“Just put the ball in play… make something happen.”
The above lament was a comment I heard many times over the course of my baseball playing days. The premise was simple: Putting the ball in play is better than striking out. You never know what can happen when you hit the ball… there could be a hit, a fielding error, etc. It’s pretty seldom that you reach base when you strike out.
Let’s throw some numbers on the above theory:
Major League teams last season were 612-936 (.395 winning percentage) when their hitters struck out 10 or more times in a game. The Tampa Bay Rays led the majors with 81 games (exactly half of their games in 2017) where their line-up struck out 10 or more times in a contest. The Milwaukee Brewers led the National League teams in this stat; their hitters struck out 10 or more times in 80 games. (For Brewers fans, the Brew Crew went 32-48, a.400 winning percentage, in those games.)
It’s interesting to note that last year’s World Series champs, the Houston Astros, had the fewest number of games with 10 or more strikeouts in 2017 with 21. Coincidence?
Here is the number of games each MLB team struck out 10 or more times last season.
62-Chicago White Sox
55-L.A. Dodgers, N.Y. Yankees
32-Atlanta, Kansas City
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