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On Erik Bedard's Strikeout Rate

Just a quick statistical note. After striking out five of the 27 A's he faced today, Erik Bedard has now struck out 54 of the 222 batters he's faced on the season, for a K% of 24.3%. That ranks him near the top of the leaderboard, around guys like Chad Billingsley and Max Scherzer. It's the second-best K% of Bedard's career.

However, Bedard's four swinging strikes on 108 pitches today lowered his swinging strike rate to 7.8%, a figure that's narrowly above average and near those of guys like Micah Owings and Kevin Correia. It's Bedard's lowest StS% since 2005.

As I've shown before, swinging strike rate and K% have a very strong relationship, and while over his career Bedard has always been able to outpace the best-fit equation shown in the chart (presumably because hitters are frozen by his curveball), this year he's doing it to an extraordinary degree. So I'm thinking that something's got to give. Either Bedard's going to start missing more bats, or his strikeout numbers are going to come down to something more in line with his rate of missed bats. Based on his career tendencies, we'd expect him to have ~9 fewer strikeouts right now than he actually does. That's a pretty significant fraction.

I wouldn't say this is necessarily a cause for concern. Bedard looks good, he looks healthy, and he's throwing more strikes than ever before. It's just something to keep an eye on. At least until he gets traded to someone else, at which point you're free to not care. You don't see a whole lot of big names moved around in early June, but Bedard seems like the ideal candidate. Let's get this wheel turning.