How was our week

Posted: August 7, 2021 by Sports Time Radio in sports

I’m sure at some point probably this year someone has asked you how old you are. In some cases we look older than we actually are and in other cases we look younger than we actually are. Now as you know age is just a number and it’s more important how you feel than what your actual age is. I’m luckily enough to have a face that looks younger than my age, but my gray hair and my 100% pure gray goatee kind of give away the fact that I’m older. Well if you’re a fan of baseball I believe I have devised one question that will be able to tell you if you’re considered old or not. It’s a very simple yes or no question and your answer will tell people if you’re old or young.

Here it is; are you bothered by strikeouts in baseball? Yes or No?

If you said yes like I would then unfortunately you’re old. With analytics such a huge part of baseball certain things that used to be thought of as important are no longer considered to be. Batting average is a meaningless statistic and RBI”s are lucky. Wins by a starting pitcher no longer means anything in baseball and know it doesn’t matter how many times a player strikeout as long as he can hit home runs and that sad. Well at least to me it is.

One of the things that just drives me crazy when I’m watching a baseball game and it doesn’t matter if it’s a team I root for or if it’s just a game between two teams I don’t have a rooting interest in is when a team has a runner on 3rd base with one out and they can’t get the run home because the players that come to bat are trying to hit a home run instead of just making contact and driving a run in for his team. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen this happen since analytics has become a big part of baseball.

Think about it if there’s a runner on 3rd base and the infield is back or conceding the run as they say as long as the batter doesn’t hit a ground ball right back to the pitcher that run will score and may give his team the lead or be an important run in the game. I’m also pretty sure that whoever is pitching would appreciate his teams coring a run for him to work with. So a batter comes up with that runner on 3rd and he fouls off a couple of pitches; so he’s got two strikes on him. You’d think that hitter might choke up on the bat and just try to make contact. Even if he grounds out his team scores a run and if I remember the rules of baseball the team that scores the most runs wins the game. Well instead of trying to just make some contact that batter swings at a pitch as hard as h can comes nowhere close to making any kind of contact and he swung so hard that one of his hands comes flying off the bat and he almost corkscrews himself into the ground. It becomes inevitable that the next batter hits the ground ball or deep fly ball that would’ve scored that run for his team.

It’s difficult to figure out what has caused this change in baseball, but one of the things I heard is because of salaries. I’ve heard people say that home run hitters get paid while contact hitters don’t. Now I can see this and if you look at the salaries in Major League Baseball it’s clear that this is the case; unfortunately. To be fair though home run hitters have always been paid better, but teams where always able to fill out their rosters with players that did the “little things” that helps their team win games. Again isn’t that the object?

I’ve now heard baseball described as a three outcome game now. That means that a hitter either draws a walk, strikeouts or hits a home run, but I’m not sure three is the proper number. I believe two outcomes is a better answer because a player seems to either strikeout or hit a home run.

Currently there is one payer in Major League Baseball who has more walks than strikeouts this season and that’s Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals. While obviously this isn’t a fair comparison, but Ted Williams walked more than he struck out every year of his career except one. Oh and that one year he only played in six games. Joey Gallo no of the New York Yankees actually leads baseball in walks with 79, but he’s also struck out 138 times this season to go along with his 26 home runs.

In case you’re wondering even though Gallo has a huge strikeout total he’s not all that close to the leader in strikeouts. That honor goes to Javier Baez who’s now with the New York Mets. Baez is one strikeout ahead of Matt Chapman of the Oakland A’s. Baez has struck out 143 times to Chapman’s 142 strikeouts. Gallo comes in 3rd while Eugenio Suarez of the Cincinnati Reds is fourth with 133 strikeouts and the future American League MVP Shohei Ohtani rounds out the Top 5 in strikeouts with 130.

Now with the exception of Chapman who has 14 all of these players have hit 20 plus home runs this season and Ohtani has hit a major league leading 37 home runs so far this season.

So is baseball really a three outcome game?

Now Major League Baseball answer to this is to blame the pitchers and try to come up with solutions like moving the mound farther away from home plate. We’ve all heard that every pitcher now throws over 100 miles per hour and that makes it tougher on the hitter, but anybody with any kind of baseball acumen knows that’s garbage. If hitting was actually taught then strikeouts would go down and players would make more contact, but baseball wants those home runs to stay at a high level. They seem to believe that home runs equate to drawing younger fans to the game, but does it? Is a younger fan really going to sit through strikeout after strikeout just to see a home run with the short attention span of today’s society; I doubt it.

Is this a correctable problem; yes it is, but will they try to fix it?

What may be another problem with analytics is the focus on exit velocity. I’m sure you’ve heard an announcer talk about how hard a player has hit the baseball or they’ve shown you a graphic about which players hit the baseball the hardest. Well the humorous thing about exit velocity is only of the players with the lowest exit velocity of all time is Tony Gwynn.

That would mean that accord to analytics Gwynn wouldn’t be considered a quality player. Gwynn spent 20 years with the San Diego Padres, won 8 batting titles and accumulated 3141 hits in his career. Oh and was also voted into the baseball Hall of Fame the very first time his name appeared on the ballot getting 97.6% of the votes from the BBWA, but according to analytics he didn’t hit the baseball hard enough.

It makes me wonder if analytics thinks that someone like Dave Kingman is a better player than Tony Gwynn. This should be an easy question to answer, but lets see. Who do you want on your team Kingman or Gwynn?

Let me know what you think of the way baseball has seemed to have changed with analytics. I’ll be interested to here which side of this debate you’re on.

Schaumburg Stu had a 3-1 week last week with his predictions and that moved his record to 51-46. Now Schaumburg Stu started off his week with a win as he had Team USA winning the gold medal game in basketball an they did. Team USA beat France 87-82 to win the gold medal.

Now the rest of Schaumburg Stu’s weekend depends on the Chicago White Sox. He has the White Sox beating the Chicago Cubs in today’s game. He also has the White Sox beating the Cubs in their Sunday night match up. Also on Sunday he has the White Sox getting more total hits in their game than the Cubs.

You can hear Schaumburg Stu’s picks every Friday on the Sports Time Radio podcast, but you should also be listening to Sports Time Radio the other days of the week as well. Now if you can’t catch the podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com you can just head on over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want to.

I’m on Twitter if you want to look me up @Burketime

Comments
  1. It’s really a shame that baseball has been reduced to it. Regarding singles hitters being paid less than sluggers, there have been a few exceptions. The one that comes to mind is Pete Rose who wanted to be known as the only singles hitter who made $100,000 a year. (That would be considered expense money now!)
    Ted Williams always said that when he had two strikes on him, he would concede something to the pitcher and choke up on the bat to increase his contact possibilities.
    But who does that now? Anthony Rizzo comes to mind but who else.
    I hope they don’t change the distance or fool around with the rules too much when the CBA comes up. I’m already trying to get used to the soon to be implemented DH rule for both leagues but that’s the only change I can live with. (Oh for the days when a triple was the most exciting play in baseball or the hit and run, etc.)

    Like

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