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April 25, 2008

Two Minus Three Equals Negative Fun!

Texas pitchers have issued the most walks (114) and fewest strikeouts (109) in the American League. Thus, they’re headed for the dubious distinction of completing a season with more walks than strikeouts. That won’t happen, but it’s fun to think about (in a self-destructive way).

The Rangers are on pace for 767 strikeouts and 803 walks, a difference of -36. Until the mid-1950s, negative differences weren’t uncommon. No pitching staff has tallied fewer strikeouts than walks since the 1956 Philadelphia Athletics (-67).

In the last fifteen years, Milwaukee has the worst difference, +95, in the 144-game 1995 season. The worst full season belongs to the epically bad ’96 Tigers staff, which had 784 walks and 957 strikeouts, a difference of +173. Detroit allowed 6.8 runs per game, 1,015 for the season.

Regarding the 803 walk pace: It would be the third most in MLB history behind the notorious 1915 Athletics and the 1949 Yankees. The worst total in the last fifteen years (784) belongs to the aforementioned ’96 Tigers.

Regarding the 767 strikeout pace: The only team with fewer strikeouts in the last fifteen years is the 2003 Tigers with 764. They won 43 games.

And there’s more! Texas is also on pace to allow 1,690 hits. That’s well below the record of 1,993 by the 1930 Phillies, during an era when teams routinely hit .290. But, excluding Colorado, it would be the third-most since 1940, after the ’97 Athletics (1,734) and ’96 Tigers (1,699). Considering the offensive context, allowing 1,690 hits in 2008 might be worse. Incidentally, the 3rd and 4th worst post-1940 hit totals belong to the ’00 and ’01 Rangers.

Posted by Lucas at April 25, 2008 06:11 PM