I've talked before about the amazing strikeout rates of the Braves' bullpen as a whole and Craig Kimbrel in particular. It's a recurring theme of this season. Let's take a fresh look at the Braves' most-used pitchers this year to see how they compare to each other and to league averages.
For the graphics below, I used Strikeout Percentage (K%), which is simply the number of strikeouts divided by the total number of batters faced. I've graphed all the Braves hurlers with at least 100 batters faced this season.
First up, the starting pitchers:
As you can see, having a huge strikeout rate is not just the province of the Braves' relief corps. Among pitchers with at least 100 IP, Brandon Beachy ranks 5th. Only Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Brandon Morrow, and another rookie--the Padres' Cory Luebke--are ahead of Beachy. Tommy Hanson comes in 7th, behind those 5 and Justin Verlander.
More analysis and the graphic for relievers after the jump.
In limited duty, Mike Minor has also achieved an impressive strikeout rate. Veteran sinkerballers Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson have been roughly league-average, which is normal for them (Hudson's K% is actually up a bit this year). Jair Jurrjens trails the rest of the staff, striking out fewer than 15% of batters. That puts him in the bottom quarter of all starters. Despite this, Jurrjens has been reasonably effective (3.74 FIP) thanks to low walk and home run rates.
Now let's look at the Braves' relievers. As you might expect, Craig Kimbrel kind of stands out from the crowd.
You probably aren't surprised to learn that relievers have higher strikeout rates than starters, in general. The MLB reliever K% average is about 3% higher than the starter K% average. Even by those higher standards, though, the Braves' relievers excel.
Craig Kimbrel has the highest strikeout rate of any pitcher to throw at least 10 innings this year. No other frequently used reliever (30+ IP) is above 40%, though a few (Sergio Romo, Kenley Jansen, and Aroldis Chapman) are at 39%.
The back-end right-handers (Scott Linebrink and Cristhian Martinez) have somewhat below-average strikeout rates, though they aren't terrible. Speaking of terrible, there's Scott Proctor. Let's pretend like that didn't happen.
Among the Braves' less-used relievers, several have huge strikeout rates. Anthony Varvaro is at 40%, and both Cory Gearrin and Arodys Vizcaino are at 29%. The big arms just keep on coming through the Braves system.