Jack CustToday the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland DH Jack Cust has made history. With six games to go this year, Cust has played in 118 games and struck out 154 times, most in the American League. Though Cust didn’t join the A’s until May 4, he has the sixth-highest strikeout total in Oakland history.

The major-league mark for most strikeouts with fewer than 125 games played is 158, held by Bo Jackson (1987) and Melvin Nieves (1996).

Cust has a pretty relaxed attitude about his new record.

From the SF Chronicle:

“I’m just going to strike out a lot,” he said. “I always lead every league I’m in in strikeouts, so I figure if it’s the major leagues, at least that’s the best league. It’s better than leading the Pacific Coast League.”

Hard to argue with that.

Adam DunnThe Chronicle points out that next year, Cust will be a favorite to break the single-season strikeout record:

Next year, Cust might have a shot at the single season record of 195, set by Cincinnati’s Adam Dunn in 2004.

Umm…earth to the Chronicle. Dunn’s record is yesterday’s news.

I can’t keep track. Do we still care if a player strikes out a lot? It seems to me that we used to blast guys like Dunn for striking out as much as he does. But I don’t hear those same complaints as much anymore. And I certainly don’t hear anybody complaining about Ryan Howard, the new strikeout king.

Have we changed our tune? Is it now okay to strikeout a lot, as long as you put up gaudy power numbers?

4 Responses to “The kings of K”

  1. With so many Ks and no defensive ability whatsoever on his part, kind of makes you wonder what you can learn at the Jack Cust Baseball Academy: http://www.jackcustbaseball.com/

    But you’re right, Coley. Strikeouts aren’t THAT big a deal. It’s still not ideal, but it doesn’t really affect the outcome of games that often. Ks are only terrible if the hitter has no power. Hit a good amount of homeruns and you’ll be ok. If I was an AL team looking for a good DH, I’d take Adam Dunn with his pop for and OBP for $9 mil/per in a heartbeat.

  2. Brett Jackson says:

    Maybe I’m too “old school”, but I disagree with the sentiment that Ks are acceptable as long as the guy puts up good numbers in other areas. Strikeouts are the WORST type of out.. absolutely non productive. Just because I’m a 25 year Phillies fan doesn’t mean I give Howard a hall pass on that.

    200+ strikeouts is just plain embarrassing. Yes, I know he’s driven in plenty of runs this year, but just think of how many more he could have had with a few fly balls when a runner’s on third? Or how about just moving a runner up to scoring position and giving another hitter a chance?

    Howard, Dunn, Granderson, Coley, etc need to take more pride in their game and put the bat on the ball. The old school sluggers like Schmidt (toward the latter third of his career), Mantle, Ruth, and Dimaggio didn’t strike out nearly as much, and put plenty of balls over the outfield fence.

  3. Brett Jackson says:

    That’s Cust, not Coley… don’t think you played ball, nor struck out that much.

    Man, I hate seeing my own typos.

  4. I don’t mean to sound like a smartass, Brett, but technically, the WORST type of out is the triple play. Obviously, a double play is also worse than a strikeout. And that’s something you do need to take into consideration. I’m not saying that strikeouts are benign. If you don’t put the ball in play, you have no chance to get a hit. That’s not good. But I am saying that just because you strikeout a lot, doesn’t make you a bad hitter. Yes, it’s a “productive out” if you can move a runner over. But the times that making contact causes a double play, I think, limits the the idea that making contact always produces the better result.

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