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Thread: Strike out = to any other out?

  1. #16
    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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  3. #17
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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.

  4. #18
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Actually, I don't appreciate your reference to me but I'll consider the source and let it slide. And you're right about your "more intelligent minds" comment. Maybe stick to your "lurking".......


    Quote Originally Posted by Red_BlueDevil
    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!

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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    BCubb and RFS:
    One key difference between a hitter and pitcher is that a pitcher does not perform in a vacuum. While a hitter's success at the plate is his own doing, the same can not be said of pitchers--they require fielders to make plays on their behalf.

    In that sense, think of a K for a pitcher like a HR for a hitter: a K is a signal that a pitcher does not require the help of teammates to assist him in doing his job, much like a HR for an offensive player is a sign that a hitter doesn't need help from his teammates. And since these Ks for pitchers are repeatable over time and highly correlated with winning, we use Ks as a shorthand for good pitching. The inverse can not be said of high-K hitters.

    Our world is full of situations where pieces of information are relevant for one subset of the population and irrelevant for others. If someone has a good credit history, he runs no risk of financial ruin if he misses two car payments. No big deal. On the other hand, it is a big deal for someone who has a poor track record with credit. This data point (or *signal*) means something pretty significant for one part of the population--people with bad credit--than it does for the rest. The same can be said of Ks for pitchers and hitters. . .

    I'll shut up because my help is probably more confusing than "helpful."

  6. #20
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Quote Originally Posted by D-Man
    We use Ks as a shorthand for good pitching. The inverse can not be said of high-K hitters.
    In a nutshell, that's it.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor
    Just a note on Dunn.

    152 of his 195 strike outs took place with either no one on base (thus no way to advance a runner) or with runners on but with 2 outs (also, no way to advance a runner).

    At least 78% of his K's meant nothing more then a "regular" out.
    A few of those could have been errors if they were hit.

    The real benifits of reducing strike outs is if they can be replaced w/ something other than an out. For example w/ Dunn is that when he doesn't strike out my guess his OPS last year was over 2.000. That why I think if Dunn can cut down on his K's he will become even a better player because he would replace the K's w/ something other than an out.

  8. #22
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4256 Hits
    A few of those could have been errors if they were hit.

    The real benifits of reducing strike outs is if they can be replaced w/ something other than an out. For example w/ Dunn is that when he doesn't strike out my guess his OPS last year was over 2.000. That why I think if Dunn can cut down on his K's he will become even a better player because he would replace the K's w/ something other than an out.
    The number of error would be eclipsed by the number of DPs.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  9. #23
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    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.
    Exactly, but the need for a good K rate increases in one out reliever situations more than in over the span of the game situations.

    Leading to everyone longing for Gagne type of monsters.

    The starting pitcher is assigned 9 innings every 5 days to procure 27 outs, 3 at a time. Back in the day when you had 3-4 starters a team the pitching load was shouldered by less players and "spreading the wealth" in aquiring outs was prefered, because the ball was deader. As the ball livened pitchers pitched lesser innings, were expected to be stronger to combat the increased hitting by keeping the ball out of play more.

    The hitter will get 3 ab's in the game for sure, everyday if he's a starter if he K's then he's going to get another chance later in the game, the next day, the next week. And if he accumulates bases then he is evening it out.

    The pitcher on the other hand appears only two times a week and helps his team more by limiteding the ball from being in play.

  10. #24
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Here's the thing...

    The high K rate Pitchers are also generally the low OPS Against pitchers. They allow few hits and few bases. Because of their ability to get hitters to miss.

    If you check the numbers since 2001, you'll find that of the seasonal top 10 K/9IP ERA qualifier leaders, only six of them posted OPS Against numbers higher than .700 (well below league average). Only one put up an OPS Against higher than .712 (Brandon Duckworth, .798- 2002).

    However, of the top 10 MLB Strikeout Batting Title qualifiers since 2000, only three seasons came in at under 5.00 RC/27 Outs. Only 14 player-seasons in that time span ended up under 6.00 RC/27 Outs.

    That tells us that the high K rate players not only put up well above average Run values, but that 94% of the highest K seasons since 2000 would have outscored your average 2004 MLB team per game. 72% of those hitters would have outscored the 2004 Boston Red Sox per 27 Outs.

    Really, what the data shows us is that what may appear to be counter-intuitive isn't. The actual effect of a K for a pitcher is very different for a hitter when looking at the actual performance data.

    D-Man was correct. The Strikeout, while an important factor for a pitcher's success rate is very very often simply a residue left behind in the wake of a very productive hitter.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
    --Ted Williams

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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM
    The number of error would be eclipsed by the number of DPs.
    I was refering to the 78% of the times that the K was either w/ bases empty or two outs that Rasior refered to. I was also half joking that what the was for.

  12. #26
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4256 Hits
    The real benifits of reducing strike outs is if they can be replaced w/ something other than an out.
    Good in theory, but then the side-effect will most certainly be a loss of power on balls put in play. I think you would see many less HR and Doubles from a player like Dunn if his focus becomes not striking out. Where would the final numbers fall? Impossible to say, it mostly depends on how successful the guy is in not striking out and what sacrafices are made to meet that goal.

    If Dunn was really worried about K'ing a bunch, he'd be swinging at balls much earlier in the count on a regular basis. IMO this would not be a good thing. He would not draw near as many walks, and he would not put up the same power numbers either. I think Dunn sits on certain pitches and he is more likely to see them the longer he can stand at the plate.

    GL

  13. #27
    All dyslexics must untie!
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Strikeouts are fascist ~ Crash Davis
    Never overlook the obvious

  14. #28
    Member Crumbley's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    Adam Dunn will never truly be great until he learns the power of the choke bunt.

  15. #29
    You know his story Redsland's Avatar
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    And the butcher boy.
    Makes all the routine posts.

  16. #30
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    Re: Strike out = to any other out?

    If you'll be patient with me, I might yet reach enlightenment...

    As the batter walks back to the dugout with his bat on his shoulder, he's thinking, "No biggie, if it hadn't been a strikeout, it would have been another kind of out."

    And the pitcher is thinking, "Great, if it hadn't been a strikeout, he might have gotten on base somehow." I wonder why we can't reverse the assumptions.

    If the strikeout is the pitcher's homerun, than a batter who gives up lots of homeruns can't be a good thing, can it? The batter has given up all control of the at-bat to the other team and has allowed the pitcher to make sure that he didn't get on base. The point seems to be shifting, though. It's not strikeouts that are important, it's OPS against. Strikeouts just tend to show up in a good OPS against. If there were a lot of wild young Koufaxes and Ryans who got lots of strikeouts but were also ineffective early in their careers, people might not put so much importance in strikeouts as a measure of effectiveness. Who are the "Wild Things" these days, who can "strike out the side" while pitching into and out of trouble? Scott Williamson comes to mind, but are there better examples?

    I wonder if we put importance on strikes because it's something we can measure about a pitcher. That's kind of like searching for a quarter down the street from where we lost it because the light is better there.

    If a strikeout benefits the pitcher's team, that can't be good for the hitter or his team. If a strikeout doesn't hurt the hitter's team, then what is it, other than something that just looks good on a pitcher's resume?


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