March 7, 2021

One Last Refresher (On Strikeouts and Walks) (FanGraphs)

This is the last of a set of articles I’ve written over the past few weeks. Each one tries to determine what’s real and what’s noise when it comes to the outcome of a plate appearance. For the batted ball articles, the conclusions generally tracked. Variations in home run rate are largely due to the batter. Pitchers and batters both show skill in groundball rate. And line drives and popups are somewhere in between — batters exhibit a little more persistence in variation than pitchers, though neither does so strongly.

Strikeouts and walks are a different beast. It’s pretty clear that pitchers and batters can be good or bad at them. No one looks at Chris Davis or Tyler O’Neill and thinks “eh, that’s pretty unlucky to have all those strikeouts, I bet they’re average at it overall.” Likewise, Josh Hader isn’t just preternaturally lucky — he’s good at striking batters out.

So rather than attempt to prove that pitchers can be good or bad at striking out batters and vice versa, I’m interested in whether one side has the upper hand. I’m adapting a method laid out by Tom Tango here, but I’ll also repeat the same methodology I used in the previous…

Read “One Last Refresher (On Strikeouts and Walks)” at FanGraphs