Strikeouts vs. Success

Strikeouts vs. Success

Are strikeouts & success related?

I don’t want to get to sabermetrical here, as usually the simplest stats are the most effective. For this example, I took the top fifty IP pitched leaders & divided their statistics into a two sets of groupings and ran the numbers. These stats are as of 08/17/07.
Please realize that I’m trying to keep this simple, so if you could, refrain from throwing some defensive coefficient, DICE or any other saber stat at me.

The first grouping I ran was by ERA. Divided into three groupings: above 4.00 ERA (19 pitchers), 3.00 “ 3.99 ERA (25) and sub 3.00 ERA (6). Remember, I’m using the top fifty IP pitched leaders for these examples:

Above 4 ERA: 5.46 SO/9

3.99 “ 3.00 ERA: 7.148

Sub 3.00 ERA: 8.207

Ok, so on a simple level, grouping 1 supports the theory that ERA & SO have somewhat of a correlation.

For grouping 2, we’re going to break the same 50 pitchers into groupings based upon their SO rates. To keep things even, we’ll take out the bottom two SO/9 pitchers, so that each grouping has an even 16 pitchers.

Grouping 1 (highest 1/3rd): 8.54 SO/9 , 3.47 ERA, 190 “ 103 Record

Grouping 2 (middle 1/3rd): 6.66 SO/9, 3.71 ERA, 169 “ 135 Record

Grouping 3 (lowest 1/3rd): 5.08 SO/9, 4.18 ERA, 162 “ 133 Record

This also supports the theory that K & success are correlated.

The real reasoning behind running these numbers was to see how low strikeout pitchers fare in today’s major leagues.

For my bonus test, we’ll up our sample size to the top 100 MLB leaders in IP. But for a twist, we’ll only look at the combined success rate of low K/9 pitchers, those that are below the threshold of 5 K per 9 IP.

Of the top 100 grouping, only 19 qualify. Here are their combined stats:

SO/9: 4.30, ERA: 4.60, 158 “ 157 Record

I’ll leave it too you to draw a conclusion from this. Personally, I believe that K and success do carry a level of correlation in today’s game, so I don’t 100% buy into the old argument that (strikeouts don’t matter all that much). Sure, in insolated instantces (ie pitchers) this may hold true but on the whole the numbers do not seem to support this cliché.

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  • Well done Kman. It is true the strikeout is important, but I think it is indeed overrated because it is so very sexy. While the strikeout doesn’t guarantee success, it does help in most cases.

  • For the next one I’ll tackle GB/FB ratio vs Success.

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    Not always the case says Mark Beuhrle