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SCCWS
05-22-2013, 10:45 AM
Jim Rice does pre/post game commentary on the Red Sox network. Studio guy asked his opinion last night on Adam Dunn's homerun or strikeout mentality. Rice said in his day, a player would be embarrassed striking out the way Dunn does. He said he would shorten his stroke, go the opposite way, etc w 2 strikes to try and limit strikeouts. But he said modern players, like Dunn, are so driven by Home Runs that they do nor care if they strike out as much as they do. He said some organizations love the homerun and do not get on players who refuse to change their approach w 2 strikes.

Bobby Thigpen
05-22-2013, 10:48 AM
Ya. No one would have ever struck out as many times as Dunn in Rice's era-

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/deerro01.shtml

havelj
05-22-2013, 10:59 AM
Another one:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/i/incavpe01.shtml

Heck - how about this guy?
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/jacksre01.shtml

russ99
05-22-2013, 11:23 AM
He has a point.

As much as we like to blame the past and present Sox GMs, managers and hitting coaches for our group of homer-happy, low RISP, high K, free swingers - a lot of this is on the players.

More HRs = higher salaries and players have a financial interest to swing away. With PEDs on the decline and pitchers increasingly having the upper hand over hitters, there's even more of an incentive.

When the Greg Walker witch hunt was in full swing (admittedly I was a participant) he'd frequently say how the players were prepared for better ABs, but when they step up to the plate it all goes out the window.

asindc
05-22-2013, 12:50 PM
Ya. No one would have ever struck out as many times as Dunn in Rice's era-

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/deerro01.shtml
And Rob Deer, along with Inky and a few others, was considered a punchline back then for striking out so much. He and a few others really stood out. It is the primary reason he wasn’t highly sought after.

SCCWS
05-22-2013, 01:23 PM
Ya. No one would have ever struck out as many times as Dunn in Rice's era-

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/deerro01.shtml
He did not say no one. He said they do not make good teammates because they are more concerned w homeruns than helping the team by not striking
You picked a great example in Rob Deer. Very similar to Dunn in that he also walked a lot but his career average was 220 ish. Good outfielder though w a great arm. Just don't look up his post season stats. Pretty sure his teams never made the playoffs despite his home run numbers.

Bobby Thigpen
05-22-2013, 01:57 PM
He did not say no one. He said they do not make good teammates because they are more concerned w homeruns than helping the team by not striking
You picked a great example in Rob Deer. Very similar to Dunn in that he also walked a lot but his career average was 220 ish. Good outfielder though w a great arm. Just don't look up his post season stats. Pretty sure his teams never made the playoffs despite his home run numbers.
I don't disagree with you, but that wasn't what your original post said. Your post seemed to say that Rice was saying no one of his era would've struck out that much because they were way less selfish than today's players.

LITTLE NELL
05-22-2013, 02:45 PM
He has a point.

As much as we like to blame the past and present Sox GMs, managers and hitting coaches for our group of homer-happy, low RISP, high K, free swingers - a lot of this is on the players.

More HRs = higher salaries and players have a financial interest to swing away. With PEDs on the decline and pitchers increasingly having the upper hand over hitters, there's even more of an incentive.

When the Greg Walker witch hunt was in full swing (admittedly I was a participant) he'd frequently say how the players were prepared for better ABs, but when they step up to the plate it all goes out the window.

The jacked up ball is to blame for this. HRs are a fan draw but every Tom, Dick and Harry is swinging for the fences. Look at a guy like Alexei and some others, with 2 strikes on them, instead of cutting down on their swing and trying to put the ball in play they are still swinging as hard as they can.

TDog
05-22-2013, 03:23 PM
I don't disagree with you, but that wasn't what your original post said. Your post seemed to say that Rice was saying no one of his era would've struck out that much because they were way less selfish than today's players.

No one who got any respect, anyway. Yes, Rob Deer struck out a lot. They also weren't respected hitters after they continued striking out. By the time they reached 32, they weren't getting serious playing time and their careers were over.

Reggie Jackson struck out a lot, when he came up for a last place team, but he cut down considerably on his strikeouts after he turned 25 and started playing for World Series Champions. He also hit for a pretty good average in many years. Harmon Killebrew struck out a lot, but between the ages of 27 and 39, he only had one season where he struck out more than 100 times.

Jim Rice played at a time when strikeouts were counted against you as offensive futility. If you struck out too much, you could lose playing time. Contenders had to find better options. Second-tier teams probably had someone else who could take your place. The Chicago media, and the national media when they bothered to pay attention to the White Sox, used to write that Bill Melton struck out too much, and he did strike out in 10 straight at bats in 1970 (it's referenced below the NFL labor story (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1915&dat=19700722&id=S_8gAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZXQFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2044,4316564)), but he only had one more season where he struck out more than 100 times and then only 106, one below his highest season total.

Of course, it isn't just Dunn. Hitters are striking out more than they ever have, not because pitchers are getting so much better and stronger. Maybe that plays a small factor, but the selfishness Rice referenced is a bigger factor. As analysts look at more abstract stats to determine a hitter's value to a lineup, they ignore strikeouts and bury the value of batting averages while overvaluing walks and home runs. If you essentially ignore the essence of hitting, you might hit over 50 home runs as Johnny Mize did in 1947. Walk enough, and you might have a better OPS, too, because Mize's that year was under 1.000. But what made Mize's season so awesome that older fans have talked with me about it over the years, was that he hit over .300 while striking out less than 50 times while hitting more than 50 home runs.

Nothing good offenseively comes from a strike out. That is why high-strikeout pitchers are celebrated. But one of the reasons pitchers are striking out more hitters than they ever have is that hitters don't seem to care if they strike out anymore. Players who don't shorten their swings or protect against borderline strikes with two strikes are going too deep in counts trying to walk when they should be focused on hitting. Players ignoring some of the basic principles of hitting (and maybe they are playing to specific stats to earn get bigger contracts), is making pitchers more dominant than they have been in years.

The fact is, though, that Dunn, relative to the rest of the league, at least, doesn't seem to be striking out as much as he has in the past. There are series this year where he has looked like a hitter with a completely different philosophy than he ever had. Maybe it's the pitchers that give him more trouble that make him look like the Dunn of recent years. But occasionally this year I have been impressed and I hope he impresses me some more.

Red Barchetta
05-22-2013, 03:35 PM
I used to hate how Jim Thome tried to pull everything when the SS was basically giving him a free single if he simply slapped the ball to the left side of the field, however Jim Thome played pro ball and I didn't so what do I know. :wink:

I hate the big whiff strike out as much as the next guy and Dunn's been doing it a lot lately. However, I hate the double play more and it was especially frustrating since the SOX have had a series of slow players in the middle of their lineup the past 10 seasons.

I don't think any of us can expect Dunn to change his batting approach anytime soon. Kenny rolled the dice on Dunn and we lost the same way we lost on Navarro. Time to simply gut it out and hope we stay competitive until his contract expires. If he can knock in 100 RBIs, I can live with all the strikeouts.

MISoxfan
05-22-2013, 04:42 PM
It's easy enough to look at the number of runs the hitters of today are scoring compared to those in his day.

http://michaelbein.com/baseball.html

russ99
05-22-2013, 04:43 PM
I used to hate how Jim Thome tried to pull everything when the SS was basically giving him a free single if he simply slapped the ball to the left side of the field, however Jim Thome played pro ball and I didn't so what do I know. :wink:

I hate the big whiff strike out as much as the next guy and Dunn's been doing it a lot lately. However, I hate the double play more and it was especially frustrating since the SOX have had a series of slow players in the middle of their lineup the past 10 seasons.

I don't think any of us can expect Dunn to change his batting approach anytime soon. Kenny rolled the dice on Dunn and we lost the same way we lost on Navarro. Time to simply gut it out and hope we stay competitive until his contract expires. If he can knock in 100 RBIs, I can live with all the strikeouts.

I'm sure we'd be OK with a Dunn or Thome in the lineup if he gets it done when it comes to run production, but we have a lineup chock full of these guys.

Sox hitters over 20% strikeout rate:

Dunn - 33%
Flowers - 29.9%
De Aza - 26.5%
Gillaspie - 23%
Viciedo - (down to) 22.7%

Plus Rios and Paul are over 15%.

TDog
05-22-2013, 04:57 PM
I used to hate how Jim Thome tried to pull everything when the SS was basically giving him a free single if he simply slapped the ball to the left side of the field, however Jim Thome played pro ball and I didn't so what do I know. :wink:

I hate the big whiff strike out as much as the next guy and Dunn's been doing it a lot lately. However, I hate the double play more and it was especially frustrating since the SOX have had a series of slow players in the middle of their lineup the past 10 seasons.

I don't think any of us can expect Dunn to change his batting approach anytime soon. Kenny rolled the dice on Dunn and we lost the same way we lost on Navarro. Time to simply gut it out and hope we stay competitive until his contract expires. If he can knock in 100 RBIs, I can live with all the strikeouts.

Believing that striking out isn't so bad because at least you're not hitting into a double play isn't so different from disdaining walks because the next hitter might hit into a double play. Hitting into a double play is a worse result than striking out, but a double play is something the defense has to execute. If there's a runner on first and less than two outs, a catcher doesn't even need to catch strike three cleanly to put the hitter out. And with a full count and one out in a close game, the manager should be starting the runner to stay out of the double play if a hitter vulnerable to being doubled up is hitting. If you have a high-strikeout hitter, starting the runner to stay out of the double play doesn't improve your chances of staying out of the double play.

And when you consider Jim Thome, remember that he also hit .300 a few times with the Indians and hit .288 in his first season with the White Sox. when he wasn't striking out, walking or hitting home runs, he was still hitting. He played into his 40s, long past his prime, and he still ended up with a .276 career batting average.

TheVulture
05-22-2013, 05:01 PM
Another one:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/i/incavpe01.shtml

Heck - how about this guy?
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/jacksre01.shtml

The first guy debuted twelveyears after Rice and was only averaging less than 200 AB a year by age 30, since he sucked so bad and all, and the second guy was batting in the .270-.300 range yearly in the same age range that Dunn has hit lower than .180.

Rice is right, I can't believe anyone is still arguing Dunn should be in the lineup.

TheVulture
05-22-2013, 05:03 PM
Ya. No one would have ever struck out as many times as Dunn in Rice's era-

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/deerro01.shtml

This guy debuted ten years after Rice, was out of the majors by age 32, since he struck out so much and hit for a terrible average that still wasn't as terrible as Dunn

kittle42
05-22-2013, 07:37 PM
No one who got any respect, anyway. Yes, Rob Deer struck out a lot. They also weren't respected hitters after they continued striking out. By the time they reached 32, they weren't getting serious playing time and their careers were over.

Reggie Jackson struck out a lot, when he came up for a last place team, but he cut down considerably on his strikeouts after he turned 25 and started playing for World Series Champions. He also hit for a pretty good average in many years. Harmon Killebrew struck out a lot, but between the ages of 27 and 39, he only had one season where he struck out more than 100 times.

Jim Rice played at a time when strikeouts were counted against you as offensive futility. If you struck out too much, you could lose playing time. Contenders had to find better options. Second-tier teams probably had someone else who could take your place. The Chicago media, and the national media when they bothered to pay attention to the White Sox, used to write that Bill Melton struck out too much, and he did strike out in 10 straight at bats in 1970 (it's referenced below the NFL labor story (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1915&dat=19700722&id=S_8gAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZXQFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2044,4316564)), but he only had one more season where he struck out more than 100 times and then only 106, one below his highest season total.

Of course, it isn't just Dunn. Hitters are striking out more than they ever have, not because pitchers are getting so much better and stronger. Maybe that plays a small factor, but the selfishness Rice referenced is a bigger factor. As analysts look at more abstract stats to determine a hitter's value to a lineup, they ignore strikeouts and bury the value of batting averages while overvaluing walks and home runs. If you essentially ignore the essence of hitting, you might hit over 50 home runs as Johnny Mize did in 1947. Walk enough, and you might have a better OPS, too, because Mize's that year was under 1.000. But what made Mize's season so awesome that older fans have talked with me about it over the years, was that he hit over .300 while striking out less than 50 times while hitting more than 50 home runs.

Nothing good offenseively comes from a strike out. That is why high-strikeout pitchers are celebrated. But one of the reasons pitchers are striking out more hitters than they ever have is that hitters don't seem to care if they strike out anymore. Players who don't shorten their swings or protect against borderline strikes with two strikes are going too deep in counts trying to walk when they should be focused on hitting. Players ignoring some of the basic principles of hitting (and maybe they are playing to specific stats to earn get bigger contracts), is making pitchers more dominant than they have been in years.

The fact is, though, that Dunn, relative to the rest of the league, at least, doesn't seem to be striking out as much as he has in the past. There are series this year where he has looked like a hitter with a completely different philosophy than he ever had. Maybe it's the pitchers that give him more trouble that make him look like the Dunn of recent years. But occasionally this year I have been impressed and I hope he impresses me some more.

Agreed on all. Good post.

eastchicagosoxfan
05-22-2013, 08:09 PM
A bit of a side bar question. How many outs on average have been recorded by strikeout by decade? Is it higher now than ever? For the first three or four decades of the 20th century, only a handful of guys struck out over 100 times a season. Yet a guy like Rube Waddell struck out 349 batters in 1904. How does that strikeout rate, when compared to the number of outs by strikeout, compare to some of Ryan's better seasons?

kittle42
05-22-2013, 08:11 PM
A bit of a side bar question. How many outs on average have been recorded by strikeout by decade? Is it higher now than ever? For the first three or four decades of the 20th century, only a handful of guys struck out over 100 times a season. Yet a guy like Rube Waddell struck out 349 batters in 1904. How does that strikeout rate, when compared to the number of outs by strikeout, compare to some of Ryan's better seasons?

Waddell pitched 383 innings that year, so really, a lesser strike out rate than a guy like Strasburg or Hamels today.

RKMeibalane
05-22-2013, 08:13 PM
Rob Deer is the Cubs assistant hitting coach. :cool:

kittle42
05-22-2013, 08:14 PM
Rob Deer is the Cubs assistant hitting coach. :cool:

Look at a lot of managers and coaches. As Woody Allen said, "Those who can't do, teach."

SI1020
05-22-2013, 08:18 PM
He should be able to show them what not to do. In all seriousness he might turn out to be a good hitting coach.

RKMeibalane
05-22-2013, 08:27 PM
Look at a lot of managers and coaches. As Woody Allen said, "Those who can't do, teach."

He should be able to show them what not to do. In all seriousness he might turn out to be a good hitting coach.

Deer did hit for power, and he walked a decent amount, so it's not as though he wasn't productive. You may be right that he'll be able to teach other players things he couldn't do himself, especially since he's had several years to reflect on his Major League career and learn from it.

BainesHOF
05-22-2013, 08:35 PM
TDog was all over it in his post.

Strikeouts just don't carry the stigma that they used to. It's true pitchers are better these days. It's amazing how most throw in the 90s. Yet I can't believe how many hitters refuse to adjust their approach with two strikes. It's like choking up is beneath them. So apparently is cutting down on a swing.

shes
05-22-2013, 08:59 PM
The first guy debuted twelveyears after Rice and was only averaging less than 200 AB a year by age 30, since he sucked so bad and all, and the second guy was batting in the .270-.300 range yearly in the same age range that Dunn has hit lower than .180.

Rice is right, I can't believe anyone is still arguing Dunn should be in the lineup.

I want him gone as much as anyone, but Dunn's hitting .228/.330/.570 over the last 4 weeks. That's argument enough that he should be in any lineup, let alone arguably the worst lineup in baseball.

asindc
05-22-2013, 09:00 PM
A bit of a side bar question. How many outs on average have been recorded by strikeout by decade? Is it higher now than ever? For the first three or four decades of the 20th century, only a handful of guys struck out over 100 times a season. Yet a guy like Rube Waddell struck out 349 batters in 1904. How does that strikeout rate, when compared to the number of outs by strikeout, compare to some of Ryan's better seasons?

Yes:

http://michaelbein.com/Baseball/slide_frame.html

MISoxfan
05-22-2013, 09:03 PM
Despite the strikeouts today's hitters are producing more runs per game than the league has since the 40's. Maybe they actually know what they're doing after all?

This isn't an excuse for Dunn, but many of you are acting like there is a problem with the league as a whole. Dunn was very good before he came to the Sox, but there is no way his production since has been an asset.

asindc
05-22-2013, 09:07 PM
Despite the strikeouts today's hitters are producing more runs per game than the league has since the 40's. Maybe they actually know what they're doing after all?

This isn't an excuse for Dunn, but many of you are acting like there is a problem with the league as a whole. Dunn was very good before he came to the Sox, but there is no way his production since has been an asset.

Runs per game have been on a downward trend since the 90s.

MISoxfan
05-22-2013, 09:18 PM
Runs per game have been on a downward trend since the 90s.

Since the late 90s, sure. I suppose that is worth mentioning. Is the approach to hitting in 1998-2000 any different than the approach to hitting today?

RKMeibalane
05-22-2013, 09:27 PM
Since the late 90s, sure. I suppose that is worth mentioning. Is the approach to hitting in 1998-2000 any different than the approach to hitting today?

:shammy

"I think I know something about this."

asindc
05-22-2013, 09:28 PM
Since the late 90s, sure. I suppose that is worth mentioning. Is the approach to hitting in 1998-2000 any different than the approach to hitting today?

It is certainly different than 20 years ago.

eastchicagosoxfan
05-22-2013, 09:30 PM
Waddell pitched 383 innings that year, so really, a lesser strike out rate than a guy like Strasburg or Hamels today.
I didn't notice that. I see your point.

MISoxfan
05-22-2013, 10:51 PM
:shammy

"I think I know something about this."

Obviously that is the height of the steroid era. My point is that outside of that period that strikeouts per game and runs per game have been fairly consistent since around 95, and both are higher than any other period in the game. The approach hitters have been using since the mid to late 90's until now has produced more runs than the approach hitters used in the past.

asindc
05-22-2013, 10:54 PM
Obviously that is the height of the steroid era. My point is that outside of that period that strikeouts per game and runs per game have been fairly consistent since around 95, and both are higher than any other period in the game. The approach hitters have been using since the mid to late 90's until now has produced more runs than the approach hitters used in the past.

That is simply not true. Just look at the K trends from the chart on this website:

http://api.viglink.com/api/click?format=go&key=bc567ddaebd0894ecfc0d104cafc4022&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.whitesoxinteractive.com%2Fvbu lletin%2Fnewreply.php%3Fdo%3Dnewreply%26p%3D305394 1&v=1&libId=cdbf0c94-8ad4-48eb-af8d-cfde0433657b&out=http%3A%2F%2Fmichaelbein.com%2Fbaseball.html&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.whitesoxinteractive.com%2Fvbu lletin%2Fshowthread.php%3Fp%3D3053941&title=White%20Sox%20Interactive%20Forums%20-%20Reply%20to%20Topic&txt=http%3A%2F%2Fmichaelbein.com%2Fbaseball.html&jsonp=vglnk_jsonp_13692776406698

TDog
05-23-2013, 12:46 AM
Despite the strikeouts today's hitters are producing more runs per game than the league has since the 40's. Maybe they actually know what they're doing after all? ...

Even if both runs and strikeouts were at an all-time high, you shouldn't draw the conclusion that strikeouts being at an all-time high contributed to runs being at an all-time high. The two facts might not be related. There are so many factors that come into play in comparing run production in two eight-teams leagues with two 15-league teams, one of which employs the DH. Actually, I find it odd that the two major league teams that struck out the least last season had pitcher in the lineup in more than 150 games, but I draw no conclusions from that fact alone.

Hypothetically, I can imagine someone coming up with an argument that strikeouts are improving offense because they force pitchers to throw more pitches in this pitch-count-obsessed era that the best pitchers aren't going deeper into games. I'm not sure how I would respond.

But I don't see how putting up more outs without forcing the defense to make plays to get hitters out can help your offense. Even in tonight's White Sox loss, the White Sox scored their first run because the hitter with a 3-2 count put the ball in play with the runner going. A strikeout could have resulted in a double play. Not sending the runner leaves the White Sox scoreless. One of the things I think has been limiting the White Sox offense this year is the enormous number of strikeouts.

MarksBrokenFoot
05-23-2013, 07:30 AM
One thing I think gets lost in this is that strikeouts aren't just another out. Yes, a ground out and a strikeout are both 1 out. However, a normal BABIP is about .300, so for every strikeout you take away, you can expect about .3 hits. So with Dunn, if he cut his strikeouts in half, you'd expect about 8 more hits so far this year. That's a different between a .163 average and a .216. It's a .302 obp instead of .256. Now, cutting his k's in half is a tall order, but every k he shaves off is at least a chance for something good to happen.

Or another way to say it. If an out is inevitable, a strikeout is the same as any other out. When you put the ball in play, an out is never inevitable. So while we can relax a little bit and understand that strikeouts aren't as evil as we used to think, I'd still rather have players that can put the bat on the ball at a good rate.

eastchicagosoxfan
05-23-2013, 07:33 AM
Waddell pitched 383 innings that year, so really, a lesser strike out rate than a guy like Strasburg or Hamels today.
I'll flip-flop a bit here. I don't know if innings pitched really matter. I'm probably just rehashing an existing stat, but here is my thought.

Outs per season
Percentage of outs by strikeout
A pitcher's percentage of outs by strikeout vs the league average

If a season has 10% of all outs by strikeout, but a pitcher in that season gets 20% of all his outs by strikeout, how does that compare hitorically?

Is this just restating strikeouts per inning?

ASINDC, I like that site.

Frater Perdurabo
05-23-2013, 08:53 AM
A high strikeout total accompanied with low BABIP is definitely bad.

But a player who strikes out a lot, but who also hits a lot of frozen ropes all over the field (and over the fences), and therefore has a high BABIP, would still be a productive player. I'm not sure there's a real player who fits this hypothetical profile, however.

asindc
05-23-2013, 09:05 AM
One thing I think gets lost in this is that strikeouts aren't just another out. Yes, a ground out and a strikeout are both 1 out. However, a normal BABIP is about .300, so for every strikeout you take away, you can expect about .3 hits. So with Dunn, if he cut his strikeouts in half, you'd expect about 8 more hits so far this year. That's a different between a .163 average and a .216. It's a .302 obp instead of .256. Now, cutting his k's in half is a tall order, but every k he shaves off is at least a chance for something good to happen.

Or another way to say it. If an out is inevitable, a strikeout is the same as any other out. When you put the ball in play, an out is never inevitable. So while we can relax a little bit and understand that strikeouts aren't as evil as we used to think, I'd still rather have players that can put the bat on the ball at a good rate.

Excellent post.

SI1020
05-23-2013, 10:01 AM
Excellent post. I agree.

SCCWS
05-23-2013, 10:07 AM
I think the shift for lefthanders is somewhat the same as the strikeout issue. When Dunn is hitting in front of Paulie, it is a good thing when he gets on base especially if they already have a runner. Not just Dunn, but many lefties including Thome always swing into the shift. If Dunn is hitting w a man on and the opponents put the shift on, an occasional bunt especially in a close game last night could be huge.
Just an example was last night, Sox in first inning had Dunn up w first and second and 1 out. 3rd baseman was over to prevent the steal but was deep. Dunn strikes out and then paulie hit a bullet that was caught by Gomes. Now if Dunn could have got the runner up to 3rd w a bunt once he had 2 strikes and loaded the bases that would have been a key run in what was a close game till the late innings. But bunting is a lost art w many regulars and does not exist among the free-swingers. But if a guy like Dunn used it once or twice a month in key situations , the threat would give him more space on the right side of the infield.

Huisj
05-23-2013, 10:37 AM
A high strikeout total accompanied with low BABIP is definitely bad.

But a player who strikes out a lot, but who also hits a lot of frozen ropes all over the field (and over the fences), and therefore has a high BABIP, would still be a productive player. I'm not sure there's a real player who fits this hypothetical profile, however.

In some ways, Dunn used to fit that profile. Prior to being on the Sox, his career BABIP was .296, and his seasons in Washington were at .324 and .329.

Anothing thing to consider is that at least some part of the theoretical benefit of that type of player who swings real hard, hits the ball real hard, and strikes out a lot is not captured in BABIP because HR are not counted as hits or at-bats in BABIP.

There's no one easy way to say that player X should try to strike out less or should try to hit more homers to be the most effective. There's a lot more going on that just saying "if so-and-so changed their approach, the numbers and the theory say he'd be this much better." I feel like there's got to be someone on Fangraphs or something who has written something about where the reasonable breaking point is between K's and homers that shows how productive with power hitting one needs to be in order to compensate for a high K rate. The problem is, you can't go to a player and tell them to change an approach because the numbers say they should and always have it work out, because the ability and skill set might not be there. If they told Dunn to shorten up and try to just put the ball in play with 2-strikes, would it really help his K's much? Would it make his BABIP even worse? Would he hit fewer homers? Would it affect his discipline in some way that we couldn't predict?

MarksBrokenFoot
05-23-2013, 11:38 AM
In some ways, Dunn used to fit that profile. Prior to being on the Sox, his career BABIP was .296, and his seasons in Washington were at .324 and .329.

Anothing thing to consider is that at least some part of the theoretical benefit of that type of player who swings real hard, hits the ball real hard, and strikes out a lot is not captured in BABIP because HR are not counted as hits or at-bats in BABIP.

There's no one easy way to say that player X should try to strike out less or should try to hit more homers to be the most effective. There's a lot more going on that just saying "if so-and-so changed their approach, the numbers and the theory say he'd be this much better." I feel like there's got to be someone on Fangraphs or something who has written something about where the reasonable breaking point is between K's and homers that shows how productive with power hitting one needs to be in order to compensate for a high K rate. The problem is, you can't go to a player and tell them to change an approach because the numbers say they should and always have it work out, because the ability and skill set might not be there. If they told Dunn to shorten up and try to just put the ball in play with 2-strikes, would it really help his K's much? Would it make his BABIP even worse? Would he hit fewer homers? Would it affect his discipline in some way that we couldn't predict?

Dunn has hit 3 homers with a 2 strike count. So, with 2 strikes, he's got a 3.5% chance to homer and a 67% chance to strikeout. When he's ahead in the count, he homers 11.5% of the time. I don't know if he has the ability to shorten up and get more hits. I doubt it. I just don't like the guy's game. He's not fun to watch.

Huisj
05-23-2013, 11:41 AM
I just don't like the guy's game. He's not fun to watch.

No argument there.

MISoxfan
05-23-2013, 01:35 PM
That is simply not true. Just look at the K trends from the chart on this website:

http://api.viglink.com/api/click?format=go&key=bc567ddaebd0894ecfc0d104cafc4022&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.whitesoxinteractive.com%2Fvbu lletin%2Fnewreply.php%3Fdo%3Dnewreply%26p%3D305394 1&v=1&libId=cdbf0c94-8ad4-48eb-af8d-cfde0433657b&out=http%3A%2F%2Fmichaelbein.com%2Fbaseball.html&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.whitesoxinteractive.com%2Fvbu lletin%2Fshowthread.php%3Fp%3D3053941&title=White%20Sox%20Interactive%20Forums%20-%20Reply%20to%20Topic&txt=http%3A%2F%2Fmichaelbein.com%2Fbaseball.html&jsonp=vglnk_jsonp_13692776406698

I guess you are right, players do strike out more now than they did in the 90s. I still maintain that the 90s saw the most runs per game since the 30s and the second most strikeouts per game and since then we've seen the second most runs per game since the 30s and the most strikeouts per game.

MISoxfan
05-23-2013, 01:38 PM
One thing I think gets lost in this is that strikeouts aren't just another out. Yes, a ground out and a strikeout are both 1 out. However, a normal BABIP is about .300, so for every strikeout you take away, you can expect about .3 hits. So with Dunn, if he cut his strikeouts in half, you'd expect about 8 more hits so far this year. That's a different between a .163 average and a .216. It's a .302 obp instead of .256. Now, cutting his k's in half is a tall order, but every k he shaves off is at least a chance for something good to happen.

Or another way to say it. If an out is inevitable, a strikeout is the same as any other out. When you put the ball in play, an out is never inevitable. So while we can relax a little bit and understand that strikeouts aren't as evil as we used to think, I'd still rather have players that can put the bat on the ball at a good rate.

If Dunn is chancing his approach and striking out less do you really think he's going to take as many walks? His average may increase to .216, but his OBP is not going to get to .302, and his slugging is also going to drop. I'm not saying it couldn't be beneficial, but it's not as simple as that.

MISoxfan
05-23-2013, 01:41 PM
Even if both runs and strikeouts were at an all-time high, you shouldn't draw the conclusion that strikeouts being at an all-time high contributed to runs being at an all-time high. The two facts might not be related. There are so many factors that come into play in comparing run production in two eight-teams leagues with two 15-league teams, one of which employs the DH. Actually, I find it odd that the two major league teams that struck out the least last season had pitcher in the lineup in more than 150 games, but I draw no conclusions from that fact alone.



I'm not drawing the conclusion that the runs are due to the extra strikeouts. I'm only saying it's ridiculous to say that hitters are being selfish and costing their teams runs at the expense of their own home run total when these teams are scoring more than most teams in the past.

Lip Man 1
05-23-2013, 01:53 PM
My only contribution to this discussion regarding strikeouts / home runs / runs scored is this....don't forget about the caliber of pitching overall when discussing these areas.

That plays a major factor.

Lip

TDog
05-23-2013, 02:02 PM
I'm not drawing the conclusion that the runs are due to the extra strikeouts. I'm only saying it's ridiculous to say that hitters are being selfish and costing their teams runs at the expense of their own home run total when these teams are scoring more than most teams in the past.

I don't think it's ridiculous at all because it's irrelevant how many runs were scored in the conditions in the past under the rules of the past with the enforced strike zone of the past. Conditions today to score runs are different than they were in 1968, before they lowered the mound, before baseball expanded and diluted pitching, before baseball created a smaller strike zone. Hitters had to be less selfish for teams to score runs. Hitters wear padding now that takes away some of the fear of being hit with an inside pitch so they can be more comfortable at the plate And that just scratches the surface of the myriad differences.

It's ridiculous to say hitters aren't being selfish because there are more runs being scored today.

Huisj
05-23-2013, 03:15 PM
I don't think it's ridiculous at all because it's irrelevant how many runs were scored in the conditions in the past under the rules of the past with the enforced strike zone of the past. Conditions today to score runs are different than they were in 1968, before they lowered the mound, before baseball expanded and diluted pitching, before baseball created a smaller strike zone. Hitters had to be less selfish for teams to score runs. Hitters wear padding now that takes away some of the fear of being hit with an inside pitch so they can be more comfortable at the plate And that just scratches the surface of the myriad differences.

It's ridiculous to say hitters aren't being selfish because there are more runs being scored today.

So if we took players and made them use the "less selfish" approach from yesteryear in today's game, then we'd see even more runs, right?

TDog
05-23-2013, 06:07 PM
So if we took players and made them use the "less selfish" approach from yesteryear in today's game, then we'd see even more runs, right?

It really is an irrelevant question. A better question would be whether a team with an unselfish lineup doing what it needs to do to score the runs it needs to win games. I think it's silly to think a team is going to win more games by striking out more.

Obviously, If you have hitters shortening their swing and protecting the plate with two strikes, you are still going to have hitters striking out. But if you can at least put the ball in play on a 3-2 count with one out and runners on first and third, and your manager is confident you can do so and sends the runner, you will score a run where you wouldn't if you are swinging as if you had no regard for the count. You can score a run in the inning with just a single, a walk and two ground outs even if the inning ends with a strike out. That actually kept the White Sox in the game for a while Wednesday night.

One of my pet peeves is the White Sox not scoring with a runner on third and less than two outs. It's not just the White Sox, but when I see it happening to other teams, it doesn't really bother me. Am I the only person here who is frustrated that the White Sox are striking out about 20 percent of the time this year when they come up with a runner on third and less than two outs?

SI1020
05-23-2013, 06:22 PM
It really is an irrelevant question. A better question would be whether a team with an unselfish lineup doing what it needs to do to score the runs it needs to win games. I think it's silly to think a team is going to win more games by striking out more.

Obviously, If you have hitters shortening their swing and protecting the plate with two strikes, you are still going to have hitters striking out. But if you can at least put the ball in play on a 3-2 count with one out and runners on first and third, and your manager is confident you can do so and sends the runner, you will score a run where you wouldn't if you are swinging as if you had no regard for the count. You can score a run in the inning with just a single, a walk and two ground outs even if the inning ends with a strike out. That actually kept the White Sox in the game for a while Wednesday night.

One of my pet peeves is the White Sox not scoring with a runner on third and less than two outs. It's not just the White Sox, but when I see it happening to other teams, it doesn't really bother me. Am I the only person here who is frustrated that the White Sox are striking out about 20 percent of the time this year when they come up with a runner on third and less than two outs? No. There are at least two of us.

Paulwny
05-23-2013, 07:11 PM
It really is an irrelevant question. A better question would be whether a team with an unselfish lineup doing what it needs to do to score the runs it needs to win games. I think it's silly to think a team is going to win more games by striking out more.

Obviously, If you have hitters shortening their swing and protecting the plate with two strikes, you are still going to have hitters striking out. But if you can at least put the ball in play on a 3-2 count with one out and runners on first and third, and your manager is confident you can do so and sends the runner, you will score a run where you wouldn't if you are swinging as if you had no regard for the count. You can score a run in the inning with just a single, a walk and two ground outs even if the inning ends with a strike out. That actually kept the White Sox in the game for a while Wednesday night.

One of my pet peeves is the White Sox not scoring with a runner on third and less than two outs. It's not just the White Sox, but when I see it happening to other teams, it doesn't really bother me. Am I the only person here who is frustrated that the White Sox are striking out about 20 percent of the time this year when they come up with a runner on third and less than two outs?

No. There are at least two of us.


Make it 3.
The other thing that bugs me. In a close game, a double to lead off an inning and the next hitter not attempting to hit the ball to the right side to get the runner to third with less than 2 outs.

MISoxfan
05-23-2013, 10:27 PM
Nobody likes to see a strike out stranding someone on third, but I am just as frustrated when I see a popup to second.

TDog
05-23-2013, 10:42 PM
Nobody likes to see a strike out stranding someone on third, but I am just as frustrated when I see a popup to second.

And once again, you totally missed the point.

SCCWS
05-24-2013, 08:47 AM
If Dunn is chancing his approach and striking out less do you really think he's going to take as many walks? His average may increase to .216, but his OBP is not going to get to .302, and his slugging is also going to drop. I'm not saying it couldn't be beneficial, but it's not as simple as that.

I think you are confused. The point Rice was making was that guys like Dunn should change their approach when they have 2 strikes not their total batting approach.

Maybe we will see some hitters change their approach. I was watching Boston/Cleveland last night. Carlos Santana who hits 5th for the Indians and before Mark Reynolds bunted against the Boston shift w a man on first. Both runners eventually came around and scored. His next time up the Red Sox changed the shift somewhat and he fouled off a bunt attempt at which point Boston brought the only infielder on that side in quite a bit. He ultimately walked and scored again.

Foulke You
05-24-2013, 12:00 PM
I want him gone as much as anyone, but Dunn's hitting .228/.330/.570 over the last 4 weeks. That's argument enough that he should be in any lineup, let alone arguably the worst lineup in baseball.
5HRs, 10 hits, 2 Doubles, 13 RBI in the last 10 games for Dunn. People like to pretend Dunn hasn't been productive lately. He has looked more like the 2012 version of Dunn than the 2011 one. I know many people still don't like him but for me, Dunn is there to drive in runs and lately he has been doing just that. As long as we are getting the kind of production we have been getting from him for the last 10 games, I can live with the Ks.

MISoxfan
05-24-2013, 12:17 PM
I think you are confused. The point Rice was making was that guys like Dunn should change their approach when they have 2 strikes not their total batting approach.

Maybe we will see some hitters change their approach. I was watching Boston/Cleveland last night. Carlos Santana who hits 5th for the Indians and before Mark Reynolds bunted against the Boston shift w a man on first. Both runners eventually came around and scored. His next time up the Red Sox changed the shift somewhat and he fouled off a bunt attempt at which point Boston brought the only infielder on that side in quite a bit. He ultimately walked and scored again.

I didn't see the interview, so it's entirely possible that I am not accurately replying to Rice.

There seems to be a general opinion in this thread that strike outs are bad and that the hitters of yesteryear were better and less selfish. Sure you can make a case that increased run production is entirely due to the watering down of the league's pitching, elbow pads, and lowering of the mound, but you are ignoring other factors like the increased use of a bullpen when a starter is struggling, and that expansion teams bring in worse hitting as well as pitching. There are also a lot of years between 1968 and 2000 if you want to ignore the changing of the mound.

I think there are cases when a hitter should change his approach with 2 strikes. I just don't think there is a problem with the league's strikeout total as a whole. Teams strike out more and score more runs this century than the seventies and eighties. Teams also hit for a better average in this century than in the seventies and eighties. I don't think a hitter should have a fear of striking out 150-160 times per season. I think each hitter has a sweet spot where his production will improve by not fearing the strike out and then a point beyond that where he is striking out too much. For some players it might be 110 and others 175.

There seems to be a consensus in this thread that players as a whole strike out too much today and I just don't agree with it, and I don't think there is any evidence that t is true.

Foulke You
05-24-2013, 12:22 PM
There seems to be a general opinion in this thread that strike outs are bad and that the hitters of yesteryear were better and less selfish. Sure you can make a case that increased run production is entirely due to the watering down of the league's pitching, elbow pads, and lowering of the mound, but you are ignoring other factors like the increased use of a bullpen when a starter is struggling, and that expansion teams bring in worse hitting as well as pitching. There are also a lot of years between 1968 and 2000 if you want to ignore the changing of the mound.
All excellent points. Another thing to take into account is the newer ballparks that have the tantalizingly close HR fences. Players from Jim Rice's era never hit in a place like Minute Maid Park with 363 foot power alleys. Let's face it, lots of these newer parks were built for HRs. Who could blame some of these hitters for a HR swing when a huge chunk of the parks they play in are launching pads?

TDog
05-24-2013, 03:27 PM
I didn't see the interview, so it's entirely possible that I am not accurately replying to Rice.

There seems to be a general opinion in this thread that strike outs are bad and that the hitters of yesteryear were better and less selfish. Sure you can make a case that increased run production is entirely due to the watering down of the league's pitching, elbow pads, and lowering of the mound, but you are ignoring other factors like the increased use of a bullpen when a starter is struggling, and that expansion teams bring in worse hitting as well as pitching. There are also a lot of years between 1968 and 2000 if you want to ignore the changing of the mound.

I think there are cases when a hitter should change his approach with 2 strikes. I just don't think there is a problem with the league's strikeout total as a whole. Teams strike out more and score more runs this century than the seventies and eighties. Teams also hit for a better average in this century than in the seventies and eighties. I don't think a hitter should have a fear of striking out 150-160 times per season. I think each hitter has a sweet spot where his production will improve by not fearing the strike out and then a point beyond that where he is striking out too much. For some players it might be 110 and others 175.

There seems to be a consensus in this thread that players as a whole strike out too much today and I just don't agree with it, and I don't think there is any evidence that t is true.

I wasn't ignoring anything. Actually, today you get less strong innings from your best pitchers overall than you ever have because of the way managers use their bullpens and manage by pitch counts. Most of the newer ballparks, although not on the west coast, are built favoring hitters. Hard evidence that record levels of strikeouts are good or bad for hitting can't be produced because the factors are so radically changing that the evidence would have to be contrived in such a way to affect the prejudice of the person making the point. Striking out consistently is giving up at bats worse than sacrificing because there is no positive result for the offense, barring a defensive mistake. It's true that I once saw a runner score from second to tie a game on a strikeout (a Giants game last year) with two outs in the ninth, but I've also seen a triple play that began with a strikeout (a Phillies game maybe eight years ago).

If you watch the game, the idea that it's OK for a hitter to strike out 150 times or more in a season is simply ridiculous. For it to be forgiven, a player would have to be hitting .300, even better with runners in scoring position and not striking out much at all if there are runners on base. You had better be doing great things offensively when you aren't striking out. Tyler Flowers can't be excused for striking out at his pace. He is the definition of an easy out. For Adam Dunn to be excused, I would think he would have to be hitting .280 with power, both overall and with runners in scoring position. Dunn's on-base percentage is irrelevant as an RBI man who hasn't sniffed a .240 batting average since coming to the White Sox. If you are striking out about once a game, you are either giving up at bats or you have serious holes in your swing with scouting reports are directing even average pitchers how to turn you into an easy out.

If you are looking for some sort of abstract analysis to tell you that strike outs aren't a big deal, you aren't so different from the researcher who concludes his trained frog is deaf because it doesn't jump when he calls it after cutting its legs off. Watch the game. The teams that have been winning are the teams that aren't striking out as much, although offense is only one component a winning team needs. For the last two seasons, the team winning the World Series (I know some don't think that's a big deal) had fewer than 1,000 strikeouts in the regular season, near fewest in the majors, despite having pitchers in their lineup. Two seasons ago, both teams that got to the World Series were the ones who struck out the least in their league. Even the 2011 Texas Rangers, who lost to the NL team that struck out the least while posting the highest team batting average and on-base percentage and, obviously, OPS, struck out the fewest in the American League while having the highest batting average while finishing second in the AL in home runs. That should tell you more than comparing statistical evidence from one year to the next.

Everything I see tells me that if you still believe strike outs are OK, you are on the descending side of the curve.

Watch the game and you will see that teams that don't strike out as much are more likely to score leadoff doubles. Their managers can send runners on 3-2 to stay out of the double play. Their managers can work successful hit and run. I've watched National League games this year where managers have run successful hit and run plays with pitchers at bat.

Ted Williams, in his autobiography, talked about shortening his swing with two strikes and found he still could hit with power with a lighter bat, which he stuck in Frank Howard hands in his later hitting coach days. The year he hit .406, he led the league in home runs with 37 and struck out only 27 times. His mantra was to wait for your pitch. The thing is, he was Ted Williams and he could hit with two strikes.

All I ask is for White Sox hitters to try.

MISoxfan
05-24-2013, 06:43 PM
2012
AL Strikeouts
1: Oakland Athletics (94-68) Runs Scored: 8th
2: Tampa Bay Rayes (90-72) Runs Scored: 11th
3: Baltimore Orioles (93-69) Runs Scored: 9th

14: Kansas City Royals (72-90) Runs Scored: 12th
13: Minnesota Twins (66-96) Runs Scored: 10th
12: Cleveland Indians (68-94) Runs Scored: 13th

I'm not going to continue doing that for every single season, but you can look through every single season and see if you can find a strong correlation between strikeouts and runs scored if you want. I don't think you'll find one. As far as the 2011 World Series, the White Sox had the second fewest strikeouts with 989 and scored a whopping 654 runs.

DSpivack
05-24-2013, 06:58 PM
2012
AL Strikeouts
1: Oakland Athletics (94-68) Runs Scored: 8th
2: Tampa Bay Rayes (90-72) Runs Scored: 11th
3: Baltimore Orioles (93-69) Runs Scored: 9th

14: Kansas City Royals (72-90) Runs Scored: 12th
13: Minnesota Twins (66-96) Runs Scored: 10th
12: Cleveland Indians (68-94) Runs Scored: 13th

I'm not going to continue doing that for every single season, but you can look through every single season and see if you can find a strong correlation between strikeouts and runs scored if you want. I don't think you'll find one. As far as the 2011 World Series, the White Sox had the second fewest strikeouts with 989 and scored a whopping 654 runs.

Perhaps there is no correlation between an offense's K rate and runs scored (I don't know either way), but in a recent Grantland article on the Royals (http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9295533/jonah-keri-rany-jazayerli-royals-ineptitude) continued lack of success Jonah Keri and Rany Jazayerli argue that there is one between BB rate and runs scored.

The White Sox, FWIW, are 4th from the bottom in BB rate (http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=9,d) and 6th from the bottom in runs/game (http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2013.shtml).

TDog
05-24-2013, 07:28 PM
2012
AL Strikeouts
1: Oakland Athletics (94-68) Runs Scored: 8th
2: Tampa Bay Rayes (90-72) Runs Scored: 11th
3: Baltimore Orioles (93-69) Runs Scored: 9th

14: Kansas City Royals (72-90) Runs Scored: 12th
13: Minnesota Twins (66-96) Runs Scored: 10th
12: Cleveland Indians (68-94) Runs Scored: 13th

I'm not going to continue doing that for every single season, but you can look through every single season and see if you can find a strong correlation between strikeouts and runs scored if you want. I don't think you'll find one. As far as the 2011 World Series, the White Sox had the second fewest strikeouts with 989 and scored a whopping 654 runs.

You continue to miss the point. It's not about total runs scored out of context. It's about not giving up outs. Giving up outs is something you don't want to do if you want to win.

When the Rangers were at their best offensively and went to the World Series, they were striking out less than any other team in the league. When the Giants won the World Series last year after running away with their division, they had the second fewest strikeouts in the majors despite having a couple of starting pitchers who struck out in about half of their plate appearances. If you don't have a great offense, and the Giants hit fewer than 100 home runs, not striking out allows you to do more things to score runs. If you lead the league in batting average, as the Rangers and Cardinals did with the fewest NL strikeouts in 2011, striking out less means more means you have more productive outs and you manufacture more runs. Not striking out is something that improves your offense.

Regardless of what statisticians who never played the game might conclude, the reality is about not giving up outs when you have two strikes on you. The more you strike out, the harder our offense has to work to score. Really, that should be obvious when you watch baseball.

Even if you look at baseball as rolls of the dice and percentages, I don't see how anyone can defend players who intentionally decrease their chances of some level of success with two strikes by refusing to shorten their swings to make contact, to focus on making contact, when even a foul tip can put them out with only the catcher tested defensively.

TheVulture
05-25-2013, 05:13 PM
2012
AL Strikeouts
1: Oakland Athletics (94-68) Runs Scored: 8th
2: Tampa Bay Rayes (90-72) Runs Scored: 11th
3: Baltimore Orioles (93-69) Runs Scored: 9th

14: Kansas City Royals (72-90) Runs Scored: 12th
13: Minnesota Twins (66-96) Runs Scored: 10th
12: Cleveland Indians (68-94) Runs Scored: 13th

I'm not going to continue doing that for every single season, but you can look through every single season and see if you can find a strong correlation between strikeouts and runs scored if you want. I don't think you'll find one. As far as the 2011 World Series, the White Sox had the second fewest strikeouts with 989 and scored a whopping 654 runs.

How many of those teams hit .180?

If you look at the teams that scored the most runs, you will find they are all in the lower half of the league in strikeouts, btw. Yanks, LA and Tex all K'd less than 1200 times, compared to average of about 1350 of the top 3 teams. Same with 2011, Texas had the lowest K rate, all top three teams in runs in lower half.

MISoxfan
05-26-2013, 11:52 AM
You continue to miss the point. It's not about total runs scored out of context. It's about not giving up outs. Giving up outs is something you don't want to do if you want to win.

When the Rangers were at their best offensively and went to the World Series, they were striking out less than any other team in the league. When the Giants won the World Series last year after running away with their division, they had the second fewest strikeouts in the majors despite having a couple of starting pitchers who struck out in about half of their plate appearances. If you don't have a great offense, and the Giants hit fewer than 100 home runs, not striking out allows you to do more things to score runs. If you lead the league in batting average, as the Rangers and Cardinals did with the fewest NL strikeouts in 2011, striking out less means more means you have more productive outs and you manufacture more runs. Not striking out is something that improves your offense.

Regardless of what statisticians who never played the game might conclude, the reality is about not giving up outs when you have two strikes on you. The more you strike out, the harder our offense has to work to score. Really, that should be obvious when you watch baseball.

Even if you look at baseball as rolls of the dice and percentages, I don't see how anyone can defend players who intentionally decrease their chances of some level of success with two strikes by refusing to shorten their swings to make contact, to focus on making contact, when even a foul tip can put them out with only the catcher tested defensively.

I am not missing any point. You continue to indicate that not striking out is a better indicator of a good offense than scoring runs. Also, could you go one or two posts without indicating that anyone who doesn't agree with you doesn't watch the game?

Frater Perdurabo
05-26-2013, 02:01 PM
The best - the only - indicator of the "best offense" is that which scores the most runs the most consistently.

Teams that score the most runs the most consistently almost always have the ability to score runs in multiple ways: power, speed, batting average, plate discipline to take walks and drive up pitch counts, manufacturing runs, smart base running, etc.

TDog
05-26-2013, 02:58 PM
I am not missing any point. You continue to indicate that not striking out is a better indicator of a good offense than scoring runs. Also, could you go one or two posts without indicating that anyone who doesn't agree with you doesn't watch the game?

If that is what you believe I am indicating, you indeed are missing the point.

Strikeouts are not an indicator of whether an offense is good or bad. The only one statistic that indicates that is runs scored, and even that doesn't tell you how good an offense might be against a given team or pitcher in a given setting. Strikeouts do indicate a level of vulnerability that hold your team back.

Striking out less improves your offense. It allows you to manufacture more runs. Teams that are successful tend to manufacture a lot of runs whether or not their run totals indicate they have a good offense.

If you are a hitter that strikes out a lot and has a low batting average, you have been an easy out against pitchers who throw strikes. It is rare when you are not hurting your offense.

We aren't talking about hitters changing their hitting styles and taking away from their strengths. We are talking about enhancing their weaknesses. We are talking about hitters focusing on putting the ball in play when they are faced with two strike counts, improving their chances of not making an out.