FanPost

In Need of Walk Therapy

The Royals have a walk problem. On behalf of the Royals, we, the fans, admit there is a problem.

Royals' pitchers are very generous with giving free bases, have been for years; Royals' hitters seem to find honor in declining the free pass, have been for years.

That's a problem, we admit.

The walk is an interesting event in baseball terms, effectively the batter does nothing more than take four pitches outside the strike zone and receives an offensive benefit - 100% guarantee of a free base. By comparison, a typical batter hitting .300, only gets on base 30% of the time by hitting the ball in play.

Whether the pitcher has lost control or is pitching around a tough hitter, the batter is given a free base. By itself, a walk is not a run and a walk does not cause a win or loss, but rather a walk is a sign that things are not going well for the pitcher and his team.

The logic is simple - give walks, walks turn into runs, opponent wins.

On this stat, the Royals are completely backwards - well, backwards, if you want to win games.

In a recent post, the home run was shown to be a strong predictor of a winning record. This post takes a similar look at how strong the walk is in predicting a winning record.

The three tables below show tabulated data from 2000-2011 (all teams, Yankees, Royals), for number of walks given by pitchers and taken by batters and the resulting W-L record.

Making sense of the tables - in Table 1, when batters get six or more walks while their pitchers only give up one or no walks, a team won 83% of games. When batters get four or five walks, regardless of pitching, a team won 57% of games. When pitchers give two or three walks, regardless of hitting, a team won 53% of games.

Table 1: All Teams, All Games 2000-2011, Win Percent based on Walks

Bat

Runs

Pitch W 0/1

Pitch W 2/3

Pitch W 4/5

Pitch W 6+

65%

53%

42%

32%

W 0/1

3.2

34%

1292-1292

50%

1719-2892

37%

795-2310

25%

259-1298

16%

W 2/3

4.2

46%

2892-1719

62%

4299-4299

50%

2299-3673

38%

832-2285

26%

W 4/5

5.3

57%

2310-795

74%

3673-2299

61%

2032-2032

50%

886-1487

37%

W 6+

6.7

67%

1298-259

83%

2285-832

73%

1487-886

62%

778-778

50%

Table 2: New York Yankees, 2000-2011, Win Percent based on Walks

Bat

Runs

Pitch W 0/1

Pitch W 2/3

Pitch W 4/5

Pitch W 6+

75%

63%

52%

29%

W 0/1

3.6

43%

43-35

55%

57-57

50%

17-33

34%

5-32

13%

W 2/3

4.5

52%

115-50

69%

153-127

54%

73-88

45%

13-59

18%

W 4/5

5.9

65%

110-26

80%

151-58

72%

78-59

56%

22-50

30%

W 6+

7.5

74%

100-11

90%

116-32

78%

71-35

66%

33-33

50%

Table 3: Kansas City Royals, 2000-2011, Win Percent based on Walks

Bat

Runs

Pitch W 0/1

Pitch W 2/3

Pitch W 4/5

Pitch W 6+

58%

43%

36%

30%

W 0/1

3.1

27%

56-53

51%

62-165

27%

23-107

17%

11-82

11%

W 2/3

4.3

40%

69-65

51%

131-157

45%

69-147

31%

39-92

29%

W 4/5

5.6

52%

48-11

81%

92-89

50%

63-57

52%

32-54

37%

W 6+

7.4

67%

16-5

76%

39-14

73%

35-23

60%

25-13

65%

Interesting things to note:

-The only situation the Yankees were below average was giving up 6+ walks

-Yankees have more games taking 6+ walks than the Royals (431 to 170 over 12 years)

-Royals have more games giving 6+ walks than the Yankees (348 to 247 over 12 years)

-Walks add about .5 to .7 runs per games

-In the three highest win percent combinations, the Royals have the fewest games

Conclusion:

The data shows an increase in average runs scored with each walk, and more runs lead to a higher win percent. Being backwards in this stat leads to a losing record. For the Royals, a winning record requires roughly two more walks taken than given - ouch - in serious need of walk therapy.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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