Currently historic: A new strikeout king?

Things are moving along nicely. We’re three weeks into the season and some interesting things are taking shape. As always, stats are through Monday’s games.

Let’s start with our weekly Adam Dunn strikeout update. Mr. Dunn continues to strike out at a prodigious rate. He is striking out an almost unbelievable 37 percent of the time and is on pace for 241 strikeouts. That would be a record, and while it’s early, Dunn did strike out 222 times last season. Dunn is, however, going to improve his production if he hopes to keep playing every day—.101/.151/.246 is not getting it

Remarkably, however, Dunn does not currently lead the league in strikeouts. There are several ahead of him, but the title, for the moment goes to Astro Chris Carter with 31. That puts him on pace for 262. We should probably start keeping an eye on him because: 1. He has a history of striking out at a high rate in his brief career, 2. He plays for the Astros, who, well, you know, we don’t really need to pile on, and 3. He may actually be pretty productive if things fall right.


You’ll recall, perhaps, that Joey Votto made his first appearance in our little corner of the baseball world last week. He’s “fallen off” a little since then in that he is now on pace for only 210 walks. Barry Bonds in 2004 has the only 200-walk season ever (he had 232). I wouldn’t necessarily bet on Votto hitting the 200 mark, but there have been 11 seasons in which a player has garnered 150 walks and it would not be especially surprising if he managed that.

In addition to the lofty walk total, Votto and teammate Shin-Soo Choo both have OBPs over .500. Votto is dead on .500 while Choo is at .521. Choo has benefited from a surplus of hit-by-pitches and is probably the less likely to maintain that ridiculous level. For the record, a player has posted a .500 OBP 19 times in major league history—14 if you start the clock in 1900. And yes, I am aware of Lance Berkman’s .484 OBP, but there are a number of reasons I’m not quite ready to track him. If he keeps it up for another week or two, we’ll talk.


As is always the case, there are certainly some other gaudy stats around the league, but for now, I’m trying to limit season-tracking to those with a track record or those who have really set themselves apart from the league. So now it’s on to the lists…

Todd Helton is a little banged up, but now has 573 doubles and needs only one more to enter the top 20. It’s been a long march (we started track his progress last season), but it looks like he’ll get there.

Adrian Beltre had a pair of doubles and needs 33 more to reach 500 for his career.

Home runs:
Albert Pujols hit no baseballs over the outfield fence this week. Neither did he circle the bases on an extra bouncy liner or anything. Correspondingly, he still has 477 homers. That’s 23 to reach 500 and 35 to enter the top 20.

Prince Fielder hit one, though, and needs 35 to get to 300.

Extra base hits:
Todd Helton, who really had a good week, needs 36 extra base hits to get to 1000.

Runs batted in:
Albert Pujols had four RBI this week and needs 55 to reach 1500.

Stolen bases:
Juan Pierre stole two bases and needs only six to reach 600. He’ll get a big write-up when he does. He was is still two caught stealings away from 200.

Michael Bourn (277) is hurt, but it looks minor and we won’t take him off the radar for now.

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

Showing Up:
Mariano Rivera now needs just three more appearances to have the seventh most ever.

Andy Pettitte (494), Barry Zito (398), Roy Halladay (381), CC Sabathia (388), and Bartolo Colon (378) continued their various marches toward 400 or 500 games started.

Mark Buehrle, however, crossed the finish line. Since he’s unlikely to appear here again this year, we should perhaps pause to admire his consistency. He seems like the kind of pitcher who can keep on winning 12 or 14 games a year forever. He probably won’t, of course, but here’s hoping we’re back celebrating his 200th win sometime next year.

Tim Hudson (199) didn’t quite make it to 200. Maybe next week. CC Sabathia (194) notched a win and seems like a good bet to make it in May or June.

Jonathan Papelbon (261) needs 39 to get to 300.

A.J. Burnett, who is having a heck of a start to the season, blew past 2,000 strikeouts. A nice achievement. Burnett is one of those guys who never really did what he was supposed to do, but is still going to end up with a very nice major league career.

Ryan Dempster has a bit to go yet, but the 49 strikeouts he needs to reach 2,000 will come eventually.

Andy Pettitte walked one and now needs 12 to reach 1,000.

Team accomplishments:
Pittsburgh is getting closer. The Pirates now need 29 wins to make it to 10,000.

More than 10 percent of the season is gone now. Is there anything I should be tracking that I’m not?

Jason teaches high school English, writes fiction, runs a small writing program and writes about education and literature. He also writes for Redleg Nation and both writes and edits for The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @JasonLinden, visit his website or email him here.
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10 years ago

Total Bases maybe? Pujols is tracking on the top 50, Konerko and Beltre are looking good to get to 4000. You’ve noted before that the tracking lists get a lot bigger if Jeter and Rodriguez make it back this year.

10 years ago

Pettite needs 2 more wins for 250.

10 years ago

Not sure if this was in a prior article or not, but Adam Wainwright set a record for most strikeouts to start the season without issuing a walk.

Greg Simons
10 years ago

Jason, how about tracking the Astros’ run at the single-season team strikeout record, 1387, set just last year by Oakland?  Houston currently is on pace for 1620 whiffs!

Greg Simons
10 years ago

Pujols getting an inside-the-park home run with his plantar fasciitis would take an extra-bouncy liner, the outfielders colliding with each other, and a UFO distracting the rest of the defenders.  Even then, I think he might only get a triple.

Jason Linden
10 years ago

Greg, that’s an excellent stat to track. Thanks.

aweb – I tend to only track career totals if a player is in or near the top 20 as otherwise, this column would get too long. I will look into the round numbers and maybe track those, though. Thanks.

10 years ago

The local mouthpiece for the Rockies, the Denver Post, said last week that Helton is not in the top 20.  Is he tied for 20th or are they wrong?

I’m not sure I know where to go for a list.  Ah, I just looked at Baseball-Reference and found a list.  The Post is wrong and you are right!!  Keep up the good work.

When I was a kid I always bought Street & Smith’s and enjoyed reading the pages where they listed things like this, but then you never heard how anyone was moving up the list.  I thoroughly enjoy this feature.


10 years ago

Colby Rasmus has already struck out 32 times, in only 67 ABs!  He’s a lock for 200 if he can keep himself in the lineup.

10 years ago

Talking Chop currently has an excellent strikeout tracker, mostly meant to follow the braves run at the record, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they add Houston to it for fun.