team runs doesn't correlate at all with the strikeouts, in fact the magnitude of the correlation coefficient is .09. I would show the scatter plot, except not much seen from it. But this data was for all of the games by all teams from 2002 to 2004. I haven't updated it with the more recent years, but that is a fair amount of data to work with.

Raisor
10-24-2006, 04:52 PM
[QUOTE=Kc61;1183426] It's the failure to have any chance for a hit because you didn't hit the ball.

[QUOTE]


So you're saying:
More balls in play=more runs?

I'm on a public terminal here, with less then 15 minutes until my time expires so I'm not going to be able to do the research myself, but if anyone has the time, I'd like to see if that's true.

Kc61
10-24-2006, 04:55 PM
This is correct if you are Jose Hernandez. Not if you are Adam Dunn.

Because regardless of K's, Dunn still manages 100 BB's a year. So all of those K's could have been popouts to 2B, and his numbers would have been exactly the same.

Now if he can turn K's into hits or BB's, I'm for that. But to just tell a guy to cut down on K's is over simplistic. That's a round about way of saying get more hits. Hey, I'm for that too.

Except I don't want power hitters doinking singles because they changed their approach so much they can't hit for power. .340 with 10 HR's ain't as productive as .250 with 40 HR's. Especially if the walk totals DON'T stay the same. If the OBP is the same, gimme the 40 jacks.

This is not about Dunn at all. It's more theoretical. As I said earlier, some teams/guys compensate for the strikeouts. I agree. Strikeouts are not the whole picture.

But if you have two identical hitters (same power, speed, walks, etc.) and one hits the ball 70 percent of the time and the other hits the ball 50 percent of the time, I want the guy who hits the ball more frequently.

Patrick Bateman
10-24-2006, 04:57 PM
Respectfully, I don't think that's the point. The issue is not the impact of various "outs."

The issue is failure to hit the ball. Excluding walks, the only way to get on base is to hit the ball. When you strike out, you fail to hit the ball. You have no chance for a hit.

When you hit a fly ball, a grounder, a line drive, it has some chance of being a hit. When you take a strike, or swing and miss, you have no chance of getting a hit.

That is what is meant by "avoiding strikeouts." It's not the impact of the out. It's the failure to have any chance for a hit because you didn't hit the ball.

I hope that more clearly states my point.

You can't just trade Ks for hits. It's more complicated than that. I'll use Dunn as an example.

The thing is, if Dunn changes his approach to hit for more contact, it will likely lead to a huge decrease of walks and power totals making him a less effective hitter.

Dunn's strength is not making contact. It's power and patience. A good hitting coach would use his assets instead of changing him. For Dunn to become a better hitter, increased patience will likely be the result. As patient as Dunn is, he still swings at a lot of bad pitches. That's what a hitting coach should preach to Dunn. Wait for his pitch, not expand the zone to make weak contact and get behind in the count.

Making Dunn a contact hitter may lead to more hits, but it wont neccessarily lead to a higher OBP or SLG.

Kc61
10-24-2006, 05:05 PM
[QUOTE=Kc61;1183426] It's the failure to have any chance for a hit because you didn't hit the ball.

[QUOTE]


So you're saying:
More balls in play=more runs?

I'm on a public terminal here, with less then 15 minutes until my time expires so I'm not going to be able to do the research myself, but if anyone has the time, I'd like to see if that's true.

No, I'm not saying that. There are many variables. Power is an important one. Being in situations to produce runs is important. Speed can be important for a hitter. Lots of variables.

All I am saying is that making contact is, itself, an important variable. Not the only one. It can be overcome. But it is important.

When Krivsky or others say they want to cut down strikeouts, I think they mean that they want more contact. The team, as a whole, is missing too many pitches and, accordingly, is losing opportunities for hits. That's what I take from their comments.

Cyclone792
10-24-2006, 05:07 PM
A strikeout is just an out. Like any other out. I agree. I also think this misses the point. It focuses on the impact of the strikeout.

The real point is the "opportunity cost" of a failure to make contact. If you don't hit the ball, and don't walk, you can't get on base. You can't "avoid an out." You can't "acquire bases."

The problem is not the impact of the strikeout itself; the problem is the failure to hit the ball (or walk). A batter who hits the ball has a chance to reach base. A batter who walks reaches base. A batter who fails to hit or walk cannot reach base.

The reason for all these diagrams and stats showing little correlation with runs scored is that teams vary in their production when not striking out. Some teams compensate for high strikeout totals with power, timely hitting, etc. This is true. This is why strikeout totals are not themselves determinative of offensive performance.

But striking out a lot is a handicap; it means that you have fewer opportunities to reach base. It makes it harder to score runs. Teams can compensate for this, surely. But it is not irrelevant.

The reason all those diagrams and stats show little correlation with strikeouts and runs scored is because ... there is little correlation with strikeouts and runs scored. If there was correlation, it'd show up. If striking out is a handicap and makes it harder to score runs as you say, then there would be correlation to strikeouts reducing run value more than a trivial amount. But the correlation just doesn't exist, and that's the entire point. That BP chart is over 50 seasons worth of data, and look at how much of a mess it is. There's no correlation in there at all.

This past season, the Marlins led the NL with 1,249 strikeouts. The Giants had the fewest strikeouts with 891. That's a difference of 358 strikeouts between the best team at avoiding them and the worst team at avoiding them. In actual run value, the Giants saved about 11 runs over the entire season by striking out 358 fewer times. That's it, just 11 runs between the best and the worst team in the NL in striking out over an entire season.

Meanwhile, the top OPS in the NL were the Phillies at .794, while the worst OPS belonged to the Pirates at .724. That's a difference of 70 points of OPS between the best team and the last, and that run value differential over a full season exceeds 150 runs.

I'm not sure about anybody else, but I'll take 150+ runs over 11 runs every day.

Here's another example, this time from the Reds ...


2005 Reds

OBP: .339
SLG: .446
OPS: .785
K's: 1,303
Runs: 820

2006 Reds

OBP: .336
SLG: .432
OPS: .768
K's: 1,192
Runs: 749

Take a good look, and notice that the Reds actually struck out 111 fewer times in 2006 than in 2005, but they also scored 71 fewer runs. Their OBP dropped slightly by three points, and their SLG took a massive hit by 14 points. The collective 17 point OPS drop is what caused the Reds to score 71 fewer runs; the reduction in strikeouts did little to nothing to help them recoup those lost runs.

Players who avoid outs and acquire bases better than other players are the players who are the best hitters. The same applies on the team level as well. Outs are outs, and the notion of productive outs having some significant value just cannot be backed up by any verifiable data whatsoever.

This isn't about strikeouts vs. hits; you don't turn strikeouts into hits, just like you don't turn walks into hits. If strikeouts could be turned into hits, then the data would show a strong correlation between low strikeout teams and high run totals, but it just doesn't exist.

Kc, if the data supported your contention of strikeouts being a handicap and suppressing run scoring, then I'd agree with you. But there isn't any data out there that supports that contention; rather, there's mountains of evidence that show otherwise.

ochre
10-24-2006, 05:14 PM
The problem is, more contact != (read that as "does not equal") fewer outs. It might, from player to player, result in that. It isn't a direct relationship though. As AK pointed out, even if more contact = fewer outs for a particular player, it could mean a decrease in other metrics that are positive factors for run production (power).

RedsManRick
10-24-2006, 05:50 PM
More contact might even mean more outs, because just as you turn strikeouts in to contact, you turn walks in to contact as well. And chances are, the "new" contact is lower quality contact than you're accustomed to getting.

flyer85
10-24-2006, 06:06 PM
The very clear point of the data is that strikeouts have no correlation to runs scored. You don't have to like or agree with it but that doesn't make it less true. If you interested in scoring more runs, concentrating on reducing Ks is the wrong way to go about it.

RANDY IN INDY
10-24-2006, 06:08 PM
Good hitting coaches recognize patterns in the way that his hitters are being pitched and good hitters will make adjustments. It's an ongoing game within the game. The guys that can make adjustments will be the most successful. Making adjustments doesn't mean changing your swing. It may mean changing the mental approach that you are taking at any given time. If a pitcher finds out through advanced scouting that a particular hitter is not swinging at pitches early in the count, he is going to get ahead with strikes. If a hitter is hitting a lot of pitches early, he is not apt to get a lot of fat pitches early. If a hitter is not hitting a particular pitch well, he is going to get force fed until he proves he can hit it. All about adjusting to the way you are being pitched. Good hitters do it.

Johnny Footstool
10-24-2006, 06:18 PM
The idea is not to focus on one perceived weakness (strikeouts), but to look at a player's approach as a whole. Is he striking out because he can't hit a curveball, or is it because he works the count mercilessly waiting for one pitch he can drive? When he gets the pitch he wants, is he hitting it with authority? Will reducing his strikeouts also reduce his power and/or his walks?

A player's approach is like an ecosystem. You can't simply tinker with one aspect of his approach and not expect there to be ramifications somewhere down the line.

RANDY IN INDY
10-24-2006, 06:28 PM
The idea is not to focus on one perceived weakness (strikeouts), but to look at a player's approach as a whole. Is he striking out because he can't hit a curveball, or is it because he works the count mercilessly waiting for one pitch he can drive? When he gets the pitch he wants, is he hitting it with authority? Will reducing his strikeouts also reduce his power and/or his walks?

A player's approach is like an ecosystem. You can't simply tinker with one aspect of his approach and not expect there to be ramifications somewhere down the line.

Likewise, you can't turn a blind eye to a hole or a problem and not expect there to be ramifications somewhere down the line. The major league game is all about adjustments. They will find your weakness(es). The best adjust.

Caveat Emperor
10-24-2006, 06:28 PM
More contact might even mean more outs, because just as you turn strikeouts in to contact, you turn walks in to contact as well. And chances are, the "new" contact is lower quality contact than you're accustomed to getting.

If you take it as a given, however, that the league-average for BABIP is going to be somewhere around .300 -- with some pitchers being "hit lucky" and tossing lower BABIP and some pitchers being "hit unlucky" and tossing a higher BABIP -- shouldn't that mean a team of hackers that puts EVERY pitch into play should bat roughly .300?

I know batting average is a poor metric to judge run production by, but I have to think, anecdotally, that a team of .300 hitters 1-9 would be somewhat of an offensive machine.

I'm sure that simplifying things to this magnitude skews the stats, considering BABIP takes into account that players only put certain types of pitches into play, and the minute you start playing for contact you start changing the variables involved in determining the stat -- but it is an interesting line of thought.

Kc61
10-24-2006, 06:43 PM
More contact might even mean more outs, because just as you turn strikeouts in to contact, you turn walks in to contact as well. And chances are, the "new" contact is lower quality contact than you're accustomed to getting.

I find this thread very interesting. I understand that there are different views on the importance of contact hitting. Sorry, but I can't agree that making contact is somehow a negative. (Nobody is suggesting coaching hitters to swing at bad pitches.)

Having spoken out for contact hitting, I don't think hitting coaches are the main way to accomplish this. I agree that tinkering with major league hitters is often counterproductive.

I do think the Reds need more of an emphasis on contact hitting. At GABP, you don't need to hit the ball 500 feet. A batter who can consistently drive the ball can get a fair number of home runs even if he lacks the power of a guy like Dunn. (Not arguing against Dunn; just making an overall point; with the right surrounding cast, Dunn would be more effective.)

In any event, I think Krivsky (rightly or wrongly) shares these views and it will be interesting to see how he implements them.

Cyclone792
10-24-2006, 06:58 PM
If you take it as a given, however, that the league-average for BABIP is going to be somewhere around .300 -- with some pitchers being "hit lucky" and tossing lower BABIP and some pitchers being "hit unlucky" and tossing a higher BABIP -- shouldn't that mean a team of hackers that puts EVERY pitch into play should bat roughly .300?

I know batting average is a poor metric to judge run production by, but I have to think, anecdotally, that a team of .300 hitters 1-9 would be somewhat of an offensive machine.

I'm sure that simplifying things to this magnitude skews the stats, considering BABIP takes into account that players only put certain types of pitches into play, and the minute you start playing for contact you start changing the variables involved in determining the stat -- but it is an interesting line of thought.

It sounds good on the surface, but it unravels once you dive in.

Obviously, the goal of every offense is to score runs. Everything revolves around run value: scoring runs offensively and preventing runs defensively. Reducing strikeouts does result in an increase in contact, yes, but the correlation falls apart when trying to connect a reduction in strikeouts to an increase in actual run scoring. The premise of "less strikeouts --> more contact ---> more runs" falls apart when you try to make the leap into "more runs."

Why does the connection between more contact and more runs fall apart? Mostly because of two factors, 1) less patience (i.e. less walks), and 2) less power, which results in fewer extra base hits. When you shoot for more contact, you're pretty much gaining a few extra singles while sacrificing a significant amount of walks and extra base hits.

Here's a snippet from that same BP article in which I highlighted the chart above ...

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2617



Correlation of SO/PA with (all players 1950-2002, 300+ PA)


Metric Correlation
----------------------
ISO +0.388
SLG +0.198
BB/PA +0.125
OBP -0.100
AVG -0.290

OPS +0.106
MLVr +0.005

While it might not be overwhelming, there is a distinct, positive correlation between an individual's strikeout rate and a number of useful attributes: hitting for power—as represented in this case by isolated power (ISO, or slugging percentage minus batting average) and slugging percentage (SLG)—as well as drawing walks—as represented by walk-rate (BB/PA). Of course, causation is a sticky subject, so try not to misinterpret the above data as "proof" that increased strikeouts cause an improvement in a player's secondary skills. It's just that where one group shows up, often so does the other.

Notice, also, the virtually non-existent (albeit positive) correlation between strikeout rate and "complete" measures of offensive performance like on-base plus slugging (OPS) and Marginal Lineup Value Rate (MLVr). No matter how you slice it, it just doesn't appear that strikeouts have much of an effect on a team's—or an individual's—ability to produce runs.

vaticanplum
10-24-2006, 07:15 PM
I do think the Reds need more of an emphasis on contact hitting. At GABP, you don't need to hit the ball 500 feet.

I'm throwing this out there completely off the top of my head and as a genuine question: is it possible that contact hitting is more of a detriment in GABP than other parks due to its little size? An outfielder just doesn't have to be Speedy Gonzales to pick up an outfield hit there. The park is great for homers, but it suppresses doubles and triples (and singles?) if I'm not mistaken. I'd be very interested to know GABP's total bases (either by all teams or by just the Reds) compared to other parks if anyone can point me in the direction of that data, and I'd particularly like to hear about them with the home run data taken out if possible (i hope that makes sense).

In other words -- we think of GABP is such a hitter's park, but I'm not sure that contact hitting is better than patient hitting specifically for this park. And Kc, I realize that your point was more that a "power hitter" in GABP does not necessarily correlate to the definition elsewhere and that you were talking about home runs, but it just got me thinking.

Cyclone792
10-24-2006, 07:38 PM
I'm throwing this out there completely off the top of my head and as a genuine question: is it possible that contact hitting is more of a detriment in GABP than other parks due to its little size? An outfielder just doesn't have to be Speedy Gonzales to pick up an outfield hit there. The park is great for homers, but it suppresses doubles and triples (and singles?) if I'm not mistaken. I'd be very interested to know GABP's total bases (either by all teams or by just the Reds) compared to other parks if anyone can point me in the direction of that data, and I'd particularly like to hear about them with the home run data taken out if possible (i hope that makes sense).

In other words -- we think of GABP is such a hitter's park, but I'm not sure that contact hitting is better than patient hitting specifically for this park. And Kc, I realize that your point was more that a "power hitter" in GABP does not necessarily correlate to the definition elsewhere and that you were talking about home runs, but it just got me thinking.

Brilliant observation on applying the park factor to contact hitting, vatican, and I think you're absolutely right that contact hitting in GABP is more of a detriment than most other parks. For that, Retrosheet (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/PK_CIN09.htm) is our friend.

GABP park factor by component, 2003-05:

Aids: Home Runs
Neutral: Doubles and Strikeouts
Suppresses: Singles, Triples and Walks

The GABP batting average during those seasons was .265, while road parks had a batting average of .270 so GABP was suppressing hits overall. Slugging percentage is a different story, however, as hitters in GABP slugged .451 compared to only .444 on the road. Isolated power at GABP is .186 compared to only .174 in other parks.

If contact hitting results in less isolated power, which there's evidence for, then contact hitting in GABP is not ideal given the park's propensity for cutting down singles while boosting home runs and isolated power.

RedsManRick
10-24-2006, 07:58 PM
I find this thread very interesting. I understand that there are different views on the importance of contact hitting. Sorry, but I can't agree that making contact is somehow a negative. (Nobody is suggesting coaching hitters to swing at bad pitches.)

Having spoken out for contact hitting, I don't think hitting coaches are the main way to accomplish this. I agree that tinkering with major league hitters is often counterproductive.

I do think the Reds need more of an emphasis on contact hitting. At GABP, you don't need to hit the ball 500 feet. A batter who can consistently drive the ball can get a fair number of home runs even if he lacks the power of a guy like Dunn. (Not arguing against Dunn; just making an overall point; with the right surrounding cast, Dunn would be more effective.)

In any event, I think Krivsky (rightly or wrongly) shares these views and it will be interesting to see how he implements them.

And there's where the rub is. When you start swing at balls which you normally wouldn't, you don't drive them (or at least not as often). If you could drive that pitch, you would've been swinging already.

Guys like Dunn aren't passing up singles because they want homers. Rather, they are passing up balls that they can't make good contact on. It just so happens that when they make good contact, the ball goes a real long way.

If you swing at every thing, well then you become a Pete Rose type hitter. Sure, you might rack up a lot of singles that you otherwise would've missed out on. But at the end of the day, you've also hit in to a lot more outs that may otherwise have been walks. As Cyclone shows, the balance of gain in extra singles and an occasional extra base hit doesn't help as much as the walks and many fewer outs.

LINEDRIVER
10-24-2006, 08:50 PM
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal -- link to full article (http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=521991), which is mostly Brewer related.



So, Butch Wynegar is apparently in the running for the Reds' hitting coach job. Apparently??? Based on what? Something the writer saw, something he heard, something he pulled out of his rear-end?? I would like to be reading a better detailed explanation other just 'apparently'.

Is this just another fine example of today's sportswriter working to get his own speculation to pass off as fact?

.

George Foster
10-25-2006, 12:51 AM
This is correct if you are Jose Hernandez. Not if you are Adam Dunn.

Because regardless of K's, Dunn still manages 100 BB's a year. So all of those K's could have been popouts to 2B, and his numbers would have been exactly the same.

Now if he can turn K's into hits or BB's, I'm for that. But to just tell a guy to cut down on K's is over simplistic. That's a round about way of saying get more hits. Hey, I'm for that too.

Except I don't want power hitters doinking singles because they changed their approach so much they can't hit for power. .340 with 10 HR's ain't as productive as .250 with 40 HR's. Especially if the walk totals DON'T stay the same. If the OBP is the same, gimme the 40 jacks.

But with a runner on 3rd with one out or no outs, putting the ball in play and like Dunn who pulls the ball more often than not, a ground out to second scores a run....a strike out does not. His RBI numbers proves my point...they should of been at least 20 higher for the season. He had like 92 on August 30th.

Patrick Bateman
10-25-2006, 12:54 AM
But with a runner on 3rd with one out or no outs, putting the ball in play and like Dunn who pulls the ball more often than not, a ground out to second scores a run....a strike out does not. His RBI numbers proves my point...they should of been at least 20 higher for the season. He had like 92 on August 30th.

That's still not the point. If Dunn chokes up and simply trys to put the ball in play, his walks will go down and his power will too. He may become better at getting the runner on 3rd home in that situation, but it will also lead to Dunn hitting for much less power, and likely will get on base less. Especially with Dunn's skill set, I don't think it's a very good idea.

RANDY IN INDY
10-25-2006, 08:01 AM
Who said anything about Dunn choking up? Even if he did, which I don't propose, an inch off his bat isn't going to turn the powerful Dunn into Felix Millan or Bud Harrelson. They used to talk about Ted Kluszewski hitting one handed shots into the seats at Crosley field. A powerful player like Dunn does not have to swing out of his shoes all the time to hit the ball with power, particularly in the home ballpark he plays in. Klu was a powerful hitter who made adjustments and was a professional hitter. You don't have to sacrifice power to hit for a better average. You have to swing at better pitches and make contact more often. No one is proposing that Dunn swing at balls out of the strikezone. It is no secret to me that while Dunn has a good eye at the plate, he swings at plenty of bad pitches on a lot of those strikeouts.

GAC
10-25-2006, 08:35 AM
Who said anything about Dunn choking up? Even if he did, which I don't propose, an inch off his bat isn't going to turn the powerful Dunn into Felix Millan or Bud Harrelson. They used to talk about Ted Kluszewski hitting one handed shots into the seats at Crosley field. A powerful player like Dunn does not have to swing out of his shoes all the time to hit the ball with power, particularly in the home ballpark he plays in. Klu was a powerful hitter who made adjustments and was a professional hitter. You don't have to sacrifice power to hit for a better average. You have to swing at better pitches and make contact more often. No one is proposing that Dunn swing at balls out of the strikezone. It is no secret to me that while Dunn has a good eye at the plate, he swings at plenty of bad pitches on a lot of those strikeouts.

Eric Davis was a solid example. Excellent wrist speed. The guy could turn on a pitch.

Kc61
10-25-2006, 01:35 PM
Brilliant observation on applying the park factor to contact hitting, vatican, and I think you're absolutely right that contact hitting in GABP is more of a detriment than most other parks. For that, Retrosheet (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/PK_CIN09.htm) is our friend.

GABP park factor by component, 2003-05:

Aids: Home Runs
Neutral: Doubles and Strikeouts
Suppresses: Singles, Triples and Walks


If contact hitting results in less isolated power, which there's evidence for, then contact hitting in GABP is not ideal given the park's propensity for cutting down singles while boosting home runs and isolated power.

One interesting point is that the Reds were 13th in the NL in doubles.

The Reds took advantage of the home run benefit of the park, 3rd in the league. And I can understand the point that singles hitters may not be helped by GABP.

But if GABP is "doubles neutral" then the Reds hitters, 13th in the league in that department, were deficient in that department.

When you consider that overall the Reds did poorly in hits and runs in 2006; and consider that they took advantage of GABP's home run propensity; and further consider that the park is a poor place to "go for singles" (and triples); then where should the improvement come?

I would have thought the park would suppress doubles. If it is, in fact, neutral, then that is a statistic in which the Reds need to improve next year.

flyer85
10-25-2006, 01:43 PM
This is real simple ... if the Reds want to score more runs they need to focus on increasing OBP and SLG%, that's just the way it is. Replace ABs with players likely to have a higher OPS and the Reds will score more. Right now looking forward to 2007 the Reds offense looks to be a disaster.

HOW one increases those two statistics is NOT important, just that they do. Positing about more walks/less hits, more doubles/less HRs, less Ks, etc is nothing but throwing out a red herring because those things just don't matter.

Johnny Footstool
10-25-2006, 01:53 PM
This is real simple ... if the Reds want to score more runs they need to focus on increasing OBP and SLG%, that's just the way it is. Replace ABs with players likely to have a higher OPS and the Reds will score more. Right now looking forward to 2007 the Reds offense looks to be a disaster.

HOW one increases those two statistics is NOT important, just that they do. Positing about more walks/less hits, more doubles/less HRs, less Ks, etc is nothing but throwing out a red herring because those things just don't matter.

Exactly. If they bring in a guy who can hit .360, that will certainly help the team's OBP, so I'd be in favor of it. (Of course, it opens up another can of worms, but that's beside the point.)

Cyclone792
10-25-2006, 01:58 PM
One interesting point is that the Reds were 13th in the NL in doubles.

The Reds took advantage of the home run benefit of the park, 3rd in the league. And I can understand the point that singles hitters may not be helped by GABP.

But if GABP is "doubles neutral" then the Reds hitters, 13th in the league in that department, were deficient in that department.

When you consider that overall the Reds did poorly in hits and runs in 2006; and consider that they took advantage of GABP's home run propensity; and further consider that the park is a poor place to "go for singles" (and triples); then where should the improvement come?

I would have thought the park would suppress doubles. If it is, in fact, neutral, then that is a statistic in which the Reds need to improve next year.

I'd love to see more doubles out of this offense. Doubles boost slugging percentages and also help clean up inefficiencies in an offense, and the Reds had some inefficiencies they need to work on getting cleaned up.

One quick and easy way to boost the team's doubles rate is to ensure that Edwin Encarnacion plays every day. In 701 major league plate appearances (full seasons are 650+ PAs), Encarnacion has 49 doubles. He's a 45-50 doubles per season machine waiting to happen if he plays every day, and that'd be a nice fixture right in the middle of the lineup.

Kc61
10-25-2006, 03:34 PM
This is real simple ... if the Reds want to score more runs they need to focus on increasing OBP and SLG%, that's just the way it is. Replace ABs with players likely to have a higher OPS and the Reds will score more. Right now looking forward to 2007 the Reds offense looks to be a disaster.

HOW one increases those two statistics is NOT important, just that they do. Positing about more walks/less hits, more doubles/less HRs, less Ks, etc is nothing but throwing out a red herring because those things just don't matter.


Players don't hit OBPs and SLGs. They hit singles, doubles, triples and homers. And walks.

If you want to have a higher slugging percentage, you need more extra base hits.

If you want to have a higher OBP, you need more hits and walks.

OBPs and SLGs don't happen by themselves.

The Reds have shown good ability to hit home runs. They have shown good ability to get walks.

They do poorly in getting singles, doubles and triples.

Any good management needs to focus on this with specificity and try and improve the weak areas, hopefully without hurting the strong areas.

KronoRed
10-25-2006, 03:45 PM
They've also seen their Walk totals and their Runs Scored totals decrease each year.
Dude..walks suck, they are boring, hacking at every pitch is the Key..just ask the Tigers.

Johnny Footstool
10-25-2006, 03:50 PM
Players don't hit OBPs and SLGs. They hit singles, doubles, triples and homers. And walks.

If you want to have a higher slugging percentage, you need more extra base hits.

If you want to have a higher OBP, you need more hits and walks.

OBPs and SLGs don't happen by themselves.

The Reds have shown good ability to hit home runs. They have shown good ability to get walks.

They do poorly in getting singles, doubles and triples.

Any good management needs to focus on this with specificity and try and improve the weak areas, hopefully without hurting the strong areas.

By that same token, players don't focus on hitting doubles or triples. They focus on getting a pitch they can hit and making quality contact. When you do that, your OBP and SLG go up, even if your singles, doubles, and triples totals don't.

flyer85
10-25-2006, 03:56 PM
If you want to have a higher slugging percentage, you need more extra base hits.You don't. You need more bases per AB. How you do it not important and it can be done without more extra base hits.



Any good management needs to focus on this with specificity and try and improve the weak areas, hopefully without hurting the strong areas.it better not be "hopefully" otherwise your treading water ... or worse.

The point is "less strikeouts" is nowhere in the equation.

Yachtzee
10-25-2006, 04:56 PM
Giving up offense for mediocre pitching and defense is much more of a concern than strikeouts for this team, IMHO.

NJReds
10-26-2006, 10:19 AM
Well now the Brewers are reportedly interviewing Chambliss...



Brewers talk to Chambliss
Posted: Oct. 25, 2006
St. Louis - Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said manager Ned Yost had interviewed Chris Chambliss for the club's vacant hitting coach position. Chambliss, dismissed by the Cincinnati Reds after the 2006 season, was the first candidate interviewed from outside of the organization.

The Reds, meanwhile, have interviewed Butch Wynegar, who was fired by the Brewers, to fill Chambliss' spot on their staff. Melvin said he interviewed Alan Trammell for the club's first-base coaching, but the next day Trammell accepted a two-year deal to be the Chicago Cubs' bench coach.

Yost also interviewed Brewers minor-league coach Mike Lum for the hitting job.

"We'll probably fill the hitting coach job sooner than the first-base job," said Melvin, who is attending the World Series.

Johnny Footstool
10-26-2006, 10:33 AM
Well now the Brewers are reportedly interviewing Chambliss...

This squelches the idea that Krivsky was being courteous and letting Chambliss go to pursue a managerial career. :thumbdown

I wonder if the Brewers are smart enough to hire him?

NJReds
10-26-2006, 10:45 AM
This squelches the idea that Krivsky was being courteous and letting Chambliss go to pursue a managerial career. :thumbdown

I wonder if the Brewers are smart enough to hire him?

No. IIRC there were stories in the Cincy papers after Chambliss was let go that stated he was being held accountable for the team's second half slump.

NJReds
10-26-2006, 10:49 AM
Cincy Post...Oct. 12:


Reds' ax falls on Chambliss
Hitting coach told he won't be back

By Marc Lancaster

Chris Chambliss spent three seasons working with the Reds' hitters. He won't be back for a fourth.

As Chris Chambliss drove down I-75 last week from Cincinnati to his home near Atlanta, he had every reason to believe he would be back as the Reds' hitting coach in 2007.

Then, his cell phone rang. Reds manager Jerry Narron was on the other end, and he told his former New York Yankees teammate he wouldn't be offered a contract for next season.

Chambliss was caught completely off-guard. He fully expected to return for his fourth season with the Reds and said no one had given him reason to believe he wasn't doing an adequate job.

"I expected to stay with Jerry," Chambliss said Wednesday. "That's all I can say. I did expect to be back and I was never told there were any issues with me before."


The former big-league outfielder said Narron told him the Reds' offensive slump over the final six weeks - and possible factors behind it - played a large part in the decision.

"He wasn't happy with the fact that players didn't make good adjustments in the second half, especially down the stretch," said Chambliss, who added that he heard no such concerns prior to his firing.

"If they thought something else should have been said to them, it wasn't relayed to me," he said. "I worked with the guys, I talked to them in the cages every day. I don't know what's going on, I really don't, as far as that's concerned."

The Reds' offense did go into a collective tailspin after the All-Star break, when the numbers dropped off across the board. It culminated in a stretch during August and September that saw Cincinnati grapple to score any runs. Through the final day of August, the Reds had averaged 4.91 runs per game. Over the last 28 games of the season, though, Cincinnati managed just 3.25 runs per game.

It must be noted that the Reds played the entire second half without a quarter of their usual starting eight from the first half, as Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez were traded to Washington on July 13. But the production of almost every player that remained dwindled to miserable levels late in the year.

Aside from Rich Aurilia, who hit .344 with 17 RBIs in 90 at-bats from Sept. 1 on, it seemed every Reds hitter disappeared in the final month. Only two other players managed more than five RBIs the rest of the way - David Ross with nine and Brandon Phillips with eight.

Of course, Phillips (.149) and Ross (.179) also were a significant part of the problem down the stretch. Add their woes at the plate to Adam Dunn's .161 average, Scott Hatteberg's .206 and Edwin Encarnacion's .205 and it's easy to see why the Reds couldn't score.

The ax had to fall somewhere, and Chambliss got it - even if, as one of his closest pupils said, he didn't necessarily deserve it.

"I love the guy," Dunn said Wednesday. "But you can't fire all of us. We're the ones who should be accountable, but we're not the guys who can get fired. I mean, we can, but it's just bad, because if we'd played good, he's still got his job."

"With Chris, it's like telling somebody in your family that you're going to replace them," Narron said. "The guy worked hard, he's a true professional. I've known him since the mid-'70s and he's just an outstanding man of character who works extremely hard. We just really felt like, to get some guys to make some adjustments, we had to give them a little bit of a different direction, and that's what we're doing."

Cedric
10-26-2006, 10:55 AM
Dude..walks suck, they are boring, hacking at every pitch is the Key..just ask the Tigers.

Who said that on this thread? Just a little bit of a leap on your part.

Ravenlord
10-26-2006, 10:58 AM
[QUOTE=KronoRed;1183903]Dude..walks suck, they are boring.../QUOTE]

while walking and 'waiting on the three run homerun' is the most efficient and often victorious offensive approach, i will say it is very boring to watch most of the time. but as long as it's winning, it goes from being boring to exciting. there in lies the Reds' problem the last few years.

traderumor
10-26-2006, 11:34 AM
The former big-league outfielder said Narron told him the Reds' offensive slump over the final six weeks - and possible factors behind it - played a large part in the decision.See they still have good editing going on at the Post.

Johnny Footstool
10-26-2006, 11:51 AM
Krono was being facetious, guys.

I think your sarcasm detectors are on the fritz.

NJReds -- good catch. I hadn't read the details about his firing. I just remembered some RedsZoners speculating that maybe Krivsky had let Chambliss go to pursue managerial positions. Looks like it's a simple case of scapegoating.

RANDY IN INDY
10-26-2006, 12:26 PM
Singles suck. Just go up to the plate looking for a walk and make absolutely sure, if you swing, that it's a double, triple, or homerun. Singles suck.

KronoRed
10-26-2006, 06:20 PM
Singles suck. Just go up to the plate looking for a walk and make absolutely sure, if you swing, that it's a double, triple, or homerun. Singles suck.
Some good humor in here :D

RANDY IN INDY
10-27-2006, 08:05 AM
Just thought it needed to be an equal oppporatunity humor thread.;)

GAC
10-27-2006, 08:15 AM
Krono was being facetious, guys.

I think your sarcasm detectors are on the fritz.

I think they recognized it Johnny.

We all know and love Matt.

But he was possibly going a little overboard or over dramatic in his attempt to "characterize" those who differ somewhat concerning walks and plate approach. ;)

GAC
10-27-2006, 08:16 AM
Just thought it needed to be an equal oppporatunity humor thread.;)

I've always hated singles hitter. Alot of unnecessary effort expended just to get to 1B! :lol:

Yachtzee
10-27-2006, 11:21 AM
I've always hated singles hitter. Alot of unnecessary effort expended just to get to 1B! :lol:

Bunch of banjo-hittin' lollygaggers!

Spring~Fields
10-27-2006, 02:45 PM
I've always hated singles hitter. Alot of unnecessary effort expended just to get to 1B! :lol:

I myself much prefer walks to hits, slows the game down, much less action. Gets runs in the old fashioned way, unearned.

GAC
10-27-2006, 04:24 PM
Bunch of banjo-hittin' lollygaggers!

The way I see it.... if you can drive a hit through the hole, then darnit, drive a double or triple. Think big, go for them extra bases! ;)

KronoRed
10-27-2006, 05:10 PM
I think they recognized it Johnny.

We all know and love Matt.

But he was possibly going a little overboard or over dramatic in his attempt to "characterize" those who differ somewhat concerning walks and plate approach. ;)

It's revenge for all the "Adam Dunn is the worst baseball player ever" posts from countless game threads :devil:

Wheelhouse
10-27-2006, 05:16 PM
It's revenge for all the "Adam Dunn is the worst baseball player ever" posts from countless game threads :devil:

Hmmm, don't remember ANY posts like that. I do remeber a few that looked like this; ".4576382.567485 AVG bst BUnkAvg 43230839302384 , 432398.332 AVWWEA 82389.222 ERAboop 33.32 KsINtoughdarts 4.443"

KronoRed
10-27-2006, 05:22 PM
Guess it's all in what you see.

TC81190
10-27-2006, 05:35 PM
A strikeout is just an out. Like any other out. I agree. I also think this misses the point. It focuses on the impact of the strikeout.

The real point is the "opportunity cost" of a failure to make contact. If you don't hit the ball, and don't walk, you can't get on base. You can't "avoid an out." You can't "acquire bases."

The problem is not the impact of the strikeout itself; the problem is the failure to hit the ball (or walk). A batter who hits the ball has a chance to reach base. A batter who walks reaches base. A batter who fails to hit or walk cannot reach base.

The reason for all these diagrams and stats showing little correlation with runs scored is that teams vary in their production when not striking out. Some teams compensate for high strikeout totals with power, timely hitting, etc. This is true. This is why strikeout totals are not themselves determinative of offensive performance.

But striking out a lot is a handicap; it means that you have fewer opportunities to reach base. It makes it harder to score runs. Teams can compensate for this, surely. But it is not irrelevant.


While I disagree, when the ball is in play, it creates more opportunities for a run to score, runner advance etc., but I don't think you tell a hitter to try to avoid striking out. If he's a strikeout guy, he's a strikeout guy. A guy like this sounds like the kind the would feel the need to 'fix' a Ryan Howard or Miguel Cabrera.

TC81190
10-27-2006, 05:49 PM
I think they recognized it Johnny.

We all know and love Matt.

But he was possibly going a little overboard or over dramatic in his attempt to "characterize" those who differ somewhat concerning walks and plate approach. ;)

Yeah. No one ever said sacrifice all the walks for more hits.

A good offense will balance the hits and walks. But the attitude on this board, of hits ~ walks (or even in some cases, walks > hits), is laughably absurd. Many on here seem to forget, the game is really played. Case in point, the argument that a strikeout is another out. Sure, maybe that's what the numbers will tell you. But they can't tell you the variables of the physical game. Numbers wise, if a player K's or pops-out, it's the exact same thing. But there is a difference between K'ing with a runner on 2B and hitting a screamer that dies at the warning track to move the runner over. But because it's not in the numbers, it's not important.

And as far as walks and hits go, sure, they'll both show up as 1 total base. But I'd guess that a large majority of posters on here would lose it if someone suggest that Adam Dunn replace 50 BBs with 50 singles (just an example.) Why? Yes, they both count as one base. But you can't drive a runner on 3B home with a walk (unless the bases are loaded, but c'mon.) When the ball's in play, there are so many variables not considered here that really are the basics to the game. But again, it doesn't count because it's not on the statsheets. That's kinda how this board's like a double-edged sword to me now; I enjoy talking with other Reds fans who happen to also share in common one thing I hold dear to me, but this board just sucks all of the fun, human elements out of the game and turns it into a cold, 'robotic', if you would, jumbled mess of numbers.

Yes walks are good. Sure strikeouts aren't the end of the world, and I would never advise a player to simply stop striking out. But the idea of putting the ball into play, well, how else are you gonna score runs? A lineup of .230/.380 hitter probably would not fae all too well, I'd be willing to bet. Sure, you have runners on base and what have you, but who's gonna drive them in? A successful offense needs at least one 300 hitter.

And before I try posting this again, I just have to marvel at one comment earlier in this thread; a .340 hitter with 10 HR is worse than a .250 hitter with 40 HR. With all due respect, I have to say, I believe you could not be any more wrong. A guy who puts the ball into play more, successfully, is going to do more to drive runners in than a guy who doesn't put the ball into play as much, which you'd have to assume if there's such a large margin of difference (or the 250 hitter is the unluckiest guy on earth.)

Johnny Footstool
10-27-2006, 06:31 PM
K's are the by-product of an approach that tries to maximize the number of bases accumulated.

In non-froofy-sounding speak, guys generally strike out because they're trying to hit the ball hard. "Shortening up your swing" and "trying to put the ball in play" work great in little league, but in the big leagues, a huge percentage of those balls-in-play become outs anyway.

So if the risk is the same (or pretty much the same) and the reward is greater, take a shot. Try to make *quality* contact.

As for a groundout or sac fly scoring a runner from third, those are extremely rare occurrances. Memorable, but extremely rare. I don't have the numbers, but I'll wager batters have a better chance of hitting a double than of hitting a ground ball or lofting a fly to precisely the right spot to allow the runner to score.

vaticanplum
10-27-2006, 07:12 PM
Yeah. No one ever said sacrifice all the walks for more hits.

A good offense will balance the hits and walks. But the attitude on this board, of hits ~ walks (or even in some cases, walks > hits), is laughably absurd. Many on here seem to forget, the game is really played. Case in point, the argument that a strikeout is another out. Sure, maybe that's what the numbers will tell you. But they can't tell you the variables of the physical game. Numbers wise, if a player K's or pops-out, it's the exact same thing. But there is a difference between K'ing with a runner on 2B and hitting a screamer that dies at the warning track to move the runner over. But because it's not in the numbers, it's not important.

No one ever states that what's not in the numbers is not important. I think there is a real misinterpretation regarding "statheads" on this board. Stats are helpful information because they a) show us how certain aspects of the game affect other aspects, and how they don't as well, and b) give us a pretty good, if imperfect, indicator of how things will progress in the future.

Why do we use them here, and we do people so adamantly defend them? Mostly because it is quantifiable information. We're on a message board. While I don't want to speak for the "statheads", my guess is that if they were baseball managers, they would take into account things that we cannot see or argue from our current perspective. We can speculate on this board how tired Ryan Freel is or how injured EdE is, and it's fun to speculate, but that's all it is. We don't know for sure. We do know stats for sure. So it is a worthwhile and educational thing to look at them here.

I personally have never gotten the impression from any statshead here that they think that numbers are the only important thing. If that were the case they'd all be statistics professors, not baseball fans who watch every game. I've simply gotten the impression that stats are what they talk about here because we are here to analyze what we know, and that's a good way to do it, and sometimes it's shockingly enlightening.

Because of the nature of baseball, stats are imperfect. Defensive statistics in particular (and defense is probably the most fascinating and exciting part of baseball to me) and underdeveloped and unreliable. Every single stat has pretty much at least one drastic flaw of something that cannot be taken into account. That's why there are so many of them, to complement each other. That's also why they're so interesting to me, even though I'm not particularly good with stats myself and often need to have them explained to me 15 times. It's a constant pursuit of molding them to be as helpful as they can be. In the process, understanding of the very game itself increases, and that is thrilling to me. But I have no doubt that every single purported stathead on the board understands this, that we will never have all the stats and they will never tell us everything. If you study the stats and point out the flaws, you will see this; they will agree with you. But if you push the stats aside completely, then you ignore the valuable information that they DO provide, and that, of course, is foolish and angers the stats gods, who of course continue to try to point out what you're missing.


And as far as walks and hits go, sure, they'll both show up as 1 total base. But I'd guess that a large majority of posters on here would lose it if someone suggest that Adam Dunn replace 50 BBs with 50 singles (just an example.) Why? Yes, they both count as one base. But you can't drive a runner on 3B home with a walk (unless the bases are loaded, but c'mon.) When the ball's in play, there are so many variables not considered here that really are the basics to the game. But again, it doesn't count because it's not on the statsheets. That's kinda how this board's like a double-edged sword to me now; I enjoy talking with other Reds fans who happen to also share in common one thing I hold dear to me, but this board just sucks all of the fun, human elements out of the game and turns it into a cold, 'robotic', if you would, jumbled mess of numbers.

To each his own. As I said, my limited understanding of stats has made the game more interesting to me. I understand a bit better why things happen as they do, and I have stronger opinions about what this team needs to do to make itself better...and let's face it, starry eyes aside, the most thrilling thing about following a baseball team is the constant hope that it will get better. I guarantee there's not a fan on this board who didn't get a three-day adrenaline rush of joy when Dunn hit his grand slam against Cleveland, and according to statistics, there was approximately a frozen sun's chance of survival in a volcano that that was going to happen. Did the "statheads" get irritated that Dunn proved them wrong? I suspect not. Because they realize that there's always a sliver of possibility in anything, hence the imperfection in the numbers.


Yes walks are good. Sure strikeouts aren't the end of the world, and I would never advise a player to simply stop striking out. But the idea of putting the ball into play, well, how else are you gonna score runs? A lineup of .230/.380 hitter probably would not fae all too well, I'd be willing to bet. Sure, you have runners on base and what have you, but who's gonna drive them in? A successful offense needs at least one 300 hitter.

I don't think it's meant as a blanket statement. I think it's relating to a particular player on a team with a particular makeup and the absolute, quanitfiable result you can see from the possibilities. And that is the all-or-nothing mentality that I think trips some people up around here. Everything is situational, and every situation has a trillion variables. Stats simply give us the most likely result of any particular situation, any particular hitter or pitcher. There are always exceptions, and everyone knows that. Far from being black and white, I think stats HELP us to find a middle ground and paint the most complete picture. You see a weakness here, you can supplement it with a strength there. You see that you're likely to benefit from "small ball" at this park rather than another park, so you prepare your lineup as such.

Again, I'm not really a stats person myself, and I see the basis of a lot of arguments like yours. But more often than not, those arguments are presented as "but this is the way baseball works" or "but I don't think that's very productive," rather than "I see what those numbers say, but don't you think that is also negated by x and y?" (x and y being quantifiable things: the defense behind him, the number of times strikeouts negatively affected the outcome, whatever). There are arguments against every stat. But more often than not, with some notable exceptions, I don't see them; I just see people who claim stats are "cold, robotic, jumbled mess of numbers" and dismiss them. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. There's a middle ground here, and a logical and viable one if only people would put in the effort to present it. And some do, to be sure; I'm just going to extremes for the sake of argument.

Ltlabner
10-27-2006, 10:13 PM
As for a groundout or sac fly scoring a runner from third, those are extremely rare occurrances. Memorable, but extremely rare.

I'd agree about the ground out scoring the runner from 3B being rare but sac flies scoring the runner? That *seems* like a common occurance. I'd love to see the numbers because my perception is that sac flies to score the runner happen often.

LINEDRIVER
10-28-2006, 01:02 AM
from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
FRIDAY, Oct. 27, 2006, 4:18 p.m.
By Tom Haudricourt

Brewers hire Skaalen as hitting coach

The Brewers announced today they have hired Jim Skaalen, their minor league hitting coordinator, as their new hitting coach.

Skaalen replaces Butch Wynegar, who was dismissed after the 2006 season after four years on the job. Behind coordinating the hitting in the Brewers' farm system the last seven years, Skaalen previously managed in the San Diego and Texas farm systems.

"When it came down to it, there were a lot of people in other organizations that were roving types (in the minors) that didn't know our players as much as Jim does," said general manager Doug Melvin.

"He has been around for a number of years and is very familiar with our young players. There's more to it than just our young players, but they are the core we're trying to build around."

The Brewers still must find a replacement for first base coach Dave Nelson, who also was dismissed after the '06 season.

GAC
10-28-2006, 08:04 AM
We've all had these discussions before over strikeouts. I have always been one who doesn't get all worked up, overall, over strikeouts.

IMO, there is valid points on both sides of this argument.

I understand the logic behind "an out is an out", and as SD has once stated "all strikeouts do is hurt your feelings".

Here is the thing that bugs (really eats at me) concerning strikeouts. And in my "traditional, old school kind of way" it's a position I will never relinquish, and has nothing to do, as much, with swinging K's....

But it is the way strikeouts are achieved (a type of).

When I see a batter, during an A/B.... and I saw this alot with Red's hitters this year, and it is simply an observation on my part.... getting themselves behind in the count by looking at solid pitches right over the plate, and then taking a called 3rd strikes w/ RISP - that bugs the crap out of me. To me, that just isn't another out. Nor does it come to mind afterwards - "Well, I guess that wasn't so bad because after all, he could have hit into a DP or something really bad."

That doesn't soothe my anger bringing up possible other dire results that could have been worse. ;)

During that gametime situation, when we're all keyed up with a cold one in our hands wanting something to happen here with RISP, and I see that player slinking back to the dugout with his "hurt feelings", I don't care, nor want, to consider what some statistic or correlation might show me in this situation. I want to take that bat out of his hand and help him forget that "emotional" hurt. But that's just me. :lol:

And I am not referring to, or advocating, with RISP, that a batter should be up there hacking away either. I'm talking about looking at quality, and very hittable, pitches - and you're standing up there looking at two, maybe three, go right by you while you've got the bat on your shoulders.

Yes, I understand that there are many variables, both good and bad, that can happen if he does "put the bat on the ball" and puts it in play. The point is - you'll never know until he does make contact. That's the chance you take. But you already know what the result is gonna be when he's standing up there with the bat on his shoulders.

IMO... in that situation, you are easily conceding and giving up something precious (an out), and it's a wasted A/B.

And I can "live with" a FO or GO, and even hitting into a DP (though that obviously is not a desired result anyone wants), because you are trying to make something happen with RISP.

Johnny Footstool
10-28-2006, 05:47 PM
I'd agree about the ground out scoring the runner from 3B being rare but sac flies scoring the runner? That *seems* like a common occurance. I'd love to see the numbers because my perception is that sac flies to score the runner happen often.

You can see Sac Flies (SF) on page 2 the MLB team stats page at ESPN.com.

The White Sox led the majors with a whopping 57. The AL Champion Detroit Tigers were dead last with 36.

They count for a tiny percentage of run scoring, and they're random. Don't worry about them.