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No, the Phillies Do Not Strike Out Too Much

One of the prevailing myths about the Phillies (now and going forward) is that, as a team, their hitters strike out too much. This is false.

Rob Tringali

A little quick hit for today.

In pretty much every piece about the Phillies offseason, whether in a blog's comments section or in the articles, themselves, you're almost sure to hear someone oppose the signing of a Michael Bourn or a B.J. Upton on the grounds that they strike out too much, and that this Phillies lineup already has way too many strikeouts.

Let me just put an end to this now. The 2012 Phillies did not strike out too much. In fact, no team in the National League struck out fewer times than the Phillies' total of 1,094. Yes, the super ultra mega whiff-prone Philadelphia Phillies struck out the least number of times of any team in the National League.

Now you might say, "Of course, Ryan Howard missed half the season, that's why the number is so low." But a closer look at the numbers reveals that Phillies first basemen in 2012 -- that wonderful heady stew of John Mayberry, Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, Hector Luna, and a few Jim Thome appearances -- struck out a grand total of 195 times in 2012. That's a lot. That's a pretty typical Ryan Howard full season strikeout total. So it's not as if that's where the deficit came from.

And does it really matter a lick if the Phillies "strike out too much?" The 2007 Phillies were an offensive juggernaut that led the league in runs scored with 892, and runs per game with 5.51. They also struck out the third most times in the league with 1,205. The 2008 World Championship team finished second in runs scored, and eighth in strikeouts. The 2010 team was second in runs scored, and finished third from the fewest number of team strikeouts in the league. Notice I pattern? I sure don't.

No one is saying strikeouts are good -- they're bad! -- but maybe they don't have the negative impact on run scoring that people seem to believe, and that, like Ruben Amaro says, the team can and should focus on acquiring players who are productive independent of their relatively meaningless strikeout totals.