If you've read my stuff from the last few years, you know one thing about me: I hate advanced stats. I find nothing wrong with batting average, homers, RBI and stolen bases. I'm beginning to come around on certain things, but there are some things about them I just can't stand. Mainly, the attitude behind it. Here's how a typical conversation between a stat nerd and a non stat nerd.
Non Stat Nerd: Who do you think should have won MVP last year?
Stat Nerd: Mike Trout.
Non Stat Nerd: That's a pretty interesting choice considering Miguel Cabrera was either first or second in the league in batting average, homers, RBI, on base percentage and OPS and his the Tigers won fifteen more games than the Angels.
Stat Nerd: Yeah, but Trout had a higher WAR.
Non Stat Nerd: And what's you point?
Stat Nerd: That's it. Trout had a higher WAR so therefore he was better.
Non Stat Nerd: Ya know, WAR isn't the only-
Stat Nerd: Yes it is!
Non Stat Nerd: Can you at least let me finish my-
Stat Nerd: No! WAR is the only stat that matters! Everything else is irrelevant!
Non Stat Nerd: (Sighs, walks away)
Do you see what I'm getting at? There are people who, if you ask them, all that matters is WAR.
Let's take a look at strikeouts. Not exactly a new age stat, but one that can still be debated, and considered overrated by certain baseball writers who write blogs with names that have the word "of" in them. My biggest gripe about strikeouts is, who cares? Yeah, I get that a K removes all possibility of an error, but these are professional baseball players we're talking about, they make plays almost every time. It doesn't matter how the out happened, all that matters is whether the pitcher managed to get the hitter out. What's more, strikeouts drive up a pitch count and don't allow the pitcher to go as long. If you check out this article, it points out how much the Red Sox striking out wore down Cardinals pitching last World Series. So for a hitter, a strikeout is much better than hitting a grounder to second base on the first pitch.
Here's an underrated one: Line drive rate. In this century, unless you're like Ichiro, you don't have much control over where the ball goes after it hits your bat, which is why line drive rate is important. If you're hitting liners, you're doing something right and good things will happen.
One last thing to clarify before I'm done. A walk is not as good as a hit. Why would teams intentionally walk players if it were? A runner can score from second on a hit, they can't on a walk. This is a fact. I am up for an argument with any stat head. Let's go.