Strikeout Percentage — Player Analysis
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Stat of the Week
by Peter Liubicich
Strikeout Percentage — Player Analysis
This post was written by Peter Liubicich on July 12, 2012
Posted Under: Stat of the Week

With the All Star Game past and as we enter the midst of the dog days of summer the next milestone in the 2012 season is the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31st at 4pm.  It will be interesting to see if the trade deadline will have more buyers and sellers with the expansion of the playoff system.  At the All Star break only 3 teams in the American League are more than 2.5 games out of the last playoff spot!  This means that there are only three teams that could possibly be sellers (Kansas City, Minnesota and Seattle) while all of the teams within 2.5 games or less of the last playoff spot will have a hard time justifying to their fans for being sellers in the next three weeks.  The National League has a little less parody as five teams are 10 or more games out of the second wild card spot (Philadelphia, San Diego, Chicago, Colorado and Houston) and with the Astros trading Carlos Lee, there does not appear to be too many superstars on the market from teams that could be possible sellers (unless the Phillies decide to clean house which would be rash in my opinion).  With the Cubs looking to completely restructure their farm system, I would expect them to be the biggest sellers the next three weeks, but the great thing about this game is that you can always expect the unexpected.

We are looking at Strikeout Percentage(K%) and Hardball Times took a look at what K% is acceptable for a player before they become a detriment to a lineup.  They concluded that the highest acceptable range was 25-30% and it depended on the type of hitter, as Home Run hitters with high K% are easier to endure than leadoff hitters with high K%.  Their example was that Ryan Howard’s K% of 30.2% in 2011 was easier to endure from the Phillies perspective than Dexter Fowler’s K% of 26.8% for the Rockies.

One player who has become synonymous with high strikeout rates in today’s game is Mark Reynolds.  Reynolds holds the record for most strikeouts in a single season with 223 in 2009.  He also holds the record for 2nd and 4th most strikeouts in a season with 211 in 2010 and 204 in 2008.  In this three year span he accumulated 638 strikeouts in 1871 Plate Appearances.  Remember that FanGraphs measures K% as K/PA so in three years, Reynolds had a K% of 34.1% a truly remarkable feat.  Remember that a high K% is acceptable if a player is still able to consistently get on-base and Reynolds’ On-Base Percentage numbers in those three years were .320, .349, .320 (and in 2010 his Batting Average was .198) and his Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) was even better.  In 2008 his wOBA was .340 and then in 2009 increased to .381 and then plummeted to .328.  His numbers in 2009 show that Reynolds has the ability to get on-base often and probably why the Orioles took a flyer on him although he has yet to return to that potential.

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Next Post: July 13, 2012