At the end of January, I observed that the Astros projected to get a lot better at making contact. Making contact, of course, is not the primary goal for any hitter in the box, since some kinds of contact are hardly worth making, but we still think of certain lineups as being strikeout-prone, and I think we’d all prefer more contact, if we had our druthers.
Anyway, that post was done when we had end-of-January depth charts. More importantly, that post was done when all we had were the Steamer projections. Now we have the blended Steamer and ZiPS projections, so, long story short, here are all 30 projected team offensive strikeout rates, for non-pitchers. (We don’t project pitchers batting.) (Why would we?) (Ugh)
The lowest projected rate belongs to the Red Sox, barely. The highest projected rate belongs to the Brewers, less barely. This order of teams might not tell you very much — I don’t know — so for another look, here are the projected changes in strikeout rate, relative to last year’s numbers. A negative here means more contact, because a lower strikeout rate minus a higher strikeout rate yields a negative result.
This confirms what the original post already said: The Astros should make plenty more contact this time around. Projections can be wrong, and hitters can make adjustments, but strikeouts tend to be one of those “sticky” things year-to-year. Coming up behind the Astros, the Padres also project to make a lot more contact than they just did. Good for them! There’s a difference of more than a percentage point between the Astros and the Padres, but then between the Padres and the Indians, there are almost two percentage points. The Angels and Giants bring up the rear, even though they still project to have team strikeout rates within the best 10. They should be both good at contact and worse at contact. If the projections hold, which, you know, they often don’t. That’s baseball!
Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.