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Mark Reynolds & more strikeouts than batting average points

Posted by Andy on September 24, 2010

This was mentioned by a few commenters on the blog already, plus a couple of inquiries by email, but I thought I'd go ahead and post on it anyway.

Mark Reynolds is about to become the first regular player to strike out more times in a season than his batting average. Technically I mean his strikeouts are at least 1,000 times his batting average:

Rk Player SO BA Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Mark Reynolds 204 .202 2010 26 ARI 140 579 486 77 98 17 2 32 84 79 .321 .442 .764 *5/3
2 Dean Chance 63 .054 1968 27 MIN 43 106 93 0 5 0 0 0 3 3 .093 .054 .147 *1
3 Dean Chance 58 .033 1967 26 MIN 41 108 92 2 3 0 0 0 0 7 .119 .033 .151 *1
4 Wilbur Wood 57 .052 1971 29 CHW 44 124 96 1 5 0 0 0 0 11 .150 .052 .202 *1
5 Dean Chance 54 .026 1966 25 CAL 41 88 76 1 2 0 0 0 0 3 .075 .026 .101 *1
6 Hank Aguirre 46 .027 1962 31 DET 42 80 75 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 .039 .027 .066 *1
7 Doug Davis 43 .016 2004 28 MIL 34 71 64 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 .031 .016 .046 *1
8 Ron Kline 42 .027 1958 26 PIT 33 88 74 2 2 1 0 0 1 4 .089 .041 .129 *1
9 Rip Hagerman 41 .016 1914 28 CLE 37 67 61 2 1 1 0 0 0 4 .077 .033 .110 *1
10 Aaron Harang 39 .027 2005 27 CIN 32 78 74 1 2 0 0 0 3 0 .027 .027 .054 *1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/23/2010.

Reynolds has virtually no shot at NOT setting this record. He'd have to raise his BA before the end of the season, and do it without striking out many more times. The vast majority of the guys on the list after Reynolds are, understandably, pitchers.

If we eliminate pitchers from consideration, we get a list that although not terribly meaningful due to the small sample sizes nevertheless includes some interesting names:

Rk Player SO BA Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Mark Reynolds 204 .202 2010 26 ARI 140 579 486 77 98 17 2 32 84 79 .321 .442 .764 *5/3
2 David Ortiz 12 .000 1999 23 MIN 10 25 20 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 .200 .000 .200 /D3
3 Nigel Wilson 11 .000 1993 23 FLA 7 16 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 /7
4 Bill McNulty 10 .000 1969 22 OAK 5 17 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 /*7
5 Brad Nelson 9 .000 2009 26 MIL 19 23 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .087 .000 .087 /79
6 Jason Smith 9 .000 2009 31 HOU 21 27 25 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .000 .000 /465
7 Tim Laker 9 .000 1997 27 BAL 7 18 14 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .118 .000 .118 /*2
8 Ron Slocum 8 .000 1971 25 SDP 7 20 18 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .053 .000 .053 /*5
9 Nick Koback 8 .000 1954 18 PIT 4 10 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 /*2
10 Hal Finney 8 .000 1936 30 PIT 21 35 35 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 .000 .000 .000 *2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/23/2010.

If we drop the multiplier from 1,000 down to 750, we get a list of the guys we think of with lots of strikeouts and a low batting average:

Rk Player SO BA Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Mark Reynolds 223 .260 2009 25 ARI 155 662 578 98 150 30 1 44 102 76 .349 .543 .892 *53
2 Mark Reynolds 204 .202 2010 26 ARI 140 579 486 77 98 17 2 32 84 79 .321 .442 .764 *5/3
3 Mark Reynolds 204 .239 2008 24 ARI 152 613 539 87 129 28 3 28 97 64 .320 .458 .779 *5/3
4 Ryan Howard 199 .251 2008 28 PHI 162 700 610 105 153 26 4 48 146 81 .339 .543 .881 *3/D
5 Jack Cust 197 .231 2008 29 OAK 148 598 481 77 111 19 0 33 77 111 .375 .476 .851 *7D/9
6 Adam Dunn 194 .234 2006 26 CIN 160 683 561 99 131 24 0 40 92 112 .365 .490 .855 *7/3D
7 Rob Deer 186 .238 1987 26 MIL 134 566 474 71 113 15 2 28 80 86 .360 .456 .816 *793/D
8 Jack Cust 185 .240 2009 30 OAK 149 612 513 88 123 16 0 25 70 93 .356 .417 .773 *D9
9 Rob Deer 179 .232 1986 25 MIL 134 546 466 75 108 17 3 33 86 72 .336 .494 .830 *9/37
10 Jose Hernandez 177 .225 2003 33 TOT 150 571 519 58 117 18 3 13 57 46 .287 .347 .634 *56/843
11 Rob Deer 175 .179 1991 30 DET 134 539 448 64 80 14 2 25 64 89 .314 .386 .700 *9
12 Dave Nicholson 175 .229 1963 23 CHW 126 520 449 53 103 11 4 22 70 63 .319 .419 .738 *7
13 Rob Deer 169 .210 1993 32 TOT 128 532 466 66 98 17 1 21 55 58 .303 .386 .689 *9/8D
14 Rob Deer 158 .210 1989 28 MIL 130 532 466 72 98 18 2 26 65 60 .305 .425 .729 *9/D78
15 Dave Kingman 156 .204 1982 33 NYM 149 607 535 80 109 9 1 37 99 59 .285 .432 .717 *3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/23/2010.

Sadly, Reynolds isn't as productive this year (101 OPS+) as Rob Deer was in his career (109 OPS+). Reynolds has got to get some more hits to stay in the big leagues a while longer.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 24th, 2010 at 7:30 am and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

35 Responses to “Mark Reynolds & more strikeouts than batting average points”

  1. I saw the title & immediately thought of Rob Deer. He came close in 1991.

  2. After last night he is now - .200 and 206 Ks - he is going in the wrong direction.

  3. And Reynolds went 0-3 with 2 K's last night, bringing it to a .200 BA with 206 K's. Good Job!

  4. Beat me to it ; )

  5. joseph taverney Says:

    Reynolds will also join a very short list of guys who have hit under .210 with 30 HR.
    Kingman did it twice.Thats it. Pena, at 27 HR, has an outside shot this year. If you expand the list to 25 HR, Rob Deer makes three appearances as does Big Mac's swan song season.

    Pretty weird that 30 HR was done only by Kingman, now has a shot at being done twice this year.
    Another rare feat; having >30 IBBs while <100 BBs was only done twice before. Kevin Mitchell in '89 and Vlad Gurrero in '02. This year, three guys are on pace to accomplish the rarity. Adrian Gonzalez, Pujols, Cabrera.

  6. Good stuff, Joseph. Thanks.

  7. Reynolds, in all his terribleness, also currently has more than twice as many strikeouts as hits. Has anyone besides Rob Deer in 1991 with more than a tiny amount of at bats ever accomplished this feat?

  8. This is also the first time that anyone has gotten to 200 strike outs before they reached 100 hits and also the first time for a full time player to have at least twice as many strike outs as hits in a season.

  9. Most hits with at least twice as many strikeouts:

    Rk Player H SO Year Age Tm G PA AB R 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
    1 Mark Reynolds 98 206 2010 26 ARI 141 584 489 78 17 2 32 84 81 .200 .322 .440 .762 *5/3
    2 Rob Deer 80 175 1991 30 DET 134 539 448 64 14 2 25 64 89 .179 .314 .386 .700 *9
    3 Dave Nicholson 60 126 1964 24 CHW 97 350 294 40 6 1 13 39 52 .204 .329 .364 .693 *7/9
    4 Mark McGwire 56 118 2001 37 STL 97 364 299 48 4 0 29 64 56 .187 .316 .492 .808 *3
    5 Nate Colbert 37 83 1975 29 TOT 83 260 237 26 8 3 8 29 22 .156 .231 .316 .547 *3
    6 Ryan Langerhans 35 81 2007 27 TOT 125 244 210 27 7 2 6 23 29 .167 .272 .305 .576 *78/9
    7 Brandon Wood 33 68 2010 25 LAA 75 229 214 20 2 0 4 14 6 .154 .184 .220 .403 *56/D3
    8 Andruw Jones 33 76 2008 31 LAD 75 238 209 21 8 1 3 14 27 .158 .256 .249 .505 *8/D
    9 Russell Branyan 32 69 2007 31 TOT 89 194 163 22 5 1 10 26 28 .196 .320 .423 .743 57/3D
    10 Rob Deer 30 71 1985 24 SFG 78 187 162 22 5 1 8 20 23 .185 .283 .377 .660 793
    11 Dave Nicholson 30 76 1962 22 BAL 97 202 173 25 4 1 9 15 27 .173 .289 .364 .653 798
    12 Cory Snyder 29 60 1991 28 TOT 71 180 166 14 4 1 3 17 9 .175 .216 .265 .481 937/5
    13 Gorman Thomas 29 61 1973 22 MIL 59 172 155 16 7 1 2 11 14 .187 .254 .284 .538 *9/D785
    14 Ray Oyler 29 59 1968 29 DET 111 247 215 13 6 1 1 12 20 .135 .213 .186 .399 *6
    15 Bob Uecker 29 60 1967 32 TOT 80 221 193 17 4 0 3 20 24 .150 .243 .218 .461 *2
    16 David Ross 28 62 2004 27 LAD 70 190 165 13 3 1 5 15 15 .170 .253 .291 .544 *2
    17 Brant Brown 28 62 2000 29 TOT 95 178 162 11 7 0 5 16 13 .173 .237 .309 .546 73/89
    18 Kelly Shoppach 27 63 2010 30 TBR 58 171 142 17 7 0 5 16 20 .190 .314 .345 .659 *2/D
    19 Dave Watkins 26 53 1969 25 PHI 69 174 148 17 2 1 4 12 22 .176 .291 .284 .574 *2/795
    20 Jackie Warner 26 55 1966 22 CAL 45 133 123 22 4 1 7 16 9 .211 .263 .431 .694 *9
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 9/24/2010.
  10. If strike out rates continue to rise in the major leagues as they have over the past decade, there will be a lot more seasons like Reynolds' on the list.

    I feel ambivalent about a batter who strikes out a lot. On the one hand, it is no worse than any other kind of out except that it has no chance of moving a runner. In addition, it is not as bad as GIDP. On the other hand, it is so frustrating, is such bad optics to see a player whiff in a key situation.

    To come to the point, what are the chances of Mark Reynolds having a long ML career with such lack of contact? Are GM's and fans less tolerant of K's than other outs?

    I haven't seen enough of his games to know if his strike outs are attributable to a long swing or lack of strike zone judgement or both.

  11. Hard to believe now but Ryan Howard almost won the MVP in 2008. I think he had something like 12 first place votes which is kind of shocking. I think we talked about this before but this has to be one of the worst 2nd place MVP finishes in baseball history.

    It just makes you wonder what sports writers are looking at sometimes. Here's Pujol's and Howard's 2008 lines:

    Pujols: .357/.462/.653, 9.6 WAR, 190 ops+, 160 runs created
    Howard: .251/.339/.543, 2.8 WAR, 124 ops+, 113 runs created

    Not to mention that Howard was playing in a much better hitter's park than Pujols, which helped his slash stat and runs created numbers.

    What do these writers do, just look at the RBI numbers and vote accordingly? It's ironic, the same writers that complain that the "WAR" stat will turn them into non-thinking robots are essentially non-thinking robots with a far more inferior statistic (RBI).

  12. On August 29, 2008, the Phillies lost their 3rd in a row, falling 2 games behind first place with a 73-62 record. They went 19-8 the rest of the way, winning the division by 3 games and charging them for their postseason run. In those 27 games, Ryan Howard batted .367 with 12 HRs and 34 RBIs, to go along with a 1.286 OPS. Obviously, the MVP isn't for the best month, but performing so well in the last month of the season certainly was perceived well by the voters. Remember, Pujols and the Cardinals finished 4th in their division in 2008, falling as far back as 15.5 games in September. I can certainly see why Howard finished 2nd.

  13. I think this is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.

  14. And all of those guys are from the last couple decades. It's indicative of what, to me, is ruining the game- undisciplined goons who swing at every pitch as hard as they can and hope for the best. No knowledge of how to work a count, and no desire to try. Worse than that, owners and general managers embrace these gorillas.

  15. Leatherman,

    There's no doubt that a lot of the voters were swayed by Howard's September but that really doesn't make sense when you think about it. It's the MVP of 2008 not Sept 2008. It's funny that Howard received a lot of credit for what he did in Sept yet few brought up the fact that Howard's .213 August & .172 April contributed to the Phillies struggles. He was 122/522 for the first 5 months of the season for a .233 average playing in a great hitter's park no less.

    It's just an odd way to look at something. The Phillies wouldn't have been in second place if Howard had played half way decently during the first 5 months of the season. Then to reward him and act like he "saved" the Phillies season is an equally odd way of looking at it. Its kind of like rewarding a student for having a great Friday after doing basically nothing Mon-Thurs.

  16. Pujols was the deserving MVP winner in 2008 and he did win the award, so I don't see why it matters who came in second. Ryan Braun and his 2.0 WAR finished third in MVP voting that year, ahead of players like Lance Berkman, Chase Utley, David Wright, C.C. Sabathia, Chipper Jones, Hanley Ramirez, and many others who in many respects had much better seasons, and I've never heard anyone complain about that... if your team makes the playoffs, you usually get more MVP votes. That's a trend that has always existed in baseball.

  17. Bark, for some of the guys, that's true. But Cust, Deer and Dunn also took/take walks. Perhaps some of that was pitcher fear, but it's one thing to swing like a goon and end up with just homers or Ks. It's another if you take the count deep. Ruth drew lots and lots of walks despite being a free swinger, and I'm sure many if not most were unintentional, particularly once Gehrig emerged.

    Smart GMs like OBP. Some guys get a good OBP by taking lots of pitches, and that means a lot of second and third strikes other batters don't get. If you build an entire team around sluggers with high Ks and BBs, you probably won't win, but one or two Dunns can actually be healthy.

  18. joseph taverney Says:

    @ Barkfart,

    I don't think Reynolds or Howard are just swinging as hard as they can. They both walk too much. I'm not sure of the numbers, but I bet Reynolds sees a boatload of pitches every season. In MoneyBall, Billy Beane stressed 'pitches per at bat' as much as anything, the ability to drive up pitch counts in an era where great starters give way to mediocre relievers after 100 pitches, makes having a guy who looks at 5 pitches per at bat pretty important.
    But I do know what you are saying. Eddie Murray, one of my favorite players, said he had three swings, depending on the situation and the count. He said he rarely tried to hit a homerun with 2 strikes. This is from a guy with 500 career HRs that never exceeded 33 in a season, and only SO >100 times his rookie year.
    SO are up for a couple of reasons though.
    The era of 4 pitchers a game, has allowed relievers to come in and throw as hard as they can, knowing they will only have to throw 20 pitches max. If you look at the highest K/9 for pitchers with at least 60 Gs, all the leaders are from the '00s. Dibble is the only guy on the list from before '97.
    Carlos Marmol will break the record this year with over 15Ks per 9IP.
    It is also easier to run up high SO totals if you are always working the count.
    I noticed so few hitters swing at the first pitch anymore, just to keep pitchers honest, it seems like everyone is starting their atbats 0-1.

  19. "Reynolds has virtually no shot at NOT setting this record."

    Actually, no. Reynolds has already had several streaks of games in his young career whose combination of hits, AB and strikeouts, when added to his current season totals, would leave him with more points of BA than strikeouts.

    Let's say Reynolds plays 6 to 8 of Arizona's remaining 9 games. Here are some of his past streaks that would keep him from setting this unwanted record:

    -- In 8 games from Aug. 3-10, 2009, he went 14 for 32 with 8 Ks. That would leave him at .215 with 214 Ks.
    -- In 8 games from May 21-28, 2007, he went 13 for 28, with 4 Ks. That would give him a .215 BA and 210 Ks.
    -- In 7 games from Sept. 17-25, 2007, he went 13 for 27 with 8 Ks. That would leave him with a .215 BA and 214 Ks.
    -- In 6 games from Aug. 8-15, 2007, he went 13 for 24 with 6 Ks. That would produce a .216 BA with 212 Ks.

    Or another route: Reynolds goes 5 for 8 in 2 games, without striking out, then decides he already owns enough strikeout records and sits out the rest of the season. He'd finish with a .207 BA and 206 Ks.

  20. He's striking out more often now than he did in 2007. It's not likely. Point taken, John, but I still say not likely.

  21. Dave Nicholson - a man ahead of his times.

  22. Might be jumping the gun saying he'll be out of the league soon. He did just have a 127 OPS+ last season. It seems, more than anything, he just struggled with righthanders this year. He CRUSHED lefties to the tune of .948 OPS. His walk rate has also gone up each season.

    He may be platooned if he shows he can only handle lefties in the future, but out of the league entirely seems doubtful.

  23. "It's indicative of what, to me, is ruining the game"

    This reminds me of Tom's post from the Bautista thread: the only constant in baseball is complaining the game isn't the way it used to be.

  24. is people* complaining

  25. DoubleDiamond Says:

    @10 It's rare, but runners can still move along during strikeouts.

    First, there are the dropped (or missed) third strikes that allow the batter to make it to first base. I know there's some rule that has something to do with whether or not first base is occupied, to allow the batter to do this in the first place, but I do know that whether or not there's a runner on third doesn't matter. I know the Phillies had a walk-off win against the Cubs on a dropped third strike a few years ago.

    And wild pitches and passed balls can happen on earlier pitches in the at-bat that eventually culminates in a strike out. Stolen bases, errors on pick-offs and attempted steals, and balks, too. With at least three pitches required for a strikeout (at least under current rules), there are sometimes opportunities for runners to advance while the batter is in the process of striking out.

    But it's true that these are unusual events that teams should not count on.

    Then again, when the team I'm rooting for is at the plate and there's a runner on first with one out (or none out), the lesser of two evils is for the batter to strike out than hit into a double play.

  26. @26
    Double, I have huge respect for your grasp of baseball "truths".

    However, the probability of a runner advancing on a SO as opposed to another kind of out is very low.

    What is a more thorny issue is the effect of an SO on run potential in an inning compared to a "contact" out with runners on base which includes the possibility of a GIDP.

  27. My old baseball coach used to sit me down for less. What's Reynold's making a year?

  28. @Joseph

    Don't most strikeout hitters see a lot of pitches? You have to face at least three pitches to strike out, and occasionally Reynolds gets lucky and fouls off a pitch with two strikes. Reynolds faces the same number of pitches per plate appearance as Rob Deer (4.15 and 4.14 career numbers, respectively). During Reynolds' career, the MLB average is 3.81. So if you faced Reynolds 25 times it would take only nine more pitches (104) than it would 25 average hitters (95). Or another way of looking at it is that having Reynolds bat four times in your lineup increases the pitch count for the game by only one pitch. Not much reward for all those strikeouts.

  29. Richard, 23 and 24, more than a little harsh (though maybe more than a little true).

    As for the strikeout guy who walks a lot (Deer, Thome, etc), I don't believe it. Though I lack the stat sorting ability to back it up, I think those guys drew a lot of "safety walks". Conversely, I'd wager that their late inning, RISP strikeout rate is even worse- as in, closers kill these guys even worse when there are no safety walks.

  30. @29
    Barkfart, cut me slack, but what is a "safety walk"? Never heard the term before in all my baseball years.

  31. Report Created on Baseball-Reference.com

  32. "And wild pitches and passed balls can happen on earlier pitches in the at-bat that eventually culminates in a strike out. Stolen bases, errors on pick-offs and attempted steals, and balks, too. With at least three pitches required for a strikeout (at least under current rules), there are sometimes opportunities for runners to advance while the batter is in the process of striking out."

    Single dumbest comment in the history of the internet.

  33. @ John Autin

    Watched the D-backs game today; Reynolds was benched in favor of Tony Abreau who produced a clutch 2 run homer in the eighth. Don't think Reynolds is going to get an opportunity to streak in the last six games on the road. Moreover, Reynolds has been in a horrendous slump the entire month. Hasn't hit a home run in September after hitting eight in August. As for why this happens, Neil S speculated about a long swing; I think that's it.

    Now as for the D-backs team strikeout follies they had 14 today, putting them at 1458 for the season with six games left on the road against the Giants and Padres. I have all the confidence in the world that they'll avoid 1500 Ks, don't you? But when all is said and done, maybe we overestimate the strikeout, seeing as the D-Backs are going to end up scoring about 720 runs for the season -- which is about the MLB historical average

  34. Johnny Twisto Says:

    You're right Chuck, but I doubt we're talking about the same comment.

  35. Reynolds is nothing but a clown, and he's a bad fielder. He should be canned immediately. If I were Arizona, I would dump him on the nearest sucker who is willing to take him. Failing that, I would try to sell him to a little league team for a bucket of used baseballs.