I think most people have an entirely wrong idea about strike percentages. They don’t seem to understand that there’s more to it than just throwing a pitch in the strike zone. In fact, since every ball swung at is a strike, its very often that not every pitch swung at is in the strike zone, it should prove that there’s more about strike percentages than just a number.
Usually, when I hear people saying strike percentage is not important, its because their kid or their player had success even with a strike percentage that wasn’t very good. But no one ever said a pitcher couldn’t have success with a poor strike percentage. In fact it would be silly to say that because its not true.
However, its very rare that a pitcher who has as poor a strike percentage as that boy, will enjoy CONSISTENT success. It may happen at the lower levels where the hitters aren’t very disciplined, but sooner or later, hitters stop swinging at garbage, and pitchers find themselves pitching from behind in the count, those walks start scoring, and the hit balls miss a few gloves or there’s some errors made, and their wondering what the heck happened.
Here’s a fair example. This is a boy who as a 6’3”/185# Jr, in 54 innings had a strike percentage of 63.3 and a first pitch strike percentage of 62.7. He walked or hit 28 batters and K’d 57.
He went 6-1 in a very good league, was touching 90, and became a likely lock for getting drafted out of HS.
This season he’s grown 3 inches and put on 20 pounds and a couple MPH on his FB. Trouble is, he’s 4-3 against weaker competition, and in 46 and 1/3rd, has a SP of 59.5, a FPSP of 39.4, has walked or hit 32, but has still K’d 53.
The main difference is, last year teams hit only .162 against him, but this year their hitting 75 points higher. IOW, he’s being hit more often and harder. Chances are he’s still gonna get drafted, but he went from a likely early rounder, to a late rounder at best, and if that happens, he won’t have very long to prove himself.
I’ve never checked, but I’d guess that if you looked at the best pitching performances over the years in the ML, you’d find the pitcher very often had a significantly higher strike percentage than his normal.