* Okay, so the Braves have now played 11 games, but I didn't have time to get this up before game 11 started. All stats in this post are through the first 10 games only, so Saturday's game vs. the Nationals isn't included.
Obviously, the team is doing pretty well overall. I don't think anyone will complain about the team's record, despite some key injuries and slumps. But how is their strikeout total doing?
So far, the Braves have 92 strikeouts, which is a lot. It's actually only 3rd in MLB, though: the Astros have a whopping 108 and the Reds have 94. Still, those 92 Ks put the Braves nearly on pace to break the 2010 Diamondbacks' record. Here's how this year's Braves compare to that D'backs team and last year's Braves team, which holds the franchise K record (click to enlarge):
Don't get too excited/depressed by the fact that the Braves are 14 Ks ahead of the Diamondbacks through 10 games; that D'backs team really cranked up the Ks after the first 20 games--and then again in the last 20 games. That latter spurt is what keeps the 2013 Braves from being on a record pace. The Braves have struck out 9.2 times per game so far, which is almost exactly what the D'backs managed from games 20 through 140.
The Braves are now on pace to strike out 1490 times in the full season, which would be the 2nd-most all time (unless the Astros or another team finish above them this year). Coming into the season, I figured that this team would almost certainly break the franchise record, and so far, that still seems very likely. The MLB record is certainly within reach, too.
In case you were wondering if the Braves have been scoring fewer runs when they strike out a lot, so far the answer is definitely "no." The two truly high-scoring games they've had so far (16 Ks each) resulted in 9 and 5 runs. There's been virtually no correlation between Ks and runs so far:
The relationship between Ks and runs is quite weak. If anything, the Braves have been scoring slightly more runs when they've struck out more. I expect this trend to more or less continue for the rest of the season.
Who are the team's strikeout leaders? Here's the breakdown of strikeouts by player:
The one player for whom strikeouts seem to have been a problem is B.J. Upton. His K rate is easily the highest on the team, and he's been struggling. The other slumping player, Jason Heyward, has actually been striking out at a low rate; perhaps he should be sacrificing some contact in order to hit the ball harder? Other than Chris Johnson, whose strikeout rate is lower than expected, everyone else is fairly close to expectations.
We'll be back in 10 games to see if the early strikeout pace keeps up. Let's hope that the winning continues, at least.