Stat of the Day: Strikeouts (Pitcher)
Abbreviation: K or SO. All Time Leader: Nolan Ryan (5714). Single Season Leader (Since 1890): Nolan Ryan (383 in 1973). Active Leader:Javier Vazquez (2536). 2012 Leader: Justin Verlander (239).
The strikeout is the pitcher's ultimate goal in every at bat. With a runner on third or runners on second and third and less than two outs, the pitcher and the entire team pray for a strikeout. The official abbreviation is "SO", but many people just call it a "K". Where did this abbreviation come from? The answer lies deep in baseball's history, with the originating of the K coming from an Englishman named Henry Chadwick. Chadwick, who invented the Box Score and was among the first to record baseball statistics in the 1860's, decided to us the "K" from the word "Struck" for strikeouts. The rest is history. Moving into players, Nolan Ryan actually does not hold the single season record for strikeouts. Between 1884 and 1886, six pitchers recorded 417 or more strikeouts. This strikeout attack was lead by Matt Kilroy, who struck out 513 batters in 583 innings for the Baltimore Orioles. However, he and the other top three players after him recorded their strikeouts in the American Association, which was somewhat of a minor league to the National League. The National League record was set by Charley "Old Hoss" Radbourn in 1884 for the Providence Grays, as he struck out 441 batters in 678.2 innings. However, when innings pitched decreased due to the lowering of innings pitched, the strikeout started to fade in his commonality. In 1900, Noodles Hahn of the Cincinnati Reds led the majors in strikeouts despite recording just 132 in 311.1 innings. As recently as 1921, Walter Johnson led the majors at 143. However, Johnson was one of the strikeout standouts of the era. He recorded 3508 K's over his 21 seasons, leading the AL twelve times and becoming the first of sixteen pitchers to reach the 3000 strikeout plateau. Rube Waddell was another top strikeout pitcher. From 1902-1907, he led the AL in strikeouts six straight times, topping out at 349 in 1904. Sandy Koufax, who pitched from 1955-1966, was one of the best strikeout pitchers of all time. He led the National League in strikeouts four times from 1961-1966, and even struck out 382 in 1965, setting a new modern record. The following year, he struck out 317 batters but ended up with a torn UCL that would require Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, the procedure had not yet been invented, so he was forced to retire at 30 years old. In 1973, Nolan Ryan broke Koufax's record by one strikeout, recording a total of 383. That would be the second of eleven nine AL strikeout crowns. He would also add a pair of NL strikeout crowns in 1987 and 1988. Ryan recorded six seasons with more than 300 strikeouts, including a 1989 season where he struck out 301 at the age of 42. As of now, he is the only pitcher ever to record 5000 strikeouts in a career, and he makes a mockery of the number by totaling 5714. Randy Johnson has the second most strikeouts, as he finished with 4875. He also recorded six 300 strikeout seasons, five of which happened to be consecutive. He topped out at 372 in 2001, despite pitching only 249.2 innings. He and Curt Schilling share the honor as the most recent pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season, as the two teammates recorded 334 and 316 strikeouts respectively in 2002. Nowadays, Justin Verlander has emerged as a strikeout king, leading the majors three times since 2009, including a 269 strikeout season that year. Last year, his teammate Max Scherzer emerged as a strikeout artist, totaling 231 when he previously had never recorded more than 184.
The Rule 5 Draft commenced, and the Nationals lost four players. They were Daniel Rosenbaum (8-10, 3.94 ERA, .278 BAA at AA, 2013 age: 25) to the Rockies, Jeff Kobernus (1 HR, 19 RBI, .282 AVG, 42 SB at High Class A, 2013 age: 24-25) to the Red Sox, Hector Nelo (1-6, 2.73 ERA, .229 BAA, 16 saves at AA, 2013 age: 26) to the Dodgers, and Jack McGeary (0-1, 6.75 ERA, .200 BAA at GCL and Short Season, 2013 age: 24) to the Red Sox.
Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner injured his thumb in a hunting accident and may miss Opening Day.
Former Yankees outfielder Andruw Jones signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.
Free Agent Signings
Diamondbacks agreed to terms with Brandon McCarthy (8-6, 3.24 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 2013 age: 29-30) on a two year, $15.5 million deal ($7.75 million per season).
Angels agreed to terms with Joe Blanton (10-13, 4.71 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2013 age: 32) on a two year, $15 million deal ($7.5 million per season).
Cardinals signed Randy Choate (0-0, 3.03 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 1 save, 2013 age: 35) to a three year, $7.5 million deal ($2.5 million per season).
Braves resigned Reed Johnson (3 HR, 20 RBI, .290 AVG, 2 SB, 2013 age: 35) to a one year deal.
Phillies signed Humberto Quintero (1 HR, 19 RBI, .232 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 33-34) to a minor league deal.
Rangers signed Evan Meek (0-0, 6.75 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 2013 age: 30) to a minor league deal.
Diamondbacks also signed Eric Hinske (2 HR, 13 RBI, .197 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 35) to a one year, $1.35 million deal.
Rangers also signed Randy Wells (1-2, 5.34 ERA, 2.06 WHIP, 2013 age: 30) to a minor league deal.
The big news is the Brandon McCarthy deal. At $15.5 million, it looks like a steal of a signing. The 6'7" righty will join Trevor Bauer, Trevor Cahill, Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, and Wade MIley in what is shaping up to be a solid rotation. One of those names, most likely Bauer, will not be in the 2013 rotation. McCarthy, is 17-15 with a 3.30 ERA over the last two seasons, including a 10-7, 2.75 mark at home. In 2011, he completed five games and threw his second career shutout. Last year, he was on track for another solid season when he was hit in the head with an Erik Aybar liner in September, and had to finish with just 18 starts on the season. Still, eight wins and a 3.24 ERA are nothing to laugh at. Over his eight year career, he is 37-39 with a 4.02 ERA over 153 games (99 starts).
Twins traded Ben Revere (0 HR, 32 RBI, .294 AVG, 40 SB, 2013 age: 25) to the Phillies for Vance Worley (6-9, 4.20 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 2013 age: 25) and minor leaguer Trevor May (10-13, 4.87 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 2013 age: 23).
The Phillies acquired Ben Revere as their new center fielder. He will join Laynce Nix, John Mayberry, and Domonic Brown in the Phillies outfield. Revere, who is one of my favorite non-Nationals, is a defensive wiz with blazing speed who's offense is developing. Over the past few years, he has made some of the most fantastic catches in baseball. He also stole 74 bases over the past two years, including 40 last year. He also emerged last year with a .294 average. However, he has no power to speak of. Over 657 professional games, he has hit just five home runs, none of which came in the majors. He also has just 33 major league extra base hits, 22 of which are doubles and 11 of which are triples. Over his three years, he has no home runs, 64 RBI, and a .278 average with 74 stolen bases.
The Twins got Vance Worley and Trevor May in return. Worley, a Sacramento native, was a surprise contributor in the 2011 Phillies rotation, will join Scott Diamond, Liam Hendriks, and Samuel Deduno as the leaders in the Twins rotation. He burst onto the scene in 2011, going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA over 25 games (21 starts) for Philadelphia. Last year, he struggled a bit towards the end of the season, ending up 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA over 23 starts. Over his three years, he is 18-13 with a 3.50 ERA. Trevor May was a top prospect in the Phillies system. His best minor league season was 2011, when he was 10-8 with a 3.63 ERA for High Class A Clearwater, but he, like Worley, struggled last year, He was 10-13 with a 4.87 ERA for AA Reading, and saw his strikeout total drop from 208 to 151. He has 37 wins and a 3.92 ERA in his minor league career.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage