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bobrob2004

Lack of strikeouts

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It's early, so this most likely doesn't mean anything.  But I think it's worth noting.

One of the things I've noticed is the lack of strikeouts from Tigers starting pitchers aside of Jordan Zimmermann.  

Zimmermann, 12 K/9

Liriano, 4 K/9

Fulmer, 3.4 K/9

Boyd, 1.5 K/9

I excluded Carpenter because it was only a spot start and he's back in AAA.

As a team, Tigers have 31 strikeouts (24th in baseball) and a 5.7 K/9 (28th in baseball).  

I'm a firm believer that having a high strikeout rate leads to success (of course there's always an exception to the rule).  No, not everyone is going to be able to have a 10 K/9, but league average is around 8 K/9, so I'd like to see my starting pitchers around that number.  At least from our top guys.  Fulmer, for example was at 6.2 K/9 in 2017, which I think is below his potential.    

Now, this is an extremely small sample size, so things could rapidly change in just a few weeks time.  But the Tigers also have Rick Anderson on staff, who is notorious for having low strikeout rates from his pitching.  Chris Bosio is the pitching coach, so Anderson's impact may not be that much.  It's worth keeping on eye on though.  

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I agree the sample size is too small at this point, but it makes me wonder if Bosio is coaching a "pitch to contact" strategy.  Probably not.

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I think we have to come to grips with the fact that Fulmer will never be a big strikeout guy and that's ok. The rest of them aren't going to miss bats. Any potential for strikeout guys is in the minors.

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Fulmer does have a fairly low strikeout rate.  He has shown that he can have success without the strikeouts, but  guys like that tend to not have really long careers.  So, that is one reason why trading him while the team is re-building makes some sense.  

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9 hours ago, bobrob2004 said:

Now, this is an extremely small sample size, so things could rapidly change in just a few weeks time.  But the Tigers also have Rick Anderson on staff, who is notorious for having low strikeout rates from his pitching.  Chris Bosio is the pitching coach, so Anderson's impact may not be that much.  It's worth keeping on eye on though.  

Small sample size for this season, but we've seen these guys for a while now and none of them have strike out stuff. The odd ball here is Zimmerman, who is striking out more guys but he is also the guy with the longest track record for whom regression to career average is most likely.  The starting arm with strikeout capability is Norris, but it looks more an more like he will never harness it. Fulmer might be able to up his K rate if he increased his use of the 4 seamer, but since he doesn't throw a curve to complement it, he may be just as well off sticking with sinker, slider, change.

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9 hours ago, Euphdude said:

I agree the sample size is too small at this point, but it makes me wonder if Bosio is coaching a "pitch to contact" strategy.  Probably not.

Small sample size coupled with unseasonably cold un-baseball weather and it's hard to really judge much of anything right now.  

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Of course there is also the offensive concerns as well.........like getting shut out twice already this season and being on the bottom of major league baseball with 1 yes that is 1 home run in 5 games.

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10 hours ago, Euphdude said:

I agree the sample size is too small at this point, but it makes me wonder if Bosio is coaching a "pitch to contact" strategy.  Probably not.

I think "pitching to contact" is more myth than reality. It's very hard to get major league hitters out. Once a guy figures out how to do it, he is probably at the very edge of his capability to be any better to begin with, so there is not much he is going to be able to do to his pitching approach to change how he gets his outs without losing the ability to get them at all. A pitcher may learn a new pitch that changes his profile, or get stronger or weaker and thus lose or gain MPH and have to alter what he relies on, but every pitcher alive is trying to throw as many strikes as he can without getting knocked off the mound.

There are a very few guys, like those in Verlander's league, who have so much ability they have some discretion deciding how much focus they have on a K in given AB, but most of the time what we are talking about is a 'nibbler' whose manager is after him to throw more strikes and walk fewer guys, it's because his stuff isn't good enough and he knows it and so when he eventually throws more strikes he gets hit hard and ends up back in the minors.

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