Last summer, I submitted an article that was entitled "Strikeouts Are Not The Problem".
It was simply a group of numbers that indicated to me that the Brewers' record breaking
ability to strikeout had nothing to do with the team's poor offensive showing.
In fact, looking at the final 2001 stats, our Crew
finished 11th in runs scored, of the 16 NL teams.
Five teams scored fewer runs, though the Crew K'd so
often. In that article, I pointed out the incredible correlation that teams with a high
on-base percentage (OBP), nearly without exception, also are the top offensive teams as
measured by runs scored. Actually, it makes a lot of mathematical sense. Teams that
have the most baserunners, will quite likely score the most runs.
Because of my tremendous pull with the front office
(for those who do not know me well, this is sarcasm),
the Brewers spent much of the offseason using the word
"contact hitter(s)" at the top of their wish list
Supposedly, as the story went, adding some contact
hitters to the batting order would see the Brewers
"move the runners along", while "putting the ball in
play", and that by "playing small ball" the team would
score more runs, damn near magically. What this led
to was basically replacing Ronnie Belliard and Jeromy
Burnitz with Eric Young and a OF battalion of Alex
Ochoa, Alex Sanchez, and Matt Stairs. What's ironic
about this is that in the prior article I specifically mentioned
Burnie and Belly as the two guys who worked the count well, and
both had good OBP's for their defensive position.
On a personal level, one of my favorite parts of a
game is watching Ronnie hit. He is never afraid to
get behind in the count, and nearly always gets one
good swing at a fastball. He also takes a lot of
walks, which has value in not only increasing your
OBP, but tiring the opposing hurler. Having the Extra
Innings package on DIRECT TV, I have been able to
admire both the A's and Mariners ability to do this as
a team from afar. The difference is, both of the AL
West clubs have 6-7 guys that do this, rather than
just Ronnie. Often, in a 2-2 game, the opponent will
have to go to the bullpen because their starter has
thrown 110+ pitches just to get through 5 innings. In
most cases, a team's weakest arms, the 10th and 11th
men on the staff, are then thrust into the action.
Historically, this is when SEA & OAK consistently
So, let's take a look at how the numbers stack up
through, through the season's first month. Granted,
less than 20% of the season has been played, so all
numbers should be considered to be preliminary. First
let's look at the teams in each league that strike out