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More K's than Hits in 2018 - What's Going On?

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  • More K's than Hits in 2018 - What's Going On?

    For the first time in MLB history, there were more K's than hits in 2018. MLB had the lowest batting average since the start of the DH.

    Is there too much emphasis on metrics when it comes to scouting hitting? Do recruiters only care about exit speed, bat speed, 60 yard dash speed times - and not enough on whether the player can actually hit?

    Would a person with this swing even get a shot today https://www.mlb.com/video/laa-rod-ca...29/c-20048345?

    I'm genuinely curious about the feedback here so please share your thoughts. We're well into the metrics era and so far, it's doesn't seem that impressive.
    Last edited by Baseball 100; 11-06-2018, 01:10 PM.

  • #2
    Defensively: Higher velocity, more situational relievers
    Offensively: less small ball, more long ball hitting approaches
    Last edited by bluedawg; 11-06-2018, 01:15 PM. Reason: removed comment on defensive shifts which probably don't cause too many Ks

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    • #3
      I find it hilarious that the first two swings in your clip are HR.

      Baseball has always had metrics. There are just better tools to analyze even more today.

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      • #4
        Higher exit velocities dont cause strikeouts

        Long ball emphasis doesn't cause strikeouts. Incoming pitch is approx 9 deg. Ground ball hitters use zero to negative (down cut) launch angles. So today's launch angle approach should lead to the same or higher contact percentages, since they are more closely matching the plane of the incoming pitch.

        Average pitch speeds are up significantly. This is the most likely cause of higher Ks. Harder to hit in their hot zone, and harder to hit in the hitter's weak zone. Plus balls that could have been hit weakly in play are now fouled off because of the slightly higher speed.

        Velo is king.
        Last edited by songtitle; 11-06-2018, 01:37 PM.
        efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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        • #5
          Part of the problem is “acceptance.” Once upon a time, it was an embarrassment to strike out (as a batter). However, with the advent of sabermetric run expectancy tables yielding that a strikeout is no worse than any other form of out (and better than GIDP!) coupled with front office staff buying into the studies, there’s now no shame to striking out. Used to be that guys who struck out 100+ times a year where BAD news. Today, if a guy strikes out 200+ times, NO ONE CARES – just as long as his OBA is .400+ and he has 30+ homers. Say whatever you want about the root causes of the rising K-rate. Bullpening. Pitching velo. Attack angles. Bottom line: If batters, AND MANAGEMENT, cared out not striking out so much, then it would change. But, they don’t care. So, the whiff rate is what it is…
          Coaching experience: Managed 5 Little League teams and coached on 4 others. So, what do I know?

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          • #6
            It’s higher pitching velocities and not seeing the same pitcher a third or fourth time combined with uppercut swings in an attempt to launch extra base hits/homers. Less and less hitters are swinging on the plane of the pitch as Ted Williams recommended and was followed for years.

            It’s hard to argue with what has proven to produce the most runs. But I’m starting to find MLB baseball unwatchable. I used to focus on the game. Now I read and look up when I hear the announcer’s voice rise.

            I’m not impressed with Chris Sale striking out ten every appearance. A grandmother could strike out seven or eight.
            Last edited by JettSixty; 11-07-2018, 03:22 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
              I used to focus on the game. Now I read and look up when I hear the announcers voice rise.
              Hahaha, and here I thought I was the only one doing that these days. =)

              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Baseball 100 View Post

                Would a person with this swing even get a shot today https://www.mlb.com/video/laa-rod-ca...29/c-20048345?
                While watching the World Series this year I wondered how Rod Carew or Pete Rose would have fared.If they were playing today would Carew change his style -swing harder, get the ball up in the air? Would Rose standup a little straighter and lengthen his swing? Both Carew and Rose could have hit more hr's had they wanted to. Same with Boggs.... The Dodgers stuck to their plan for the most part while the Red Sox seemed to make a few more adjustments. Swing hard in case you hit it, get the ball in the air. David Freese, not noted for ultra high homer numbers led the Dodgers in hitting yet when the last game was on the line late he was pinch hit for Bellenger. Freeze was 2 for 3 that game; he led Dodgers at that point with a .417. Bellenger was batting .063. Freeze had 11 hr's (avg 15 a year) Bellenger hit 25 (avg 32) The change was made, presumably, because the pitcher was a righty. For me, this is the poster child for bad metrics.
                Major Figure

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                • #9
                  Don't forget the effect of defensive metrics and shifts. It seems impossible to get a hit on a ground ball anymore, especially with no one on base.

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                  • #10
                    This would be an issue if you won games by getting the most hits....

                    On average what is that 1 or 2 extra strikeouts a game? I doubt anybody, unless they are specifically counting K's, would be able to tell you the difference between 8 and 10 K's in a game. As for the reason, while hitting approach may have something to do with it,my guess is that better arms is the biggest contributor. Growing up watching baseball in 80's, guys throwing mid to upper 90's was reserved for high end starters and closers. Now 1/2 of the guys coming out of the pen are throwing 95+ it seems. The WS was a great example, name a guy on the Sox who came out of the BP who was throwing less than 95..the two who came out of the BP who threw the "slowest" were probably Price and Sale...It would be interesting see if there was a strong correlation between the increase in K's and the average velocities of guys throwing in the 6th,7th and 8th innings. Velocity isn't everything, but it is lot easier to get away with a mistake at 97mph then it is at 89 mph...

                    I don't watch as much baseball as I used but it isn't because of the product on the field and more related to the fact that I have a) 3 kids under the age 10 b) am a Red Sox fan and too cheap (see a) ) to pay to get to be able to watch them every night. I do however watch the Cardinals and Royals, 2 teams which I have no rooting interest in but are free with my cable subscription, whenever I get the opportunity to sneak in some TV time.
                    Last edited by pattar; 11-07-2018, 05:47 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by flyingmachine3 View Post
                      I find it hilarious that the first two swings in your clip are HR.
                      Yeah, I noticed that too. Just not that much video on Carew and that was a career retrospective clip. In reality, he averaged a HR every 101 abs, or about 5.5 a season with a swing that doesn't look like would produce the exit speeds that the scouts at any level would care about. I could have put other clips of Rose, Gwynn, Eckstein, any really good ballplayers who might not play today.
                      Last edited by Baseball 100; 11-07-2018, 06:19 AM.

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                      • #12
                        To be fair there are still some players who don't strike out a lot without having zero power. Guys like Murphy, altuve and turner have hit 20 plus homers with K rates in the low 10s.
                        I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                        • #13
                          The increase in K's cuts both ways, because of course we love K's when it's our own guy on the mound!
                          Last edited by skipper5; 11-07-2018, 09:06 AM.
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                          • #14
                            The Runs Per Game are closer to the Steroid Era than before it... so I guess "Yeah Math"

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                            • #15
                              I'd say a combination of pitching velo increase over the course of time and drafting players based upon size, speed and projection rather than drafting players who can actually play the game.

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