During yesterday’s game, friend of the website Brandon Henderson (you may know him as BHindepmo on the Twitter) brought up a point about Mike Moustakas:
I think Moustakas still hasn't struck out looking this year— Brandon H. (@BHIndepMO) June 21, 2017
First, I urge you to listen to the audio from the video I tweeted out that he’s responding too. Mike Moustakas gets very angry about a high strike called against him. Usually I don’t get worked up about strike/ball calls because every hitter gets shafted once in awhile and every hitter gets a call to go their way now and then. Baseball is a game of averages. Maybe though, Moustakas does know the strike zone really well and his gripes are legitimate.
Sidebar about the Royals 2017 first round pick Nick Pratto:
Also funny thing about Pratto: He's reportedly argued with umpires at strike zone calls because he thinks he knows the zone better than them— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) June 13, 2017
So as Brandon ponders on the digital universe about Moustakas not having a called strikeout this year, I decided to look into it. Yes, like many times before, he’s correct. Here is the list of hitters this year without a called strikeout (min. 300 pitches):
That’s it. Now I can’t promise you this is 100% certain (most stats are based on “has a player done this?” and not “which players haven’t done this?”), I’m fairly certain this is accurate, as certain as I can be in doing a few minutes of research.
There’s a difference between these two guys, clearly (you probably already knew that). Phillips is a second baseman who is at the tail end of his career, while Moustakas is somewhere in the middle of his. But what if I told you there wasn’t that much difference between them in a capacity:
They are actually pretty dang similar when you look at their plate discipline. Neither is passive at the plate, and while they aren’t Salvador Perez aggressive, they like to swing at a league average rate or more. I wrote about Mike Moustakas joining the fly ball revolution and with that new plate approach he’s swinging a lot more.
If you look at hitters who have seen 1,000 or more pitches, Moustakas has the 5th fewest called strikes.
Obviously there are some good hitters on there, so it’s not like what Moustakas is doing is a red flag or anything. It’s just...it’s...I dunno, it’s interesting or at the very least it’s a fun piece of trivia. Last year, no hitter with more than 300 pitches went the whole time without a called strikeout. Even Brandon Phillips did it seven times.
For what it’s worth, Moustakas has gotten a couple fortunate calls too:
Some of those close calls ended up as walks instead of a strikeout. At least two of those are strikes, and a couple of them I’m not saying they weren’t a ball, I’m just saying they didn’t have to be.
I guess Moustakas took Rex Hudlerism of “If you don’t hack, they’ll send you back” seriously.