PITTSBURGH -- Everywhere we turn in Major League Baseball media coverage these days, we see repeated references to two large-scale phenomena: Optimized launch angle and increased strikeout rate.

As a team that constantly seeks every inefficiency available in its quest to win on a budget, the Pirates have likely considered the possible benefits of swimming against the various currents existing in the modern game.

So, it's easy to point to the Pirates' low strikeout rate this season -- their 19.5 percent ranks 28th in the majors and 14th in the National League -- and say, 'A-ha! That's why their lineup has been outstanding.'

"We're trying to be pesky up there," said Corey Dickerson, whose 10.7 percent 'K' rate is lowest among Pirates regulars. "Put the bat on the ball. When you do t...

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