Striking down striking out
One of the Detroit Tigers organizational goals for the year was to address strike outs throughout the system including the minors. So how did they do on this front in 2007?
The organization saw improvement in strikeouts per at-bat through every level. The improvements weren’t huge, but they were most likely real. Whether or not it was due to an emphasis on coaching, or the maturation of players, or the composition of the teams would of course require a deeper dive. Because in large part the teams are made up of new members each year, a proper analysis would require looking at how each player did as they progressed. But I’m oging to stay with the quick and dirty for now and look at the big picture.
At the same time batting averages saw small to increases as more balls were put into play. Walk rates didn’t seem to suffer so the organization saw an increase in batting average. It does appear though that the Tigers minor leaguers sacrificed some power.
What’s particularly encouraging is the progress at the lower levels, which to me seems that there is an emphasis on contact skills in the draft.
Context is always helpful because it’s hard to know what constitutes good or bad rates. The table below shows how each team ranked in their leagues the last 2 years.
The upper levels still strike out more than most teams, but the Oneonta and West Michigan teams, the teams comprised of players drafted in the last 2 years, are among the best in their leagues at not striking out.