There have been a lot of free swingers through the years.
Bo Jackson averaged 0.24 strikeouts per walk during his career. Corey Patterson racked up 4.5 whiffs per free base, while Shawon Dunston checks in with a career ratio of five to one. Miguel Olivo takes the cake, though, striking out 6.8 times per walk over his 12-year career.
None of that compares to the 22.5-to-1 ratio that J.P. Arencibia has through five weeks of the 2013 season.
Arencibia doesn't quite lead the league in strikeouts, but he's close. Despite 45 whiffs in 127 at-bats, he's only been granted two free bases all season.
He's never been particularly adept at putting the bat on the ball, so this isn't anything new. Coming into this season he had 4.5 strikeouts for each walk, which would put him tied for sixth-worst in the list linked in the opening sentence of this slide, if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.
He has the sixth-worst strikeout rate of any player over the past four seasons, and aside from the aforementioned Olivo, his on-base percentage is 30 points lower than anyone else on the list. In fact, he has the third-lowest on-base percentage of anyone over the last four years.
His ratio will inevitably improve a bit throughout the season, but this is hardly an issue of a small sample size early in the season. Arencibia has proven throughout his brief career that he's more likely to strike out than get on base. Thus far, he has 297 strikeouts for the 278 times he's reached base.
By my count, there are only two non-pitchers in MLB history with at least 2,000 plate appearances and a strikeout rate worse than their on-base percentage—Russell Branyan (1,118 Ks vs. 1,115 times on base) and Bo Jackson (841 Ks vs. 812 times on base).
To see what the other end of the spectrum looks like, there's a Hall of Famer by the name of Joe Sewell who played in the 1920s and 30s. In his career, he reached base 3,148 times via hit, walk or HBP and struck out only 114 times in 8,329 career plate appearances.
J.P. Arencibia will probably have that many strikeouts by the time we reach the All-Star break.