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Astros 2009 Starting Pitching - Strike Outs Per Pitch?

I've been mulling K/100 around in my head for a little while, trying to figure out what to do with it.  While gearing up for my fantasy league, I've been comparing various pitchers trying to discern what relevance it can provide me there.  I've come to see its value, and to be frank, I don't know why I ever had to contemplate it.

As the statistic's inventor, Rich Lederer, so succiently explains:

All of us like pitchers who can rack up strikeouts. There is no argument between statheads and the scouting community over the value of missing bats. In a nutshell, Ks are the out of choice. The more, the merrier.

We also know that pitch counts are important. The fewer, the better. As such, it seems logical that combining high strikeout and low pitch totals is a recipe for success . . . The best way to measure such effectiveness is via K/100 pitches. The formula is (strikeouts divided by total pitches) x 100.

According to Lederer, K/100 has a higher correlation with run prevention than the widely known K/9, and the improved, yet lesser known, K/batter faced.  It's pretty genius.  It's a true measure of efficency, which is important for the 2009 Astros.  In 2008, we saw an enormous share of the work get pushed towards the bull pen as starters struggled to make through the 6th inning.  While K/100 can't say much more than who's generating strikeouts per pitch, it does let us know who's being efficient about generating their strikeouts—and that's a valuable bit of information.

Here are the results for all the pitchers who pitched for us in 2008, who have a legitimate shot of making the rotation:


With the exception of Nieve, who is likely to see that number fall dramatically if he's used as a starter, only two Astros made the top-quartile of pitchers in 2008: Wandy and Roy.  Backe actually beats out both league average and median, albeit slightly, and Moehler was just bad—bottom quartile bad.  It's nice to see Wandy so high up there, which hopefully portends to a strong 2009 performance; also making AstrosAndy's proposed bet on who ends up with more K's: Roy or Wandy? very interesting.  Although Arias obviously have has mixed and minimal data to analyze, such a high number is exciting none the less.

The article (see above) is an interesting read and comes complete with a spread sheet for every starter who amassed 100 IP (valuable for fantasy nuts).  Although this stat certainly isn't the end all be all of pitching statistics, I think it's both valuable and insightful in trying to capture the efficency of pitchers.  We have a two bright spots, two with with potential, and two that make you just shrug your shoulders.  Hopefully we can have solid core of starters who can keep their pitches down by not just limiting base runners, but limiting the pitches used to accomplish that down too.  I think keeping our bull pen fresh will be a key component of any success that the Astros might hope to achieve in 2009, so this will be a stat to keep an eye on.