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Strikeout Rate Gains And Losses

I thought it'd be cool to look at which starting pitchers have seen the biggest uptick in their strikeout rate, assuming at least 100 innings pitched last year and 20 this year.  The top ten gainers:

  1. Vicente Padilla - 5.93 to 9.54.
  2. Jered Weaver - 7.42 to 10.41.
  3. James Shields - 6.84 to 9.59.
  4. Chris Carpenter - 6.73 to 9.40.
  5. Justin Masterson - 8.28 to 10.73.
  6. Cole Hamels - 7.81 to 10.09.
  7. Doug Davis - 6.46 to 8.65.
  8. Randy Wells - 5.66 to 7.85.
  9. Ricky Romero - 7.13 to 8.94.
  10. Josh Johnson - 8.22 to 9.84.

Honorable mentions to Roy Oswalt, Joel Pineiro, Tim Lincecum, Kevin Correia, Tommy Hanson, Kevin Millwood, Mike Pelfrey, Todd Wellemeyer, Craig Stammen, and Homer Bailey.  Wells is interesting - his peripherals (and therefore xFIP) have made a nice improvement, but his BABIP is high and his ERA is an uninspiring 4.57.  Masterson sports a huge BABIP, but beyond that he's continued to have problems against lefties.  Shields' fastball is up over a mile per hour, and he may have reversed a mild decline.  Romero could be elite if he could just stop walking right-handed hitters so often.

Now for the biggest losers:

  1. Max Scherzer -  9.20 to 6.08.
  2. Ted Lilly - 7.68 to 4.88.
  3. Ricky Nolasco - 9.49 to 6.75.
  4. Zack Greinke - 9.50 to 6.94.
  5. Wandy Rodriguez - 8.44 to 5.95.
  6. Rich Harden - 10.91 to 8.57.
  7. Nick Blackburn - 4.29 to 2.04.
  8. Dave Bush - 7.01 to 4.91.
  9. Livan Hernandez -  5.00 to 2.91.
  10. A.J. Burnett - 8.48 to 6.40.

Honorable mentions: Fausto Carmona, Gil Meche, Brad Bergesen, Jake Peavy, Kenshin Kawakami, Javier Vazquez, Barry Zito, and John Lackey.  Scherzer, Harden, Peavy, and Vazquez jumped from the NL to the AL.  Others may have injury concerns.  Should we be worried about Wandy?  His groundball rate is up, Ks are way down.  He's already had back spasms, shoulder soreness, and concerns about his delivery.


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