Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Le Freak, C'est Chic

The ability to strike out hitters, and thus "create outs for one's self" is among the most important skills a pitcher can possess.  The reason should be self-evident:  More strikeouts mean fewer balls in play, which means fewer hits, which means fewer runs.  (Baseball Prospectus Basics.)  According to Bill James, "There is simply no such thing as a starting pitcher who has a long career with a low strikeout rate."

Giant pitcher Tim Lincecum does not turn 27 years old until next week.  He has already won two Cy Young Awards, and last night became only the eighth pitcher since 1900 to reach 1,000 strikeouts in his first five season.  With this latest milestone he joins some pretty elite company:  Hall of Famers Grover Alexander and Tom Seaver, 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Bert Blyleven, Dwight Gooden, Kerry Wood, Hideo Nomo and Mark Langston.  He needs 156 more strikeouts this season to top Seaver for the most strikeouts by a pitcher in his first five seasons.


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