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MLB

Passive Pirates hitters racking up Ks

| Saturday, April 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Pirates hitters are off to the worst start in franchise history, holding the lowest team batting average (.175) through the club's first 10 games, and placing second lowest in on-base percentage (.252) and slugging percentage (.247) . The 2013 Pirates have outscored just the Marlins, who over the winter sold off all assets not bolted down in their new ballpark in Little Havana.

Strikeouts are a major reason the Pirates have plated only 27 runs through Friday's games. They lead the National League in punchouts and best just former NL Central doormat Houston among all major league teams.

Special K

Highest team strikeout rates for hitters:

Team Strikeout pct.

Astros 28.8

Pirates 25.2

Braves 24.4

Cubs 24.1

Reds 22.5

MLB avg. 19.9

Source: Fangraphs.com

The Pirates aren't really pressing at the plate, as their collective swing rate on pitches outside the strike zone (29.5 percent) is around the MLB average (28.5 percent). If anything, the Bucs are being too passive and falling behind in the count. They're swinging at the lowest percentage of pitches in the strike zone in the majors.

Select choice

Lowest swing rates against pitches in strike zone:

Team Swing pct.

Pirates 58.1

Indians 58.5

Twins 60.4

Mets 60.8

Blue Jays 61.6

MLB avg. 64.4

Team strikeout leader Pedro Alvarez has swung at a decent number of in-zone pitches (66.7 percent), but Starling Marte (56.9 percent) and Neil Walker (59.4 percent) are striking out often with a more passive approach.

David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.

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