The 2015 Houston Astros will hit for a lot of power, with a whole lot of strikeouts, and newcomer Colby Rasmus, who, as Jerry Crasnick writes, will get $8 million in his one-year deal, will fit right in. Over the past two seasons, Rasmus banged 40 homers in 763 at-bats, and also had 259 strikeouts.
Two hundred sixty-three hitters had at least 300 plate appearances in 2014, and five of the hitters who appear poised to start in Houston's lineup finished in the top 19 in the majors for highest strikeout percentage. Here's a look at their possible lineup, with last season's K percentage and ranking:
2B Jose Altuve, 7.5 percent (262nd highest among 263 hitters)
3B Luis Valbuena, 20.7 percent (93rd)
SS Jed Lowrie, 14.0 percent (219th)
DH Chris Carter, 31.8 percent (14th)
RF George Springer, 33.0 percent (7th)
CF Colby Rasmus, 33.0 percent (9th)
LF Evan Gattis, 23.2 percent (53rd)
1B Jon Singleton, 37.0 percent (1st )
C Jason Castro, 29.5 percent (19th)
The Astros will be the latest team to test the theory that all outs are created equal, and it really doesn't matter whether you slap a ground ball to second base or strike out.
The Atlanta Braves were a baseball team masquerading as a sabermetric experiment the past two years after stacking their lineup with hitters who tend to swing and miss a lot, from the Upton brothers to Gattis to Freddie Freeman. In 2013, Atlanta had the third-most strikeouts in baseball and still had a decent offense, finishing 13th in runs scored, while winning the NL East.
But the team's run production disintegrated in 2014.