Daily Notes: Chris Carter’s Record Strikeout Rate in Context

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Chris Carter’s Record Strikeout Rate in Context
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Chris Carter’s Record Strikeout Rate in Context
Of late, the author has encountered more than one concerned internet citizen making a comment to the effect that Houston corner-type Chris Carter has recorded, thus far, the highest strikeout rate of any qualified batter in major-league history. Indeed, as the table below indicates — of the ten highest single-season strikeout rates since 1913 (i.e. the year since which we have contiguous strikeout data) — these concerned citizens are also generally honest ones.

To wit:

Rank Name Team Season PA K%
1 Chris Carter Astros 2013 526 36.9%
2 Mark Reynolds D-backs 2010 596 35.4%
3 Adam Dunn White Sox 2012 649 34.2%
4 Dave Nicholson White Sox 1963 520 33.7%
5 Mark Reynolds D-backs 2009 662 33.7%
6 Mark Reynolds D-backs 2008 613 33.3%
7 Rob Deer Brewers 1987 566 32.9%
8 Jack Cust Athletics 2008 598 32.9%
9 Rob Deer Brewers 1986 546 32.8%
10 Mike Napoli Red Sox 2013 534 32.6%

What one finds here is a collection of power hitters from the past 25 years, basically, who compensated for a lack of contact with power and/or patience. What one also finds is Dave Nicholson, who seems to have produced a 1.6 WAR in 1963 as a left fielder for the Chicago White Sox — and ultimately a career WAR of 1.7 in 1661 plate appearances.

If one’s ambition, however, is to determine the place of Chris Carter’s 2013 season in all of baseball of all time, one must consider his numbers relative to the context in which they’ve been recorded. For, as a brief inspection of the leaderboards at this site reveals, the 2013 season has produced the second-highest league-wide strikeout rate of the last 101 years.

With a view to examining which players have produced the most prolific strikeout rates relative to their peers, the author has first identified the league-average strikeout rate (strikeouts per plate appearance, that is) for every season since 1913. The author has then divided every qualified player’s seasonal strikeout rate (since 1913, as well) by the relevant league-average rate for that year. The result is an index stat, K-, which measures strikeout rate relative to league average, where a higher figure represents more striking out.

Here are the results of those calculations:

Rank Name Team Season PA K% Lg K% K-
1 Vince DiMaggio Bees 1938 611 21.9% 8.7% 252
2 Pat Seerey Indians 1945 485 20.0% 8.5% 235
3 Jimmie Dykes Athletics 1922 581 16.9% 7.2% 235
4 Gary Alexander – – – 1978 564 29.4% 12.6% 233
5 Boze Berger Indians 1935 504 19.2% 8.3% 231
6 Babe Ruth Yankees 1922 495 16.2% 7.2% 225
7 Dave Nicholson White Sox 1963 520 33.7% 15.3% 220
8 Vince DiMaggio Bees 1937 539 20.6% 9.4% 219
9 Dave Kingman Mets 1975 543 28.2% 13.0% 217
10 Vince DiMaggio Pirates 1943 651 19.4% 9.0% 216

Three Notes
• Old brother both to Dom and Joe, center-fielder Vince DiMaggio is responsible for the most prolific strikeout rate of the last 100 years — not only recording the highest rate relative to league, but also having produced three of the ten-highest adjusted strikeout rates over that interval. While DiMaggio’s career rate of 19.7% is precisely average in 2013, it’s more than double the overall rate of 9.1% registered league-wide between 1937 and -46.

• By this methodology, Carter’s 2013 season is only the 66th-worst so far as strikeout rate relative to league is concerned. His index figure: a 187 K-.

• It’s very possible that a more responsible way of conducting a study such as this one would be to find the z-score for every player’s strikeout rate for every season since 1913. In addition to being the more responsible method, however, this would also be the considerably more time-consuming one.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Cleveland at Chicago AL | 14:10 ET
Danny Salazar (37.0 IP, 71 xFIP-, 0.6 WAR) faces Hector Santiago (138.2 IP, 113 xFIP-, 1.5 WAR). Of some relevance to this matchup is the following table, which features the top-five starters by strikeout rate over the last month (minimum three starts):

Rank Name Team IP TBF K%
1 Ubaldo Jimenez Indians 31.2 128 32.8%
2 Stephen Strasburg Nationals 23.2 93 30.1%
3 Danny Salazar Indians 19.1 77 29.9%
4 Jose Fernandez Marlins 33.0 127 29.9%
5 Yu Darvish Rangers 33.0 134 29.1%

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Cleveland Radio.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire.

Note that these NERD scores are calculated using the methodology introduced recently and designed to account for the influence of playoff odds on the watchability of games. ***Unlike in recent iterations of this table, the author has adjusted the day’s NERD Game Scores such that, combined, they average 5.0.*** This allows said table to resemble more closely the Game Scores that have appeared here over the preceding four months.


Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Danny Salazar CLE 10 3 6 0 3 CHA Hector Santiago 14:10
Jake Arrieta CHN 1 0 9 10 6 PIT Charlie Morton 19:05
Kyle Kendrick PHI 3 0 4 0 10 WAS St. Strasburg 19:05
Jason Hammel BAL 2 1 2 0 5 TOR Todd Redmond 19:07
Bruce Chen KC 2 1 3 0 6 DET Justin Verlander 19:08
Brad Hand* MIA 5 0 3 0 5 NYN Jon Niese 19:10
Hiroki Kuroda NYA 5 4 6 0 7 BOS John Lackey 19:10
Ian Kennedy SD 4 0 3 0 7 ATL David Hale* 19:30
Dan Straily OAK 5 5 10 5 7 TEX Derek Holland 20:05
Jason Vargas LAA 3 0 2 0 6 HOU Dallas Keuchel 20:10
Mat Latos CIN 8 1 4 0 4 MIL Kyle Lohse 20:10
Chris Archer TB 5 7 7 0 2 MIN Kevin Correia 20:10
Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 7 0 10 9 9 STL Adam Wainwright 20:15
Tyler Chatwood COL 6 0 3 0 5 AZ Brandon McCarthy 21:40
Madis. Bumgarner SF 8 0 5 0 10 LAN Clayton Kershaw 22:10

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.



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Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Hurtlockertwo
Guest
Hurtlockertwo
2 years 10 months ago

I’m thinking that even though he is “only” 66th on a list of negative achievements in the history of baseball, it’s still pretty bad.

Hurtlockertwo
Guest
Hurtlockertwo
2 years 10 months ago

He is also on pace to have the most strikeouts in a season in the history of baseball, context or not.

MDL
Member
MDL
2 years 10 months ago

In order to make the top-10 list, Carter would need a K% of 42.6%

Vince DiMaggio’s record is equivalent to a K% of 49.64%

Curious Gino
Guest
Curious Gino
2 years 10 months ago

What would he need to hit like to have the same ISO, OBP, etc?

GoodEnoughForMe
Member
GoodEnoughForMe
2 years 10 months ago

Oh, no, not the bees! Not the bees!

cass
Guest
cass
2 years 10 months ago

I think that saints should be granted some bonus discretionary NERD. A score of 10 is far too low for St. Strasburg.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
2 years 10 months ago

This gets funnier every 5th day when someone posts it.

Schtephenley Schtraschschbujgens
Guest
Schtephenley Schtraschschbujgens
2 years 10 months ago

Ta kon bo ta dolo asina….nan ta hasi propaganda pa nos, anto un lolo manera abo, tin ku hode e kos…………..konjo kens yen di compleho pendew

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 10 months ago

Interesting how, as the playoff picture becomes clear for some, and gets down the wire for others, we see the team NERD scores fly to the opposite extremes.

baycommuter
Guest
baycommuter
2 years 10 months ago

I watched Dave Nicholson as a kid. An even more extreme version of Chris Carter or Adam Dunn, but didn’t connect often enough to stay in the majors. He hit one of the longest home runs ever in old Comiskey.

PackBob
Guest
PackBob
2 years 10 months ago

Nicholson should get more ink. It took 47 years to break his record! The players are at least trying these days to better the record. The relative rate has it’s merits, but there’s nothing like the raw number.

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