Sunday, March 11, 2012

Newhouser Dominates Single-Season Strikeout Lists

In the previous post, I looked at the Tigers career strikeout leaders according to the K+ and Adjusted K statistics.  Today, I'll do the same thing for single seasons.   Thanks again to Raphy at High Heat Stats for developing the strikeout normalization formulas.

The K+ metric tells us how a pitcher's strikeout total compared to league average.  For example, Justin Verlander had a 147 K+ in 2009 which means his strikeout rate was 47% better than league average.  His Adjusted K total that year was 187 which is an estimate of his strikeout total assuming that the league average strikeouts per inning was .531 (the all-time MLB rate).  The Adjusted K number doesn't tell us a lot about Verlander in 2009, but it's useful in comparing pitchers across years.

As shown in Table 1 below, the Tigers single-season K+ leader is Hall of Fame left hander Hal Newhouser at 199 in 1946.  That means his strikeout rate was about twice as high as the league average that year.   Newhouser's 1943 and 1945 seasons rank second and third and his 1944 season was also in the top 15.  Other pitchers appearing multiple times are Tommy Bridges (six times between 1931-1943) and  Bob Newsom (1941 and 1939). 

Table 1: Tigers Single-Season K+ Leaders

Pitcher
Year
IP
Actual K
Expected K
K+
Hal Newhouser
1946
293
275
138
199
Hal Newhouser
1943
196
144
78
183
Hal Newhouser
1945
313
212
120
177
Bobo Newsom
1941
250
175
100
175
Bobo Newsom
1939
246
164
98
168
Tommy Bridges
1931
173
105
63
165
Tommy Bridges
1935
274
163
99
164
Tommy Bridges
1939
198
129
79
164
Tommy Bridges
1943
192
124
77
161
Syl Johnson
1923
176
93
58
161
Tommy Bridges
1936
295
175
109
161
Ted Gray
1951
197
131
82
160
Hal Newhouser
1944
312
187
119
158
Tommy Bridges
1940
198
133
85
156
Mickey Lolich
1969
281
271
174
156
Data source: Baseball-Reference.com


Table 2 shows that Newhouser also leads with 309 Adjusted K in 1946 and 294 Adjusted K in 1945.  Mickey Lolich's 271 Adjusted K in 1971 ranks thirdLooking at the entire top 15, Newhouser appears four times and Bridges, Lolich and Newsom two times apiece.

Table 2: Tigers Single-Season Adjusted Strikeout Leaders

Pitcher
Year
IP
Actual K
Expected K
Adjusted K
Hal Newhouser
1946
293
275
138
309
Hal Newhouser
1945
313
212
120
294
Mickey Lolich
1971
376
308
226
271
Hal Newhouser
1944
312
187
119
261
Tommy Bridges
1936
295
175
109
252
Tommy Bridges
1935
274
163
99
239
Bobo Newsom
1941
250
175
100
233
Mickey Lolich
1969
281
271
174
232
Bill Donovan
1903
307
187
132
231
Jack Morris
1983
294
232
159
228
Denny McLain
1968
336
280
223
224
Hal Newhouser
1947
285
176
119
223
Bobo Newsom
1939
246
164
98
219
Mickey Lolich
1972
327
250
200
217
George Mullin
1903
321
170
138
210
Data source: Baseball-Reference.com

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