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Modest Proposal
April 01, 2013
Strikeout rate is the single best predictor of a pitcher's longevity and effectiveness—and that's an ominous sign for Jim Johnson. Last year he saved 51 games while striking out just 15.2% of the batters he faced. In general, the baseline strikeout rate for a consistent one-inning reliever is 25%. Since 2000, nine pitchers have had at least 40 saves with a strikeout rate below 19%. In the year after their big-save seasons, those nine dropped to an average of 25 saves with an ERA of 4.35. The O's can't let Johnson's likely regression take them out of the AL East race. Fortunately they have Pedro Strop on hand. The 27-year-old righthander, Baltimore's hardest-throwing pitcher, with an average fastball of 97 mph in 2012, has a career strikeout rate of 21.4% and was impressive pitching for the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic. Heat isn't everything, but missing bats almost is. Johnson can set up, but Strop's ability to do that makes him a better bet to nail down saves this year.
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April 01, 2013

Modest Proposal

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Strikeout rate is the single best predictor of a pitcher's longevity and effectiveness—and that's an ominous sign for Jim Johnson. Last year he saved 51 games while striking out just 15.2% of the batters he faced. In general, the baseline strikeout rate for a consistent one-inning reliever is 25%. Since 2000, nine pitchers have had at least 40 saves with a strikeout rate below 19%. In the year after their big-save seasons, those nine dropped to an average of 25 saves with an ERA of 4.35. The O's can't let Johnson's likely regression take them out of the AL East race. Fortunately they have Pedro Strop on hand. The 27-year-old righthander, Baltimore's hardest-throwing pitcher, with an average fastball of 97 mph in 2012, has a career strikeout rate of 21.4% and was impressive pitching for the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic. Heat isn't everything, but missing bats almost is. Johnson can set up, but Strop's ability to do that makes him a better bet to nail down saves this year.

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