FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. Nice work, Bill.

    Comment by schmenkman — June 28, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  2. Of the post-1970 players, Gary Sheffield sticks out as something of a surprise. I knew he walked quite a bit but his avoidance of strikeouts is pretty amazing–tied with Bonds for # of seasons (14) with more BB than K, quite a feat for power hitters.

    Comment by Mike B. — June 28, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  3. Nice. This always intrigued me. We all are well aware of the skewing of stats by the “Steroid Era” and the “Dead Ball Era”, but the “BB > K” throws the stats off kilter as well.

    I wonder what Joe DiMaggio’s BB/K would be if you dropped him in to the current era…

    Comment by Sean — June 28, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  4. Nice work. I guess it’s impossible, but it would be interesting to tease out how much comes from hitters being more aggressive and how much is attributable to the other side with specialized relief pitchers and increased use of sliders, etc.

    Comment by jdbolick — June 28, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  5. I cannot imagine two more different players than Jeff Keppinger and Albert Pujols, but apparently they share the distinction of Walking more than striking out.

    Comment by Jack — June 28, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  6. I thought a brief picture of active career numbers would be interesting. Aside from Pujols, Jones and Helton, the only 4 active players (min. 3000 PAs) with career BB% greater than their career K% are Pedroia, Mauer, Carlos Ruiz (barely), and Pierre (barely).

    WIth retirements and decline, by next year the list could be down to 3-4.

    Comment by TKDC — June 28, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  7. Next up… The emergence of pitchers that strikout a higher rate of hitters!

    Two-way street here.

    Comment by John — June 28, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  8. Joe D would have a lot more SOs than he did.

    Comment by John — June 28, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  9. Surprised Cal Ripken didn’t make the list.

    Would have guessed he had 8 seasons in which he had more BB than SO.

    Comment by John — June 28, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  10. FWIW, Votto would have been on this list 2 days ago. He’s currently at 60:60
    K:BB, but he K’d 6 times in his last 4 games while walking twice.

    Comment by GUY — June 28, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  11. Nice piece.

    I find it striking that although these (“modern” group) are all good hitters, they don’t seem to have much else in common. Madlock and Evans, for instance, contemporary NL 3B: Evans struck out a lot (several years over 100) and walked a ton, while Madlock walked some and struck out rarely.

    Comment by Mr Punch — June 28, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  12. DiMaggio played most of his years before the AL integrated. There were seven other teams he played against with an artificially low talent pool due to segregation. His numbers would look a lot different.

    Comment by RMD — June 28, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  13. I’m pretty sure Jose Bautista has been fairly close to more BB’s than K’s all season.

    Comment by Big Jgke — June 28, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  14. Your list is missing the great Al Kaline, 17 years.
    But I think this is one of those things that has changed in the game, lack pitch recognition, plate discipline be dammed, most every player is now looking to drive a ball well over 400/450 feet, and not working the count, and taking pitches low or off the corner.

    Comment by Ron — June 28, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  15. Emilio Bonifacio and Carlos Lee are surely more different than Jeff Keppinger and Albert Pujols? Or maybe Kent Hrbek and Rickey Henderson.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — June 28, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  16. Kaline had 12 qualified seasons out of 15 with BB% > K%, so he missed the top 30.

    Comment by Bill Petti — June 28, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  17. Looked it up, Ripken had 7! lol

    Comment by John — June 28, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  18. He also wouldn’t have to hit into the 490 ft Death Valley in left-center field. His numbers would look different, but I think he’d still be an MVP.

    Comment by jscape2000 — June 28, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

  19. Was thinking about this just today! Different pitches, multiple pitchers per game, and the hitters’ willingness to swing away behind in the count (allowing pitchers to throw off the plate and still get outs) are just as much a change as the appreciate of the all-or-nothing approach.

    Comment by jscape2000 — June 28, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  20. Check out the all-time K/BB leaderboard for pitchers. It’s an interesting list. Jon Lieber is #11. Of all time!

    Comment by Al Dimond — June 28, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  21. Chipper’s also on the 50/50 list. 18:18 K:BB…

    Comment by GUY — June 28, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  22. Looks like Pujols is probably gonna do this again. 3 walks last night and he only has 6 more strikeouts than walks on the season. He’s done it every year since his rookie season in 2001, and in some years (2008 and 2006) he’s had nearly twice the amount of walks as strikeouts.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — June 28, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

  23. Attributed to hitters being conditioned to Chicks Dig The Longball sort of mentality? Pitcher specialization? A hell of a lot more data on hitters’ zones and tendancies through video and pitch F/X? Some combination thereof?

    Comment by Snowblind — June 28, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

  24. You would be correct. 48BB and 50K’s.

    Comment by JayZ — June 28, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

  25. naa, more attributable to not getting on base by any means necessary, even if its a bunt, or a walk, or a “less glamorous” manner. I dont want to merely be on base. I wanna be the person that is on the nights highlight reel. Bunts and walks dont get me there. Plus, ever hear of a player being paid very well because he can hit a bunt or take a walk? (as his big line on the resume)

    Comment by Cidron — June 28, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

  26. Absolutely there are players who are good just because of that. If Carlos Pena couldn’t take a walk he’d be a bad, bad player. Same with Adam Dunn, and all your TTO hitters.

    It’s two things, really – now, pitching prospects MUST be able to strike guys out, so we take high K pitchers rather than “pitch to contact” guys. And now people are realising that striking out 200 times a year is not bad if you walk a ton and club 40 homers like a Mark Reynolds.

    So we’ve incentivised pitchers to strike guys out, and de-emphasised the K as a negative outcome for hitters. Sure you’re going to see more strikeouts.

    Comment by CJ — June 28, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

  27. According to your graph walk rates have not trended up since 1920. Walk rates reached their peak in 1948-1949 – fell until about 1970 – then made a one year rise and have largely remained flat since.

    Comment by KB — June 28, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

  28. Amazingly, walks are still just not valued enough. My favorite is Gene Tenace’s 1977 season when he hit .233 with a .415 OBP. But there’s also Jimmy Wynn’s 1976 when he hit .207 with a .376 OBP. Players like that just don’t exist anymore.

    Comment by Brian — June 29, 2012 @ 1:10 am

  29. Adam Dunn? Jack Cust?

    Ben Zobrist and Jose Bautista are doing it this year…

    Comment by EDogg1438 — June 29, 2012 @ 1:35 am

  30. Don’t forget about the amazingly disciplined Ian Kinsler:

    2011: 89 BB [12.3%], 71 K [9.8 %]

    Although he’s regressing a bit this year, albeit with a greater BA.

    Comment by Spencer Silva — June 29, 2012 @ 1:38 am

  31. I would like to see a study of this data against the trends of the effectiveness of pitchers…however someone would like to judge pitcher effectiveness.

    Comment by miguel — June 29, 2012 @ 2:57 am

  32. Yeah, according the graph at least walk rates look like they’ve been 8-10% for 90 years. Strikeout rates and walk rates truly diverged in about 1950, looks like.

    Comment by bill — June 29, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  33. It’s slight, but if you look at the actual data there is a slight upward trend over time. But, agreed, I probably worded it too strongly in the piece.

    Comment by Bill Petti — June 29, 2012 @ 10:42 am

  34. any possibility that an effect could be felt from the rise of latin players? the old adage of, “you don’t walk off the island” and all that.

    Comment by MrKnowNothing — June 29, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  35. It took me about 10 minutes to understand the drop in the mid 1940′s. Now I feel really, really dumb.

    Comment by Dylan — July 5, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

  36. Carlos Pena certainly, as well.

    Comment by Ryan — July 13, 2012 @ 11:23 am

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