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Thread: Strike out = to any other out?

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  1. #1
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    Strike out = to any other out?

    Hi all...long time lurker on the board. Over the course of reading the entertaining and informative (b/c of the responses not the original poster) thread started by DunnHater, a question popped into my mind that Hater mentioned but no one seemed to respond to.

    I've always believed an out is an out is an out. As in a K is no worse than a ground out or fly out. But I wonder, is this in fact true?

    Hater (or bad fundamental's, whatever that joker calls himself) mentioned that, at least by hitting into a group out, you've forced a fielder to do something. He will probably throw you out, but an error might also occur. Other than a dropped third strike, the possibility of an error is almost zero when discussing Ks.

    This being the case, shouldn't a ground out or fly out at least be seen as a little bit less of a "bad" than a strike out?

    I'm sure more intelligent minds than mine have thought about this question...hopefully someone can fill me in and set me straight on this.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member ochre's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    For the most part an out is an out. It is especially true for a guy like Dunn that gets on base regularly (i.e. doesn't make an out). For people with lower OBP strikeouts can be a sign of futility, or an otherwise bad approach at the plate.

    One of the things that interests me as a snapshot statistic is an individuals difference between OBP and BA.
    Last edited by ochre; 12-13-2004 at 03:22 PM.
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  3. #3
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Best fielders in the world, plus the slider have made K's less and less horrendous over the years.

    The Best fielders get to 70% of the balls hit and the slider makes the hitter have to wait an extra micro-second or make a decision on a ball that will end up out of the zone.

    Here's some more on it.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...articleid=2617

    http://thediamondangle.com/archive/nov03/kfile.html

  4. #4
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Batters Ks were are listed by Bill James as one of the least meaingful offensive stats. In the bottom 8 out of 32.

  5. #5
    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    And yet pitchers' Ks are among the most meaningful stats. It's the same K. And I've never been able to reconcile that.

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003
    And yet pitchers' Ks are among the most meaningful stats. It's the same K. And I've never been able to reconcile that.
    Mathematically speaking, a strikeout for a pitcher and that same strikeout for a hitter are discrete events. What makes a K good for a pitcher is that it's signpost statistic. Pitchers who rack up the Ks generally keep hitters off the basepaths and generally enjoy longer, more successful careers. An individual strikeout doesn't mean that much. A pitcher would be just as happy with a popout, a weak liner or an at-em grounder in the same situation.

    Yet there's no connection between lots of Ks for a hitter and the inability to get on base or to have a long, successful career. In fact there's tons of examples of hitters who whiffed a ton yet had excellent OB skills and some of the longest, most successful careers ever. I spent my youth watching Mike Schmidt (and watching Philly fans, the worst fans in baseball, freak out everytime he K'd). For the hitter, an out's an out. It's what he does when he's not making outs that defines his quality.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    Mathematically speaking, a strikeout for a pitcher and that same strikeout for a hitter are discrete events. What makes a K good for a pitcher is that it's signpost statistic. Pitchers who rack up the Ks generally keep hitters off the basepaths and generally enjoy longer, more successful careers. An individual strikeout doesn't mean that much. A pitcher would be just as happy with a popout, a weak liner or an at-em grounder in the same situation.

    Yet there's no connection between lots of Ks for a hitter and the inability to get on base or to have a long, successful career. In fact there's tons of examples of hitters who whiffed a ton yet had excellent OB skills and some of the longest, most successful careers ever. I spent my youth watching Mike Schmidt (and watching Philly fans, the worst fans in baseball, freak out everytime he K'd). For the hitter, an out's an out. It's what he does when he's not making outs that defines his quality.


    I agree with Wheels that this is probably the best explanation of this point of view I've heard.

    But I must admit that I share BCubb's difficulty in reconciling this disparity.

    We judge a pitcher by his K rate, and agree that generally a pitcher is more effective when he doesn't allow a hitter to put the ball in play.

    Can this be for any other reason than the idea that putting a ball in play can lead to errors, or the obvious increased chance that balls in play may fall in for hits?

    And if this is so, how can the other side of the coin, the hitter, not be a better hitter if he struck out less?

    I know the response is usually that he'll hit into more double plays and be swinging at bad pitches and all the other reasons we've gone over ad infinitum.

    It just seems counterintuitive, even in the face of all the statistical evidence I've seen.

    Two baseball axioms, seemingly at odds with one another. And, like BCubb, I still haven't been able to come to terms with these two generally accepted principles seeming to contradict one another.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Take that a step further.........

    What is that Danny Graves isn't able to do that most people would agree they would like to have their closer be able to do?

    Get a strikeout when he needs it.

    Late and close games when one key hit or situational at bat will turn a game a strikeout can save the game or lose it for you.

    Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley of previous eras knew a little about this as do Gagne and Trevor Hoffman of today's game.

    (oh...but I forgot a strikeout is "just another out")

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62
    I agree with Wheels that this is probably the best explanation of this point of view I've heard.

    But I must admit that I share BCubb's difficulty in reconciling this disparity.

    We judge a pitcher by his K rate, and agree that generally a pitcher is more effective when he doesn't allow a hitter to put the ball in play.

    Can this be for any other reason than the idea that putting a ball in play can lead to errors, or the obvious increased chance that balls in play may fall in for hits?

    And if this is so, how can the other side of the coin, the hitter, not be a better hitter if he struck out less?

    I know the response is usually that he'll hit into more double plays and be swinging at bad pitches and all the other reasons we've gone over ad infinitum.

    It just seems counterintuitive, even in the face of all the statistical evidence I've seen.

    Two baseball axioms, seemingly at odds with one another. And, like BCubb, I still haven't been able to come to terms with these two generally accepted principles seeming to contradict one another.

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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    WOY -- I knew somebody would come through. The baseball prospectus link was especially helpful. Being someone who has become quite comfortable with STATA over the past few years, a multivariate regression analysis is a great persuader.

    Flyer, I wasn't trying to suggest that number of Ks are a meaningful stat. Quite the contrary actually - I agree with James, of all the individual statistics out there, #Ks is probably close to the bottom in those that will tell you how successful a batter is.

    I only meant to mention that, on its face, it seems that a player who Ks 100 times in 100 atbats would have an OBP of .000, while one who hits a grounder to 3rd 100 times in 100 at bats would have an OBP > .000 because of the possibility of an error. If this is true, isn't a K slightly (albeit VERY slightly) "worse" than a ground out?

  10. #10
    Member ochre's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    and of course putting the ball in play could put you at the bottom of this list:
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/st...tters2004.html
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  11. #11
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    There was a tiny blurb in "Moneyball" about strikeouts actually being worse than most SABR-folks think. The thing is, it's a tradeoff. Adam Dunn strikes out more than anyone, but he also produces a ton of runs. You can live with 150 strikeouts if a guy produces like Dunn, Jim Thome, Reggie Jackson, etc.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    You can live with 150 strikeouts if a guy produces like Dunn, Jim Thome, Reggie Jackson, etc.
    But if they're Wes Helms circa 2003 or Cory Snyder 1993 run.

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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Adam Dunn doesn't belong on any list with jackson and Tomey. Those guys are great players but Dunn is just a young raw player that needs alot of work.

    Those guys never struck out as much as dunn last year.

  14. #14
    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    That's the best explaination I think I've ever read.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    This is a good discussion and a fun question to consider: "the hierarchy of outs"

    I'll tell you the out play that infuriates me more than anything is a weak popout - especially the ones to the catcher, first baseman, or third baseman in foul territory. I think a popout is worse than a strikeout - mainly just because I feel like feeling this way.

    At least in certain situations, a ground out, fly out, etc. can enable a runner to advance or even score. Such advances are an invaluabe asset to a team, and one which the Reds have woefully struggled with in recent years. I would happily take my chance with a lineup full of guys who can put the bat the ball consistently. So in answer to the question, I think that a popout is worse than a strikeout is worse than any other out. That's just my way of looking at it.

    I like Adam Dunn, don't get me wrong - but I do get frustrated in several at-bats when he doesn't cut down on his swing or try to go the other way. Although he creates a lot of runs for the team, he has the potential to create(or set up) many, many more. But I'll take every one of his strikeouts with the production he puts up. I really like what M2 says: "For the hitter, an out's an out. It's what he does when he's not making outs that defines his quality."
    "It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come out, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.
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