The strikeout in baseball is a statistic often associated with pitchers. That’s because the pitcher’s goal is to prevent the opposing batter from hitting the ball against him. Three strikes force a batter to strikeout and the more strikeouts mean the pitcher is throwing the baseball very well.
But while the strikeout is one of the stats that gauge how good a pitcher is, it’s also a stat that gives hitters dubious records. A good hitter is one who has most hits, home runs, RBIs and walks among others. If a hitter leads the league in strikeouts, it’s an infamous record. It shows how futile he has been at the plate.
Let’s take at which hitters are on this abominable list:
Mark Reynolds, Orioles: 223 Strikeouts (2009)
Mark Reynolds was feast or famine because he was known for his long home runs as well as high strikeout totals. The 36-year old free agent went on an extreme statistical spree from 2009-2011 where he finished in the top 10 in total home runs and at-bats per home run rate. However, while playing for the Baltimore Orioles in 2009, he set the record for most strikeouts by a batter in a single season with 223.
Overall, Reynolds led the Majors in strikeouts in four different seasons. As of 2018, he led all active major league players in total career strikeouts with 1,870. The 16th round pick of the 2004 MLB draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks is currently a free agent. Reynolds last played for the Washington Nationals in 2018.
Adam Dunn, White Sox: 222 strikeouts (2012)
Known as the “Big Donkey” because of his size (6-6 tall and 285 pounds), Adam Dunn shares the record for most opening day home runs ( 8 ) with Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Robinson. In 2012, he became the 50th player in the history of the MLB to hit 400 home runs. At the time of his retirement, he ranked third in the All-time strikeout list and 4th for the most Golden Sombreros at 19, tied with Bo Jackson.
In 2012, Dunn set the record for most strikeouts in a single season in the American League with 222. That also stands as the second-most ever in a single season by a major league player. Dunn finished that season with a batting average of .201 with 41 home runs and 96 RBIs. He made the 2012 All-Star team despite putting up the dubious record and striking out in 37 consecutive games.
Chris Davis, Orioles: 219 Strikeouts (2016)
Chris Davis was the Texas Rangers’ 5th round pick in the 2006 MLB draft. But because of a low batting average and a high strikeout rate, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 2011. In 2013, he led the Majors with 53 homers but from 2015-2018, he led the MLB in strikeouts-per-at-bat. In 2018, Davis also set the record for the lowest batting average for a qualified player when he went .168 that year.
After signing a seven-year deal worth $161M in 2016, he struck out 219 times during the season to lead the Majors. Davis finished the season with a .221 batting average and he was 8th overall in the MLB with 38 home runs. Last season, he added another dubious record when he went 0-54 without a hit, the most consecutive at-bats without a hit for a positional player.
Yoan Moncada, White Sox: 217 Strikeouts (2018)
Yoan Moncada was seen as a five-tool talent and was compared to the likes of Robinson Cano. He was ranked by MLB.com as the 7th best prospect in entering the 2016 season. This 24-year old Cuban played for the Boston Red Sox before he was traded to the White Sox in 2016.
After playing just 54 games in 2017, he appeared in 149 outings and finished with a batting average of .235 with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs. That same season, Moncada led the Majors in strikeouts with 217. Last season, he finally lived up to his billing as a top prospect. Moncada ranked third in the American League in batting average at .315 and he also finished the season setting career highs in hits (161), doubles (34), home runs (25), and RBIs (79).
Chris Carter, Astros: 212 Strikeouts (2013)
Chris Carter was the Chicago White Sox’s 15th round pick in the 2005 MLB draft. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks and then to the Oakland Athletics for two weeks in 2007. Carter was again traded to the Houston Astros after the 2012 season and he made his mark in Houston.
Carter played 148 games in 2013, batting at .223 with 29 home runs and 82 RBIs. He also led the Majors in strikeouts with 212 which was also the new record for a right-handed hitter in the American League. Now 33 years old, Carter currently plays as a designated hitter for the Acereros de Monclova in the Mexican League.
Mark Reynolds, DBacks: 211 Strikeouts (2010)
Mark Reynolds’ second trip to this list happened for a second team. In 2010, Reynolds was coming off his 223-strikeout season in 2009 and he flirted with setting a new record for the second straight year. Luckily he didn’t but that didn’t prevent him from joining this list again.
As with the previous season, Reynolds put up great numbers with 32 homers, 85 RBIs, and a career-high 83 walks in a total of 145 games played. Despite those impressive power numbers, Reynolds will hold the infamous record of leading the league in strikeouts for another season.
Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees: 211 Strikeouts (2018)
Giancarlo Stanton played for the Miami Marlins until the 2017 season when he was traded to the New York Yankees. The 30-year old from California is known for his physical strength and prodigious hitting power. He stands 6-6 tall and weighs 245 pounds and has a knack for hitting long home runs.
In 2018 however, Stanton led the MLB with 211 strikeouts which tied Mark Reyolds’ tally in 2010. Stanton however, finished that season with 38 home runs, 34 doubles, and 100 RBIs. A year earlier, he led the Majors in home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage to earn the NL MVP award.
Chris Davis, Orioles: 208 strikeouts (2015)
Chris Davis makes our list for the second time. Before he struck out 219 times in 2016, Davis also led the Majors in strikeouts in 2015. He also led the MLB in strikeout percentage that season, whiffing off in almost one-third of his batting appearances that season.
Despite leading the league in strikeouts, Davis still had a very good season in 2015 as he ranked second in the American League in RBIs with 117 and posted a 12.2 bats-per-home run ratio for the Orioles.
Aaron Judge, Yankees: 208 Strikeouts (2017)
Aaron Judge was the Yankees’ first-round pick in 2013 and 2017, he was named to the All-Star team and won the Home Run Derby, the first rookie to do so. He also finished the year with 52 home runs, breaking the record for most home runs by a Yankees’ rookie and the most home runs by a Major League rookie.
But while Judge established himself as a full-fledged star during his rookie season, he also had a very high strikeout total. He led the league in that department with 208 which was a Yankees record and the MLB rookie record. Judge however finished second in the AL MVP voting and was named as the unanimous choice for AL Rookie of the Year.
Joey Gallo, Rangers: 207 Strikeouts (2018)
Joey Gallo was the Texas Rangers’ first-round pick in the 2012 MLB draft. The 26-year old from Nevada made his MLB debut in 2015 where he became the first Rangers player to finish with 4 RBIs in his first-ever MLB game. Gallo ranked 2nd in an at-bats-per-home run at 12.5 and he was also 3rd overall with 40 home runs.
After finishing second in the league with 196 strikeouts in 2017, Gallo struck out 207 times in 2018. Luckily for him, Yoan Moncada and Giancarlo Stanton struck out more times that season so he was just 3rd in that statistical department that season. Last season, he became the fastest American League player to hit 100 home runs, accomplishing the feat in his 377th career game.