RC+ Stat Stumper: Low Strikeouts, High Production?

RC+ Stat Stumper: Low Strikeouts, High Production?

Welcome to RC+ Stat Stumper!

We’re taking a longtime ballpark tradition and giving it a  modern twist. At Great American Ball Park, the Scoreboard Stumper tests your knowledge of baseball history and you might learn a little bit about the Reds as well. The RC+ Stat Stumper is a weekly question about the Reds that involves a newer statistic.

We invite you to post your guesses in the comments (no looking up the answers, please). The correct answers and winners will be revealed prior to first pitch that day. Enjoy and thanks for playing!

Here’s the RC+ Stat Stumper:

Historically, strikeouts were thought of as the worst possible result for an at-bat. At least put the ball in play, anything can happen! But as the sport itself and the way people analyze it has evolved, strikeouts have become much less of an issue. Having a low strikeout rate does not mean someone will definitely be a good hitter (i.e. Jose Peraza) and having a high strikeout rate does not mean they are destined for the minors (i.e. Adam Dunn). So far in 2020, Joey Votto is no exception.

RC+’s Steven Ortlieb recently discussed Joey Votto’s renewed focus on not striking out after setting a career high last year at over 20%. For his career, Votto’s strikeout rate is low for how productive he has been offensively. Comparing him to qualified hitters since he joined the league, he has the 3rd highest wRC+ (150) and the 433rd highest K% (17.7%).

Not everyone is Joey Votto, though, and that is especially true of recent Reds who have posted low strikeout totals. Since 2007, there are eight Reds players who have a lower K% than Votto’s 17.7%. Name the four players (from that group of eight) who also had an above average wRC+ (between 2007 and 2020 only, minimum 1000 PA). Hint, the wRC+ of the four players are 104, 104, 106, 109.

Matt Habel

Matthew Habel was born and mostly raised in Cincinnati and was always a Reds fan growing up. Ironically, he did not become die-hard until moving to Pittsburgh after college and experiencing the 2013 Wild Card game behind enemy lines. While the "Cueto Game" is one of the worst sports moments of his life, he became enamored with the analytics side of the game after reading Big Data Baseball and watching the Pirates organization end their postseason drought. He started writing for Redleg Nation in 2017 and has enjoyed continuously learning more about the sport. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon where he loves exploring the great outdoors. Find him on Twitter @MattadorHeyBull

7 Responses

  1. Matt Wilkes says:

    Not confident in these answers, but here we go:

    Scooter Gennett, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, and Scott Rolen.

  2. Mike Bittenbender says:

    I’ll try Gennett, Cozart, Mesoraco and Rolen

  3. Michael Adams says:

    How about Brandon Phillips, Encarnacion, Rolen and Cozart?

  4. Steve Mancuso says:

    Cozart and BP.

    Winker, if he has 1000 PA. He’s close.

    Hatteburg if he qualifies with 1000 PA and the 2007 cutoff.

    Other name if one of them doesn’t qualify, Rolen, but not with much confidence.

  5. Matt Habel says:

    Great guesses. The answers are:

    Ramon Hernandez, 12.3% K% and 104 wRC+
    Scott Rolen, 15.4% K% and 106 wRC+
    Ken Griffey Jr, 15.6% K% and 109 wRC+ (but -0.9 fWAR!)
    Edwin Encarnacion, 17.3% K% and 104 wRC+

    Some other great guesses include Brandon Phillips, 13.2% K% but just missed with a 99 wRC+ and Jesse Winker, 16% K% and 127 wRC+ but only 949 plate appearances.

    Thanks for playing!