Braves Batting Strikeout Tracker: Through 40 Games

Freddie Freeman's new "wedding proposal" batting stance has met with mixed results. - USA TODAY Sports

The Braves set a season high with 100 strikeouts in this 10-game stretch, but they are still behind the MLB record pace.

The Braves have now completed 40 games, which means that it's time for the 4th edition of the Braves Batting Strikeout Tracker. (If you missed the last update, read it here.)

The Braves' fourth 10-game stretch wasn't exactly a success, as they posted a 4-6 record. However, all 10 of those games were on the road against tough opponents, so that's hardly a disastrous stretch. Braves hitters struck out 100 times on the 10-game trip, which is their highest 10-game total of the season.

The Braves' season total is now up to 372 strikeouts in 40 games. Their strikeout rate or 9.3 Ks per game continues to lead the NL but trail far behind the MLB-leading Astros. Houston has struck out an amazing 410 times in their 41 games, an average of exactly 10 per game.

By the way, if you're interested in the topic of the Braves' strikeouts (which you must be if you're reading this... right?), you should check out yesterday's FanGraphs post on the subject by Jeff Sullivan. He does an excellent job of digging into the myths surrounding the high strikeout totals.

Here's how the 2013 Braves stack up with the MLB-record-holding 2010 Diamondbacks and the franchise-record-holding 2012 Braves through 40 games (click to enlarge):

Braves-2013-ks-through-40_medium

The Braves are now on pace to strike out 1507 times, just 22 shy of the MLB record. If the team keeps averaging 10 Ks/game like these past 10 games, though, they'll break the record fairly handily (that pace would put them at 1592 strikeouts). Of course, even if that happens, the Astros will likely be far ahead, so the Braves would only own the NL record.

For the second straight 10-game stretch, the Braves nearly exactly mirrored the MLB record-holding 2010 Diamondbacks. At this point in the 2010 season, those D'backs had 373 strikeouts... the Braves have 372. In games 31-40, the D'backs struck out 102 times, while the Braves struck out 100 times.

This year's Braves team also extended its large lead over last year's franchise-record team. They have now struck out a whopping 70 more times through 40 games. That record is going to be broken by at least 100 strikeouts, and likely 150+.

Let's check back in on the Braves' runs scored vs. strikeouts chart through 40 games:

Ks-vs-runs-through-40_medium

Once again, the trendline shows a very slight negative correlation between strikeouts and runs scored... though it's even more slight than it was last update. It's fair to say that we're not seeing any meaningful cause-and-effect here.

Here's the breakdown of strikeouts by player, with Dan Uggla maintaining his team lead (I added Schafer to the list because he now has more PAs than Heyward... sigh):

Player Ks K%
Dan Uggla 52 34.0%
B.J. Upton 49 32.7%
Justin Upton 43 25.1%
Juan Francisco 37 39.4%
Evan Gattis 31 24.6%
Chris Johnson 27 23.7%
Freddie Freeman 20 17.2%
Jordan Schafer 18 24.3%
Andrelton Simmons 17 10.8%
Jason Heyward 12 17.4%
BENCH 31 15.7%
PITCHERS 35 38.0%
TOTAL 372 24.9%

One of the big risers this update is B.J. Upton, whose rate is back up to 32.7%, certainly not an encouraging figure for him (though it's also definitely just a symptom of whatever's wrong). The other is Juan Francisco, who after a 4-K game last night, is now up to an alarming 39.4% K rate. That's... a LOT.

The Strikeout Tracker will be back in another 10 games. Those games look much easier than the past 10 (on paper), so I suspect we'll see the team fall a bit further off the MLB record pace. Hopefully, their win-loss record will improve, too.

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