A while back, I had a little pet project to try and simplify the process of sniffing out the over- and under-performers relative to strikeout rates. More specifically, recognizing the sometimes wild fluctuations between strikeout rates year to year, I wanted a better idea if a particular pitcher earned their increase (or decrease) in the category. Was there a process — similar to the one we use on ERA with batting average on balls in play and strand rates — that we could go through for strikeout rates?
Obviously, a high swinging strike rate suggests an inherent ability to strike batters out. Makes sense –- you don’t miss many bats, you’re not likely to wind up registering many strikeouts. So using the swinging strike rate to potentially identify the pretenders from the contenders has merit as the season wears on. But I wanted to tighten that up a bit — add variables that would perhaps control for another part of a pitcher’s skill set to help us identify who should reasonably be expected to strike out more, or fewer, batters. And of course, this is with fantasy baseball in mind –- so the idea was that we can all outsmart the next guy relative to the strikeout column.
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