When a player is at the plate, there are a number of different possible outcomes. And maybe the worst of those is the swinging strike.
For the batter, a swinging strike is one pitch closer to an out. But unlike a called strike which may just be a matter of misjudging the strikezone, a swinging strike can be an indication that the batter is overmatched.
To get an idea of how well each hitter is swinging the bat early on, let’s take a look at how often each batter swings at a pitch and misses…
Typically, the average number of pitches in which a Major League batter swings-and-misses, is about 8.5%. For the Rays, 11 of 18 batters are above this mark. We can also see why Brandon Allen, despite his heroics, is not a very good hitter, and why Jeff Keppinger is so hard to strike out.
And while most of the regulars have a swing-and-miss rate comparable to 2011, BJ Upton’s number is considerably higher compared to last season (10.9%). So it is possible that his number will come down as the season progresses. However, his swinging strike rate tends to fluctuate more than most players, as it was 12.0% in 2010 and as low as 7.7% in 2008.
So maybe we should all just be grateful that Upton doesn’t have to swing his glove at flyballs in the outfield.
Data via Fangraphs.com