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Rock Mining week 16: walking to (get) run(s), and win

After 96 games so far this season, the Rockies continue to show that walking is an important ingredient to their success.


As I wrote back in March when I was trying out for Purple Row, walking is a key part of the Rockies offense. The correlation has been there in the past and continues this season. Explaining the direct correlation is both simple and difficult, as more base runners are good, but some can question why walks are more important than hits. I do not attempt to explain the correlation in this week's Rock Mining, but merely seek to explain that the correlation still exists.

This year the Rockies have had 32 games when they have walked one time or fewer. In those games, Colorado has a record of 8-24. They average only 2.63 runs in these games and that is raised by three games of over seven runs. The simple point here is that it is harder to score a lot of runs without getting some free base runners from the pitcher.

In games where the Rockies earn two base on balls, they are 8-8 on the year. The Rockies do much better in runs scored in these games, averaging 5.38 runs per game. In the games they won, they were often able to score multiple runs despite the lack of walks, going double digits in runs multiple times for victories.

The Rockies have really excelled when they have been able to get at least three free passes this year. The team has a record of 30-18 when getting three or more base on balls from the opposing pitchers and averages 5.33 runs in these games. Whether the walks are a sign of a struggling pitcher, the Rockies are rewarded with patience by getting to the bullpen earlier, or the fact that pitchers get frustrated and make mistakes when they give up a walk matters not, it matters that the stats show that the Rockies need to be more patient.

The difference between these three categories is astounding. Comparing winning percentages of .250, .500, and .625 shows the difference for the team. The old adage that there is no defense for a walk continues to ring true and the Rockies need to fight for their right to walk.

This is why getting Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler back is so important. Fowler leads all of the Rockies regulars with .118 walks per plate appearance and Tulo is fourth at .094. By comparison, the players they are replacing had .038 walks per plate appearance (Tyler Colvin) and .068 (Josh Rutledge). This is a difference of about .42 walks per game. Adding a little more than a half a walk per game can slide the averages of wins much more in favor of the Rockies.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly-off this week because of the All-Star game, will resume with my thoughts on the best and worst of the team in future articles.