Mike Schmidt Has Had It With Your Strikeouts

9 Feb

It seems every winter, slightly before spring training breaks, Mike Schmidt comes out of the sandtrap to get some time in the spotlight.  This year’s entry in the Schmidt files is the one where he opines about modern ballplayers (again) and their apparent disregard for strikeouts.  Or, certain ballplayers’ indifference:

“I don’t know Adam Dunn, but from watching I’d say I don’t know that a strikeout is as much a slap in the face as it was when I played,” said Schmidt, the keynote speaker at Thursday morning’s Leadership Breakfast at the Mandalay Banquet Center. “Or maybe I shouldn’t have despised the strikeout as much as I did. You get three swats at a guy and there is no reason to strike out as much as I did.

“Now I know that if I had choked up on the bat with two strikes and hadn’t been so aggressive and gave in to the pitcher, I wouldn’t have struck out so much. And that’s what guys like Dunn and Burrell have to realize,” Schmidt added.

You wouldn’t have lost any of your power either!  Or your value!

Schmidt said that with a game on the line pitchers don’t mind facing guys like Dunn and Burrell because they know they can strike them out.

“How do I know this? Because when I played pitchers wanted me up there with the game on the line,” he said. “They’d rather face me than a guy behind me like Greg Luzinski, who would put the ball in play.

Yep, who WOULDN’T want to face a Hall of Famer when the game is on the line?  Makes perfect sense to me.

“I look at Dunn and Burrell and I go, ‘My God, if these guys cut their strikeouts down to 75 or 80, they put the ball in play 85 or 90 more times a year. That’s at least 15 more home runs a year and at least 35 more RBIs a year.’ “

I’m sure weak flies will turn into homers.

Schmidt hit 548 home runs, was National League MVP four times and was named the top major-league player of the 1980s, despite his strikeouts. He wonders if Dunn and Burrell watch St. Louis superstar Albert Pujols, a guy who hits not only for power, but for average and strikes out fewer than 70 times a year.

“You truly have to not care and feel no pressure on yourself to allow yourself to strikeout more than 150 times a year,” Schmidt said, pointing to his 1981 MVP season when he struck out only 71 times. “But I still hit 31 homers and drove in 91 and I hit .316. And I wanted to be at the plate when a hit was needed because I felt good about my game and had come a long way.

“If you could instill in Dunn and Burrell that they want to become contact hitters … I mean, why would Dunn and Burrell watch what Pujols does and not want to be like him, as good as he is? When their careers are over, they are going to wonder how much they left on the table, how much they left on the field. If only they had choked up with two strikes, spread their stances out. What they are doing now is not great, it is mediocrity.”

I know!  Why haven’t they looked at Albert Pujols, best hitter in the major leagues, and gone ‘why aren’t I as good as him?’.  You know why?  BECAUSE HE’S A FREAKING ABBERATION!  If they wanted to cut down on their strikeouts they’d be in the same company as Albert Pujols, but they’d also be with these guys (courtesy Fire Joe Morgan):

Lo Duca
T. Walker
F. Sanchez

You know what?  These guys either suck or are vastly overrated for what limited skills they bring to the plate.  But hey, they keep that ball in play!  They sure do…by hitting weak flies and chopping easy grounders.  If a guy like Dunn or Burrell purposely cut down on their strikeouts, and went out of their way to change their strategy at the plate, they’d simply lose what value they had.  Their values are walking, hitting for power, and working counts.  They’d lose all three of these if they choked up and went for seeing-eye singles when they were up with men on.  This is the exact sort of wrongheaded thinking that has given guys like Juan Pierre multi-year deals.  Guys who look to just put balls in play, rather than get some power behind it, need speed or luck or both to get on-base.  Why cut your own throat if you’re a 1B/LF/Dh type?  Take the strikeouts as they come, and take the homers and walks as well.

But strikeouts really hurt Ryan Howard.

The Good Phight also discusses this.


2 Responses to “Mike Schmidt Has Had It With Your Strikeouts”

  1. Seth February 9, 2007 at 4:20 pm #

    Pat Burrell isn’t even as good as the best baseball player on the planet! Burrell strikes out way more than the guy who might end up as the greatest right-handed hitter of all time, and he hits fewer homers too! What a friggin’ loser!


  1. Have You Heard Of This Guy Mike Schmidt? « I’ve Made a Huge Tiny Mistake - February 27, 2007

    […] Tue 27 Feb 2007 Have You Heard Of This Guy Mike Schmidt? Posted by Chris under Pat Burrell , Phillies   previously: Mike Schmidt Has Had It With Your Strikeouts […]

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