Too Many Strikeouts?

We all like strikeouts. They are fun to watch, unless Mark Reynolds is on your team. But has the increase in strikeouts gone too far? Should a fourth strike be instituted? Should the size of the strikezone be halved? Let’s take a look.

Ten years ago, in 2002, there was one pitcher with a minimum of 30 innings pitched who struck out more than 12/9 – Eric Gagne. The next year Eric Gagne won the Cy Young. It was perhaps undeserved, but still, for a couple years there Gagne was a very good pitcher.

This season, there are 11 pitchers, minimum 30 innings, who have struck out at least 12/9. The leader is of course, Aroldis Chapman, who has struck out 16.74 per 9 innings and who I am strongly considering stalking. The next two on the leaderboard you’ve also heard of  – Craig Kimbrel and Ernesto Frieri. A lot of people became aware of Ernesto Frieri on about May 3 of this year, but that’s beside the point. Number four is Jason Grilli. Wait, did I just have a stroke? I could have sworn I just wrote that Jason Grilli has the fourth highest K/9 of any pitcher in the major leagues. Jason Grilli. Journeyman middle reliever. How can that be? Up until the age of 30, Jason Grilli struck out 5.5 batters per nine over 236 innings. Since then Jason Grilli has struck out 10.2 batters per nine over 195.2 innings. That is an 85% increase. This has to stop.

Here are the other pitchers who have struck out at least 12 per nine – Kenley Jansen, David Hernandez, David Robertson, Antonio Bastardo, Jonny Venters, Steve Delabar, and Rex Brothers. Unless you’re a big Rockies fan, you probably don’t know who Rex Brothers is. And why would you? That doesn’t even sound like a real person. But yet, he too has struck out more than 12 major league hitters per nine innings. Ridiculous. I’m starting a petition to institute a fourth strike.

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