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View Full Version : Reds Pitching and Defense ===> Still Lousy



Cyclone792
04-19-2006, 06:04 PM
Don't get me wrong, I love the 9-6 start, however, unless the Reds' pitching and defense dramatically improves overnight this team is a time bomb waiting to explode. The only reason we're 9-6 is because we're scoring an average of 6.33 runs per game, and that's a pace that would put this offense at 1,025 runs scored over a full season.

Our offense is great, yes, but we're not scoring over 1,000 runs this season. When the offense drops back down to reality - with reality being the still excellent average of about 5.00 runs per game - the losses will begin to mount. And don't we all know that's when a collection of idiots will begin blaming our hitters for the team's demise, just as M2 foreshadowed as a possibility earlier in the season. Batting average w/RISP and LOB totals will likely be the most cited reasons for the team's demise, and they will all be nothing more than ridiculous assertions, at best.

When the demise happens, and we're already seeing it beginning to unfold, it will be the sole responsibility of the pitching and defense. Unfortunately, what we've already seen through the first 15 games of this season on the mound and in the field isn't much different from what we've seen the previous three seasons. Here's a look at Reds' pitching this season vs. the league average as well as each of the past three seasons:


Sorry Pitching Staff
vs. League Average ERA dERA K/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/BB WHIP

2003 Cincinnati Reds 5.09 4.90 5.80 3.67 1.30 1.58 1.50
2003 National League 4.28 4.34 6.65 3.42 1.05 1.94 1.38

2004 Cincinnati Reds 5.19 5.00 6.19 3.57 1.47 1.73 1.50
2004 National League 4.30 4.38 6.74 3.38 1.11 1.99 1.39

2005 Cincinnati Reds 5.15 4.75 6.00 3.09 1.38 1.94 1.50
2005 National League 4.22 4.27 6.57 3.29 1.02 1.99 1.38

2006 Cincinnati Reds 5.66 4.89 7.43 2.93 1.77 2.53 1.53
2006 National League 4.76 4.70 6.56 3.59 1.28 1.83 1.43

dERA stands for Defense Independent Pitching ERA, and already this season we're back up to 4.89 in dERA, similar to each of the past three seasons. This season's early high dERA total, and high ERA, is thanks in large part to our staff's favorite hobby: giving up the long ball.

Probably the best news from those lines, if there is any, is that our BB/9 and K/BB rates have been slowly improving since 2003. In 15 games this season, our K/9 rate has jumped up to nearly 7.5 K's per nine innings, but I have a difficult time believing our pitchers will be able to hold on to that ratio.

The HR/9 rates our pitchers love to show off speak for themselves, and the arms take much more blame for that than our ballpark does. Given the way our park plays for home runs, an average pitching staff in HR/9 would still only give up about 1.15 to 1.20 HR/9 playing in GABP. Year in and year out, however, our pitchers have been dwarfing the park factor allowances for home runs allowed with totals well over 1.30 HR/9. Heck, this season we may even eclipse 1.50 HR/9, especially if Milton hangs around.

Here's another ugly stat for 2006: Opposing hitters are hitting .298/.351/.523 off Reds pitching. That's an OPS against of .874. The league average OPS is high compared to recent seasons, and it's only about .790 right now. Our pitching staff is taking league average hitters and handing them nearly 100 free points of OPS. It's absurd.

Add in the fact that the Reds' Defensive Efficiency Ratio through Tuesday night's game was an abysmal .682, good for 27th among all MLB teams, and the early returns are just more of the same with shades of misery from 2003-2005 creeping on in.

Either this pitching staff reaches out and grabs a magic cure, or we're in for yet another long, painful season, despite the mirage of our current 9-6 record. I want this team to win as much as everyone else, and I hope I'm entirely wrong here, but right now I just don't see our early success continuing for the rest of the season.

Chip R
04-19-2006, 06:05 PM
In other news, the sun came up in the east today. :p:

Cyclone792
04-19-2006, 06:15 PM
In other news, the sun came up in the east today. :p:

It's been cloudy around here with all the early attention focused on BA w/RISP offensively. :help:

Johnny Footstool
04-19-2006, 06:44 PM
I will say this: the K/9 and K/BB ratios are extremely encouraging. Stunning, even.

PuffyPig
04-19-2006, 06:47 PM
I will say this: the K/9 and K/BB ratios are extremely encouraging. Stunning, even.

If you go back and check the ERA leaders each season, those teams that have pitchers that put up a 2:1 K:W ratio for the entire season
usually end up in the top half of the league in pitching. If you are below 2:1, you are usually in the bottom half.

So, if the Reds ratio remains good, the odds of their ERA dropping should be good.

paulrichjr
04-19-2006, 06:48 PM
I will say this... This ballpark along with our horrible defense is going to mean that our pitching is always going to be below average.

Fullboat
04-19-2006, 07:01 PM
Small Sample Size!!!! Last year was last year and the year before last year and......
oh nevermind. Abandon Ship!! outta my way.

Benny-Distefano
04-19-2006, 07:05 PM
Well I for one am willing to give them until at least .... May. :)

Highlifeman21
04-19-2006, 07:22 PM
Giving up 20 runs to the Marlins, of all teams, in the last two games pretty much tells me that the Reds trip back to earth is around the corner. I have no doubt that by the time we take a full lap around the NL Central, we'll be lucky to be @ .500, at best.

The writing is on the wall. We have quite possibly one of if not the worst defensive SS in baseball. Our best chance at good defense in CF is playing in AAA right now, and his initials are CD. Our latest addition to 2B by committee (not to be confused with our other favorite by committee position: closer) is probably our best defensive option at SS (read: Brandon Phillips).

Hopefully WK will force Narron's hand and make some kind of move to 1, get us to having only 2 catchers on the 25 man roster, and 2, realize that 5+ runs/game is plenty of offense and we need to badly upgrade defensively.

reds44
04-19-2006, 07:24 PM
The writing is on the wall. We have quite possibly one of if not the worst defensive SS in baseball. .
:laugh:

no

remdog
04-19-2006, 07:57 PM
That's nice stat work Cyclone but it's hardly a revelation. All you have to do is watch this team play and you know the same thing.

Certainly, there were no trades this winter that were going to change this around in a hurry. An opportunity to (slightly) improve the 'D' at first and left field got shelved. We've got a team that is only one player short of being able to field a 'starting eight' made up solely of catchers and 2nd basemen---no wonder we can't play defense!

I really don't see this turning around till the off-season when Krivsky can hopefully make some deals and possibly sign a quality free-agent. I hope I'm wrong but, until then, I'll just wallow along in the self-pity that is a Reds fans fate and at least enjoy the fireworks. :)

Rem

PickOff
04-19-2006, 08:28 PM
The Reds have 2 starters under 4 ERA, 2 over 6 ERA, and 1 over 8 ERA, with Claussen leading the way. And of course the stellar bullpen work.

It is mighty hard to have faith in this staff. Harang will probably settle down to around 4 or so, but can Claussen and Arroyo keep it up? As far as Milton and Williams go, uggh. It looks like Krivsky needs to make another couple moves for a starter and a reliever. I don't think any of the starters deserve a rush to judgement at this point, but if there is not improvement by the end of May, there needs to be a trade, not just a call up.

Krivsky should move for a closer or top set-up guy now if he can, however. I really don't care who he trades so long as there is commensurate value in return. We must give up some hitting for pitching here.

Highlifeman21
04-19-2006, 08:28 PM
:laugh:

no


Last year he was and you know it. In numerous threads you've seen the stats, yet you refuse to believe them? Lopez is horrible defensively and you need to step into reality and acknowledge this common truth.

PickOff
04-19-2006, 08:30 PM
Last year he was and you know it. In numerous threads you've seen the stats, yet you refuse to believe them? Lopez is horrible defensively and you need to step into reality and acknowledge this common truth.

Lopez was rated as average, I believe, in the fielder's bible.

KronoRed
04-19-2006, 08:36 PM
I think we as Reds fans seem him as being good because he's not the monolith we had starting at the start of last year.

Cyclone792
04-19-2006, 09:06 PM
Lopez was rated as average, I believe, in the fielder's bible.

I've read somewhere that Lopez was ranked 25th out of 30 in shortstop rankings, but then Erardi's article claimed that Lopez was ranked average. I'm not sure what to believe, so I may just have to pick up the book myself. I've also looked all over for Lopez's 2005 UZR, but I haven't been able to find it.

What I do know is that Lopez was terrible last season in Pinto's PMR, Gassko's fielding range, BP's fielding runs above average and James' defensive win shares. Obviously no system is near perfect, and the merits of all four can be scrutinzed, but that's four outta four systems giving Lopez terrible grades defensively. Additionally, those four grades just makes me even more curious what Lopez's UZR was last season and what The Fielder's Bible really said about him.

RedlegJake
04-19-2006, 09:15 PM
Lopez was rated as average - and with his offense that's liveable. In LF Dunn is below average but his offense way more than makes up for it. EE is still very inconsistent at third and at this point I'd have to say he's subpar defensively but the skills are there to improve. Meanwhile you live with it while he learns. Philips would be a major upgrade at 2nd defensively if he can hit consistently - so far so good, but Narron will insist on playing Womack and RA there, too, costing us defensively without much offset in offense (none in Womack's case). I think you have to live with the young infield and let them play. Hopefully they'll improve the longer they play together. First is subpar, Hatteberg is a statue and Dunn is worse at first than he is in left. AK is above average in right but Junior was rated the WORST CF in baseball. He can't get back quickly anymore, his arm isn't what it was and he can't cut off the gaps to shorten the field for Dunn. Catching and Rightfield are the only positions that defensively are solid and some would argue the catching spot isn't. The Reds pitchers therefore are backed up by poor defense at first, good to average defense at second, average at short and a still error prone inconsistent youngster at third; poor to average CF play that is barely improved with Freel, a solid rightfielder and a subpar leftfielder. You have to wonder how much better Claussen and Harang and Arroyo would be with a good defense behind them. I think they'd be more consistent start to start at the least. Milton? Well, you can't defense home runs and Williams is just overrated imo (at least by Reds scouts - most of this board seems to rate him about right which is below average).

As for the bullpen, well, outside of Coffey and Weathers there isn't much to work with and both of them are merely adequate. Better defense would help but they'd still get shelled a lot.

Besides the obvious - pitching and lots of it, I think the Reds need to trade Griffey, groom the replacement for Felo who will probably be gone as soon as he hits FA if not sooner depending on how expensive he'll be in his arb years, play Philips at second to see if he will find his bat, and acquire a first baseman who is a good glove until Votto is ready. I'd give Denorfia the shot at CF for his defense and keep Freel the super sub since one of the regulars will almost always be out for one reason or another. Next to pitching, though, the rest is just tinkering.

reds2221
04-19-2006, 09:18 PM
if Arroyo could pitch every game then we would have a lower era, but that can't happen

PickOff
04-19-2006, 09:21 PM
Lopez will be 26 in May, and this is his second year as a full time starter at SS. He may get better or he may have topped out. History seems to show that he stands little chance of significant improvement, however.

I think a team goes with the best they got, so if the Reds have a better SS, then play him and move Lopez to 2nd. Phillips may be the answer but he hasn't even played SS in the majors. Lopez is the best the Reds have right now, though I do agree if the Reds can find a better SS then he should go to second.

I don't think moving Lopez should be a huge priority this year, however. I question if his defense hurts the Reds that much, considering his offense.

lollipopcurve
04-19-2006, 09:24 PM
we're in for yet another long, painful season,

No such thing. Think about winter.

Team's got some huge holes, but the offense is great to watch and there are some real nice young players who haven't entered their primes yet. Good stuff.

Falls City Beer
04-19-2006, 09:38 PM
I think there are unlimited reasons to be gloomy about this season, but I also think it's going to be very interesting to see how this team gets reshaped to contend next year. I'm a believer that a small shift in the balance of this ballclub can thrust them into contention.

Highlifeman21
04-19-2006, 09:57 PM
Lopez was rated as average - and with his offense that's liveable. In LF Dunn is below average but his offense way more than makes up for it. EE is still very inconsistent at third and at this point I'd have to say he's subpar defensively but the skills are there to improve. Meanwhile you live with it while he learns. Philips would be a major upgrade at 2nd defensively if he can hit consistently - so far so good, but Narron will insist on playing Womack and RA there, too, costing us defensively without much offset in offense (none in Womack's case). I think you have to live with the young infield and let them play. Hopefully they'll improve the longer they play together. First is subpar, Hatteberg is a statue and Dunn is worse at first than he is in left. AK is above average in right but Junior was rated the WORST CF in baseball. He can't get back quickly anymore, his arm isn't what it was and he can't cut off the gaps to shorten the field for Dunn. Catching and Rightfield are the only positions that defensively are solid and some would argue the catching spot isn't. The Reds pitchers therefore are backed up by poor defense at first, good to average defense at second, average at short and a still error prone inconsistent youngster at third; poor to average CF play that is barely improved with Freel, a solid rightfielder and a subpar leftfielder. You have to wonder how much better Claussen and Harang and Arroyo would be with a good defense behind them. I think they'd be more consistent start to start at the least. Milton? Well, you can't defense home runs and Williams is just overrated imo (at least by Reds scouts - most of this board seems to rate him about right which is below average).

As for the bullpen, well, outside of Coffey and Weathers there isn't much to work with and both of them are merely adequate. Better defense would help but they'd still get shelled a lot.

Besides the obvious - pitching and lots of it, I think the Reds need to trade Griffey, groom the replacement for Felo who will probably be gone as soon as he hits FA if not sooner depending on how expensive he'll be in his arb years, play Philips at second to see if he will find his bat, and acquire a first baseman who is a good glove until Votto is ready. I'd give Denorfia the shot at CF for his defense and keep Freel the super sub since one of the regulars will almost always be out for one reason or another. Next to pitching, though, the rest is just tinkering.


Bolded statement above is entirely not true.

Dunn @ 1B

Year G Inn. TC PO A E RF F%
2002 44 352 388 360 22 6 9.77 .985
2003 19 84.2 90 81 8 1 9.46 .989
2004 10 58.2 80 76 4 0 12.27 1.000
2005 33 251.1 259 244 11 4 9.13 .985

Dunn would vastly improve our defense @ 1B if we played him there everyday.

Johnny Footstool
04-19-2006, 10:23 PM
It's baffling that the staff has been this bad even though they are striking batters out at a high rate and not walking anyone. The longball really kills you.

Cyclone792
04-19-2006, 10:40 PM
It's baffling that the staff has been this bad even though they are striking batters out at a high rate and not walking anyone. The longball really kills you.

Not only is it baffling, but it's disheartening.

I would hold out some hope if I knew our staff K/9 would remain near 7.5 and if our staff K/BB would stay close to 2.5, but I'm not confident at all they can maintain those figures. I do think our HR/9 will drop down a bit, though I think it will still hang around the 1.5 mark, and that's still just way too high.

What I expect to happen over the course of the season is for all the rate stats to level off to their expected levels, meaning an improvement in our current HR/9 rate, but a dropoff in K/9 and K/BB. The one improvement I expect the team to maintain is BB/9.

If I had to take a stab at guessing our end of season dERA, my guess would be 4.60. That'd be a slight improvement over last season's 4.75 dERA, but with our defense, the actual team ERA will still likely be in the 4.75 to 5.00 range.

Cyclone792
04-20-2006, 12:45 AM
Here's our individual DIPS ERA numbers. The sample sizes, especially for relievers, makes this more humorous than anything, but it's interesting nonetheless:


Arm dERA Actual ERA

Coffey 2.36 1.17
Claussen 3.00 3.18
Hammond 3.30 24.00
Belisle 3.92 5.40
Burns 4.28 7.56
Mercker 4.56 2.70
Harang 4.57 6.35
Arroyo 4.89 3.86
White 5.84 5.59
Milton 5.99 6.50
Williams 7.74 8.00
Weathers 7.75 4.05
Gosling 15.24 13.50

Team 4.89 5.66