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Feast or Famine: Strikeouts and Extra-base Hits in early 2011

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We are about a month into the 2011 season and while browsing some statistics I started to wonder who are the feast or famine hitters to this point. For the purposes of this article, let's define a feast or famine hitter as one with a K% >=.30 and an XB/H of >=.30. The idea being that these hitters strikeout a ton, but when they manage to get a hit there's a good chance it's for extra bases.

I took the K% (strikeouts/at bats) and XB/H (extra-base hits as a percentage of all hits) for all position players with >=60 at bats so far this season (n=219). When you restrict the list using the criteria above you get 18 players.

A number of players that show up are not surprising. Mark Reynolds (31%/58%), Adam Dunn (44%/50%) and Pat Burrell (35%/41%) all make the list. Dunn and Reynolds have averaged K% over 30% since 2007, and Burrell has averaged 26.8% over the same time period. Additionally, all three of these hitters posted XB/H rates over 45%.

But none of these players topped the list. Who did? Jorge Posada (31%/67%), who currently sports nine hits for the year--three singles and six home runs. Only two more players had an XB/H higher than Posada, and both had a K% that is <=.20.

(Full list below the fold)

What about those players that manage to avoid strikeouts? How much damage do they do when getting a hit? Here's the list of the top hitters with K% <=.10:

Given his hot start it's not surprising to see Tulo at the top. Jeter makes the list, thanks to a lower than normal K%, but his power has also declined relative to his average since 2007 (-18% XB/H). And Starlin Castro shows why he's on everyone's breakout list--wOBA of .407, 23% of his hits are for extra bases, and only a 5% strikeout rate.

Here's the full list of all 219 players, sorted by most beneficial difference between their K% and XB/H rate: