Baseball has changed since Joe DiMaggio was wrecking shop for the Yankees in the 1930’s and 40s so comparing statistics between stars of various eras isn’t always accurate in accessing their talents.
People raved about the arrival of Giancarlo Stanton in New York. He hit 59 bombs in his final year in Miami with a doo doo brown lineup around him. Yankees fans already knew that Stanton strikes out often, like most of today's power hitters. He’s also one of the most feared sluggers in the sport, but early in his Yankees career folks seem to be obsessed with his strikeout totals and are constantly hounding him for it, while teammate Aaron Judge, who struck out 208 times last season and has already struck out 13 times in 10 games gets a pass.
Giancarlo Stanton struck out more in the last week than Joe DiMaggio did in the entire 1941 season. (via @ESPNStatsInfo)
Making contact and not striking out used to be more important at the MLB level. Same with speed on the basepaths, steals, hit and runs, bunts and other small ball strategies. But MLB has an infatuation with the home run and if the players can’t juice then the league's decided to juice the ball and manufacture a strategic dependence on the home run. It's a strategy that some feel will hurt the game in the long run.
A player who struck out over 100 times was often frowned upon in baseball's previous eras. Just as the three-pointer has limited the low post game in NBA basketball, metrics and stats such as OBP and OPS and WAR and Slugging Percentage have rendered strikeout totals insignificant in many cases.
holyfield.co Aaron Judge 37 straight games with a strikeout, 63 strikeouts overall, all Lowlights! Song: Frank Sinatra-New York, New York: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-ZUXQuFcnw
So when a stat pops up that Giancarlo Stanton has more strikeouts already this season than DiMaggio had in 1941, it's strictly for shock value and to degrade Stanton in some way, but we all know it doesn’t matter at all. It's really about when he strikes out, not how often. Times have changed.
No player in baseball history ever struck out more than 200 times in a season before Mark Reynolds whiffed 204 times in 2008. Since then, five guys have struck out 200 times in a season and nine times overall. Reynolds was the master. He K’d another 223 times in 2009, which is the all-time record, but he also drove in 102 runs that season.
Mark Reynolds comments on breaking his own record for the most strikeouts in a single season after the Diamondbacks' 10-8 win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night at Chase Field.
Reynolds followed with a 211-K season in 2010. Then just missed the 200 mark with 196 K's in 2011.
Reynolds is a free agent this season, but up until last year he was still getting checks, hitting dingers and striking out at unbelievably high rates. Last season, Reynolds hit 30 homers and struck out 175 times with Colorado.
AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge struck out a record-breaking 208 times last season, which left him tied with Chris Davis for sixth on the all-time single season list. Judge's 52 homers, celebrity rise and great defense makes fans forget about his K totals for the most part.
That which makes most baseball purists gasp in horror is now an acceptable part of the sport for productive power hitters. Last season, MLB players hit a record numbers of homers. They also struck out and struck out and...
That's the exchange that we have to accept now in baseball. It’s not for all players. Some will still be hitters who can bat .300 and not strike out every third at bat. Most of the power guys such as Stanton -- who has 20 Ks in 48 Plate appearances since joining the Yankees to a lathering of boos in his first game at the stadium -- should get a pass on the K’s as long as they produce the long ball often enough. The good news is that Stanton has never struck out more than 170 times in a season. In 2017 he won the NL MVP and struck out just 163 times in 692 plate appearances.
Home runs have increased by 44 percent since 2014 - that's huge. And no one really knows why. But some baseball experts take a swing at explaining the phenomenon that's changing the game as we know it.
Also, he’s not way ahead of everyone else in strikeouts. Tim Beckham of B-More has 18. Mets superstar Yoenis Cespedes and two other ballers have 17 and five players are tied with 15 right now. That’s just a one, two game swing as far as K’s are concerned.
To K shame the NL MVP and a guy with 270 carer dingers and a .553 career slugging percentage is dumb. Fans and media have been overly critical of Stanton after just 10 games in pinstripes. It's bizarre. It reminds me of when A-Rod arrivedand the fans were so protective of Derek Jeter’s stature on the club that they mercifully booed A-Rod every chance they got instead of encouraging him and embracing him. It was very weird. It was like the fans felt like they had to be mean to A-Rod to express how important Jeter was to them but all they were doing was tearing the best player in the game down every at-bat and making it harder for him to succeed.
@CaseyStern and Brad Lidge have a simple question for #Yankees fans: "Why the heck are you booing Giancarlo Stanton?" #PinstripePride https://t.co/JZiFNdA9CK
This early dump on Stanton is similar. Judge can do no wrong, but his competition for No. 1 star on the team and the new kid on the block gets raked through the coals for nothing. Stanton’s not going to strike out at this rate all season. It will even out, especially after he gets comfortable and stops pressing and worrying about getting booed for striking out.
Make sense, doesn’t it?