The Phillies — Strikeout Kings?

The Philadelphia Phillies are starting the 2016 season remarkably well — their current record is 13-10 and they recently swept the Nationals in Washington.  One reason for their success is that the Phillies pitchers are striking out batters at a high rate — currently they lead the majors with 240 strikeouts in 23 games.

To gain some insight on their strikeout success, I downloaded the pitches for last night’s game against the Indians and used the ggplot2 package to plot the locations for the final pitches for the 18 strikeouts against the Indians. I label each graph with the batter name, the inning, and the type of final strike (either swinging (S) or called (C)).

indian_strikeouts

Some comments from this graph.

  1. Most of the final strikes were swinging — 15 out of 18.

  2.  There were several players with multiple strikeouts — Kipnis (2), Brantley (2), Napoli (4), Davis (2), Gomes (3).

  3. Practically all of the swinging strikes were on pitches outside of the strike zone.

  4.  Generally these strikeouts were on off speed pitches low in the zone, or fastballs high in the zone.

  5.  These graphs suggest that the Indians might benefit with better plate discipline in their hitting.

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