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Scrap Irony
12-15-2008, 04:09 PM
OPS+ for the past 10 World Series winners

2008 Phillies
C Carlos Ruiz 63
1B *Ryan Howard 124
2B *Chase Utley 135
3B Pedro Feliz 81
SS #Jimmy Rollins 103
LF Pat Burrell 125
CF #Shane Victorino 106
RF Jayson Werth 121
AVG OPS+: 107.25

2007 Red Sox
C #Jason Varitek 103
1B Kevin Youkilis 117
2B Dustin Pedroia 112
3B Mike Lowell 124
SS Julio Lugo 65
LF Manny Ramirez 126
CF #Coco Crisp 83
RF *J.D. Drew 105
DH *David Ortiz 171
AVG OPS+: 111.8

2006 Cardinals
C Yadier Molina 53
1B Albert Pujols 178
2B #Aaron Miles 74
3B Scott Rolen 126
SS David Eckstein 81
LF So Taguchi 78
CF *Jim Edmonds 110
RF Juan Encarnacion 93
AVG OPS+: 99.125

2005 White Sox
C *A.J. Pierzynski 90
1B Paul Konerko 136
2B Tadahito Iguchi 104
3B Joe Crede 96
SS Juan Uribe 85
LF *Scott Podsednik 86
CF Aaron Rowand 93
RF Jermaine Dye 118
DH #Carl Everett 94
AVG OPS+: 100.22

2004 Red Sox
C #Jason Varitek 121
1B Kevin Millar 117
2B #Mark Bellhorn 107
3B #Bill Mueller 106
SS Pokey Reese 46
LF Manny Ramirez 152
CF *Johnny Damon 117
RF Gabe Kapler 77
DH *David Ortiz 145
AVG OPS+: 109.78

2003 Marllins
C Ivan Rodriguez 120
1B Derrek Lee 131
2B #Luis Castillo 106
3B Mike Lowell 128
SS Alex Gonzalez 96
LF *Todd Hollandsworth 93
CF *Juan Pierre 94
RF Juan Encarnacion 97
AVG OPS+: 108.125

2002 Angels
C Bengie Molina 58
1B #Scott Spiezio 115
2B *Adam Kennedy 110
3B Troy Glaus 113
SS David Eckstein 101
LF *Garret Anderson 127
CF *Darin Erstad 86
RF Tim Salmon 133
DH *Brad Fullmer 133
AVG OPS+: 108.44

2001 Diamondbacks
C Damian Miller 89
1B *Mark Grace 113
2B Jay Bell 88
3B Matt Williams 92
SS *Tony Womack 64
LF *Luis Gonzalez 174
CF *Steve Finley 91
RF Reggie Sanders 117
AVG OPS+: 103.5

2000 Yankees
C #Jorge Posada 139
1B *Tino Martinez 89
2B Chuck Knoblauch 92
3B Scott Brosius 70
SS Derek Jeter 128
LF *Ricky Ledee 90
CF #Bernie Williams 140
RF *Paul O'Neill 92
DH Shane Spencer 99
AVG OPS+: 104.33

1999 Yankees
C #Jorge Posada 91
1B *Tino Martinez 104
2B Chuck Knoblauch 118
3B Scott Brosius 84
SS Derek Jeter 153
LF *Ricky Ledee 110
CF #Bernie Williams 149
RF *Paul O'Neill 107
DH #Chili Davis 108
AVG OPS+: 113.78

This gives you an average World Series offense at roughly 106.635. That means the offense needs to be around six percentage points above average.

Generally, you need at least:
One 150+ OPS bat
or
Two 130-ish OPS+ bats

PLUS

Two 110-125 OPS + bats
or
Four 100-115 OPS + bats

PLUS
< Two 75 - below OPS + bats

But that's not really true. As you can tell, there is more than one way to skin a cat. In this case, over the past ten years or so, teams that have won it all have employed at least three paradigms:

1. The Epstein Approach: Get rid of as many holes in your lineup as you can and replace them with bats that are at least league average. Defense is imperative only at key positions (either 2B/ SS or both, C, CF). You need not have an MVP candidate, but you have to have at least three 115+ OPS+ boppers. The more 115+ OPS men you have, the more likely you can hide a poor bat with a great glove.
WS Champs include: Yankees (99), Angels, Marlins, White Sox, Phils, Red Sox (04 & 07)

2. The Pujols Effect: Surround an MVP candidate having a HOF year (150 OPS+) with an average team. Hope they get hot with the bat or the team's starters go supernova. You need at least two high octane bats other than your superstar (around a 115-120 OPS+) and team D becomes more and important as the bats diminish, especially, suprisingly, in the OF. (Throughout the OF, not just in CF.) Middle infield D is not altogether important, though the players should be sure-handed. Range is not a big deal across the IF, but is in the outfield.
WS Champs include: Red Sox (04 & 07), Yankees (00), Cardinals

The Fabulous Ones Addendum: The Red Sox teams of 04 and 07, the Yanks teams of 99 and 00, and the Angels melded both of the above approaches; however, instead of one Pujolsian superstar, the above mentioned teams had two superstars having career/ HOF seasons (130+ OPS+) along with a generally average / above average offense.

What does this have to do with the 09 Reds? Which paradigm is Jocketty targeting? I think it's obvious he's trying to work out the Epstein Approach and has done at least a credible job so far (assuming, of course, Taveras stays far, far away from the starting lineup). I'm really suprised OF D has proven as valuable as it has and that IF D hasn't (especially up the middle).

Comments?

camisadelgolf
12-15-2008, 04:18 PM
Great post. Do you happen to have any idea where the 2007 Reds were in relation to the above teams? And what do you expect out of the 2008 Reds? It looks to me like the Reds don't yet have an 'Albert Pujols', but everyone (not including the pending left fielder) in the starting lineup is capable of putting up OPS+ 105 or higher.

Mario-Rijo
12-16-2008, 01:42 AM
I 2nd that Great post observation. A fresh & slightly different view is a must at this point.

I would also 2nd Cam's question, how we lookin'? I see as a team (pitchers included) we had an OPS+ of 93 last year but that was with Dunn (130 OPS+). What should we be doing and what's the least acceptable possibility and what is the realistic chances in the worst case scenario based on those models?

My 3 most likely scenarios in order of least to most likely.

Dickerson CF
Phillips 2B
Bruce RF
Dye LF
Votto 1B
Encarnacion 3B
Hernandez C
Gonzo SS

Taveras CF
Kepp SS
Bruce RF
Atkins LF
Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Encarnacion 3B
Hernandez C

Taveras CF
Kepp SS
Votto 1B
Phillips 2B
Bruce RF
Rivera LF
Encarnacion 3B
Hernandez C

Ideally I'd like this at minimum to happen:

Dickerson CF
M. Izturis SS
Bruce RF
Encarnacion 3B
Votto 1B
Rivera LF
Phillips 2B
Hernandez C

dfs
12-16-2008, 10:19 AM
To put things in perspective. With Junior and Dunn last year contributing a 130 and a 103, the reds OPS+ was 93.

They need Votto to keep doing what he did. Phillips to actually contribute something besides counting numbers. Plus have Edwin AND Bruce step forward in order to get over 100.

Then you need the pitching and defense of the 06 Cards or the 05 White Sox in order to get over the top.

Falls City Beer
12-16-2008, 10:31 AM
To put things in perspective. With Junior and Dunn last year contributing a 130 and a 103, the reds OPS+ was 93.

They need Votto to keep doing what he did. Phillips to actually contribute something besides counting numbers. Plus have Edwin AND Bruce step forward in order to get over 100.

Then you need the pitching and defense of the 06 Cards or the 05 White Sox in order to get over the top.


I think the Reds could have a defense very much like the 2007 Red Sox (provided they fix short). But they're not going to have their starting pitching or their offense. My point is, the Reds can attack this problem a lot of ways, and defense may be one of those ways, but I think they have a much longer way to go in their pitching and offense than their defense. And that's a sobering sign.

nate
12-16-2008, 10:46 AM
I think the Reds could have a defense very much like the 2007 Red Sox (provided they fix short). But they're not going to have their starting pitching or their offense. My point is, the Reds can attack this problem a lot of ways, and defense may be one of those ways, but I think they have a much longer way to go in their pitching and offense than their defense. And that's a sobering sign.

I'd rate it thusly:

Offense
Defense
Pitching

With "pitching" being the closest to "OK."

Spitball
12-16-2008, 11:05 AM
Maybe it will take something "outside the box" for the Reds to compete. Like maybe signing Taveras which would mean Baker would definitely bat him leadoff. The Reds then would likely get off to a terrible start and the tabloids, internet forums, and talk shows would blast Baker for "Cory Patterson revisited."

With such strong public outcry, the Reds would then find a new manager. ;)

Falls City Beer
12-16-2008, 12:10 PM
I'd rate it thusly:

Offense
Defense
Pitching

With "pitching" being the closest to "OK."

Though the tipping point for pitching is much more tentative: one starter starts like he did last year (Arroyo was as bad a starter the first three months of the season as anything Milton produced in his time here), then pitching moves up to the front of the line (especially when you consider this team's middle relief).

In terms of potential, I can see the argument for your order, in terms of depth and likely reality, pitching needs to be closer to the top, IMO.

I'd say: Pitching/Offense
Defense

But of course it's impossible to separate offense and defense, and not much easier to separate defense and pitching.

Spitball
12-16-2008, 12:18 PM
Though the tipping point for pitching is much more tentative: one starter starts like they did last year, then pitching moves up to the front of the line (especially when you consider this team's middle relief)...

I don't believe the Reds, or any team, can ever have too much pitching. I remember the Red Sox trading 14-game winner Arroyo because their rotation was full. Before the end of the season, they were signing the likes of Kevin Jarvis to fill out their rotation.

Falls City Beer
12-16-2008, 12:20 PM
I don't believe the Reds, or any team, can ever have too much pitching. I remember the Red Sox trading 14-game winner Arroyo because their rotation was full. Before the end of the season, they were signing the likes of Kevin Jarvis to fill out their rotation.

I agree though it's not "law." The Cubs couldn't give away enough pitching to be bad.

In this park, the Reds need to be 1995 Atlanta pitching-heavy.

Scrap Irony
12-16-2008, 03:22 PM
A few observations:

The Red offense as it stands:
Dickerson CF: OPS+ of 160, but only 102 at-bats. A platoon with Kapler (120 OPS+ in 08) or Hairston (120+ OPS + in 08) would make a monster out of CF and make Tavares useless except as a PR.

Keppinger SS: His glove, when healthy, is as good as half the starting SS on the list above and his 07/ early 08 bat (120+ OPS+) would be ideal as a second place hitter. Is he more late 08 or 07? My guess is just above league average.

Votto 1B: Really nice first season. Will he regress in 09? Most of his comps (including Todd Helton, his most similar) enjoyed much better seasons the second go-round. Two or three of the ten, however, got hurt.

FA LF: Manny would be ideal. Burrell's been talked about already. Dunn is a broken record of he-said stereotypical snark. Bradley's another topic. But two trade targets I'd consider are from wildly different teams. If the Yankees sign Teixeira, Xavier Nady has nowhere to play and little cache among NY sportswriters or fans. He's solid and last year saw a marked improvement. Mirage? Fluke? Perhaps. I'm betting an Arroyo, Bailey swap for Nady and Hughes may work. Elijah Dukes, when he wasn't preening or hurt, enjoyed a really, really solid season. And he still underperformed his talent level. He's my #1 target, but Jocketty has promised never to deal with Bowden again. Still, Washington has five starting OF at his point, so something ought to give soon. I'm guessing a couple second tier starters may turn the trick, a la Maloney and Bailey. Perhaps it might cost an Arroyo, but that may be a good choice, too. His glove is better than Nady's at this point as well.

Bruce RF: This age 22 year (first full year, too) is the season that many HOF/ upper echelon All Star superstars really turn it on. He's in high company and should become a dominant player or years to come. Or, he could consistently hit 260/330/500. Either way, he should be above average.

EdE 3B: The most likely regular to join Votto in the 120 OPS+ Club in 09. He's just entering his prime years and his power could blossom. Is his glove good enough to keep him at the hot corner? His glove is well below all those on the list above him. So far below, in fact, as to make it likely he may have to move or improve a great deal.

Phillips 2B: That Phillips hit cleanup last season is, IMO, the third-biggest error in the Dusty Baker led Red team (behind the continued presence of Bako and Patterson on a team with better options at both positions). Phillips is a league average hitter. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less. If he can hit in the 280 or better range, he's above average. His glove makes up for much of his bat. He'd be a very good SS, with Keppinger at second. Too bad it'll never happen.

Hernandez C: There's really no disadvantage to carrying a slightly below average catcher offensively. Is his glove good enough? For the list above, he's decidedly below par. Still, perhaps it's interest and not age. If so, he's not bad.

The team, with a true cleanup hitter, could be above average, but a lot of things would have to break right. No significant injuries, all young hitters would have to progress, and Keppinger, Phillips, and Hernandez would all have to improve. But, on the optimistic side, all have track records of doing just that sort of thing, so they do have that going for them. Which is nice...

M2
12-16-2008, 05:14 PM
Nice first post in the thread Scrap.

I'd say what the Reds need more than anything is cohesion. The components need to fit together to produce winning baseball. The defense needs to bolster the pitching. The offense needs to defend. The pitching needs to keep the game close on the days when runs for the offense aren't come easy and early.

Successful teams generally score, pitch and defend well.