How Do You Win in October? Tom Verducci Breaks Down the Playoffs

Baseball’s postseason has changed—and so has everything you thought you knew about winning in October. The keys to becoming a 21st-century champ? Get hits with runners in scoring position. Put the bat on the ball and jump on every chance to score. And with the strikeout rate at an all time high, postseason success begins with hitters who avoid the K (page 42).

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said, “When putting a roster together, we’re always looking for balance. We want some players who hit for power, for extra bases and we always like guys that get on base. What you’re trying to avoid is somebody who strikes out a lot and is not a run producer.”

If your team doesn’t strike out and can hit with runners in scoring position, you may just find yourself in the Fall Classic. The past six teams to reach the World Series have ranked first, first, fifth, fourth, second and eighth in their leagues in fewest strikeouts. As for hitting with runners in scoring position, the past six World Series teams ranked first, first, 16th, third, fifth and 10th. This approach suits the Giants, Cardinals, Rangers and Tigers very well. They all finished in the top six in each category.


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