Coming off a 2013 season that saw the Mets strikeout as much as any other team in the National League, Sandy Alderson and the front office has done little to ensure that they won’t accomplish the same feat. In fact, they may surpass it in 2014.
The two major offensive acquisitions made this season by the Mets include men with astronomical strikeout percentages, Chris Young and Curtis Granderson.
Sandy Alderson acknowledges their weakness and is willing to embrace it. In a Q&A with fellow Metsmerized contributor Clayton Collier, Alderson suggested that “Having a high number of strikeouts doesn’t preclude a team from being pretty good offensively”. While this may be true, the two new Met outfielders will have to do quite a bit to compensate for their tendencies to go down on three strikes.
In Young’s 2013 season with the Athletics, he struck out 24.8% of the time, nearly once every four at-bats. If we were to round this percentage up to 25%, Fangraphs would categorize it as “poor”. High strikeout totals are commonplace for power hitters and Young is no exception. Young has struck out at least 20% of the time in each of his seven full Major League seasons. Pending a huge outlier of a season, we are likely to see the same from Young in 2014.
Granderson’s propensity for the K is not pretty either. In 2012, Granderson played 160 games for the Yankees, during which time he struck out at a staggering 28.5% percent clip. Fangraphs would regard the frequency by which Granderson struck out as “awful”. Granderson however, blasted 43 home runs that season, if he can do that with the Mets, I’ll never mention his strikeout percentage again.
It is entirely likely that both Young and Granderson will have similar seasons, strikeout wise, as they have had in years past. Lee Panas’s book Beyond Batting Average found that K% is the statistic that is most predictive of future performance. Panas conducted a study in which he tracked the statistics of 428 players from year to year. K% had the highest correlation (0.83), year to year, of any statistic.
Alderson may be considering last year’s high strikeout total and going all-in, sacrificing a large amount of strikeouts for the sake of added power. It could also be that the only significant power threats available on the free agent market happened to boast unusually high strikeout percentages. Either way, Young and Granderson will not contribute to the lowering of the Mets league-leading strikeout total. The hope is, as I’m sure every Met fan is aware, that they will provide the pop the Mets so desperately need, even if it takes a few strikeouts to do it.
All statistics were accessed via Fangraphs