Originally Posted by Frater Perdurabo
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?