Byte Sized: Sabermetrics for 2017
M's strike zone control, and W's, headed North for next y'ar


In August 2012, James published a meaty research piece called "Strike Zone Control and Wins."  He used complex metrics to find that K/BB ratio predicts team wins very nicely, and especially it predicts success the next season.


We could plug all the numbers into a spreadsheet to assess the 2016 Mariners.  Or, we could point out that:

  • The offense was 9th in strikeouts (good) and 6th in walks (good), and
  • The defense was 6th in strikeouts (good) and 3rd in walks (very good).

But we take it one step farther, and we notice that the offense was 2nd in homers (excellent), this being in Safeco Field (therefore "great").  The M's offense has come a long, long ways from 513 runs and a cloud of dust.  (Any of you old guys get the Woody Hayes reference?)


On the other hand, the pitching was 13th in homers, so the K/BB doesn't count as much.  Taijuan gave up 1.8 homers per game, "Gopheritis" gives up 1.4 homers per game, Wade Miley gave up 1.4 homers as a lefty in Safeco ... James Paxton and, um, Nate Karns were the two guys who controlled homers in the rotation.


That being said.  James has said for thirty years that --- > baseball is about the strike zone.  DiPoto has a new way of putting it, but Bill said it better.  

In any case, the local boys are attending to the question.  Tyler O'Neill will check his swing on 2-1 pitchers' pitches, or he will be in Tacoma.  Or supposing he does get his pitch to hit, I'm willing to see how he does.


Dr D



1) Third in walks allowed?  I didn't realize that--I LOVE that!

2) Like you, I remain a card-carrying member of the Karns fan club.

3) C the Z or not, the average hitter makes contact 86% of the time swining at balls in the strike zone.  For Zunino, it's only 74%.  Hope he can fix that.


Were among ML best in many categories.   The fielding was among ML worst in many.  Leaving out the balls in play factor they were definitely among the best teams, that averages out to 6th.  To me that shows the possibility that K and BB can maybe barely get you all the way there by themselves.  Winning 53% of their games with fairly poor defensive performance took being among the best in pitching and hitting.  That those are already strong bodes well for next year but I don't think they'll get there as easily without addressing the defense. 

Are you suggesting that O'Neill has a chance to head just a bit further north when camp breaks?  Pretty much everything said previously has been that he's headed to Tacoma.  He put up a career high (since .44 Rookie league) .41 BB/K this year in AA.  What would your over/under on spring performance be to get him there? 

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