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Thread: Can you explain why...

  1. #16
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Here is one on a tee for many of you, but I never really bought the explanation. Maybe something new and different can help me out. Can anyone explain why Strike-outs are the most important thing for a pitcher but are "just another out" for a hitter?

    See, this leads to what would be a good stat---total bases created/lost for each batter, and I mean with regard to not only self, BUT runners as well. We have RBIs, which is essentially a stat of moving runners to home. But I'd like to see a stat that gives credit for hitting the groundball to the right side with no outs and a man on second, that correspondingly takes way credit for hitting into double plays.

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  3. #17
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    Some hitters have the ability to offset the badness of strikeouts; others do not. Seems to me the questions involve what kinds of offset make what levels of strikeouts tolerable and at what level of the game. Then we might ask, too, what is the nature of that offset; surely it's got something to do with what we used to call the hitter's ability to "punish the mistake." Hitters who advance from one level to the next may strike out at rates equal to, perhaps even slightly higher than, those who do not advance [I suspect]. What I suspect distinguishes them is their percentage of extra base hits--i.e. their ability to make more of pitchers' mistakes than other hitters.

  4. #18
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    Quote Originally Posted by HokieRed View Post
    Some hitters have the ability to offset the badness of strikeouts; others do not. Seems to me the questions involve what kinds of offset make what levels of strikeouts tolerable and at what level of the game. Then we might ask, too, what is the nature of that offset; surely it's got something to do with what we used to call the hitter's ability to "punish the mistake." Hitters who advance from one level to the next may strike out at rates equal to, perhaps even slightly higher than, those who do not advance [I suspect]. What I suspect distinguishes them is their percentage of extra base hits--i.e. their ability to make more of pitchers' mistakes than other hitters.
    Yes. There are a ton of guys who strikeout a lot but who don't walk and/or hit for power. They're called career minor leaguers. We sometimes forget that major league ballplayers have already been selected based on the fact that they have a skill set that produces an acceptable level of production.

    In fact, it's important to think of pitcher BABIP in this context too. Of course pitchers have influence over the quality of batted balls they allow. But if you don't have good enough stuff and command to throw strikes without guys constantly hitting frozen ropes off you all day, you don't get to the majors. And by the time you get rid of those guys, the vast majority of what's left to differentiate pitchers is how often they allow the ball to be put in play in the first place and how often they put guys on base for free.

    So as we thinking about things like this, it's really important to consider two things:

    1. Who has the most influence over the outcome?
    2. How much difference is there among major leaguers in their ability to do that thing?
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  5. #19
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    Quote Originally Posted by HokieRed View Post
    This is an interesting asymmetry, and I'm finding the series of posts here fun and intriguing to think about. If we put aside thinking about major league statistics for a moment and think just about the game itself, we can see it's not true that "strike outs are the most important thing for a pitcher but just another out for a hitter."

    Perhaps a beginning.
    Many brighter minds have already weighed in, but the aspect I haven't seen discussed is the SLG%. As I understand it, the thinking goes that while a pitcher doesn't really have control over how many "balls in play" are hits, he does have at least some control over how many bases are picked up when a batter gets a hit.

    This makes sense when you think about it, weakly hit balls don't necessarily become hits less often than a hard hit ball, but they almost never become doubles, triples, or homers.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    But here's the rub. If the ball is put in play, the pitcher ceases to have much influence over what happens. By contrast, the hitter has a lot of influence over what happens. So a hitter who strikes out a lot can make up for it by hitting for power. But a pitcher who doesn't strike out a lot has a more difficult time making up the difference.
    There are a few other things the pitcher can control. He can not walk anyone. So at least he's not adding baserunners on balls that aren't put in play. And he can limit the bases taken on hits. If we assume that every batter's going to hit .300 on balls in play, they're going to have trouble stringing enough hits together to score a run without some walks or extra base hits.
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  6. #20
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    Quote Originally Posted by HokieRed View Post
    Some hitters have the ability to offset the badness of strikeouts; others do not. Seems to me the questions involve what kinds of offset make what levels of strikeouts tolerable and at what level of the game. Then we might ask, too, what is the nature of that offset; surely it's got something to do with what we used to call the hitter's ability to "punish the mistake." Hitters who advance from one level to the next may strike out at rates equal to, perhaps even slightly higher than, those who do not advance [I suspect]. What I suspect distinguishes them is their percentage of extra base hits--i.e. their ability to make more of pitchers' mistakes than other hitters.
    It's more than that. It's an ability to foul off non-mistake strikes. It's an ability to watch a pitch just miss the outside corner, and then take an aggressive swing on one that's 2 inches closer. The strikeouts and walks are a result of the hitter's selectively aggressive approach and knowledge of the strike zone.

    That's why you can't look at strikeout rate when determining a good hitter. You must also look at walk rate, or more telling K:BB rate. I think typically a 3:1 or better K:BB rate shows a relatively solid hitter. Anything worse (Juan Fransisco at 10:1, for instance) shows someone who just isn't going to produce.

    But that production isn't limited BECAUSE he strikes out. That production is limited because his approach and lack of skill produce those strikeouts and the corresponding lack of walks.
    The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. -- Terrance Mann (Field of Dreams)

  7. #21
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    Fouling off non-mistake strikes doesn't offset the badness of strikeouts, though. It's certainly an important skill for a hitter but a strikeout is still a bad outcome for the hitter no matter how many pitches he fouls off. Also production is limited by strikeouts. A hitter who strikes out 100% of the time has no production. It seems to me that we have to be aware that we are continually using these measures within some implicit standards of competence and, in the pitchers' cases especially, risk.

  8. #22
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Here is one on a tee for many of you, but I never really bought the explanation. Maybe something new and different can help me out. Can anyone explain why Strike-outs are the most important thing for a pitcher but are "just another out" for a hitter?
    I think this article explains exactly why very nicely. It's summed up nicely in the comments:

    batters can offset a higher strikeout rate by hitting for power. A higher strikeout rate is good for pitchers because this limits the amount of balls that can fall in for hits.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  9. #23
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    Why can't a base runner go back to a previous base?

    Pay attention to the open sky

  10. #24
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    I'm just going to weigh in with another aspect to the K question. I don't know if this adds to the discussion. I think within the context of the game, a starter will have more impact than any opposing hitter due to the fact they involved in more events (say 25 batters) than the hitter (say 4 pa's). Doesn't that render the pitcher's K % more important than the batter's? Even many relievers will match or surpass the number of outs produced vs plate appearances from an 8 or 9 hitter. I'm not a math guy, but it seems like these volume disparities could provide some answer in simple mathematical terms.

  11. #25
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    The way I see it is if Player A and Player B make the same number of outs in a season. Player A strikes out 150 times a year and Player B strikes out only 75 times a year. However, Player B - in addition to those 75 Ks - pops up to the catcher 15 times a season, pops up to 1st 15 times a year, pops up to 2nd 15 times a year, pops up to SS 15 times a year and pops up to 3rd 15 times a year. If all the other outs are equal - fly balls, grounders to the infield - what's the difference?
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  12. #26
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    So it is bad for a hitter. The shorthand "strikeouts are just another out" then seems more like, Strike-outs are bad, but the attempt to avoid them might jeopardize all the things a hitter does that's good. I get that (always have in fact). Is it safe to say then, that hitters who generally don't do a whole lot of stuff that's good when they aren't striking out should start their attempt to improve by doing what is necessary to avoid the K? The last 2 responses suggest yes to me and I agree with it wholeheartedly.

    It seems to me that 2005 Adam Dunn should not change a thing and the K's "are just another out," but 2012 Drew Stubbs doesn't hit much at all and step one toward any improvement should be to cut the K's? Failure to make contact seems to be hurting a lot more than Drew Stubbs' feelings IMO.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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  13. #27
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Can you explain why...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    The way I see it is if Player A and Player B make the same number of outs in a season. Player A strikes out 150 times a year and Player B strikes out only 75 times a year. However, Player B - in addition to those 75 Ks - pops up to the catcher 15 times a season, pops up to 1st 15 times a year, pops up to 2nd 15 times a year, pops up to SS 15 times a year and pops up to 3rd 15 times a year. If all the other outs are equal - fly balls, grounders to the infield - what's the difference?
    Well, that's a lot of Pop-ups without ever getting the ball out of the IF, but I think I know what you mean. BABIP would suggest that 20 to 25 of those non-strike-outs wouldn't be outs at all but would fall in for hits. If everything else was the same and we added 75 times making contact to a guy with no hits resulting, his BABIP would be lower than we should expect it to stay I'd think.

    The issue is whether everything else would be the same.
    Last edited by mth123; 06-21-2013 at 10:25 PM.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS


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