Diamondbacks set all-time record for strikeouts in a season

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Last night the Diamondbacks set a new MLB single-season record for most strikeouts by a team, with 1,403.
Because they’re in last place I’m sure plenty of fans and media members will make a big deal out of all the strikeouts being a terrible thing, but it’s important to note that the Diamondbacks have scored more than the average MLB team and rank 15th overall in runs per game.
The point of hitting is, after all, to score runs, and so ultimately how you choose to make your outs is of minimal importance. For more proof of how unimportant strikeout totals can be, consider that the team with the fewest strikeouts in the National League is the Astros.
Houston has whiffed 456 fewer times than Arizona … and has the third-worst offense in all of baseball with 93 fewer runs than the Diamondbacks. Over in the American League the fewest strikeouts belong to the Royals, with 592 fewer whiffs than the Diamondbacks. Kansas City ranks 23rd in offense, scoring 41 fewer runs than Arizona.
So, to recap: Arizona set the all-time record for most strikeouts and has a slightly above average offense. Houston and Kansas City have the fewest strikeouts in their respective leagues, and one ranks 23rd in scoring and the other ranks 28th in scoring.
As always, how well you avoid outs is a whole lot more important than what type of outs you make.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.