You (Still) Can’t Spell Mark Without K: A Snapshot In The Season Of Mark Reynolds, Volume II

The Orioles have played 47 games since my last spotlight on Mark Reynolds and his evil strikeouts so I thought it was time to update you all on how strikeouts are still overblown as being an indicator on sucking as a professional batter. In those 47 games, Reynolds has played in 46 of them and struck out 48 times in that span.

In that time, he has also walked 37 times and put up an on base percentage of .419. I’ll definitely take that, and so will the Orioles. This is more the guy they expected when they traded for him (admittedly he probably won’t keep this pace up but I tend to think he will be closer to this than his early season disappointment). He’s not going to hit .300 and he is going to strike out tons but he is also going to make pitchers work and be a team leader in getting on base.

Let’s get to the point of this series of posts. Strikeouts don’t matter as much as most of you think they do. As I have said many times before and will continue to say many times in the future: An out is an out, no matter how you get there. There are few instances where a strikeout is worse than a groundout or flyout. Those situations are with a runner on third and less than 2 outs if there is no force at another base.

In the last 47 Orioles games, Mark Reynolds has come to the plate in one of those situations a grand total of 3 times. 3 plate appearances in 46 games played, do you see where I get the idea that these situations where a strikeout is the worst possible outcome is insignificant? And if you must know, in those 3 plate appearances he has struck out once, walked once and hit a sacrifice fly. Let’s have some fun with his latest 48 strikeouts though. 10 have come while there were no one on base and zero outs in an inning. 10 with none on and one out, 5 with none on and 2 outs. None of those punch outs have come with a man on 1st base and zero outs, 4 with a man on first and 1 out and 8 with first base filled and 2 outs. Man on second and no outs? One strikeout. Four times with a guy on second and one out and just once with a guy on 2nd and two outs. I won’t bore you with the rest of the rundown, but if you would like to know just ask.

Most plate appearances (102 of 186) in this stretch have come with no one on base. When there is nobody on base there is certainly no reason to hate strikeouts more than any other type of out. In a disturbing trend, he is grounding into double plays a lot, especially by his standards. Five time in this stretch of games he has done something twice as bad as striking out. That is normally a whole seasons worth of GIDP for Reynolds.

Even when he strikes out, he is making pitchers work. 34 of his last 48 strikeouts have come in a count where he also has at least a 2 ball count on him disproving the common misconception (*cough* Gary Thorne *cough*) that this guy just goes up and hacks away at any pitch around the plate. In fact, he gets deep into counts more often than not. In his last 186 plate appearances he has had at least a 2 ball count 108 times. I don’t know the league average but this seems like an absurdly high amount to me. Compare that to the 16 times in the same stretch he has swung at the first pitch. Again, this guy is not just hacking away, suggesting that his patience is more cause of his high strikeout numbers than his inability to be an effective hitter. That patience is also one of his biggest assets as shown in his walk totals.

So, all you “strikeouts are evil” people…please tell me why they are so bad? Yeah, he makes a lot of outs, but he gets on base more often than all but one regular starter (JJ Hardy) and slugs at a higher rate than all but 2 (Hardy, and Jones). And while I’m waiting for an educated argument about his strikeouts I’ll continue sitting here ignoring any and all defensive issues. What are you saying about errors? I can’t hear you over his team lead in homeruns…

See you at the yard.

~ Jjaks Clayton

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