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Adam Dunn and twice as many strikeouts as hits

Posted by Andy on July 27, 2011

(I am away from the computer this week so pardon me as I make a series of posts written ahead of time...2011 stats will be a bit out of date by the time you read this.)

Check out the most plate appearances in a season for a non-pitcher who had at least twice as many strikeouts as hits:

1 Mark Reynolds 596 211 99 2010 ARI 145 499 79 17 2 32 85 83 .198 .320 .433 .753 *5/3
2 Rob Deer 539 175 80 1991 DET 134 448 64 14 2 25 64 89 .179 .314 .386 .700 *9/D
3 Mark McGwire 364 118 56 2001 STL 97 299 48 4 0 29 64 56 .187 .316 .492 .808 *3
4 Dave Nicholson 350 126 60 1964 CHW 97 294 40 6 1 13 39 52 .204 .329 .364 .693 *7/9
5 Adam Dunn 339 124 45 2011 CHW 82 284 26 13 0 9 36 49 .158 .289 .299 .588 *D3/9
6 Nate Colbert 260 83 37 1975 TOT 83 237 26 8 3 8 29 22 .156 .231 .316 .547 *3/D
7 Ray Oyler 247 59 29 1968 DET 111 215 13 6 1 1 12 20 .135 .213 .186 .399 *6
8 Ryan Langerhans 244 81 35 2007 TOT 125 210 27 7 2 6 23 29 .167 .272 .305 .576 *78/9
9 Brandon Wood 243 71 33 2010 LAA 81 226 20 2 0 4 14 6 .146 .174 .208 .382 *56/3D
10 Andruw Jones 238 76 33 2008 LAD 75 209 21 8 1 3 14 27 .158 .256 .249 .505 *8/D
11 Bob Uecker 221 60 29 1967 TOT 80 193 17 4 0 3 20 24 .150 .243 .218 .461 *2
12 Frank O'Rourke 216 50 24 1912 BSN 61 196 11 3 1 0 16 11 .122 .177 .148 .325 *6/5
13 Dave Nicholson 202 76 30 1962 BAL 97 173 25 4 1 9 15 27 .173 .289 .364 .653 798
14 Jason LaRue 195 66 25 2007 KCR 66 169 14 9 0 4 13 17 .148 .240 .272 .512 *2/5
15 Russell Branyan 194 69 32 2007 TOT 89 163 22 5 1 10 26 28 .196 .320 .423 .743 57/3D
16 David Ross 190 62 28 2004 LAD 70 165 13 3 1 5 15 15 .170 .253 .291 .544 *2
17 Kelly Shoppach 187 71 31 2010 TBR 63 158 17 8 0 5 17 20 .196 .308 .342 .650 *2/D
18 Rob Deer 187 71 30 1985 SFG 78 162 22 5 1 8 20 23 .185 .283 .377 .660 793
19 Cory Snyder 180 60 29 1991 TOT 71 166 14 4 1 3 17 9 .175 .216 .265 .481 937/D5
20 Doc Lavan 180 46 22 1913 TOT 51 163 9 2 2 0 5 10 .135 .199 .172 .371 *6
21 Brant Brown 178 62 28 2000 TOT 95 162 11 7 0 5 16 13 .173 .237 .309 .546 73/89
22 Dave Watkins 174 53 26 1969 PHI 69 148 17 2 1 4 12 22 .176 .291 .284 .574 *2/795
23 Gorman Thomas 172 61 29 1973 MIL 60 155 16 7 1 2 11 14 .187 .254 .284 .538 *9/D78
24 Frank Fernandez 170 50 23 1968 NYY 51 135 15 6 1 7 30 35 .170 .341 .385 .726 *2/9
25 Luis Pujols 169 45 20 1978 HOU 56 153 11 8 1 1 11 12 .131 .198 .216 .413 *2/3
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/22/2011.

This is a ho-hum three true outcomes list, or so it seems. But Dunn actually has the worst ratio on this list. The only 3 above with a ratio over 2.5 are Dunn (2.76), LaRue (2.64), and Nicholson in 1962 (2.53)

25 Responses to “Adam Dunn and twice as many strikeouts as hits”

  1. Tristram Says:

    Does anybody else get confused by Dave Nicholson (listed twice here) and Bill "Swish" Nicholson, who never struck out 100 times in a season? Bill was a much better player, being a dominant power hitter during WWII, career WAR of 39.0 and has "Most Similars" like Ben Ogilvie and Kirk Gibson. Dave never did much of anything except set the record for strikeouts (175) in 1963, career WAR of 1.2, and "Most Similars" like Ruben Rivera and Joe Lahoud. I always thought the 175 strikeout guy was "Swish".

  2. Tom Says:

    If Dunn enters a slump, you may have to change the post to read, "Adam Dunn and three times as many strikeouts as hits."

    I guess that begs the question... Is it possible for him to enter a slump and have any one tell the difference?

  3. Eric W. Says:

    More than half of McGuire's hits in his final season were for HRs! I can't decide if that's amazing or awful. His OPS+ was still 105 despite his criminal .187 BA.

    I have to think that if he stuck around for a few more years he would have become completely HR-efficient, eliminating all of the other useless types of hits.

  4. Randy Says:

    Bob Uecker makes a Baseball Reference list. I don't know if I can believe it!

  5. Bryon B Says:

    Wow! I knew this was a historically bad year, but words can't explain how bad this year has been for him. To quote Harry Doyle "At least he didn't spike himself."

  6. bluejaysstatsgeek Says:


    Even more amazing is that Bob Uecker makes a list that includes Mark McGwire!

  7. Mike Says:


    A belated thanks for the list of pitchers with innings pitched less than one half of appearances!!! Did you notice in last nights Bucs/Braves marathon both Tommy Hanson and Christhian Martinez of the Braves went 6 innings and struck out 6. Got me wondering if that's happened a lot. So, how many times have two pitchers from the same team went at least six innings and struck out at least batters in the same game????


  8. Owen23 Says:

    Frank O'Rourke (#12 on the list) is interesting. In over his head as an 18-year old SS on a 100 loss team...he doesn't play in the majors for another 5 seasons and eventually lasts until 1931.

  9. flyingelbowsmash Says:

    With McGwire having a OPS+ of 105 with that season shows some problems with that stat. I do believe it overrates walks and I've been convinced of the problems with the slugging percentage stat (A homer is not worth 4 singles). McGwire is an troubling example, or an outlier, for some of the stats that end up rating him as one of the better hitters. What is the value of McGwire walking to his team? The only way he is going to score from first is if the guy behind him homers. He may very well prevent batters behind him from getting extra base hits. Plus, McGwire didn't walk a lot because of his Boggs-like command of the strike zone, it was the other team taking the bat out of his hand and preventing from doing the only thing he does, and that is homer. The value of a walk to McGwire goes to the opposing team.
    When doing value stats it raises interesting questions. What is a walk worth? Is a walk to McGwire the same value as a walk to someone like Rickey Henderson? (Is a steal of 2nd the same value of a steal of 3rd?)
    McGwire is tied for 12th all-time in B-R OPS+ but 32nd on Fangraphs wOBA stat which places a weighted value on each batting event. McGwire provides an unusual case of an extremely one-dimensional player who was extremely good at that dimension, which makes him difficult to quantify with these advanced stats.

  10. Steve Says:

    Checking Dunn's career stats, he's good for a .234 BA in August and .222 from September 1 on. This doesn't bode well for the Sox.

    A theory being thrown around is that Dunn is having a hard time adjusting to the DH role where he's not as "into" the game as he would be as a fielder. A possible remedy: sit Rios, move Pierre to CF, and put Dunn in left. It may work out - who knows?

    But if this keeps up, Ozzie might as well let the pitcher hit.

  11. Timmy p Says:

    I was looking at the 1979 MVP race and Dave Kingman finished 11th. Kong hit 48 HR's and hit .288, a career high. He was third in total bases and should have finished in the top 2 or 3 for sure, behind Hernandez and Winfield. But, in 1979 they still looked upon the SO as the disease it is and Kong finished 11th behind some relief pitchers.

  12. Bip Says:

    I was surprised to see Pujols on this list.

  13. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Elbow/9, 15 of McGwire's 56 walks that season occurred with a man on first. Another 11 came leading off an inning. Not all walks are created equal, but it is flatly wrong to state that his walks were a benefit to the defense. Intentional walks are more or less a break-even play. Unintentional walks are always a positive for the offense.

    McGwire may have been quite slow at that point, but not to the point he actually cost his team runs by getting on base. That's absurd. He scored from 1st on a double 6 of 12 times that season. Below average, but hardly "clogging up the bases." Batting mostly 4th and 6th, the average batter would score about 28% of the time on base. McGwire scored 22%. It's a difference of about 5 runs. I can't easily find how many times he was pinch run for, but I'd guess adjusting for that would increase McGwire's percentage of times scored.

    How many runs do you think McGwire was worth to the Cardinals' offense that season?

  14. Timmy p Says:

    @9 Very well thought out. The value of a walk to McGwire goes to the opposing team. Of course, and I too think the valuation of the walk into hits and used in newstats is way off. I believe you can not compare walks to hits because of the BTTF ratio.

  15. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Timmy, when will you provide us with the correct valuations?

  16. george barnard Says:

    No second basemen. Not surprising I suppose.

  17. Steve Says:

    Mark Reynolds is a disgrace.

  18. Cheese Says:

    8 hits total for Dunn this month, 9 in June for a .115 avg (17/148). Yikes.

  19. Fireworks Says:

    As the popularity of this blog increases...

    @ 7 Mike

    I'm pretty sure that's a tough sort of random stat to get. The first purpose of the Play Index is to be provide useful information and that stat doesn't qualify.

    @ McGwire's walks

    The value of McGwire's walks is that he doesn't make an out. Not making an out is always, always, always of value to your team. The exceptions would be if you have a guy behind you going up there with a wet noodle (the pitcher) and certain situations where the walk doesn't hurt the defense at all (walking, intentionally or not, a better hitter for a worse hitter when the winning run isn't forced up a base is a classic example).

    A better way to consider the way advanced stats values a walk is not to value the walk itself, but value that an out was not made. It is not perhaps as intuitive to do so but it gets to the heart of the matter. Making as few outs as possible is the best thing a hitter can do on a daily basis.

    @ 17 Steve

    A disgrace to whom? You? Baseball? His family? Himself? The fine Arizona Diamondbacks organization that "gave up" on him before he embarked on a bounce-back year this year after a slow start, demonstrating that he can in fact make contact with the baseball more often than he had in previous seasons? To Bud Selig? Oh my God, is Reynolds disgracing Selig?!?!

    @ Andy

    Nice post. Dunn's season has been mesmerizing. He was always a good TTO guy but the evaporation of power, the lack of hits, the bad K rate evolving to become terribad... just mesmerizing.

    Someone with a better head for numbers (or less lazy) than I should take Dunn's current season and adjust his stats just based upon 'fixing' his HR rate that the average of his last five seasons or something and see what we get then in the SLG/OPS department. I know it all ties together but I'm interested in how much of his lack of productivity, relative to league average, is from the evaporation of power alone.

    I know a couple years back someone--maybe it was you, Andy--ran the numbers on Ortiz' stats and showed that the slight decrease in RBI totals correlated almost perfectly with the significant (at the time) decrease in HRs--he was just failing to knock himself in that extra whatever times a year, but he hadn't much changed his ability to knock in his teammates.

  20. Steve Says:

    19 It was a joke dude.

  21. Timmy P Says:

    @19 The value of McGwire's walks is that he doesn't make an out Value to who or what? Winning the game? Maybe, but evenutally someone has to swing the bat, and the opposing team is saying we'd rather take our chances with Ray Lankford or Brian Jordan.

  22. Johnny Twisto Says:

    evenutally someone has to swing the bat

    Not if they keep being walked.

    the opposing team is saying we'd rather take our chances with Ray Lankford or Brian Jordan.

    Two very good ballplayers. And this is somehow a knock against the .180-hitting McGwire?

    By my calculations (based on BaseRuns and wOBA), McGwire created 51 runs that season and made 252 outs. That's .203 runs per out. The NL that season scored .178 runs per out, making McGwire an above-average offensive player. Now, the NL average includes pitcher hitting. If you want to remove that (which OPS+ does), he gets closer to average, but still probably above it.

    There are multiple numbers on this site which estimate how many runs a player was worth, and they all say McGwire was a bit above average that season. If you disagree, that's fine, but you need to provide more evidence to support your position than falsely claiming he can't score except via homer. If you think his walks were worth less than other players', how much do you think they were worth? How much did they hurt the Cards, who finished 5th in OBP, 5th in SLG, but 4th in runs scored?

  23. Fireworks Says:

    @ 20 Steve

    I was totally serious though. Totally serious.

  24. Mike Says:


    I thought that stat might be difficult to get through the play index but your second comment is just an opinion.

  25. Fireworks Says:

    @ Mike

    I wasn't trying to denigrate your query as lacking value. What I'm saying is that firstly the Play Index is designed to be useful for more than churning out mere trivia that is of no actual analytical value. Your query is interesting (to me, even), but it's 100% trivia. It's a 'toy' query.

    I don't subscribe to the Play Index, and if I did, I'm certain I'd use it more as a toy than a tool, and while I am sure that there are others that do more toying than tooling, at its core it's supposed to be a tool.

    Additionally, it's a tough (impossible) query to do, I'm almost certain.