Fanning the strikeout flames

Looking for a good debate this morning?

Perhaps you'll settle for the following:

Should the Orioles' front office be focused on reducing the number of strikeouts in the lineup?

One argument suggests that strikeouts are the same as a pop up, and much better than a double play grounder, so there's no reason to obsess over them. It's just one out. But another argument suggests that it's always better to put the ball in play - especially with a runner on third base and fewer than two outs - since there's a better chance that something good can happen.

Matt-Wieters_White-Batting-Tall.jpgThe Orioles had seven players who struck out 100 or more times last season. Mark Reynolds (159) and Robert Andino are gone (100), taking 259 strikeouts with them.

Of the remaining five, Chris Davis had 169 strikeouts, Adam Jones 126, Matt Wieters 112, J.J. Hardy 106 and Wilson Betemit 103.

Betemit had only 341 at-bats, so he fanned at an alarming rate - if you're really down on strikeouts.

As a team, the Orioles totaled 1,315 strikeouts, the sixth-highest total in the majors. The Athletics led the way with 1,387 while batting .238, an average that ranked 28th in the majors.

This is the same team that won the American League West.

The Astros had the second-highest number of strikeouts with 1,365 and ranked 29th with a .236 average.

This is the same team that lost 107 games, posting the worst record in baseball.

The Pirates amassed 1,354 strikeouts, the Nationals 1,325 and the Rays 1,323. Washington won 98 games and batted .261, ranking ninth in average.

Adam LaRoche, the free-agent first baseman coveted by many Orioles fans, struck out 138 times. Danny Espinosa led the Nationals with 189 strikeouts, and some people in the organization who would like to see him whiffing in another uniform next year. That's an obscene amount for a guy with 17 homers.

So, do you have an issue with the Orioles' strikeout total, or is it misplaced energy to fret over it?

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