Strikeout Rates and Innings Pitched

The Kazmir conundrum — The Hardball Times

Interesting article at the Hardball Times (recommended by Rob Neyer’s blog($) on ESPN) discussing what allows or prevents pitchers from going deep into ballgames. It uses Scott Kazmir as the case study, a young pitcher with the Devil Rays who has outstanding stuff, but has not been able to pitch deep into games thus far in his career. My interest in it was piqued because of Roy Oswalt. Oswalt’s K/9 ratio have had a downward trend since he entered the league and appear to be settling at around 6 K/9. In some articles this year he has talked about focusing less on strikeouts and more on getting batters to make contact and make outs, in order to go deeper in ballgames.  As Neyer sums up the article, “The key to staying in games is not striking out fewer batters; it’s walking fewer & and believe it or not, the two things are not necessarily connected.” Roy’s walks this year are way up (he’s already passed out more than he did all of last year) and he’s not been quite the dominating force he has been in the past (his bullpen hasn’t helped him too much either). The article is pretty stat heavy, but it’s an interesting read.

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