Earlier this week we took a look at which starting pitchers got the most swings and misses in the organization, as well as how they performed when it came to strikes thrown and strikes looking. Today we are going to take a look at how the relievers performed.

As noted in the last article, throwing strikes is the most important thing that a pitcher can do. The average Major League pitcher throws a strike 65% of the time. That includes foul balls, balls put in play, strikes looking and strikes taken.

We saw with the starters that the higher up the minor league system pitchers went, the tougher it was to find guys with extremely high swinging strike rates, which intuitively makes sense as the hitters tend to be more patient and less likely to expand the strikezone than hitters at the lower levels.

To qualify for this list a pitcher had to be over 25.0 innings and have made less than 10 starts this season. Pitchers that spent time in the Arizona Rookie League don’t have their games shown in the data because that level doesn’t do any pitch tracking. A few minor league teams at higher levels also don’t do it, so the data in the table below when it comes to innings may not exactly match up for everyone to their season totals for this reason.

We know that relievers tend to get more strikeouts than starters, so it’s no surprise that the top end of the swings-and-misses scale is higher than it was for the starters. Ismael Guillon, who actually spent plenty of time relieving, was at the top for the starting group with 23.7%. Three relievers topped that. Sarkis Ohanian topped everyone with a 28.1% rate (swinging strikes/total strikes thrown). Sandy Lugo (26.8) and Junior Arias (24.2%) also topped the 23.7% rate.

All of those pitchers were in Low-A Dayton or Rookie Level Billings. Ariel Hernandez tops the list of any pitcher above Low-A with a 22.9% rate. Alejandro Chacin is at the top for anyone in Double-A or higher at 22.2%.

When we want to look at which guys were pounding the strikezone the most often we can start off with Alex Webb, who threw strikes 68.4% of the time. Alex Powers is at the top of the list for guys in A-ball at 67%. Dayan Diaz is at the top for everyone in Double-A and Triple-A at 65.8%.

Tyler Mahle led the way among the starters in the strikes looking category with a 32.1% rate. A reliever just barely topped him there as Ariel Hernandez snuck in with a 32.3% strikes looking rate. His teammates Brennan Bernardino (30.8%) and Jimmy Herget (30.7%) also left a ton of Florida State League hitters standing there wondering what just happened. Alejandro Chacin led the way for pitchers above A-ball with a 30.5% rate as he sweeps both the strikes looking and strikes swinging categories for the upper minor leagues in the system.

Here’s the entire list for all 38 qualified pitchers, sorted by swinging strikes. K% = strike rate of total pitches, K_L% is strikes looking out of total strikes thrown and K_S% is swinging strikes out of total strikes thrown.

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Player Innings K% K_L% K_S%
Sarkis Ohanian 34.2 60.7% 26.7% 28.1%
Sandy Lugo 55.0 65.9% 24.6% 26.8%
Junior Arias 16.1 63.8% 25.5% 24.2%
Ariel Hernandez 60.0 59.5% 32.3% 22.9%
Manuel Aybar 58.0 55.9% 24.5% 22.6%
Alejandro Chacin 60.2 62.3% 30.5% 22.2%
Jimmy Herget 60.2 66.4% 30.7% 21.2%
Jeremy Kivel 41.1 58.3% 22.6% 21.1%
Jake Ehret 41.1 60.0% 25.2% 21.1%
Ryan Hendrix 35.1 65.8% 27.1% 20.7%
Carlos Gonzalez 62.0 62.3% 26.2% 20.5%
Evan Mitchell 62.0 64.4% 24.4% 20.3%
Michael Sullivan 53.1 61.5% 25.1% 20.1%
Kevin Shackelford 44.1 62.6% 22.2% 19.8%
AJ Morris 38.2 65.2% 25.1% 19.7%
Zac Correll 41.1 67.9% 21.6% 19.5%
Wandy Peralta 75.2 63.9% 25.1% 19.3%
JJ Hoover 38.1 64.8% 29.0% 19.3%
Alfredo Mena 40.0 64.2% 24.7% 19.0%
Lucas Benanati 35.0 64.7% 22.8% 18.8%
Andy Cox 33.1 60.3% 26.6% 18.7%
Soid Marquez 35.0 59.0% 18.2% 18.5%
Patrick Riehl 38.1 62.3% 23.3% 18.2%
Stephen Johnson 74.2 58.4% 25.8% 18.1%
Nolan Becker 45.2 63.0% 18.5% 18.1%
Juan Martinez 64.0 64.7% 22.7% 18.0%
Adrian Rodriguez 33.2 67.1% 26.5% 17.8%
Kyle McMyne 56.2 61.5% 20.7% 17.2%
Alex Powers 59.1 67.0% 24.4% 17.1%
Matt Magill 52.0 62.0% 28.8% 16.4%
Dayan Diaz 56.0 65.8% 23.9% 16.2%
Jake Johnson 52.2 60.3% 23.5% 16.1%
Brennan Bernardino 55.2 63.8% 30.8% 15.7%
Jimmy Moran 28.2 63.4% 27.6% 14.7%
El’Hajj Muhammad 59.0 59.2% 27.7% 14.7%
Nick Routt 68.1 63.7% 30.3% 14.1%
Drew Hayes 59.0 61.1% 24.1% 12.6%
Alex Webb 24.1 68.4% 23.3% 11.3%

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