The Walk Gap

When I grew up, I learned baseball statistics from the back of baseball cards, like this 1986 Topps Darryl Strawberry card:

86_topps_back_medium
via Darryl Strawberry Fields

Sure, walks were listed, but on-base percentage was nowhere to be found.  Batting average was still king of my world in those days.  Over the years, thanks to the writings of Bill James, Rob Neyer, Baseball Prospectus, and many others, I came to appreciate the finer points of baseball statistics.  The importance of the walk became more apparent to me.

When I think of the term patience, as it relates to baseball, I don't necessarily mean for it to be players simply looking for a walk.  Rather, patience is working the count to your favor, so you can get more good pitches to hit, and when you get those more hittable pitches, hammer them.  However, a byproduct of patience is in fact the almighty walk.

It may seem as I'm a bit obsessive about walks.  I issued the 50-walk challenge to the Dodgers, and my first article ever at True Blue LA was about walks.

The Dodgers are leading the major leagues in walks taken, with 213.  It's a main reason their offense has been so good, averaging 5.7 runs per game.  As good as it is to get walks offensively, it's understandable that it's less desirable to give walks.  This is one of the rare cases where it isn't better to give then receive.

Dodger pitchers have given up 196 walks, third most in baseball.  Only the Nationals (202) and Florida (200) have issued more free passes.  However, the Dodgers have taken more walks than they have given, so their "walk gap" is a +17.

Here's how the Dodgers rank among all major league teams:

Team Batting Pitching Walk Gap
Twins 180 131 +49
Rockies 179 142 +37
Blue Jays 176 143 +33
Mets 195 170 +25
Brewers 191 166 +25
Rays 203 179 +24
Red Sox 184 166 +18
Dodgers 213 196 +17
D-Backs 169 152 +17
Phillies 174 160 +14
Cardinals 160 146 +14
Braves 169 161 +8
Royals 154 153 +1
Yankees 180 181 -1
Indians 193 195 -2
Angels 150 152 -2
A's 157 160 -3
Tigers 151 154 -3
Nationals 198 202 -4
Orioles 147 152 -5
Cubs 165 171 -6
Padres 167 182 -15
Rangers 131 146 -15
Reds 162 180 -18
White Sox 139 158 -19
Astros 142 162 -20
Marlins 177 200 -23
Pirates 144 170 -26
Mariners 121 177 -56
Giants 117 181 -64

Is the walk gap all that important?  Scientifically, I doubt it, but it stands to reason that it's better to have more walks offensively than while pitching, so it would seem the higher the positive walk gap the better.  Plus, it's never a bad thing to highlight a stat that in which the Giants are dead last.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker