Groundball + K Pitching Leaders

Groundball + K Pitching Leaders

Almost everyone loves having a ground ball specialist on their favorite team. Some ground ball pitchers like Chien-Ming Wang induce a large percentage of ground balls, yet they aren’t known as strikeout threats.

And some big-time strikeout pitchers, such as Johan Santana, pitches to a larger percentage of flyballs. (Santana has a balls in play ratio of 38% GB, 18% Line Drives, 44% Flyballs). Certainly Santana falls into the nasty category. Although not necessarily as a nasty ground ball pitcher.

I’m not implying that the sinker thrown by Wang isn’t nasty in itself. I’m just trying to find out who the top combo strikeout & ground ball pitchers are. That’s double nasty…

Double Nasty:


In the beginning I was also going to include infield flyballs in the equation but at that point the equation was beginning to look very similar to a straight K/BB + FB/GB/LD stat.

Is this method somewhat flawed? Well sure it is. Groundballs do not automatically turn into outs (as strikeouts do). To remedy this, I lated subbed in a modifier that calculated K + GB Outs (using the MLB average of 74% of GB are outs). While in theory this was sound, this completely tipped the scale over to strikeout pitchers. This turns the stat into an out % instead of an plate appearance outcome predictor. So that was scarped and we ended up with:

GB% of PA + K% of PA

Top 25 List


Jumping into the results I ended up including 25. I did this to illistrate Chad Gaudin’s slipped PA rate. While in standard GB% he had a score of 51% his K modified rate dropped due to his high walk rate of 11.3%. Many of the players in front of Gaudin had lower BB rates & higher K rates, which when coupled with their original GB % they ended up with higher modified ranking.

The most noticeable jump on the list takes place at 9 with strikeout specialist Eric Bedard. His MLB leading K rate of 30% of plate appearances, along with his 47.9% GB percentage, pushed him just ahead of Wang. Other notible gainers included Jake Peavy, CC Sabathia, John Smoltz & Scott Kazmir. Ground ball pitchers with low K rates & average 7+% walk rates like Aaron Cook find themselves down on the list, although not as much as pitchers with higher walk percentages, such as the previously mentioned Gaudin.

Written By

has written for since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +