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The Saber's Edge: Targeting BB% Improvements

Jeff Zimmerman

Jeff Zimmerman

Jeff Zimmerman writes about all things Baseball for RotoWire. He also handles scouting and reporting for PrepBaseballReport.com. Jeff also contributes to RoyalsReview.com, FanGraphs.com and BaseballHeatMaps.com.

Usually, the first stat I look at when comparing pitchers is K%-BB%. It gets to the core of a pitcher's controllable talent. How many batters can they strike out and how few do they walk? The next item I look at is health. How many of High K%/Low BB% innings is the pitcher going to hopefully produce for me? Finally, I look for a high walk rate, the higher the better. Yep, if I have to decide between two otherwise equal pitchers, I will take the walk-happy thrower because walks are one aspect of a pitcher's game that can improve. This week, I will look at why a large walk can be an item to exploit.

Historically, pitchers begin to see a declining strikeout rate as soon as they reach the majors. This decline can be seen in this graph that I helped produce for FanGraphs. Even though some pitchers see an increase, they are definitely the exception. The one aspect of a pit

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