For a pitcher, the strikeout is a stat that shows the ability to fool opposing hitters. For a hitter, the strikeout tells us about the batter's contact skills and patience at the plate.
Recently, strikeout rates have gone up from previous years, with players reaching the 200s in strikeouts. This is a list ranking the 20 worst strikeout hitters of all time.
I ranked the players with four primary stats: total career strikeouts, at-bats per strikeout, average number of strikeouts per 162 games played and how many times the player led the league in strikeouts.
Carlos Delgado struck out less often than any other player on this list. However, he still qualified for the number 20 slot. Delgado struck out one every 4.2 at-bats, not the worst, but bad enough to make it on this list. He racked up 1,745 strikeouts in his 17 year career.
Willie Stargell was a historic player in his career, smacking 475 home runs on his way into the Hall of Fame.
However, a stat that most would like to overlook is his 1,936 career strikeouts. Those stats are obviously inflated due to a long career, but striking out once ever 4.1 at-bats isn't something to be proud of.
He was near the league lead in strikeouts in all of his years, even leading the league in 1971.
When I think of Jim Edmonds, I think of a solid hitter who had an amazing glove.
One of the last things I would think of him as is a strikeout hitter. Edmonds had the bad strikeout rate of one strikeout every four at-bats, just a little bit worse than Stargell. He had 1,729 career strikeouts and averaged 139 every 162 games, although he never led the league.
He definitely made up for his big strikeouts with his amazing glove, winning eight Gold Gloves in his career.
Dick Allen was a very respectable baseball player that played primarily with the Philadelphia Phillies until 1977, winning a Rookie of the Year award along with an MVP.
But he had a bad tendency to strikeout.
He had the same strikeout rate as Edmonds, but averaged 144 strikeouts per 162 games played, a little bit worse, not to mention leading the league twice in strikeouts.
However, he was able to get more patience as his career went on, taking more walks instead of striking out at a ridiculous pace.
One of the top power sources in the 90's, Galarraga was one of those hitters that, if he managed to hit the ball, he would drive it far.
But there were a lot of times that he missed the ball when it was thrown to him. In his career, Galarraga recorded a whopping 2,003 strikeouts, leading the league four times and averaging 144 strikeouts per 162 games played.
Brandon Inge is a very overrated player in Detroit.
He does have a solid glove at third base, but most fans give him credit for great power. He can't hit for good average, he only has average power and he's never even won a Gold Glove.
Besides all of those things, Brandon Inge strikes out a lot. Every 3.9 times he steps up to the plate he strikes out, averaging 138 strikeouts per 162 games.
This rate is definitely not the worst, but it also won't help him stay a starter for the Tigers.
With all of the abilities that steroids give you, apparently hand-eye coordination isn't one of them.
"Big Mac" never led the league in strikeouts but whiffed consistently over 16 seasons to accumulate 1,596 total strikeouts in his career. It was typical for someone of his power to strikeout constantly as a lot of power hitters today, and in recent history, follow that trend.
Troy Glaus was a consistent power hitter that was bumped around to five different teams before not getting signed this offseason.
He led the league once in homers, leveled out, and averaged about 34 home runs a season. He also averaged about a strikeout every 3.9 at-bats and 145 every 162 games he played.
He was always a quality player, but his strikeout number didn't help him gain any popularity.
Reggie Sanders played quality, average baseball, hitting an impressive number of home runs, over 300, and putting up a career .267 batting average.
However, he was one of the best in the game in striking out. Although he only led the league once, Sanders struck out 1,614 times before he retired, averaging 147 every season. He was a good player who didn't attract too much attention, but he struck out a little too much to garner a high level of respect.
Ray Lankford was the premier power hitter for the 1990's St. Louis Cardinals, but with that power, came a bad strikeout rate.
Every 3.7 at-bats Lankford came to the plate, he struck out once, averaging 144 strikeouts every full season played while leading the league once in this statistic in 1992. He was a great player who hit for average and had respectable power, but would've gotten a lot more respect if he didn't strike out as much.
Bobby Bonds was more respected as a baseball player than his son Barry, but struck out a lot more.
Bonds struck out once every four at-bats, but he was one of the top strikeout hitters during his era, leading the league in strikeouts three times and recording 1,757 over the course of his entire career.
He had solid power, averaging almost 30 homers a year, but his strikeouts shouldn't be overlooked when judging his overall value as a player.
Jason Bay has been doing very poorly the past two seasons since breaking out with the Red Sox in 2009.
Along with almost all of his power draining away and hitting for a low batting average, Bay has struck out a lot during the games he isn't sitting on the disabled list. He averages 3.7 at-bats per strikeout and 156 for every 162 games he plays.
Hopefully he won't get much worse in the strikeout department or it could get pretty ugly as his career winds down.
Mike Cameron has been a respected baseball player for 17 years now, and although he's in decline, he has put up solid career numbers, such as 278 home runs, 1,700 hits, and a career .249 batting average.
However, a stat that he would like to cover up is his 1,900 strikeouts.
He averages 3.6 at-bats per strikeout and averages 158 for every 162 games he plays. If he continues to play with his declined skill set, those rates and averages will just get worse.
Jose Canseco has been one of the most controversial players in baseball history ever since he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs and then ratted out every player he knew of that took them in his tell-all books.
He had fantastic power, an ability that no doubt benefited from his magical drugs, but he struck out a lot too. He rang up a third strike every 3.6 at-bats on the way to 1,942 career strikeouts.
He led the league only once, but he was near the lead every one of his full seasons.
I didn't expect Pat Burrell to even make the list, not to mention making it to number six. I always thought that Burrell was an average player, with average power and an alright batting average. He has those attributes, but saddled with those abilities is a strikeout monster.
Burrell has racked up 1,559 strikeouts in only 12 seasons, striking out once every 3.5 at-bats. Surprisingly, he has never led the league in strikeouts, but his strikeout rate will continue to get worse and worse as his ability begins to wear down with age.
It's really a shame that Carlos Pena is unable to make contact with the ball almost all the time.
He has such amazing power, shown by his 46 homer campaign in 2007 with Tampa. However, he rarely ever makes contact with the ball.
The 33 year old first baseman has struck 1,266 times in his career, a terrible average of 170 per full season and 3.2 at-bats for each, all terrible stats. Not to mention that, as his skills decline, he will strike out more and more and the rates will become worse and worse.
Reggie Jackson was one of the premier power hitters in the history of baseball. He hit an amazing 563 home runs in his career.
He was also known as one of the best playoff hitters of all-time, earning him the nickname of "Mr. October".
He also holds a more infamous distinction as well. He is the all-time record holder for strikeouts in a career with a whopping 2,597 strikeouts. His strikeout rate is watered down however, due to playing for 21 seasons.
He averaged 149 strikeouts per 162 games and struck out once every 3.8 at-bats. He was the biggest strikeout hitter during his era, as he led the league in strikeouts a record five times in his career.
Jim Thome was an even better power hitter than Jackson, as he has quietly amassed enough homers to join the elusive 600 home run club.
However, with this great power comes a high strikeout rate. Thome strikeouts out every 3.3 at-bats, about 162 times a year. He's second all-time in career strikeouts with 2,480 but probably won't play long enough to take away the record from Jackson.
He is one of the most respected players in history, but he is also one of the worst strikeout hitters in history.
This picture sums up about half of Adam Dunn's career.
The first half is the one where he is hitting home run after home run, racking up 365 in his short career. Then the half shown in the picture is the part fans try to forget, the many times he strikes out.
Dunn has been a historically bad hitter with his strikeouts.
He strikes out every 3 at-bats, and averages 189 per season. He's about half way through his career and with his 1,789 career strikeouts, could possibly catch Reggie Jackson's record. He needs to shape-up soon, he has created a bad habit in striking out that the he and this entire era need to snap out of.
Mark Reynolds is young—he's only 28 years old—and he has great power, hitting153 homers in his small career. But, most of all, Mark Reynolds can strike out at an amazing rate.
Although he has the least amount of career strikeouts on this list with 935, Reynolds is easily the worst strikeout hitter in history. He's on pace to lead the league in strikeouts for the fourth straight year. He set the record for the most amount of strikeouts in a season with 223 in 2009, and every 162 games, Reynolds strikes out an average of 217 times.
But here's the most alarming stat, Mark Reynolds strikes out once every 2.6 at-bats, historically bad. Mark Reynolds is the worst strikeout hitter in the history of baseball.
Strikeouts are a huge part of baseball, and they are getting more and more common as the game evolves.
I'm not sure if you've noticed, but out of the 20 players that made an appearance on this slideshow, 80% of them have played in the last 20 years, showing that players have begun to strikeout more and more.
It's a very slippery slope and I'll hate to see the day when I see someone striking out 300 times in a season and being okay with it, I don't know what the scouts and managers are teaching these players, but someone needs to teach them how to put balls in play.