Applying Three True Outcomes to team totals

From SABR member Diane Firstman at Value Over Replacement Grit on February 6, 2012:

Back in August 2000, Baseball Prospectus’ Rany Jazayerli wrote an article on the concept of the “Three True Outcomes” (TTO)*.  TTO was the premise that there are three events in a plate appearance that cannot be impacted by the fielders, namely the strikeout, walk and homerun. …

Jazayerli colorfully writes of TTO:

Together, the Three True Outcomes distill the game to its essence, the battle of pitcher against hitter, free from the distractions of the defense, the distortion of foot speed or the corruption of managerial tactics like the bunt and his wicked brother, the hit-and-run.

He then went on to list some of the great TTO player seasons in history.  Players like Rob Deer, Russell Branyan and Gorman Thomas are feted for their unique abilities to either strike out, walk or go yard, pretty much to the exclusion of anything else.

I wondered what teams might best emulate a TTO attitude.  So I culled batting stats for each club from 1973-2011 (the DH era), and charted them against the league average TTO rate in each season.  (For reference sake, we are using the formula: TTO% = TTO/PA = (HR+BB+SO)/PA).

Let’s start by getting some overall context for TTO rates across the Majors.  The graph below clearly shows a rising TTO rate (check the trendline), with some blips along the way.  From its nadir at around 22% in the early 1980s, we finished 2011 around 29%.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: February 7, 2012. Last Updated: February 7, 2012.