Washington Nationals: Lack of strikeouts not necessarily a good thing

Washington Nationals hitters have struck out the fewest times in all of baseball, possibly because they lack true power hitters.

If the season were to end today, the Washington Nationals would lead the majors in fewest strikeouts. Even with the season ending in two days, this still may be the case.

For the year, Nationals hitters have fanned 424 times. Houston Astros hitters have struck out the next fewest at 426. The next closest team is over twenty strikeouts away, so the battle for strikeout-less supremacy comes down to those who played in the 2019 World Series.

On the surface this may look like a great statistic to lead the league in. Nationals hitters are going to produce outs every game, and a strikeout is an unproductive out. With flyouts and groundouts, the potential is there to move a runner around the bases, even scoring them.

A team would want less strikeouts. However, as baseball has evolved into an all-or-nothing game, teams are willing to put up with strikeouts if they come with an increased home run total.

Teams are okay with a hitter going to the plate and swinging for the fences on a regular basis. As fans, we seem to put up with more strikeouts from our power hitters as well, because we know they are going to have plenty of long balls to offset them.

Batting averages are no longer looked at as statistics to determine a hitters value. OPS has taken over in that regard.

The 2020 version of the Washington Nationals may end up with the least amount of strikeouts, though they are only ahead of seven teams in total home runs on the year, as well.

When looking at the current roster, who on the team would be considered a true power hitter? Only Juan Soto and Eric Thames have hit thirty or more home runs in a season. Thames is second on the team in strikeouts this year, yet has just three home runs.

In 2011, the Washington Nationals led the majors in strikeouts. They also had seven guys on their team who had hit 25 or more home runs in a season before (not including Danny Espinosa,  who would personally lead the league in strikeouts the following season).

And no, there is no direct correlation to the two. The 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers have hit the most home runs this year and are ranked fourth in least amount of strikeouts.

Next: Trea Turner down to the wire as hits leader

However, for this final weekend, if the Nationals hitters were to swing from their heels a little more, I’d be happy to trade a few more strikeouts for a few more home runs.