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

Posted on August 28, 2014, in MLB Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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