Monday, June 29, 2009

Which Players Had The Best HR-To-Strikeout Ratios?

I looked at every player with 5000+ PAs since 1920. I found their relative HRs and their relative strikeouts. Then found the ratio of the two. Ken Williams, for example, hit 3.70 times as many HRs as the average player of his time and league while striking out only 75% as often as the average player. Since his ratio of ratios (3.7/.75 = 4.93) is the highest of anyone in the study, he is ranked first. The data comes from the Lee Sinins Complete Baseball Encyclopedia. The table below shows the top 25:

DiMaggio hit only 41% of his HRs at home in his career while Williams hit 72%. So it is likely the case that DiMaggio would rank first, and probably by a wide margin, if HRs were park adjusted. Ted Williams hit less than 50% of his HRs at home.

The next table shows which players had the lowest relative strikeout rates among guys who hit 40+ HRs. Again, no pikers here. In 2004, Bonds had only 41 strikeouts while the average player would have had 100. I am so proud to see the demonstration of Polish power with 3 for Ted Kluszewski and 1 for Carl Yastrzemski (whose 1970 season ranks 27th). Don't forget Stan Musial is 13th on the above list.


Drew said...

I'm curious about how these numbers compare with walk rates. It seems to me there are two reasons a player strikes out:

1. Because he swings and misses a lot
2. Because he takes a lot of pitches for strikes.

The former should relate to home-runs on the assumption there is a trade-off between power and precision in a player's swing. The latter, it seems, would relate to walks.

Cyril Morong said...


Thanks for dropping by and commenting. My guess is that HR hitters swing alot and/or wait for their pitch to hit a long way. But also, pitchers may not want to groove one to big HR hitters, so they walk those guys more often. You might be interested in my post called

"Which Players Had The Most Surprising Walk Rates? (Part 2)"

which is at

It does relate to power, but I did not include strikeout rates.


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