Austin Jackson and the Art of the Strikeout

This starts with a postgame quote from a Royals’ pitcher after the Sept 21 game in Kansas City.

"(Austin Jackson)’s got a short swing," (Felipe) Paulino said, "and he’s not easy to strike out.”

After we had a good laugh about that, we briefly discussed in another post AJax’s penchant for striking out.  So I decided to look into the business.

Here are AJax’s 2010 numbers:

Just to pick some parameters, I looked for blocks of 4+ games where AJax had at least 2K in two of the 4 games.

4/05-4/10 (first 5 games of the season):  6/23, 8K
4/17-4/26 (10 games):  14/43, 20K
5/10-5/14 (5 games):  4/20, 8K
5/21-5/26 (4 games plus 1 DNP):  6/15, 5K
6/04-6/11 (7 games):  2/33, 8K
6/22-6/27 (4 games plus one DNP plus one PH):  6/17, 8K
7/11-7/20 (6 games plus 1 DNP and All-Star break):  8/27, 9K
7/29-8/09 (12 games):  11/50, 17K
8/10, 8/11 and 8/13 games each had 1K
8/14-8/17 (4 games):  4/17, 7K
8/29-9/18 (18 games): 19/73, 24K
9/07, 9/08 and 9/10 games all had 0K

To be fair, I also looked at blocks of 4+ games where AJax struck out 0-1 times per game:

4/11-4/16 (4 games plus 1 DNP):  7/17, 4K
4/27-5/09 (11 games):  22/49, 5K
5/15-5/20 (4 games plus a defensive replacement):  4/18, 3K
5/31-6/03 (4 games):  8/16, 2KA
6/28-7/03 (5 games):  7/21, 5K
7/04 game was 1/4 with 3K
7/05-7/10 (5 games):  5/17, 3K
7/21-7/27 (7 games):  13/30, 5K
8/18-8/23 (6 games):  9/25, 3K
9/19-9/27 (7 games plus a defensive replacement):  10/34, 5K
9/29 game 1 was 1/4 with 2K
9/29 game 2-10/03 (4 games plus one DNP):  1/12, 4K

This is a pattern of every 5-10 games flipping back and forth, something you might expect from a first-year player.  The time frames get a little longer later in the season, but there are outlying blips buried in the middle of those streaks.

To see how AJax has progressed, here are the 2011 numbers to date:

3/31-4/10 (first 9 games of the year): 9/38, 16K
4/14-4/22 (7 games plus a defensive replacement): 3/29, 12K
4/28-5/06 (8 games plus a defensive replacement): 8/33, 16K
5/07-5/10 (4 games): 9/21, 4K but two games have 2K each
5/18-5/21 (4 games): 4/18, 6K
6/05-6/08 (4 games): 8/21, 7K
6/18-7/02 (12 games plus 2 defensive replacements) : 11/48, 20K
7/19-8/11 (18 games and 4 DNP): 11/82, 28K
9/04-9/21 (15 games plus a defensive replacement): 11/65, 29K

Basically, AJax has had four horrible slumps of non-contact. We can count pretty much the entire month of April and first week of May as one, the last half of June as two, the section after the All-Star break when he was dealing with wrist issues and missed several games both before and after the break as three, and the current slump that started around Labor Day as four.

4/10-4/13 (4 games): 3/11, 1K
4/23-4/27 (4 games): 2/17, 3K
5/11-5/16 (4 games): 4/15, 2K
5/21-5/29 (7 games): 4/25, 4K (game 1 on 5/29)
Game 2 on 5/29 was 0/2 with 2K
5/30-6/04 (5 games): 6/16, 3K
6/08-6/12 (5 games): 6/20, 3K
6/14-6/17 (4 games): 4/17, 1K
6/13 game was 2/5 with 3K
8/12-8/22 (9 games plus a pinch runner) : 11/33, 1K
8/24-8/28 (5 games): 3/15, 5K
8/30-9/03 (5 games): 14/19, 3K
8/23 game was 0/4, 2K and the 8/29 game was 2/5 with 2K

AJax had a couple of brief stretches in April when he didn’t strike out all that much (but he wasn’t getting hits either). His first longish stretch of good swinging was 5/06-6/17 with just a couple of small 4-game streaks of bad swinging. (These two streaks actually overlap with the first game of a good streak, due to the rules I made up as I put this together). And of course, his monster three-week binge in August when he struck out only 13 times in 21 full games.

So really, this is what we have:

3/31-5/06: Bad
5/11-6/17: Good
6/18-7/02: Bad
7/03-7/18: Meh (dinged up)
7/19-8/11: Bad (recovering from being dinged up)
8/12-9/03: Awesome
9/04-9/21: Bad

AJax is still a man of extremes when it comes to using the bat, but each extreme occurs over weeks instead of days.  Might be progress.  We'll need to monitor further in 2012.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.

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