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You Want Proof?

Bethke
on 05/08/2002

 

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 score runs.

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 the least:

ARI

 




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otherArticles
 
  Alex Sanchez... Starting CF?
(2002-05-18)
You Want Proof?
(2002-05-08)
How Far Away Are We?
(2001-10-22)
An Open Letter to Drew Olson
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Weighing the Options at Shortstop
(2001-08-18)
Strikeouts Are Not The Problem
(2001-07-29)

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