Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Swinging for the Fences

Loyal WMHG readers know of my distaste for the strikeout. In last season's weekly 'Leading Off' feature, a main component was the "Ryan Howard K Counter", which chronicled his march toward plate-discipline infamy. Well, I'd be remiss if I failed to mention that a surprise player blew by him and totaled 204 K's, smashing the K record Howard set in 2007 (199). The Rhino repeated those 199 whiffs again in 2008.

All this swingin' and a missin' got me thinking: Has a guy that's played a full season ever struck out more times and reached a higher number than his batting average? While I don't actually know if that's ever happened, here are three Fantasy K studs that have come close to this dastardly feat:

Mark Reynolds - 2008

AB - 539, BA - .239, K - 204*, Differential = 35 (*New MLB Record)

Jack Cust - 2008

AB - 481, BA - .231, K - 197, Differential = 34

Rob Deer - 1991

AB - 448, BA - .179, K - 175, Differential = 4

Now, that's a lot of sucking! Hard to believe that just because these guys can hit the ball out of the park this kind of ineptness is tolerated and even rewarded. Don't they know strikeouts kill rallies? We all can name a handful of players off the top of our heads who could actually make the "strike out more than your batting average" a reality (players, other than the first two guys above). Obviously, guys like Ryan Howard and Dan Uggla come to mind, but their career BA's are just too high. These guys may love whiffing more than the next guy, but I just don't see them striking out 250+ times. So, here are a few of my own personal potential candidates, in no particular order:

Adam Dunn - K's in 2008 = 164

This list couldn't be complete without him. About 170 K's per season avg and a career batting avg in the .240's means the Big Donkey can smell this record. Plus, since he's still unsigned, I'm sure he'll be extra mad next season, causing him to swing with more blind rage than ever!

Carlos Pena - K's in 2008 = 166

Carlos' career started as slow as one can start. But now that he's "established" it's easy to see how much he loves to not make contact. His 35 point dip in batting average from 2007 to 2008 leads me to believe that he's closer to a .240 hitter than a .280 hitter. The fall from there
isn't too far.

Chris Young - K's in 2008 = 153

This young man looks to be tall, lanky and 160 lbs soaking wet. I still struggle trying to figure out where his power comes from. Apparently, he just closes his eyes and swings as hard as he can. Going into his 3rd season after logging a .237 and .248 BA in his first two seasons, you can tell the force is strong in this one.

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