The Mark Bellhorn controversy has reared its head again in the comments.
Well, the one thing I disagree with is this statement.
If Bellhorn could simply take his extraneous K’s and turn them into contacts while maintaining the same BABIP, then yeah, that’d be great. Bu the K’s are a byproduct of his patience, which also gives us his walks, gives us his comparatively high rate of hits on contact, etc. In other words, Bellhorn’s game is built aroud his patience. While it would be nice for him to be a completely different, better ballplayer, it’s just not going to happen. Bellhorn is on of the most patient hitters in all of MLB (7th in the majors in P/PA) and the K’s come with the territory. (Andrew)
I don’t agree. There is a difference between “patience” and disclipline. I think he goes up there not looking for a good pitch to hit, but hoping for a walk. That’s what I think Mark does. That’s what I used to do, and I was a terrible hitter until I slapped myself in the face and told me to go up to look for a better pitch to hit. I had the season of my life, and my OBP only downticked slightly. Before I did that, we’re talking about maybe 50 AB, 20 BB, 15 K, and 2 hits. That’s how bad I was. But then I hit .350 the season I slapped myself in the face. In essence, I took about 5 walks, 10 Ks, and combined with smarter baseball (I revamped my swing) then boom – there ya go.
There is a difference between “patience” and disclipline. If you go up there and recognize balls for what they are – balls, then great, take them. But no one, and you can’t convince me Mark Bellhorn doesn’t either, should take strikes over and over again. I realize that part of taking strikes (or fouling them off if it’s 2 strikes) is because while it’s a strike, it’s not a pitch that they can do anything with. But it’s not going to result in that many strikeouts. If you recognize a strike and you think you can do something with it, swing. If not, then lay off, but that doesn’t mean you can just let yourself strike out, you have to make contact. Now, whether or not a few DPs are worse than a lot of strikeouts isn’t the point here.
What I want to do is take the leaders in BB so far and compare them to batting average and strikeouts.
Out of a grand total of 16 people, two have batting averages that are pretty low. Adam Dunn and Mark Bellhorn. I tried to find the league strikeout average, but I couldn’t. So, I settled for finding the highest strikeout total of the first half (guess who!) and the lowest (Placido Polanco, 13). Since Mark Bellhorn had 272 AB this year, I had the cutoff for AB be 250 plate appearances. So (102 + 13)/2 an average of 58 Ks, projected to 115 over the season. Let’s look at how many people are over 58 Ks so far.
Out of 16 people, 8 were at or below 58 while a nice number of 8 were above. This means that automatically, 50% of all people who were on the BB leaderboard (and Bellhorn was tied for 12th!) do not let their plate disclipline affect their Ks, nor their average.
So now, about the people who were above 58, who were they, and how much?
Now, as I said earlier, I could handle strikeouts coming from David Americo Ortiz Arias if it was coming from, well, him. So I looked at how many strikeouts he’s had so far this year, which is 62. That’s pretty close to league average, so we won’t pare this list any further.
Now, let’s add BA and OPS to this list.
I now have no idea what the average OPS is so I took every single team OPS (30 numbers) and added them all together then divided them by 30 to get an average OPS. We get a tidy .752, or in other words, Philadelphia plus one point.
So, anyone over league average, we can stomach the Ks, right? So who is under .761?
I rest my case.