Being a part of the fantasy baseball community often leads to inquiries from peers interested in insight on St. Louis Cardinals roster and playing time considerations. Other times, players just come up in discussions among friends.
Coincidentally, on Friday, as I was finishing up with my article announcing outfielder Randal Grichuk as The Cardinal Nation’s St. Louis Rookie of the Year, I heard from my pal Trace Wood, a man with a very sharp baseball mind.
Wood, proprietor of The Long Gandhi, started asking me questions about Grichuk, but it took me awhile to understand exactly where he was coming from.
In his independent analysis, Wood suspected Grichuk has considerable potential in the power department despite his propensity for the strikeout. Trace then quantified it and put it into a historical perspective that really grabbed my attention.
He looked for the best single seasons of all age 17-23 MLB players since 1901, those with at least 300 plate appearances, isolated power (ISO) of .250 or more and a slugging percentage of at least .525. To cover the high-strikeout population, Wood only chose those with an at-bat to strikeout ratio of four or less (in other words, a strikeout rate of 25 percent or higher). The list is sorted by ISO.
|Wily Mo Pena||0.268||3.11||110||364||2004||22||CIN||336||45||87||10||1||26||66||22||108||0.259||0.316||0.527||0.843|
From 115 years of potential qualifiers, just 12 players made the grade, including two twice – Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout. Of the 14 instances since 1901, four occurred during 2015. They were accomplished this season by Trout, Bryce Harper and two rookies – Minnesota’s Miguel Sano and Grichuk.
This high-K, high power list is headed by a Hall-of-Famer in Reggie Jackson and includes three players on an early path toward Cooperstown in Trout, Stanton and Harper. At the other end are less notable players Wily Mo Pena and Wilin Rosario.
Sure, it is very early, but all things considered, what Grichuk was able to accomplish in his age 23 season stacks up quite nicely – even better than I had imagined.
Special thanks to Trace Wood for sharing the above table and his thought process.
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