Reader Dissent: Craig, you don't know jack about walk rates

21 Comments

Like I said the other day, Comment of the Day is changing from a zone of mockery to one in which reader dissents and rebuttals — as well as people telling me to stick it where the sun don’t shine — are going to go. Actually, let’s just make “Reader Dissent” its own category, shall we?

Here’s a good one from Greg, in response to my Cliff Lee post, in which I said “guys take a ton more walks these days”:

That is a fairly drastic exaggeration.  In 1933 in the Major Leagues there were 7344 BBs taken over 94615 PAs for a 7.76% BB rate.  In 2010 that rate was 8.50%. An 8.7% increase in walk-rate is hardly “a ton.”

The idea walk rates have increased is, I feel, a side-effect of an increased focus on the walk.  We tend to notice more what we are
looking for.

Also, comparing BB/9 is misleading (3.0 in 1933 vs 3.3 in 2010) because more walks will increase the number of plate appearances per inning and lead to even more walks per inning. Thus BB/9 will increase at an exponential rate given a linear increase of BB/PA.  This effect is
shown in the 10% increase in BB/9 between 1933 and 2010 vs. that 8.7% increase in BB/PA.

I stand by the fact that Cliff Lee don’t walk no guys, but when you start talking about exponential vs. linear rates of increase of, well, anything, I quickly find myself out of my league.