Anyone who has watched the Milwaukee Brewers this season knows that right fielder Norichika Aoki does not strike out very often. The fact is he almost always gets a bat on the ball in order to give himself a fighting chance for an infield single, at the very least. What is even more impressive than watching him consistently put the ball into play is the numbers themselves.
In 263 plate appearances this year, Aoki has only managed to strike out 12 times. That means he strikes out approximately once every 22 times he steps up to the plate. In fact, he is one plate appearance away from tying the franchise record of 60 consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout. It does not take a genius to figure out that no one else in Major League Baseball comes close to these numbers.
Manager Ron Roenicke likes the idea of his right fielder never striking out, especially when other players on the team are whiffing at a ridiculous pace. However, what Roenicke does not want to see is Aoki just hitting the ball for the sake of not striking out instead of concentrating on recording a hit.
“I mean, that’s impressive, no doubt,” Roenicke said, according to Brewers.com. “But I don’t want it to become a thing where he’s not giving you the good at-bat where he’s trying to drive the ball instead of just putting it in play because he hasn’t struck out. So it depends on what goes on with those at-bats. I still see him squaring up a lot of baseballs. … But [not striking out] can’t be a focus.”
Aoki is batting .299 with four home runs, 13 RBI, nine doubles, six stolen bases and a .369 on-base percentage in 234 at-bats.