“Whiff”-le” Ball – Judge’s Record and a Look at the Other Side

Thirty-two MLB hitters have already struck out more times this season than Joe Sewell did in his  14-season (1920-33), 1,903-game major league career.

Aaron Judge baseball photo

Photo by apardavila

Yankees’ rookie phenom Aaron Judge – as most fans know – has set a new single-season  major league record for consecutive games with a strike out (for non-pitchers) at 37 (July 8 – August 20); topping Adam Dunn’s 2012 record of 32. (Judge’s streak ended yesterday.)  Judge also broke pitcher Bill Stoneman’s overall single-single season (1971) record for consecutive games played with a strikeout (35) and tied Stoneman’s record for consecutive games played with strikeout (over more than one season) of 37.




SewellIn 1929, Indians’ 3B Joe Sewell played an MLB (modern) record 115 consecutive games without striking out (May 19-September 19).  During his 115-game streak, Sewell racked up 436 at bats and 143 hits (.328), with 27 doubles, two triples, seven HR and 56 RBI.   On the season, Sewell fanned just four times in 578 at bats – and it wasn’t even his best campaign in terms of at bats/per whiff.   That would be 1932, when Sewell struck out just three times in 503 at bats.  For his career, Sewell fanned 114 times in 7,132 at bats – or once each 62.6 at bats. That puts Sewell second on the career list (among players who played after 1900) to Wee Willie Keeler, who fanned just once every 63.2 at bats in 19 MLB seasons (1892-1910).


Judge stopped his streak the hard way (at least for a free swinger) – with patience at the plate.  He came to the plate four times and recorded a single and three walks. Judge was pulled from the contest in the top of the seventh inning (pinch-hitter Jacob Ellsbury) with the Bronx Bombers up 11-1. During the whiff streak, Judge hit .176 (23-for-131), with eight home runs, 16 runs scored, 14 RBI, 31 walks and 63 strikeouts.  Before, we get too critical, however, let’s keep in mind that Judge (season-to-date) is hitting .284, with an AL-leading 37 home runs, 81 RBI, a league-leading 93 runs scored and a league-high 93 walks. Suddenly, those strikeouts (Judge has 167 on the season, second only to the Twins’ Miguel Sano at 170) don’t seem so important.

Woulda – Coulda – Shoulda

Aaron Judge’s best chance to end his record-setting consecutive games with a strikeout streak early may have come in Minnesota on July 19 (Whiff Game Number Nine), when his only plate appearance came as a pinch hitter with one out in the top of the ninth and the Yankees down 6-1. Twins’ reliever Trevor Hildenberger fanned Judge on three pitches (two fouls and a swinging strike).

The year Adam Dunn set the previous position player record for consecutive games with a strikeout (2012), he hit .204, with 41 home runs and 96 RBI (and, like Judge, was selected to the All Star team). During his 32-game whiff streak, Dunn hit .243 (27-for-111), with 10 home runs, 25 RBI, 19 runs scored, 25 walks and 47 strikeouts.   That season, Dunn struck out 222 times, one short of Mark Reynolds’ 2009 record.


Five hitters have fanned 200 or more times in a season.  Mark Reynolds (Diamondbacks) was the first, with 204 strikeouts in 2008 … and also leads the pack with three such seasons (consecutively).

Mark Reynolds, D-backs, 2009                       223

Adam Dunn, White Sox, 2012*                        222

Chris Davis, Orioles, 2016                                 219

Chris Carter, Astros, 2013                                 212

Mark Reynolds, D-backs, 2010                        211

Chris Davis, Orioles, 2015                                  208

Chris Carter, Brewers, 2016                              206

Drew Stubbs, Reds, 2011                                     205

Mark Reynolds, D-backs, 2008                        204


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