I check this metric about once a year and it’s interesting to see how a team fares in this area and the corresponding win-loss record. This year doesn’t look any different and that’s good news for the SF Giants.
This metric is the offensive walk-to-strikeout (BB/K) ratio. As a team, the Giants posted a BB/K ratio of 0.44 in 2022. This includes a walk rate of 10.0% versus a strikeout rate of 22.7%. The walk rate is the second highest mark in baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, which had a walk rate of 10.3%.
So why is it even important? Teams with a good BB/K ratio tend to have a better overall record. It’s more correlation than causation, but it’s an interesting trend. Conversely, teams with poor BB/K ratios tend to be much lower in the standings. Is this true in 2022?
Below are the best BB/K ratio teams in baseball along with their corresponding win-loss record in parentheses:
1. Houston Astros – 0.48 BB/K (43 – 25 record)
2. Dodgers – 0.48 BB/K (42-25 record)
3. New York Yankees – 0.45 BB/K (record 50-18)
4. Giants – 0.44 BB/K (record 38 – 30)
5. San Diego Padres – 0.43 BB/K (44 – 27 record)
Do you notice a theme? All five terms are in the top eight in baseball by winning percentage. Three of the five teams listed (Dodgers, Yankees and Astros) hold the No. 1 spot in their respective division.
The Yankees and Astros not only hold first place in the AL East and AL West, respectively, but they have a sizable lead. Of course, the other three teams play in the NL West.
The Giants (29.1% O-Zone%) and Dodgers (28.4% O-Zone%) are two of the top three teams in terms of no-swing on courts outside the strike zone. This is certainly a factor that explains their high walking rates.
The bottom five teams by BB/K ratio are listed below with their corresponding record in parentheses:
26. Texas Rangers – 0.32 BB/K ratio (33 – 35 record)
27. Atlanta Braves – 0.32 BB/K ratio ((40 – 30 record)
28. Baltimore Orioles – 0.31 BB/K ratio (30 – 39 record)
29. Oakland A’s – 0.31 BB/K ratio (23 – 46 record)
30. Detroit Tigers – 0.27 BB/K ratio (26 – 43 record)
What are the Braves doing there? ! There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for them. They’re not the most patient hitters, but their players have incredible game power. They make up for a lack of patience with the ability to outplay their opponents. Only the Yankees (115 home runs) have hit more home runs than the Braves (106 home runs) in 2022.
The remaining four teams are among the worst in baseball. The Orioles and A’s have the worst record in the AL East and AL West, respectively. Unfortunately, the A’s also have the worst record in baseball.
The Tigers are just one game ahead of the Kansas City Royals for the AL Central’s worst record. Curiously, Rangers are second in the AL West, but it’s worth mentioning that they play in a weak division.
It’s not a perfectly linear correlation, but few things in life are. I think this is all to point out that a good process like walking at a high pace versus suppressing tends to lead to the desired outcome of more wins. What that means for the Giants is that they tend to consistently have a good process in the plate and stay competitive in part because of it.