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MLB: Strikeout-to-Walk Ratios of the Top 20 Strikeout Pitchers of All Time

Curt Schilling And Pedro Martinez Are The Two Best Control-Strikeout Pitchers Of All Time

Curt Schilling And Pedro Martinez Are The Two Best Control-Strikeout Pitchers Of All Time

Yesterday, Sports List of the Day dug some for another statistical indicator of career strikeout dominance – this time hand-in-hand with control. In other words, which pitchers in history struck out the most batters (minimum 1,000 K’s) while also walking the fewest. They’re the top 20 hurlers with the best strikeout-walk (K-BB) ratios.

But of the greatest strikeout pitchers (see the top 20 with the most strikeouts ever in the second list below), only three made that list. You see, the most dominant strikeout pitchers also, more often than not, walk a bunch of people, too.

Take the No. 1 strikeout pitcher, Nolan Ryan, a perfect example. Ryan struck out 5,714 batters – but also walked 2,795 (most ever, almost 1,000 more than the next guy).

Ryan has the second worst K-BB Ratio of the top 20, ahead of only knuckleballer Phil Niekro.

At the top, though, are those three pitchers alluded to above. Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez are the greatest control-strikeout pitchers the game has ever seen – both over 3,000 K’s and owning the two best K-BB ratios of all time. Mike Mussina is the third of the top 20 strikeout kings in terms of K-BB ratio (and 12th overall).

RANKING TOP 20 STRIKEOUT PITCHERS BY K-BB RATIO

  PITCHER K-BB RATIO STRIKEOUTS RANK STRIKEOUTS WALKS ARM CAREER SPAN
1. Curt Schilling 4.38 15. 3,116 711 R 1988-2007
2. Pedro Martinez 4.15 13. 3,154 760 R 1992-2009
3. Mike Mussina 3.58 19. 2,813 785 R 1991-2008
4. Greg Maddux 3.37 10. 3,371 999 R 1986-2008
5. Randy Johnson 3.26 2. 4,875 1,497 L 1988-2009
6. Fergie Jenkins 3.20 12. 3,192 997 R 1965-1983
7. John Smoltz 3.05 16. 3,084 1,010 R 1988-1999, 2001-2009
8. Roger Clemens 2.96 3. 4,672 1,580 R 1984-2007
9. Jim Bunning 2.86 17. 2,855 1,000 R 1955-1971
10. Bert Blyleven 2.80 5. 3,701 1,322 R 1970-1990, 1992
11. Don Sutton 2.66 7. 3,574 1,343 R 1966-1988
12. Tom Seaver 2.62 6. 3,640 1,390 R 1967-1986
13. Mickey Lolich 2.58 18. 2,832 1,099 L 1963-1976, 1978, 1979
14. Walter Johnson 2.57 9. 3,509 1,363 R 1907-1927
15. Gaylord Perry 2.56 8. 3,534 1,379 R 1962-1983
16. Bob Gibson 2.33 14. 3,117 1,336 R 1959-1975
17. Cy Young* 2.30 20. 2,803 1,217 R 1890-1911
18. Steve Carlton 2.26 4. 4,136 1,833 L 1965-1988
19. Frank Tanana 2.21 21. 2,773 1,255 L 1973-1993
20. Nolan Ryan 2.04 1. 5,714 2,795 R 1966, 1968-1993
21. Phil Niekro 1.85 11. 3,342 1,809 R 1964-1987

*

TOP 20 PITCHERS WITH THE MOST STRIKEOUTS

  PITCHER K-WALKS RATIO STRIKEOUTS WALKS ARM CAREER SPAN
1. Nolan Ryan 2.04 5,714 2,795 R 1966, 1968-1993
2. Randy Johnson 3.26 4,875 1,497 L 1988-2009
3. Roger Clemens 2.96 4,672 1,580 R 1984-2007
4. Steve Carlton 2.26 4,136 1,833 L 1965-1988
5. Bert Blyleven 2.80 3,701 1,322 R 1970-1990, 1992
6. Tom Seaver 2.62 3,640 1,390 R 1967-1986
7. Don Sutton 2.66 3,574 1,343 R 1966-1988
8. Gaylord Perry 2.56 3,534 1,379 R 1962-1983
9. Walter Johnson 2.57 3,509 1,363 R 1907-1927
10. Greg Maddux 3.37 3,371 999 R 1986-2008
11. Phil Niekro 1.85 3,342 1,809 R 1964-1987
12. Fergie Jenkins 3.20 3,192 997 R 1965-1983
13. Pedro Martinez 4.15 3,154 760 R 1992-2009
14. Bob Gibson 2.33 3,117 1,336 R 1959-1975
15. Curt Schilling 4.38 3,116 711 R 1988-2007
16. John Smoltz 3.05 3,084 1,010 R 1988-1999, 2001-2009
17. Jim Bunning 2.86 2,855 1,000 R 1955-1971
18. Mickey Lolich 2.58 2,832 1,099 L 1963-1976, 1978, 1979
19. Mike Mussina 3.58 2,813 785 R 1991-2008
20. Cy Young* 2.30 2,803 1,217 R 1890-1911
21. Frank Tanana 2.21 2,773 1,255 L 1973-1993

* Cy Young is the only pre-1901 pitcher. I left him in and added a 21st pitcher to cover the all-time list and also the current era (1901-present) of the unification of the National and American Leagues into Major League Baseball.

Photos: Elsa, Getty Images via kool1079.com / lifetimetopps.wordpress.com

MLB: Top 20 Pitchers with the Best Career Strikeout-to-Walk Ratios

Minimum 1,000 strikeouts, 1901-Present

PITCHER K-BB RATIO K BB* ARM CAREER SPAN
1. Curt Schilling 4.38 3,116 711 R 1988-2007
2. Pedro Martinez 4.15 3,154 760 R 1992-2009
3. Mariano Rivera 4.10 1,173 286 R 1995-2013
4. Dan Haren 4.04 1,851 458 R 2003-Present
5. Cliff Lee 3.93 1,824 464 L 2002-Present
6. Cole Hamels 3.78 1,667 441 L 2006-Present
7. Trevor Hoffman 3.69 1,133 307 R 1993-2010
8. Jon Lieber 3.68
1,553 422 R 1994-2002, 2004-2008
9. Bret Saberhagen 3.64 1,715 471 R 1984-1995, 1997-1999, 2001
10. Ben Sheets 3.59 (3.5908) 1,325 369 R 2001-2008, 2010, 2012
11. Zack Greinke 3.59 (3.5879) 1,654 461 R 2004-Present
12. Mike Mussina 3.58 (3.5834) 2,813 785 R 1991-2008
13. Roy Halladay 3.58 (3.5760) 2,117 592 R 1998-2013
14. Roy Oswalt 3.56 1,852 520 R 2001-2013
14. James Shields 3.56 1,592 447 R 2006-Present
16. Johan Santana 3.51 1,988 567 L 2000-2010, 2012
17. David Price 3.48 1,100 316 L 2008-Present
18. Ricky Nolasco 3.45 1,163 337 R 2006-Present
19. Felix Hernandez 3.41 1,907 560 R 2005-Present
20. Max Scherzer 3.40 1,278 376 R 2008-Present

 

MLB: Highest All-Time Home Run Percentages (HR/Hits, HR/AB)

Who are the top 10 home run hitters of all time?

They are, steroids or not, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Thome, Sammy Sosa, Frank Robinson and Mark McGwire.

But, again steroids or not, are their numbers simply an accumulation over time (for sure that does play a part) or were these guys truly the purest of home run hitters – racking up high home run percentages (vs. total hits and vs. total at-bats)?

Or, for that matter, what about the top 51 career home run leaders (the number of players who breached the 400-HR barrier)?

How do things change when we take a look at the averages?

As for the top 10, only half – Mark McGwire, Jim Thome, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Babe Ruth – rank in the top 10 of home runs-to-hits average. Four of those five played in the steroid era, though Jim Thome has not been linked.

For home runs over at-bats, those five again make the top 10, along with Mr. Steroid himself, Alex Rodriguez.

Sadly, Mark McGwire heads both lists, and, relative to the gradients, by big margins.

On the lighter side of things, though, how about the Babe, the forever anachronism on slugging lists?

Adam Dunn, Dave Kingman (!), Harmon Killebrew, Mike Schmidt (and icky Jose Canseco) boast at least a 24 percent home run cut of their total hits.

Ted Williams and doper Manny Ramirez join the home run-per-at bat top 10 party in the second list.

And you can check out all 51 400-HR hitters sorted by both ratios below (and the straight up 1-51 list for reference).

By the way, what about the purest singles hitters ever? Answer here.

HOME RUNS-TO-HITS RATIO

  PLAYER HR-HITS AVERAGE HOME RUNS HITS CAREER HOME RUNS RANK BATS
1. Mark McGwire 35.85% 583 1,626 10. R
2. Adam Dunn 28.44% 459 1,614 36. L
3. Dave Kingman 28.06% 442 1,575 40. R
4. Harmon Killebrew 27.47% 573 2,086 11. R
5. Jim Thome 26.29% 612 2,328 7. L
6. Barry Bonds 25.96% 762 2,935 1. L
7. Sammy Sosa 25.29% 609 2,408 8. R
8. Babe Ruth 24.85% 714 2,873 3. L
9. Jose Canseco 24.61% 462 1,877 34. R
10. Mike Schmidt 24.53% 548 2,234 15. R
11. Willie McCovey 23.56% 521 2,211 18. L
12. Carlos Delgado 23.21% 473 2,038 31. L
13. Ken Griffey 22.65% 630 2,781 6. L
14. Andruw Jones 22.45% 434 1,933 44. R
15. Juan Gonzalez 22.42% 434 1,936 44. R
16. Alex Rodriguez 22.25% 654 2,939 5. R
17. Mickey Mantle 22.19% 536 2,415 16. B
18. Eddie Mathews 22.12% 512 2,315 22. L
19. Jason Giambi 21.91% 440 2,008 41. L
20. Reggie Jackson 21.79% 563 2,584 13. L
21. Manny Ramirez 21.56% 555 2,574 14. R
22. David Ortiz 21.53% 461 2,141 35. L
23. Willie Stargell 21.28% 475 2,232 29. L
24. Frank Thomas 21.11% 521 2,468 18. R
25. Albert Pujols 20.71% 515 2,487 21. R
26. Jimmie Foxx 20.18% 534 2,646 17. R
27. Willie Mays 20.10% 660 3,283 4. R
28. Mike Piazza 20.08% 427 2,127 47. R
29. Hank Aaron 20.02% 755 3,771 2. R
30. Frank Robinson 19.91% 586 2,943 9. R
31. Ernie Banks 19.82% 512 2,583 22. R
32. Fred McGriff 19.80% 493 2,490 27. L
33. Alfonso Soriano 19.67% 412 2,095 50. R
34. Ted Williams 19.63% 521 2,654 18. L
35. Jeff Bagwell 19.40% 449 2,314 38. R
36. Duke Snider 19.23% 407 2,116 51. L
37. Gary Sheffield 18.93% 509 2,689 25. R
38. Rafael Palmeiro 18.84% 569 3,020 12. L
39. Paul Konerko 18.78% 439 2,337 42. R
40. Darrell Evans 18.62% 414 2,223 49. L
41. Lou Gehrig 18.12% 493 2,721 27. L
42. Mel Ott 17.77% 511 2,876 24. L
43. Vladimir Guerrero 17.34% 449 2,590 38. R
44. Chipper Jones 17.17% 468 2,726 32. B
45. Andre Dawson 15.79% 438 2,774 43. R
46. Billy Williams 15.71% 426 2,711 48. L
47. Eddie Murray 15.48% 504 3,255 26. B
48. Dave Winfield 14.95% 465 3,110 33. R
49. Cal Ripken 13.54% 431 3,184 46. R
50. Carl Yastrzemski 13.22% 452 3,419 37. L
51. Stan Musial 13.09% 475 3,630 29. L

*

HOME RUNS-TO-AT-BATS RATIO

  PLAYER HR-AB AVERAGE HOME RUNS AT-BATS CAREER HOME RUNS RANK BATS
1. Mark McGwire 9.42% 583 6,187 10. R
2. Babe Ruth 8.50% 714 8,399 3. L
3. Barry Bonds 7.74% 762 9,847 1. L
4. Jim Thome 7.27% 612 8,422 7. L
5. Harmon Killebrew 7.03% 573 8,147 11. R
6. Sammy Sosa 6.91% 609 8,813 8. R
7. Ted Williams 6.76% 521 7,706 18. L
8. Adam Dunn 6.75% 459 6,804 36. L
9. Manny Ramirez 6.73% 555 8,244 14. R
10. Alex Rodriguez 6.66% 654 9,818 5. R
11. Juan Gonzalez 6.62% 434 6,556 44. R
12. Dave Kingman 6.62% 442 6,677 40. R
13. Mickey Mantle 6.62% 536 8,102 16. B
14. Albert Pujols 6.58% 515 7,821 21. R
15. Jimmie Foxx 6.57% 534 8,134 17. R
16. Mike Schmidt 6.56% 548 8,352 15. R
17. Jose Canseco 6.55% 462 7,057 34. R
18. Carlos Delgado 6.49% 473 7,283 31. L
19. Ken Griffey 6.43% 630 9,801 6. L
20. Willie McCovey 6.36% 521 8,197 18. L
21. Frank Thomas 6.35% 521 8,199 18. R
22. Mike Piazza 6.18% 427 6,911 47. R
23. Lou Gehrig 6.16% 493 8,001 27. L
24. David Ortiz 6.15% 461 7,502 35. L
25. Hank Aaron 6.11% 755 12,364 2. R
26. Jason Giambi 6.07% 440 7,254 41. L
27. Willie Mays 6.07% 660 10,881 4. R
28. Eddie Mathews 6.00% 512 8,537 22. L
29. Willie Stargell 5.99% 475 7,927 29. L
30. Frank Robinson 5.86% 586 10,006 9. R
31. Jeff Bagwell 5.76% 449 7,797 38. R
32. Andruw Jones 5.71% 434 7,599 44. R
33. Reggie Jackson 5.71% 563 9,864 13. L
34. Duke Snider 5.68% 407 7,161 51. L
35. Fred McGriff 5.63% 493 8,757 27. L
36. Gary Sheffield 5.52% 509 9,217 25. R
37. Vladimir Guerrero 5.51% 449 8,155 38. R
38. Ernie Banks 5.43% 512 9,421 22. R
39. Rafael Palmeiro 5.43% 569 10,472 12. L
40. Mel Ott 5.40% 511 9,456 24. L
41. Alfonso Soriano 5.32% 412 7,750 50. R
42. Paul Konerko 5.25% 439 8,360 42. R
43. Chipper Jones 5.21% 468 8,984 32. B
44. Darrell Evans 4.61% 414 8,973 49. L
45. Billy Williams 4.56% 426 9,350 48. L
46. Eddie Murray 4.45% 504 11,336 26. B
47. Andre Dawson 4.41% 438 9,927 43. R
48. Stan Musial 4.33% 475 10,972 29. L
49. Dave Winfield 4.23% 465 11,003 33. R
50. Carl Yastrzemski 3.77% 452 11,988 37. L
51. Cal Ripken 3.73% 431 11,551 46. R

 

*

TOP 51 CAREER HOME RUN LEADERS (400 OR MORE HR)

  PLAYER HOME RUNS HITS HR-HITS AVERAGE AT-BATS HR-AB AVERAGE BATS
1. Barry Bonds 762 2,935 25.96% 9,847 7.74% L
2. Hank Aaron 755 3,771 20.02% 12,364 6.11% R
3. Babe Ruth 714 2,873 24.85% 8,399 8.50% L
4. Willie Mays 660 3,283 20.10% 10,881 6.07% R
5. Alex Rodriguez 654 2,939 22.25% 9,818 6.66% R
6. Ken Griffey 630 2,781 22.65% 9,801 6.43% L
7. Jim Thome 612 2,328 26.29% 8,422 7.27% L
8. Sammy Sosa 609 2,408 25.29% 8,813 6.91% R
9. Frank Robinson 586 2,943 19.91% 10,006 5.86% R
10. Mark McGwire 583 1,626 35.85% 6,187 9.42% R
11. Harmon Killebrew 573 2,086 27.47% 8,147 7.03% R
12. Rafael Palmeiro 569 3,020 18.84% 10,472 5.43% L
13. Reggie Jackson 563 2,584 21.79% 9,864 5.71% L
14. Manny Ramirez 555 2,574 21.56% 8,244 6.73% R
15. Mike Schmidt 548 2,234 24.53% 8,352 6.56% R
16. Mickey Mantle 536 2,415 22.19% 8,102 6.62% B
17. Jimmie Foxx 534 2,646 20.18% 8,134 6.57% R
18. Willie McCovey 521 2,211 23.56% 8,197 6.36% L
18. Frank Thomas 521 2,468 21.11% 8,199 6.35% R
18. Ted Williams 521 2,654 19.63% 7,706 6.76% L
21. Albert Pujols 515 2,487 20.71% 7,821 6.58% R
22. Ernie Banks 512 2,583 19.82% 9,421 5.43% R
22. Eddie Mathews 512 2,315 22.12% 8,537 6.00% L
24. Mel Ott 511 2,876 17.77% 9,456 5.40% L
25. Gary Sheffield 509 2,689 18.93% 9,217 5.52% R
26. Eddie Murray 504 3,255 15.48% 11,336 4.45% B
27. Lou Gehrig 493 2,721 18.12% 8,001 6.16% L
27. Fred McGriff 493 2,490 19.80% 8,757 5.63% L
29. Stan Musial 475 3,630 13.09% 10,972 4.33% L
29. Willie Stargell 475 2,232 21.28% 7,927 5.99% L
31. Carlos Delgado 473 2,038 23.21% 7,283 6.49% L
32. Chipper Jones 468 2,726 17.17% 8,984 5.21% B
33. Dave Winfield 465 3,110 14.95% 11,003 4.23% R
34. Jose Canseco 462 1,877 24.61% 7,057 6.55% R
35. David Ortiz 461 2,141 21.53% 7,502 6.15% L
36. Adam Dunn 459 1,614 28.44% 6,804 6.75% L
37. Carl Yastrzemski 452 3,419 13.22% 11,988 3.77% L
38. Jeff Bagwell 449 2,314 19.40% 7,797 5.76% R
38. Vladimir Guerrero 449 2,590 17.34% 8,155 5.51% R
40. Dave Kingman 442 1,575 28.06% 6,677 6.62% R
41. Jason Giambi 440 2,008 21.91% 7,254 6.07% L
42. Paul Konerko 439 2,337 18.78% 8,360 5.25% R
43. Andre Dawson 438 2,774 15.79% 9,927 4.41% R
44. Juan Gonzalez 434 1,936 22.42% 6,556 6.62% R
44. Andruw Jones 434 1,933 22.45% 7,599 5.71% R
46. Cal Ripken 431 3,184 13.54% 11,551 3.73% R
47. Mike Piazza 427 2,127 20.08% 6,911 6.18% R
48. Billy Williams 426 2,711 15.71% 9,350 4.56% L
49. Darrell Evans 414 2,223 18.62% 8,973 4.61% L
50. Alfonso Soriano 412 2,095 19.67% 7,750 5.32% R
51. Duke Snider 407 2,116 19.23% 7,161 5.68% L

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