The other day I was perusing through the stat lines of the triple-A players in Memphis and noticed that quite a few of them were getting on base frequently via the walk.
One thing that has helped the Cardinals charge their way to a league best wOBA (.344) is their propensity for drawing walks and limiting strikeouts. Check out how they are fairing in these two categories:
The Cardinals rank second in the league in walks (tied with the Pirates at 9.6%) and fourth in limiting strikeouts (tied with Athletics at 17.9%). In comparison, their 2010 rankings were eleventh in BB% (tied with the Dodgers, Brewers, and Tigers at 8.7%) and fifth in K% (18.5%).
Their increased ability to coax walks can partly be explained by the acquisition of Lance Berkman (17.4%) and the career best rates of Matt Holliday (12.2%) and Colby Rasmus (13.9%).
Now check out Memphis:
The Memphis Redbirds’ BB% (11.1) is good for third in the Pacific Coast League, though they strike out a decent amount (only five teams had a worse K rate than 18.3%). Recently promoted Matt Carpenter lead the team with a 17.6 BB%, but others displayed impressive walk rates as well: Andrew Brown (15.5%), Adron Chambers (13.3%), James Rapoport (13.2%), and Mark Hamilton (19.6%).
I don’t have much else to add, but I do hope the trend continues throughout the season… and maybe even beyond.