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Baseball Prospectus: Strikeout Penalty


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Let’s look at some hypotheticals:

  • Twelve strikeouts and you lose the game.

This seems a little harsh, especially since teams can pull this off by the sixth inning these days. But imagine the drama of the bases loaded, no outs, and 11 strikeouts on the board. Suddenly a two-strike count creates a golden pitch scenario, where both teams have the chance to win on the next throw. This seems exciting! Terrible, but exciting.

  • Every time you strike out, the other team can put an embarrassing fact about you on the jumbotron.

This might not always work, since Ichiro Suzuki once voluntarily listed Two Weeks Notice as his favorite movie on the Seattle jumbotron, and he didn’t even strike out. But this would lead to a rather satisfying new element of baseball espionage, with teams not stealing signs but stealing secrets. Teams hiring private investigators, rummaging through trash, hacking into their opponents’ ... wait, hold on.

  • Three strikeouts and you get ejected.

The foul-out rule from basketball, applied to baseball. In this case the incentives are a little less clear than the first option, since it’s not a Pascal’s Wager situation. But the risk of losing position players would force teams to carry more reserves, which prevents them from putting 10 relievers on the 25-man roster, which would be a nice effect in itself.

  • Every time the pitcher strikes a batter out, he gets to wear one more Phiten necklace.

Over time this becomes the same as rule A, as the pitcher will have accrued so much electric stabilization as to be unstoppable.

  • Every time you strike out, you have to use an incrementally lighter bat.


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