Will striking out less help the Milwaukee Brewers score more?
The short answer is yes, the long answer is still yes.
One thing is for certain, the Milwaukee Brewers will not give up on using the long ball to score runs. However, that said, suggestions like bunting does not feel like a smart option either, the stats back that hypothesis up. As a team with a low team batting average, putting a runner on the next base while giving your opponent a free out doesn’t seem like something you’d want to do given the fact that the Brewers are easier than the average team to get out anyway.
Jace Peterson, Victor Caratini, and Rowdy Tellez are the three players with more than 650 at bats who swing at pitches in the zone the least, Jace Peterson has the highest batting average of the three at .252, Caratini is batting .226, and Tellez .238, so it seems Caratini and Tellez could benefit from swinging more at pitches in the zone.
Omar Narvaez and Andrew McCutchen are the two regular starters who swing most often at the first pitch. Andrew McCutchen is still fourth on the team in strikeouts but also fourth on the team in batting average, third if you take out the 15 plate appearances by Pablo Reyes. Omar Narvaez is 10th on the Brewers in strikeouts and 11th in batting average. So these two may not be the best models for suggesting to swing at the first pitch.
Players like Mike Brosseau, Kolten Wong, Christian Yelich and Rowdy Tellez all swing at the first pitch less often than the team average of 25.4%. Yelich leads the team in strikeouts, Rowdy is third, so those two may benefit from swinging at the first pitch more often.
Lastly, using the opposite field, Jonathon Davis, Keston Hiura and again Rowdy Tellez are among the players who use the opposite field the least. Davis has a small sample size and Hiura and Tellez are both players who rely on their power for their production. The two latter players may be two who when down in the count could look to shorten their swings and potentially raise their batting averages and lower their strikeout numbers.
The Brewers are 8th in Major League Baseball for the lowest average of runners left in scoring position, according to teamrankings.com, striking out less would help them lower that number further while also potentially increasing the number of runners on base during games. They currently average less than 12 baserunners per game.
With the number of home runs the Brewers hit, having more baserunners and fewer strikeouts, it is as close to a guarantee as you could get that they would score more runs by striking out less.
All team and individual stats used courtesy of baseballsavant.com.