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Entries in Carlos Marmol (7)

Saturday
Apr022011

Marmol's Strikeouts

Carlos Marmol struck out all three batters he faced Saturday as he earned his first save of the season for the Cubs.  Among pitchers with 1000 batters faced since the start of the 2008 season, Marmol strikes out the highest percentage of batters, and it's not even close for second place.  The following table shows the top 20:

 

Pitcher

Plate App

K Per PA

BB Per PA

BABIP

Carlos Marmol

1026

0.339

0.154

0.238

Tim Lincecum

2905

0.277

0.083

0.301

Brandon Morrow

1207

0.262

0.119

0.300

Rich Harden

1655

0.26

0.117

0.277

Yovani Gallardo

1751

0.247

0.106

0.304

Ryan Madson

1010

0.246

0.067

0.311

Clayton Kershaw

2113

0.245

0.111

0.288

Jonathan Sanchez

2330

0.244

0.116

0.286

Max Scherzer

1778

0.239

0.087

0.307

Edinson Volquez

1369

0.237

0.12

0.296

Jake Peavy

1569

0.235

0.081

0.282

Justin Verlander

2812

0.234

0.08

0.303

Dan Haren

2811

0.232

0.047

0.298

Jon Lester

2740

0.231

0.081

0.298

Jorge De La Rosa

1882

0.231

0.106

0.308

Josh Johnson

1989

0.23

0.068

0.303

Javier Vazquez

2469

0.229

0.069

0.296

Joba Chamberlain

1479

0.229

0.095

0.323

Ricky Nolasco

2318

0.228

0.051

0.302

Zack Greinke

2685

0.226

0.06

0.308



The stats that really make Marmol interesting, however, are his high walk rate and his extremely low BABIP rate.  He walks batters 15.4% of the time, while the major league rate is 9.4%.  The walks don't hurt him however, since batters only hit .238 when they put the ball in play, while the major league average stands at .302.

The idea behind BABIP is that once a ball is put in play, the pitcher doesn't have much control over what happens.  The results of these batted balls should be random and dependent on the strength of the defense.  If you look at this group of high strikeout pitchers, the top 20 in K per PA since the start of the 2008 season, very few of them post a BABIP well over the league average.  It seems the same quality that make contact with the baseball difficult also leads to balls in play that are easier to field.  If a batter has difficulty making contact in the first place, he should have difficulty squaring up the ball in general.

Note that Marmol's BABIP probably isn't as good as shown here.  As a pitcher with both a high walk and strikeout rate, the balls in play against him represent a small sample size.  As time goes on, I suspect his BABIP will regress toward the league mean, but as long as his K rate remains high, he's likely to beat the MLB average.

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