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Victor Martinez has 11 home runs and only nine strikeouts

May 20, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT

Victor Martinez Victor Martinez

The Tigers are on fire and a big part of that is Victor Martinez, who has done nothing but rake this year. He hit another homer last night and now stands at .329/.379/.605 with 11 homers and 26 RBI. He leads the AL in average, slugging and OPS.

But what may be the most remarkable number he’s posted so far is 9. As in, he has struck out only nine times which, according to math, means that he has two fewer Ks than he has homers.

While always impressive for a person who hits a lot of homers, there was a time in baseball when such a thing was not necessarily a crazy-historic feat. Joe DiMaggio did it seven times in a 13-year career. Yogi Berra did it five times in the 1950s alone and had the same number of bombs and strikeouts another time. Ted Kluszewski did a few times — these days it’s a pretty rare feat. Heck, having, like, 100 more strikeouts than homers would get at least some people talking about your decent plate discipline in our free-swinging age. Only one player has done it with as many as 30 home runs since the 1950s and his name was Barry Bonds, who hit 45 homers and struck out 41 times in 2004.

I don’t expect Martinez to keep this pace up all year — he’s never been a guy who has struck out that much but in full seasons he has never had fewer than 50 — but for now it’s pretty darn impressive.

  1. [citation needed] fka COPO - May 20, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    But what may be the most remarkable number he’s posted so far is 9.

    I think this is insane, in a 1-2 count:

    BB ’04: .242/.242/.545 for a .788 OPS (this was 235% better than the league average OPS in this count)
    VM: .412/.412/.882 for a 1.294 OPS (this is 527% better than the league average OPS in this count)

    1.294 OPS in a 1-2 count, obviously SSS here but holy crap…

  2. dcarroll73 - May 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    “Only one player has done it with as many as 30 home runs since the 1950s and his name was Barry Bonds, who hit 45 homers and struck out 41 times in 2004.” Pretty amazing stat. Only guy in, what, three generations of MLB players, doing something that is all about hand-eye coordination, discipline, and baseball smarts (all things totally removed from steroids), and yet the haters out there would try to tell you that Barry Bonds was only the greatest ballplayer ever because of steroids? Put him in the Hall, or close the place.

    • spursareold - May 20, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      It wasn’t hand/eye co-ordination, discipline or smarts. It was complete unwillingness to pitch to a ‘roid freak who only needed to pop the ball up to get it out of the park.

      If no one will pitch to you, it’s REAL hard to strike out a lot.

      • peopletocakeratio - May 20, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        just so you’re aware, in 1994, bonds had 37 home runs and 43 strikeouts (compared to 74 walks).

        he also looked like this: http://timekeepingscore.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/1994.jpg?w=260

        so, to what can we attribute that season?

  3. ashot - May 20, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    “according to math”

    You sabermetric nerds are insufferable.

  4. Detroit Michael - May 20, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    There was an entertaining article on Victor Martinez’ approach to batting with two strikes at Fangraphs a couple weeks ago:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-sad-farewell-to-victor-martinezs-streak/

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