Here and elsewhere, Rob Neyer has discussed, at some length, a trend he refers to as the Strikeout Scourge. Whether you’re for it, against it, or neutral, there’s no denying what’s going on — strikeouts are rising, league-wide.
Right now, strikeouts are happening more frequently than ever. A year ago, they were occuring the most frequently they’d ever been. The year before that, swinging and missing was even more popular. The year before that . . . you get the idea.
Strikeouts are just a common part of the game, and statistical benchmarks you used to consider familiar and stable no longer have the same meaning. Just about everybody is striking out more.
So it’s no longer odd to notice a rising strikeout rate. What’s odd is to notice the very opposite of that, and this brings us to something most curious about the so-far surprising Colorado Rockies.
One of the hottest players out of the gate has been Charlie Blackmon, after spending spring training not sure if he’d have a regular job. Blackmon’s been one of the most valuable players in baseball, and as a component of his success, he’s all but completely stopped striking out. The single most valuable player in baseball, meanwhile, has been teammate Troy Tulowitzki, and he’s also an excellent contact hitter. Nolan Arenado has established a new franchise record with a 28-game hitting streak, and he makes a habit of putting the ball in play. The Rockies have hit the snot out of the ball, and driving that is that they’ve actually hit the ball.
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