The Indians went all out this offseason to pick up some tremendous offensive talent increasing the power (Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds) and speed (Drew Stubbs and Michael Bourne). Along with the attributes that the Indians were trying to improve in, they added another. An incredible ability to swing and miss at a baseball.
Mark Reynolds is the most famous of the group of newcomers for this as he owns the single season major league record for strike outs with 223 in 2009. To keep him from breaking his own record the next year, he was benched at the end of the season by the Arizona Diamondbacks, leading him to the number two mark with 211 (since passed by Adam Dunn in 2012). Of course, the 2009 record beat out his previous MLB record of 204 in 2008. Right now, Reynolds owns four of the top ten worst strike out seasons in the history of Major League Baseball. He will be the starting DH this year and should play in more than 140 games as he attempts to break his own record yet again.
Another newcomer is also in the top ten single season records as Drew Stubbs 2011 season comes in fourth with 205. Stubbs will be in a much better position than ever before as he will not be hitting lead-off for the Indians leading to less at bats and less important at bats. He will be much more likely to see more fast balls by pitchers just looking to get a bottom of the lineup hitter out as quickly as possible.
All-in-all, the Indians look to be adding a wind storm of new strike outs to the 2013 lineup. In order to celebrate what could be a record year, Burning River Baseball will be running a strike out tracker throughout the season, tallying the total times Indians batters k. The current record for a team is 1,529 by the 2010 Diamondbacks (the AL record is held by the 2007 Devil Rays with 1,324).
Using some very simple forcasting of the upcoming season, based solely on past performance and projected games played, the Indians should strike out about 1,210 times. While this isn't that close to the MLB record, it is near the Indians team record of 1,269 from 2011. There is also a good chance of either Reynolds or Stubbs breaking Jim Thome's single season record of 185 strike outs (2001). Thome also ranks second and third with his 1999 and 2000 seasons (as well as coming in 10th, 11th and 12th). In a way, this season will be an interesting experiment of the importance of strike outs. If the Indians can score more than five runs a game, it shouldn't matter that Stubbs and Reynolds each strike out more than once a game or that Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Michael Bourne and Nick Swisher each strike out at least three times every four games.
Stick with us for the whole season and keep an eye on the side of the site as we track each and every Indians strike out in the 2013 season. As they break each individual record, we will update the goal, starting with the 2011 Indians record of 1,269, followed by the Rays AL record of 1,324, then the Diamondbacks MLB record of 1,529.
Drew Stubbs will be powering the windmill on top of Progressive Field in 2013.