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Looking at the Twins SO/9 ratio

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Originally posted at http://wp.me/p1YQUj-2D6


Minnesota Twins pitchers have finished dead last in the American League in strikeouts the last three years and you all know where the team has finished in the standing during that time frame. When the Twins came into existence in 1961 the SO/9 average in the American League was 5.2 SO/9 and it slowly climbed to 6.1 SO/9 in 1967 but then started sliding down to under 5.0 SO/9 from 1974 to 1983. Since then it started climbing and for the first time in 2012 it went above 7.0 went it hit 7.4 SO/9 and in 2013 it hit 7.7 SO/9 which is a new high water mark.


From 2006 through 2013 only one team in the AL has finished above the .500 mark in the standings when their pitching staff has had under 1,000 strikeouts and guess who that was? It was the 2008 Minnesota Twins team that finished second to the Chicago White Sox in 2008 when Gardy's boys went 88-75 and lost game 163 in Chicago. When Twins pitchers have 1,000 or more strikeouts the team won less than 79 games only once and that was the 2000 Twins when they finished the season with a 69-93 mark. Twins pitchers have struck 1,000 or more batters only 10 times in 53 seasons and peaked with 1,164 KO's in 2006 when the team had a franchise high 7.28 SO/9.


The Twins can spew all the "pitch to contact" babble they want but striking out hitters and winning games goes together like peanut butter and jelly. We can only wait and see what the new Twins pitchers can do. Ricky Nolasco has a career 7.4 SO/9 and Phil Hughes is 7.6 SO/9 so they should help improve the Twins sad 2013 6.11 SO/9 team mark.


So looking back all the way to 1961 what Twins pitchers have had the best SO/9 ratio in a given season? The table below shows the highest SO/9 ratio with a minimum of 50 innings. Not many starters on this list.



Rk Player SO/9 IP Year G GS W L SV SO ERA
1 Joe Nathan 12.51 68.1 2006 64 0 7 0 36 95 1.58
2 Joe Nathan 12.09 70.0 2005 69 0 7 4 43 94 2.70
3 Joe Nathan 11.67 68.2 2009 70 0 2 2 47 89 2.10
4 Juan Rincon 11.63 82.0 2004 77 0 11 6 2 106 2.63
5 Johan Santana 11.38 108.1 2002 27 14 8 6 1 137 2.99
6 Joe Nathan 11.07 72.1 2004 73 0 1 2 44 89 1.62
7 Glen Perkins 11.06 62.2 2013 61 0 2 0 36 77 2.30
8 Francisco Liriano 10.71 121.0 2006 28 16 12 3 1 144 2.16
9 Tom Hall 10.66 155.1 1970 52 11 11 6 4 184 2.55
10 Casey Fien 10.60 62.0 2013 73 0 5 2 0 73 3.92
11 Johan Santana 10.46 228.0 2004 34 34 20 6 0 265 2.61
12 Ron Davis 10.02 64.2 1985 57 0 2 6 25 72 3.48
13 Glen Perkins 9.98 70.1 2012 70 0 3 1 16 78 2.56
14 Joe Nathan 9.84 67.2 2008 68 0 1 2 39 74 1.33
15 Juan Rincon 9.82 77.0 2005 75 0 6 6 0 84 2.45
16 Francisco Liriano 9.81 100.0 2012 22 17 3 10 0 109 5.31
17 Joe Nathan 9.67 71.2 2007 68 0 4 2 37 77 1.88
18 Johan Santana 9.66 219.0 2007 33 33 15 13 0 235 3.33
19 Johan Santana 9.61 158.1 2003 45 18 12 3 0 169 3.07
20 Tom Hall 9.51 129.2 1971 48 11 4 7 9 137 3.33
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/26/2013.



Looking over the Twins history here the best Twins career SO/9 ratio's with a minimum of 100 innings pitched. How many of these pitchers were originally signed by the Twins? That would be eight.

Rk Player SO/9 IP G GS W L W-L% SV SO ERA BA
1 Joe Nathan 10.90 463.1 460 0 24 13 .649 260 561 2.16 .186
2 Pat Neshek 10.48 129.2 132 0 11 6 .647 0 151 3.05 .189
3 Johan Santana 9.50 1308.2 251 175 93 44 .679 1 1381 3.22 .221
4 Francisco Liriano 9.05 783.1 156 130 50 52 .490 1 788 4.33 .247
5 Tom Hall 8.52 455.1 139 44 25 21 .543 13 431 3.00 .212
6 Juan Rincon 8.41 441.0 386 3 30 26 .536 3 412 3.69 .248
7 Ron Davis 8.24 381.1 286 0 19 40 .322 108 349 4.51 .264
8 Jared Burton 8.16 128.0 135 0 5 11 .313 7 116 3.02 .216
9 Juan Berenguer 8.15 418.1 211 7 33 13 .717 9 379 3.70 .231
10 Ray Moore 7.95 159.2 126 1 13 10 .565 25 141 4.90 .252
11 Gerry Arrigo 7.93 131.2 54 15 8 7 .533 1 116 4.31 .245
12 Eddie Guardado 7.79 704.2 648 25 37 48 .435 116 610 4.53 .253
13 Dennys Reyes 7.77 126.1 191 0 10 1 .909 0 109 2.14 .238
14 Rick Aguilera 7.60 694.0 490 30 40 47 .460 254 586 3.50 .243
15 Dan Naulty 7.60 111.1 97 0 4 5 .444 5 94 4.61 .234
16 Al Worthington 7.59 473.1 327 0 37 31 .544 88 399 2.62 .221
17 Dick Stigman 7.52 643.2 138 85 37 37 .500 7 538 3.69 .229
18 Dave Boswell 7.51 1036.1 187 150 67 54 .554 0 865 3.49 .217
19 J.C. Romero 7.42 407.2 327 22 25 20 .556 2 336 4.35 .256
20 Mike Trombley 7.36 645.2 365 36 30 34 .469 34 528 4.53 .266
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/26/2013.
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Comments

  1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
    Does the increase in league strikeouts correlate to an increase in home runs or power? I think of control guys like Radke who did give up homers but never seemed to be burned by the homer. How about the Twins fielding these past few years (Revere was fantastic but then there was Delmon, Plouffe, Valencia, Nishioka, etc). Lots to chew on sorry for the questions :-)

    I'm wondering if baseball is undergoing a structural change like NFL has, from running games to passing games. If so, I hope the Twins are adjusting.
  2. twinsfan34's Avatar
    I like this study a lot. It's pretty actionable if indeed it's as simple as having a team K/9 from one's pitchers.

    So looking for high correlations.

    This seems to fit: 9/10 seasons, Twins teams had 1,000 K's, and only one did they not get over 79.

    What's the opposite? When happens when Twins teams are under 1,000 Ks? (?/43 seasons)

    Then, as the previous poster said - is this a trend? So perhaps 1,000 K's in 1967 is more impressive (and better predictor of success) than 1,000 K's in 2012. Would need to get the weighted numbers. So is there a weighted number of the league average where the Win-Loss ratio just flips out. e.g. when 1.15 x the league average K/9 rate - teams won no less than 85 games at 90% correlation.

    Then I'd love to see some outliers. Such and such team had 1,400 K's but still was only 81-81. Then the opposite case, so and so team only struck out 750 guys, but yet won 85 games. And see if there was another strong factor to winning.

    Again, I think this is great - thanks - it's quite actionable. Versus trying to sort out BABIP pitchers or hitters (only 44% correlation year over year) - although a few like Clayton Kershaw have a confidence/standard error rate that is very consistent - so despite for the majority - it not being something to consistently count on year over year - there's always a few exceptions, like Kershaw's BABIP and thus ERA, etc.
  3. AM.'s Avatar
    It seems to me it is a trend, and the trend is being driven by the hitting side of the equation. Teams don't care if a player strikes out a lot, if he is swinging for the fences and taking more pitches.
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