Why Striking Out Actually Isn’t That Bad

Striking out isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it usually results from a batter being overly aggressive from trying to hit the ball for extra bases rather than to put the ball in play

In baseball the worst outcome for a batter is usually considered striking out, a result that nets no benefits for runners on base as they don’t have an opportunity to advance from the ball being put into play as well as the batter himself as he too has no chance to get on base (unless on a very rare dropped third strike). While this is a negative, striking out isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it usually results from a batter being overly aggressive from trying to hit the ball for extra bases rather than to put the ball in play.

In 2015 the leader in strikeouts was Orioles first basemen Chris Davis who struck out 208 times, which is good enough for 5th most in a single season as well as a rate of striking out in 31% of the time, an impressive amount of strikeouts for anyone, but while he struck out 31% of the time he also led the major leagues in homeruns with 47 and a whopping .300 ISO (only beaten by Bryce Harper in that category by .019). Chris Davis showed that a hitter’s willingness to risk a strikeout for extra bases can pay off. His 147 WRc+ (10th in the majors) showed that his devotion to hitting for extras pays off as he created 47% more runs than the average hitter.

Chris Davis though wasn’t the only hitter to have a high strikeout percentage, 16 players who qualified for the batting title put up 25% or greater K% rates. Among these players were such sluggers as Kris Bryant, JD Martinez, Nelson Cruz, and Joc Pederson. Of the 16, 12 hit 15 or more home runs, 8 posted a .200 or higher ISO, and 13 of the 16 posted a 90 or better WRc+. These high strikeout players also tend to put up very high hard contact rates, for example JD Martinez who struck out 27.1% of the time also made hard contact 42.8% of the time, best in the majors. This means that these hitter are making solid contact which is among the most effective ways to get a hit, especially for extra bases. These players also post above average line drive percentages which create an astonishing 1.26 runs per out compared to 0.13 per fly ball out and 0.05 runs per out for ground balls.

These numbers bring up the point that strikeouts can be a necessary evil for extra base hits and creating runs. The most important part of this is that hitters shouldn’t be afraid of striking out for the chance of putting the ball in play  because the value of extra base hits far outweighs the small chance of a weak contact single. While batters shouldn’t put all their faith in swing for the fences they also shouldn’t be afraid to go for it either as it has proven that these high strikeout players put up exceptional numbers towards creating runs despite their low batting averages. The worse thing a hitter should do is try to make weak contact simply for the purpose of putting the ball in play. While high strikeout numbers are frustrating both to have and watch, the value of the good power numbers make up for this problem.

How Bernie Sanders’ Revolution Can Live On After the Primaries

bernie sandahs

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, speaking to over 27,500 people in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena at a campaign rally on August 10, 2015. | AP Photo

 

Bernie Sanders has a narrow path towards the Democratic nomination. He needs to win 65% of the remaining pledged delegates up for grabs in order to take the lead in pledged delegates. In superdelegates, he is way behind. Hillary Clinton has 519 superdelegates while Sanders only has 43. Superdelegates do not count until the Democratic Convention in July, but as of right now it doesn’t seem like those superdelegates have any obligation to flip towards Sanders in terms of the pledged delegate race. The only things us Berners can place hope is in an indictment for Hillary Clinton regarding her emails or a huge blowout in California. As of now, both aren’t likely. So as things are looking right now, it appears Hillary Clinton will become the Democratic nominee.

 

Now that I got the doom and gloom out of the way let’s talk about how he can try and maintain his revolution towards this election and onwards. Bernie has impacted this election in many ways. He has pushed Hillary Clinton to the left on the Keystone Pipeline, Trans Pacific Partnership, and the minimum wage. It is doubtful that her stances on those policies will stay because she will promise whatever the electorate wants to hear in attempt to get elected. The most logical answer to this would be to support down ballot candidates in the house and senate who have similar beliefs to Bernie. His campaign has also given campaign money to three down ballot candidates. For more information on down ballot candidates similar to Bernie, visit http://www.grassrootsselect.org/. He has also brought light to several issues on a national stage such as income inequality, breaking up the big banks, legalization of marijuana, a $15 federal minimum wage, abolishing private prisons, and campaign finance reform.

A hard question to answer is what can he do outside of the box to keep ahold of this movement’s energy. What I think Bernie should do is to be on the picket line with unions as he has been. He should organize protests on specific issues. Issues that I think he should continue to push would be climate change, income inequality, and breaking up the big banks. He should filibuster more often. His last filibuster on the continuation of the Bush tax cuts by President Obama which lasted 8 and ½ hours gained him national spotlight. The filibuster sent Obama in a frenzy. It forced former President Bill Clinton to talk to the White House press and tried to sell the public on the tax cuts. He should continue shouting out down ballot candidates and should do so on national television and speeches. Bernie needs to direct this energy towards possibly helping line up a presidential run in 2020 for someone like Alan Grayson, Elizabeth Warren, or Tulsi Gabbard.

The biggest problem with the Occupy Movement was that there wasn’t a leader. We now have one. Bernie will still hold a lot of power beyond these primaries, how he uses it is a whole different story.

Alex Colome: Hidden Trade Asset

Alex Colome is a hidden trade asset to many teams.

Quietly hidden away in the circus tent that is Tropicana Field is Alex Colome, the Tampa Rays closer in the absence of last year’s AL saves leader Brad Boxberger. At the age of 27, Colome is secretly putting up an exceptional year, including a 1.23 ERA, a 11.86 K/9, and 12 for 12 on saves. Colome’s time as a closer may be coming to a close soon as Brad Boxberger returns to the roster this weekend. While Colome isn’t going to be immediately bumped out of the closer role, he eventually will in favor of Boxberger. From this point the Rays could move Colome into more of a setup reliever role but Erasmo Ramirez and Enny Romero are there and not using one of those three in the setup roles would be a waster of their talent. This presents the Rays with an opportunity: trade Colome.

Colome has shown the skill and poise to be a quality closer this year, he also has shown in the past that he can make it as a long reliever and slightly below average 5th starter. This versatility should scream trade target to teams like the Rangers and the Giants who are in serious playoff contention but have a bottom 10 reliever ERA (especially Texas, who’s saves leader has a 10.13 ERA). Colome’s mix of a good fastball, excellent cutter, and decent curveball and changeup presents a high quality, top of the pen arm for a serious contender.

The benefit for the Rays in a trade like this would be opening the closer spot again for Boxberger as well sell high on a trade asset, like how they usually do (see Jake McGee, James Shields, Matt Garza, Alex Torres, and Scott Kazmir). One example of this selling high on a bullpen arm is Alex Torres, who the Rays traded to the Padres before the 2014 season along with Jesse Hahn (at the time Torres was considered the top prize for the Padres in the deal) for 5th starter Matt Andriese, second basemen Logan Forsythe, and returning closer Brad Boxberger, a deal which the Padres definitely wish they could undo. In deals like that the Rays have shown they are willing to trade top bullpen arms at high prices as Torres in 2013 had a 1.71 ERA before being traded in the offseason. While this might be early in the season to sell off a high value asset, his value may never be higher.

The benefit involved for a team like the Rangers or Giants would be a strong and versatile bullpen arm that could be instantly slotted into the closer role if needed as he already has experience at the high pressure position. A team like the Rangers might be willing to give up prospects like Jose Trevino (C), Yeyson Yrizarri (SS), Yohander Mendez (RP/SP), or Ryan Cordell (OF) all of which have promise but potentially big downsides, a trait usually involved in reliever for prospect trades. The Rangers should definitely be a team that is willing to make this trade as both Sam Dyson or Shawn Tolleson may not be the one they really want to put on the mound in the 9th. On top of this instant closer opportunity for these teams, Colome would be payed league minimum. This presents a long term solution for closer as he is a 27 year old closer who hasn’t even hit arbitration yet, the cost for a team may be high for Colome but he is a long term solution for teams.