Strikeouts have been debated many times in many places, in terms of how bad it is for a hitter to strike out. Everyone knows that strikeouts are bad for a team's offense, but.....
How much should an individual player's performance be "downrated" if he strikes out a lot? Little, if any, imo.
Here are a few points which are rarely challenged:
1. The strikeout is an "unproductive" out..... statistically speaking, the most unproductive batting outcome which produces a single out.
2. A ground ball which results in a double play generally is a worse outcome than a strikeout (although a GIDP CAN result in a run if it happens with no outs).
3. Nevertheless, almost all observers agree that it's better for a hitter to put the ball in play rather than strike out.
However, in order to address the question in bold above, let's compare the offensive performance of two hypothetical players:
- Player A: .295 AVG, .375 OBP, .550 SLG, .925 OPS, 30 HR, 105 R, 115 RBI, 15 SB, 60K
- Player B: .295 AVG, .375 OBP, .550 SLG, .925 OPS, 30 HR, 105 R, 115 RBI, 15 SB, 150K
Obviously, the numbers listed for each player are identical, EXCEPT for strikeouts.
My opinion is that player A and player B produced essentially EQUAL value for their teams' offenses, despite the fact that player B struck out 2-1/2 times as much as player A.
- An otherwise productive hitter (e.g. Player B) should NOT be downrated just because he strikes out a lot. Rather, he should be rated based upon his production, REGARDLESS of how often he strikes out.
- A player such as our hypothetical Player B would be even MORE productive if he cut down on his strikeouts, but his strikeouts don't detract from the offensive numbers which he DID produce. Obviously, with less strikeouts, Player B's other numbers probably would increase, such that he would be MORE productive than Player A.
Comments and other opinions are welcome.