Not putting the ball in play

Taking a look at what teams do when they don't put the ball in play showed me something fairly interesting.  Not putting the ball in play ends up in 1 of 3 possibilities:  Walk, Strike Out or HBP.  As most of us know, good hitters tend to walk and strikeout a lot, but bad hitters tend to strikeout much more than they walk (thank you pitchers).  What is interesting from looking at the K/BB+HBP data is that 4 NL teams lead the list (and 3 of those 4 are NL East teams). 

Team SO BB HPB K/(BB+HPB)
Mets 227 175 11 1.220
Dodgers 277
192
13
1.351
Braves
239
158
15
1.382
Phillies
246
154
21
1.406
Yankees
255
166
14
1.417
Red Sox
281
172
24
1.434
Blue Jays
241
159
9
1.435
Cardinals
229
136
20
1.468
Orioles 221
130
12
1.556
Twins
265
159
11
1.559
Brewers
321
182
22
1.574
Royals
257
145
16
1.596
As
233
130
14
1.618
Angels
218
128
6
1.627
Tigers
238
133
12
1.641
Indians
316
164
28
1.646
Nationals
325
178
17
1.667
Astros
234
125
14
1.683
Padres
266
148
10
1.684
Cubs
282
147
16
1.730
Reds
263
135
16
1.742
White Sox
259
120
18
1.877
Rockies
294
146
9
1.897
Rays
333
163
12
1.903
Pirates
285
129
19
1.926
Marlins
335
151
12
2.055
Diamondbacks
306
137
10
2.082
Mariners
239
103
9
2.134
Giants
281
105
18
2.285
Rangers
319
112
9
2.636

 

Baseball is made up of two different games.  What happens when you don't hit the ball in play and what happens when you do.  I have written before about how walks are the most important component stat in all of baseball.  Strikeouts are often maligned because they have 0 value added (which they do).  But they are a necessary evil to get those walks, and the best team will be able to mitigate the damage of strikeouts by supplementing it with walks and HBP. 

The Mets are far and away the best of getting maximum value from not putting the ball in play.  A 1.2:1 ratio is ridiculously good, and the fewer strikeouts also gives them the added advatnage of a ball put in play and the chance that it lands in.  This worries me a bit as a Phillies fan, though with Delgado out, we may see some of this change.

I made note before that the top 4 teams are NL teams (with the pitcher/PH who will likely strikeout a lot and walk a lil).  The numbers for the Phillies are repressed a bit with Burrell gone who adds a lot to both categories. 

It appears that most teams fall in the range of 1.5-2.0 with 6 teams below and 5 above.  The biggest outlier is the Texas Rangers (who actually prompted me to write this).  Chris Davis has 59 Ks and 8 walks, Nelson Cruz has 37 Ks and 11 BBs, Jarod Saltalmacchia has 35 Ks and 7 BBs and Hank Blalock has 27 Ks and 5 walks.  Thier team .811 OPS is not sustainable with those kinds of numbers.  If you have stock in the Rangers, sell high because they are going to come crashing back to earth.

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