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Poll: How many home runs does it take to outweigh constant strikeouts?

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Pinstripe Alley discusses the value over home runs. Where do you stand on the issue?

New York Mets v New York Yankees - Game One Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The other day, Josh posed a hypothetical in the comments section of the daily news link, one that he had originally posed to the Pinstripe Alley staff Slack chat:

If Gary Sánchez repeated his game one performance – 1-4, HR, 3Ks – over 162 games, is that a good season? 162 home runs, randomly distributed one per game, but a 75% K rate. Is that good?

In the comments section, the post sparked a large amount of discussion, more than 20 comments back and forth among multiple people. Later that day, during the game between the Yankees and Orioles, the same discussion re-emerged, as my fellow writers debated how many home runs is enough to make up for constant strikeouts. Here’s a lightly-edited look at our Slack conversation on the matter:

Peter Brody

Going back to our Gary hypothetical, would you take 1-for-4 HR 3K every other game with 0-for-4 4K in between?

Joshua Diemert

Probably, but I’d be really unhappy with it. 81 home runs is 81 home runs.

Peter

Facts. How about every third game? 54 jacks is still decent, even if it’s sandwiched between 11 Ks.

Erica Block

I hate all the Gary haters at the same time these ABs look so bad. Every third game would be hard to take if everything in between were Ks

Joshua

That’s a 0.416 OPS. Pass.

Cooper

What do you mean would you take it? Like compared to this?

Erica

Hard to tolerate

Joshua

Cooper, also not fun with thought experiments.

Cooper

Hahahaha I just need to know the parameters! Then I’m lots of fun.

Joshua

It’s contextless. That’s the point.

Peter

OK so we’ll set the over/under at 2.5 games.

Cooper

You can’t have a one-sided would you rather.

Joshua

That wasn’t the thought experiment, though. It was, “is that a good season?” 162 HR with every other AB a strikeout....is that a good season?

Tyler Norton

My gut says no.

Erica

No that it matters but I enjoy heartwarming Erik Kratz mentorship stories over endless speculation about Gary’s slumps

Tyler

This is like when when Meg and Sam and Ben tried to find out if a team consisting of only Ken Griffey Jr. was good.

Peter

What did u say the OPS of that was Josh?

Joshua

That’s a 1.250 OPS. Bondsian! But you can’t pick when the 1 HR happens. It’s random

Peter

I like that more, strikes out first 3 ABs.

Joshua

But that’s a good season. The 1-for-8, 1 HR, 7 Ks is harder to figure out.

Tyler

Actually

Peter

Comes up in the ninth down one with a man on

Tyler

Yeah. I take it. I thought it was a .400 OPS. Or were you saying that as something else?

Joshua

No, one home run every three games is a 0.416 OPS. Not one home run every game.

Peter

Every other game is what, .625?

Joshua

Yes. So, Cooper, you have three seasons in front of you. Which of the three are “good”? seasons

Cooper

I mean the 162 season is definitely a great season. I think the other two are trash lol. Even if the .625 one is debatably marginally better than his current season I would not take it.

Peter

The every other game scenario is basically Gary this year but every hit is a HR, so basically Gary this year.

Joshua

Erica, take a stand.

Erica

I get frustrated with all his strikeouts. I prefer more versatility. I do not want to live in this 54 HR or bust world. Oof that was hard to type. 54 hrs is so many! So a begrudging pass on this hypothetical Gary.

Joshua

But is 81 home runs, the 1-and-7 approach, is THAT a good season? I think we all agree 54 is not good. The dividing line seems to be 81.

Erica

I don’t think so? I mean that’s what, a .130 avg? I’m old fashioned maybe.

Cooper

I would not take 81 homers.

Erica

I care about the Mendoza line.

Cooper

Like not at all can’t do it.

Joshua

I think I would.....your win probability would be through the roof.

Peter

My take is, if the Yankees had a guarantee that Gary would achieve that production... they’d hand him a blank check. So i think it’s a good season.

Cooper

But think about all those RISP, LOB. So painful.

Joshua

Spotting a team a 1-0 lead brings win expectancy up to like 62% right away.

Cooper

Isn’t that like a .650 OPS?

Joshua

So doing that in 81 games.

Personally, I’m with everybody here just a little bit — I’d take a home run every other game, as essentially starting with a 1-0 lead in half the games would give the team a leg up over the course of a long season, although it would be frustrating watching the inevitable strikeouts with runners in scoring position with two outs. Even so, however, in a full 162-game season, baseball is not about small moments, but about large trends, and those guaranteed runs might just be the difference between a winning squad and a losing one.

And now I turn the question over to you all: how many home runs do you think it takes to outweigh the strikeouts? Vote in the poll and let us know in the comment section below.

Poll

How many HRs must a player hit to outweigh a K in every other plate appearance?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    one per game, 162 per season
    (45 votes)
  • 54%
    one every other game, 81 per season
    (85 votes)
  • 16%
    one every third game, 54 per season
    (25 votes)
155 votes total Vote Now