Braves Batting Strikeout Tracker: Through 20 Games

One of the Braves' 175 strikeouts resulted in this delightful tableau. - Justin K. Aller

The Braves' strikeout pace has fallen off a bit in the last 10 games, though they are still on track to smash the franchise record.

The Braves have now completed 20 games*, which means that it's time for the 2nd edition of the Braves Batting Strikeout Tracker. (If you missed the 1st update, read it here.)

* The Braves have now played 21 games, but I though it'd be better to put this up on the off day. All stats in this post are through the first 20 games only, so Wednesday's game vs. the Rockies isn't included.

The Braves fell off a bit in their 2nd 10-game stretch, going "only" 6-4 after a 9-1 start, though the team is still maintaining the best record in baseball and a sizable lead in the NL East. The Braves' strikeout rate declined as well, however. They struck out 83 times in games 11-20, compared to 92 times in the first 10 games.

The Braves' total of 175 strikeouts is actually only the 5th-most in baseball, although their 8.75 strikeouts per game ranks 3rd-highest, just a smidge behind the Red Sox. The Astros, though, are blowing every other team away--they've struck out 200 times already (10 per game)!

I may have to add the Astros to this graphic before long; they seem like a more serious threat to the MLB strikeout record than the Braves are. At any rate, here's how the 2013 Braves stack up with the MLB-record-holding 2010 Diamondbacks and the franchise-record-holding 2012 Braves through 20 games (click to enlarge):

Braves-2013-ks-through-20_medium

As you can see, the Braves are on pace to strike out 1418 times, which is well short of the MLB record but well ahead of the franchise record. While they have struck out a few more times than the 2010 Diamondbacks had at this point in the season, those D'backs really picked up the pace as the season went on, so I wouldn't expect the Braves to stay ahead much longer.

This year's Braves team has already built up a large lead over last year's team, having struck out 37 more times through 20 games. They would have to see a huge dip in strikeouts in order to avoid breaking the franchise record.

Let's check back in on the Braves' runs scored vs. strikeouts chart through 20 games:

Ks-vs-runs-through-20_medium

The relationship between Ks and runs is still quite weak. We'll keep monitoring this relationship as the season goes on, though I expect the correlation to remain weak.

Who are the team's strikeout leaders? Here's the breakdown of strikeouts by player:

Player Ks K%
B.J. Upton 26 31.3%
Dan Uggla 23 31.9%
Justin Upton 22 25.3%
Juan Francisco 17 30.9%
Evan Gattis 13 20.6%
Jason Heyward 12 17.4%
Chris Johnson 11 16.7%
Andrelton Simmons 7 9.3%
Freddie Freeman 6 21.4%
BENCH 20 19.2%
PITCHERS 18 37.5%
TOTAL 175 23.3%

Since our last update, B.J. Upton's K rate has dropped a few percentage points to "not so alarming" territory. Dan Uggla and Juan Francisco were the big risers, as each is now above 30% on the season.

The biggest surprise, to me, is still Chris Johnson's 16.7% K rate. That's nearly 1/3 lower that his 24.7% rate entering this season. I don't think he'll maintain anything close to his current production (.397 / .424 / .556), but the lower K rate is perhaps an indication that his surprising season may not be entirely due to good fortune. As always, we'll have a better idea as the season progresses.

The Strikeout Tracker will be back in 10 games. Regardless of how many strikeouts they accrue, let's hope that the Braves still are hitting home runs and preventing runs at the same rate that they have been doing so far.

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