Strikeouts to Walks Ratio
Stat of the Week
by Peter Liubicich
Strikeouts to Walks Ratio
This post was written by Peter Liubicich on July 2, 2012
Posted Under: Stat of the Week

The All Star Game rosters were announced yesterday and Mike Trout, whose season we looked at last week, was named to the American League reserves.  He still leads the American League in Batting Average and after this home run he hit during yesterday’s game it is clear that this will be the first of many All Star Games and he will be starting in the outfield sometime soon.

We have looked at a number of pitching statistics including Earned Run Average, Walks, Strikeouts, WHIP, Groundballs, FIP and even Saves.  This week we’ll look at Strikeouts to Walks ratio (K/BB) which evaluates a pitcher’s efficiency by comparing the number of batters they send back to the dugout to the number of batters they allow a free pass to first base.

Again, Strikeouts are important for a pitcher to be successful in MLB as they keep a pitcher from relying too heavily on their defense or have to worry about external factors such as luck.  Walks, on the other hand, are a pitcher’s biggest enemy and a batter’s best friend as they increase the a batter’s On-Base Percentage and give their teammates more opportunities to drive them in and score runs. Eric Seidman of Baseball Prospectus notes that the ratio “informs fans, on average, how often a pitcher produces positive results relative to those on the opposite side of the spectrum.”  With K/BB ratio, you ideally want pitchers on your favorite team’s starting rotation to have a ratio of at least 3 to 1.  Michael Salfino of YahooSports made the case this past May that if a player’s K/BB ratio remains high, then their ERA and WHIP will also be impressive, but he made this case on May 24th of this season and should be reevaluated at the All Star Break.

However, you should not look solely to K/BB ratio to see the effectiveness of pitchers as starters like Carlos Silva and Greg Maddux, in the twilight years of his career, had high K/BB ratios, but that was more of an indicator of them being control pitchers and not allowing many walks than their dominance.

On Thursday we will look at Cliff Lee’s 2010 season where he had a K/BB ratio of 10.27 and Curt Schilling’s career K/BB ratio which ranks second in MLB history at 4.38.

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