A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:Yoda wrote:K is the most important skill for a pitcher. You are seriously smoking something fierce if you think otherwise.
So Greg Maddux is AWFUL then, right?
I don't even know where to start with this comment, because I just don't get how you could possibly think this. The K is reasonably important, but by no means is it the most important stat. The fact is, pitchers can find many different ways to get batters out and you are giving bad luck way too much credit. Even if a pitcher has TERRIBLE luck, if he's getting batters to make very weak contact, he'll still get the guy out most of the time. There's nothing wrong with throwing consistently solid pitches and having batters make weak contact, as long as batters aren't hitting the ball hard. I would regard WHIP as a far more important stat than Ks any day of the week and twice on Tuesday.
Again, most important doesn't mean it's the be all and end all. No one is taking away from what Maddux has accomplished (he did K his fair share of batters in his prime - he has over a 6k/9ip for his career). Maddux is also an outlier so he's really not a good example. He probably had the best control in the history of the game during his peak seasons.
Stikeouts have a direct, positive impact on WHIP. Therefore strikeouts are a leading indicator when projecting WHIP due to the BABIP philosophy. Anytime a batter puts a ball into play (no matter how weak the contact) there is a chance he'll get on base which makes the strikeout the best possible outcome for a pitcher based on probabilities. A runner will almost never reach base on a strikeout unless the ball gets away from the catcher on a swinging third strike. The batter has a tremendously higher chance to reach base even on the most weakly hit ball.