If you follow Major League Baseball, then you’re probably aware that we’re in the midst of a golden era for pitching. Or at least, that’s what the experts say. However, there’s always two ways to look at any statistical phenomenon. And the other day, as I was watching part of a Chicago White Sox Game—which means I saw Adam Dunn strike out two times—I got to thinking about the other side of this trend: the sky-high strikeout totals players put up these days.
You see, the record set for strikeouts in a single season set by Bobby Bonds back in 1970—which was 189—has been broken 10 times in the last 8 seasons. Baltimore’s Mark Reynolds now holds the all-time record with 223 Ks in 2009 (when he was with Arizona), and this year Adam Dunn who currently sits at 203, is on pace to beat that. So while the pitching in MLB certainly has been great over the last several years, you have to wonder whether free-swinging sluggers haven’t also done their part, making good pitchers look great, and great pitchers look legendary.
Thus, today I thought we’d take a look at the top 20 active career strikeout leaders in Major League Baseball. However, I’m not just going to present you with the totals. I’m also going to give you the players’ total plate appearances and their strikeout rate—that way you’ll have a better picture of just how much they whiff. And as we get to the top of the list, I’ll also give you some K stats on other great players in the history of the game, just to provide even more perspective.
So are you ready to see who’s struck out the most?
Good, let’s get started.