Detroit Tigers: Take a Sad Stat and Make It Better

DETROIT, MI - JULY 29: Niko Goodrum #28 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with a foot tap with JaCoby Jones #21 of the Detroit Tigers after a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on July 29, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 29: Niko Goodrum #28 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with a foot tap with JaCoby Jones #21 of the Detroit Tigers after a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on July 29, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Yooper took a different approach to the question that brought up a great response:

What if the Tigers’ offense had an average K-Rate and Walk-Rate?

Through Sunday’s victory in Minnesota, the Tigers currently have the lowest walk rate in the American League at 7.0% and the highest strikeout rate at 26.9%. The question Chris Brown and I looked at was the effect in run-scoring the Tigers could have experienced by just moving to league average in both stats. The answer, in short, it’s a significant impact.

If the Tigers had been walking at the same rate as the AL the numbers show they’d have 43 more walks through the first 38 games. It’s a substantial number. If walks are worth 0.55 linear runs it works out to just over 23 runs for the Tigers offense.

On the strikeout side, if the Tigers could lower their K-rate to the league average of 23.2% they would have put 28 more balls in play thus far. Using their team-wide batting average on balls in play that equates to roughly 9 more hits. If we distribute that as six singles, two doubles, and one homer they’d have possibly scored 8 more runs in 2020.

The effect of constructing an offense that only aspired to be league average in Walks and Strikeouts would possibly have yielded them 31 more runs to this stage of the season.

If “10 runs equal one win” in the baseball analysis world, the Tigers would be looking at three more critical wins in the standings right now. A meaningful boost is given their current situation trailing in the Wildcard Race by merely two games.