The Rise of the Missed Bat
Before 1996 there was never an MLB season which featured more than four starting pitchers who averaged at least one strikeout per inning. In 1965 and 1986 there were four starters who posted at least 9 Ks/game. The ’60’s were led by Sandy Koufax and Sam McDowell while the 80’s featured fire-ballers Nolan Ryan and Bobby Witt.
As the strikeout began to rise during the steroid era we saw eight high K starters (9+ SO/9 innings) in 1998 and ten in 2002. From ’02-’04 alone there were 29 individual high K starting pitcher seasons. Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Jason Schmidt, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez averaged at least one strikeout/inning in all three seasons.
There was a slight dip in high K starters during the next four seasons before an explosion in 2009. An all-time high of thirteen high K starters appeared in ’09, a feat matched in 2010. This record was quickly broken in 2012 with fifteen and subsequently tied last year.
Five pitchers recorded at least 9 strikeouts/game in each of the last two seasons, they are: Yu Darvish, Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer amd Jeff Samardzija. How many of these will repeat the feat in 2014?
*Thank you to Baseball-Reference.com for all this awesome data.
Posted on April 20, 2014, in MLB, MLB stats, pitching rants and tagged baseball history, Bobby Witt, Chris Sale, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Nolan Ryan, Sam McDowell, Sandy Koufax, Yu Darvish. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.