Braves Batting Strikeout Tracker: Through 30 Games

Freddie Freeman's K-Face Is Priceless - Joe Robbins

Thanks to one 18-K game, the Braves' strikeout pace inches up in this update.

The Braves have now completed 30 games*, which means that it's time for the 3rd edition of the Braves Batting Strikeout Tracker. (If you missed the last update, read it here.)

* 31, actually... Last night's win against the Reds is not included in this post's data, although that was certainly an interesting game, as the team struck out 15 times and scored 7 runs.

The Braves' third 10-game stretch was easily their least successful of the young 2013 season. They went only 3-7, while basically every facet of the team declined. Braves hitters also struck out 97 times in those 10 games, which is rather a large amount.

Of course, 18 of those strikeouts came in just one debacle of a game. They weren't posting double-digit strikeouts on a routine basis. The Braves actually struck out just 17 times in games 28 through 30 combined.

The Braves' season total of 272 strikeouts in 30 games ranked 2nd-highest in MLB. The Astros posted an even 300 Ks in their first 30 games to keep up a record pace.

Here's how the 2013 Braves stack up with the MLB-record-holding 2010 Diamondbacks and the franchise-record-holding 2012 Braves through 30 games (click to enlarge):

Braves-2013-ks-through-30_medium

The Braves are now on pace to strike out 1469 times, which is well ahead of the previous update's pace but still a good bit short of the MLB record. If the team keeps posting strikeouts at a 9.7/game pace like these past 10 games, though, they'll break the record.

At this point in the 2010 season, those MLB-record-holding Diamondbacks had 271 strikeouts... the Braves have 272. In games 21-30, the D'backs struck out 100 times, while the Braves struck out 97 times. These are certainly interesting parallels, though we'll see if this team has the second gear that allowed the D'backs to strike out even more often in the season's final months.

This year's Braves team also extended its large lead over last year's franchise-record team. They have now struck out 45 more times through 30 games. That record looks as good as broken.

Let's check back in on the Braves' runs scored vs. strikeouts chart through 30 games. I did it a bit differently this time, switching the axes to make the correlation (or lack thereof) a bit clearer:

Ks-vs-runs-through-30_medium

There is a slight downward trend in runs scored as you get toward the higher K numbers, but there are clearly some other factors that are more important in determining the Braves' offensive performance.

For the first time, someone has passed B.J. Upton as the team's strikeout leader. Here's the breakdown of strikeouts by player:

Player Ks K%
Dan Uggla 40 34.8%
B.J. Upton 36 30.8%
Justin Upton 34 26.4%
Juan Francisco 26 36.6%
Evan Gattis 23 22.8%
Chris Johnson 21 21.9%
Freddie Freeman 15 21.1%
Jason Heyward 12 17.4%
Andrelton Simmons 11 9.6%
BENCH 32 17.9%
PITCHERS 22 33.3%
TOTAL 272 24.1%

Since our last update, the strikeout rates of Dan Uggla and Juan Francisco have gone through the roof. Both of them are now striking out more often than the Braves' pitchers*. Chris Johnson's rate has also risen quickly, although that is a regression to his normal levels, not a sign of something alarming.

Meanwhile, B.J. Upton's rate remains 4 percentage points higher than his 2012 rate (plus, he struck out 4 times last night, which isn't reflected above). Those strikeouts are more of a symptom of whatever's wrong with him than a cause, of course, but whatever's going on with him, it isn't working right now.

* Shout out to the pitchers, who only K'ed 4 times in these 10 games!

The Strikeout Tracker will be back in 10 games to see if the Braves can continue to keep pace with the titans of the strikeout. Hopefully, the team will score a few more runs in that 10-game stretch, too (they're already off to a good start)!

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