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View Full Version : The Fallacy of Potent Hitting of the Past



Edskin
05-06-2009, 06:52 AM
Reading RZ, there is a common refrain about how it's frustrating that we can't hit like we have for the past 10 years now that the pitching appears stellar. But that just seemed like revisionist history to me, so I did a little research....

In the end, all offensive stats should lead to one conclusion: Runs scored. The entire notion of OPS is based on it's correlation with scoring runs-- so, when looking at team stats from a broad historical perspective, runs scored is truly the be-all, end-all stat.

And when it comes to scoring runs, the 2000-2008 Reds were not only NOT great, they were below the ML average in terms of yearly ranking.

Reds ML rank in runs scored:

08: 23rd
07: 14th
06: 22nd
05: 4th
04: 20th
03: 26th
02: 20th
01: 21st
00: 14th

That comes to an average of 18th and that is made a bit higher by our lone exceptional offensive season in 2005.

Yes, the offense looks a bit worse this year and will most likely rank 20th or below, but it's really not totally far off from past trends. I'm just not sure what people are pining away for...

KittyDuran
05-06-2009, 06:59 AM
I'm just not sure what people are pining away for... IMHO, it's WAYYYY too easy... the "Big Donkey's" HRs! ;)

Cyclone792
05-06-2009, 07:19 AM
And when it comes to scoring runs, the 2000-2008 Reds were not only NOT great, they were below the ML average in terms of yearly ranking.

A much more accurate comparison is NL only, not MLB. We don't have the luxury of the designated hitter in our lineup.

Edskin
05-06-2009, 07:43 AM
A much more accurate comparison is NL only, not MLB. We don't have the luxury of the designated hitter in our lineup.

Ask and you shall receive....

08: 12th
07: 7th
06: 9th
05: 1st
04: 10th
03: 13th
02: 9th
01: 12th
00: 5th

Average of a 9th place rank in the NL. Again, with one big year helping keep us from closer to the bootom.

18th out of 30 in mlb and 9th out of 16 in the NL. Either way, nothing to long for.

redsfandan
05-06-2009, 08:05 AM
Right now we've dropped from 12th last year all the way to 14th. And so far most of the offense has underperformed. Will we score less than last year? Barring a trade yeah we will. But will it be as bleak as some seem to make it out to be? Doubt it.

CarolinaRedleg
05-06-2009, 08:22 AM
Based on early looks, we might score less than we have in years past. Then again, from the same early looks, so will they. Our pitchers are dealing right now and I think the bats are starting to wake up a bit.

Cyclone792
05-06-2009, 08:41 AM
Ask and you shall receive....

08: 12th
07: 7th
06: 9th
05: 1st
04: 10th
03: 13th
02: 9th
01: 12th
00: 5th

Average of a 9th place rank in the NL. Again, with one big year helping keep us from closer to the bootom.

18th out of 30 in mlb and 9th out of 16 in the NL. Either way, nothing to long for.

Actually, 9th or roughly average in the NL in run scoring would be a nice thing to long for this season. That would give the team a realistic playoff shot if the pitching ultimately holds up and finishes in the top 3 or 4 in the league. The Pirates are currently 9th in the NL in run scoring right now, and they're averaging 4.5 runs per game, or a half run better than we are at the moment.

Good to very good pitching can get you to the playoffs with merely an average or slightly below average offense. But it would take near historically great pitching to get a poor offensive team to the playoffs.

jojo
05-06-2009, 08:46 AM
This thread is pretty accurate. The potency of the Reds offense in the earlier part of this decade is mostly romanticism rather than reality. I think it gets more credit than it deserves because other aspects of the Reds were pretty bad.


I think any aspect of the game where a team truly has a sledge hammer advantage dramatically increases their chances even if flawed in other places. In '01 the Ms were sledgehammer offensively and defensively and pretty vanilla pitching-wise.

The Reds were basically an offense only team from '00-'08 but their offense wasn't actually exceptional. For instance the Yanks scored over 850 runs 7 times (over 900 twice) during that period. Boston scored over 900 runs three times during that period. The Reds actually only managed to score more than 800 twice during that period (825 and 820). Unfortunately they were the anti-'01 Ms in other aspects of the game as atrocious defense accentuated their pitching but not in a good way.

Just being good at one thing though, probably isn't going to get it done.

RedsManRick
05-06-2009, 09:48 AM
Adjust those offenses for park effects to get a better look at the underlying talent involved and it's clear the Reds of the past decade were largely mediocre offenses who couldn't field or pitch. Definitely not a successful combo.

medford
05-06-2009, 12:41 PM
thanks for the info edskin, this is along the same line I was thinking while reading the "reds are boring" thread. The offense wasn't really all that great the last decade, lots of moon shot homeruns, but not neccessarily great at scoring runs. In fact, they ended up right about where I would have guessed, namely league average.

Here's the question, lets say at trade deadline time you need 1 or 2 pieces to complete the puzzle and mold a roster that can contend for a playoff spot and World Series Championship. Is it easier to acquire solid pitching, or solid hitting depending on which is deemed the final piece? I guess the hitting is somewhat dependent upon what spot they'd need to play in the field, specifically its going to be much easier to find someone that can swing a mean bat and play LF rather than a kid that can play a solid SS and have a decent bat as well.

In the Reds case, a SS wouldn't hurt, but it seems like a big bat could certainly fill in at LF, or even 3B if he's capable enough (and EE doesn't bounce back). I would think acquiring a starting pitcher and/or bullpen ace would cost you more than a decent bat.

anyone else think differently?

RedEye
05-06-2009, 12:50 PM
Here's the question, lets say at trade deadline time you need 1 or 2 pieces to complete the puzzle and mold a roster that can contend for a playoff spot and World Series Championship. Is it easier to acquire solid pitching, or solid hitting depending on which is deemed the final piece?


Conventional wisdom would say that it is easier to acquire hitting at the deadline, and I suppose that's why a lot of the buzz around July 31st is always about those two or three aces that could be made available. That said, I wonder if anyone has ever tested that intuition in any empirical way. I suppose it would take research into the deadline deals of the past decade or so and then some sort of method of measuring how "easily" teams got what they were looking for.

membengal
05-06-2009, 12:54 PM
I think, in fairness, that a lot of the concern over losing Dunn was that the Reds were losing a chunk out of an already not-very-good offense, and how to keep the not-very-good offense from being even worse. Edskin's numbers are a nice reminder that the offense was indeed not exactly world-beating, even with Dunn.

nate
05-06-2009, 01:16 PM
I think, in fairness, that a lot of the concern over losing Dunn was that the Reds were losing a chunk out of an already not-very-good offense, and how to keep the not-very-good offense from being even worse. Edskin's numbers are a nice reminder that the offense was indeed not exactly world-beating, even with Dunn.

Especially when combined with a "world-beaten" pitching staff!

Edskin
05-06-2009, 01:37 PM
For the record, this was not meant to be a "Dunn bash" thread--just wanted to try and quantify a feeling I had.

WVRedsFan
05-06-2009, 01:57 PM
Just a thought and a belief:

The offense is not as bad as it appears right now, but it's not as good and exciting as some proclaim.

Back in 2004-2005, etc., it was exciting to see the HR, watch the ball bounce off the wall, etc. Of course the pitching staff gave up those runs as well as some more. they didn't hit well with runners on base. Lots of problems. This season, there is just a lack of punch--extra base hits, but if you've noticed, Votto, at least consistently delivers. That's a change.

One more bat and this could be a really surprising season.

Scrap Irony
05-06-2009, 01:59 PM
I don't know of anyone who says this offense, as currently contructed, is "exciting". Some have argued that it will be less poor than others proclaimed.

bucksfan2
05-06-2009, 02:39 PM
Just a thought and a belief:

The offense is not as bad as it appears right now, but it's not as good and exciting as some proclaim.

Back in 2004-2005, etc., it was exciting to see the HR, watch the ball bounce off the wall, etc. Of course the pitching staff gave up those runs as well as some more. they didn't hit well with runners on base. Lots of problems. This season, there is just a lack of punch--extra base hits, but if you've noticed, Votto, at least consistently delivers. That's a change.

One more bat and this could be a really surprising season.

This team has something the Reds lineup has sorely missed since 2000. They have a legit 3 hole hitter. Through the first month + of the season Votto has proven that he is an anchor to a lineup. ESPN along with Elias, and several other rankings (seen here http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playerrating) rank Votto as the 8th overall player in baseball through the first month of the season. The Reds haven't seen a hitter with that much ability since Jr's first season as a Red. A player like Votto seems to make the lineup much better just by his presence.

As for the Reds of the lineup I can see Jay Bruce put up similar numbers to Dunn when all is said and done. He won't be as good, but he won't be that far off. The C position is a definite improvement upon last year and the rest of the lineup remains very similar to the previous seasons.

I don't know if they can keep a winning record without production from Phillips or the 3B position. And I agree if they are able to add a legit bat this team could turn into a playoff contender. I know its a pipe dream but if Holiday were inserted into the 4 hole in this order the Reds would be legit contenders for the NL Central as well as the Wild Card.

OnBaseMachine
05-06-2009, 03:14 PM
I was just looking at team hitting stats on ESPN. The average National League offense has scored 119 runs through 26 games. The Reds have scored 102 runs. I can't help but wonder where the Reds would be right now if they had just an average offense. My guess is they would be at least 16-10 or 17-9. I do think some guys are due for a correction (Phillips, EdE when he returns) but this offense still isn't very good. Walt needs to acquire a bat.

Falls City Beer
05-06-2009, 03:18 PM
Just a thought and a belief:

The offense is not as bad as it appears right now, but it's not as good and exciting as some proclaim.

Back in 2004-2005, etc., it was exciting to see the HR, watch the ball bounce off the wall, etc. Of course the pitching staff gave up those runs as well as some more. they didn't hit well with runners on base. Lots of problems. This season, there is just a lack of punch--extra base hits, but if you've noticed, Votto, at least consistently delivers. That's a change.

One more bat and this could be a really surprising season.

I'm the most bullish person I know on this site about this offense, and I don't see it being anymore than an average NL offense, 8th-ish.

TheNext44
05-06-2009, 03:26 PM
One thing that the past numbers point out is that even with some big time offensive producer like Dunn, Griffey, Casey, J. Guillen, Hamilton.... an offense can be dragged down by a few well below average hitters getting a lot of PA's.

Here is partial list of Reds hitters over the last decade who got way more PA's than they should have:

Patterson
Bako
Keppinger
Ross
Conine
Freel
Hopper
Castro
Valentin
Wily Mo
Jimenez
Kearns (really was never as good as expected)
Larson
Mateo
Braynan
R. Taylor
W. Guerrero
Ochoa
R. Rivera
M. Tucker

And you could include LaRue and Reece, but they justified their playing time with solid defense.

What this says about this year is that Dickerson, Hairston and Gonzalez and EE (when/if they come back) better pick it up for the Reds to contend. That is at least as important as getting another big bat.

nate
05-06-2009, 04:30 PM
One thing that the past numbers point out is that even with some big time offensive producer like Dunn, Griffey, Casey, J. Guillen, Hamilton.... an offense can be dragged down by a few well below average hitters getting a lot of PA's.

Here is partial list of Reds hitters over the last decade who got way more PA's than they should have:

Patterson
Bako
Keppinger
Ross
Conine
Freel
Hopper
Castro
Valentin
Wily Mo
Jimenez
Kearns (really was never as good as expected)
Larson
Mateo
Braynan
R. Taylor
W. Guerrero
Ochoa
R. Rivera
M. Tucker

And you could include LaRue and Reece, but they justified their playing time with solid defense.

What this says about this year is that Dickerson, Hairston and Gonzalez and EE (when/if they come back) better pick it up for the Reds to contend. That is at least as important as getting another big bat.

Good point.

mth123
05-06-2009, 10:20 PM
Ask and you shall receive....

08: 12th
07: 7th
06: 9th
05: 1st
04: 10th
03: 13th
02: 9th
01: 12th
00: 5th

Average of a 9th place rank in the NL. Again, with one big year helping keep us from closer to the bootom.

18th out of 30 in mlb and 9th out of 16 in the NL. Either way, nothing to long for.
These numbers are not so surprising.

I guess it makes failure to address it in the off-season even more negligent than some believe. Its not like it was a good offense that hoped to get by as the guard changed. It was a poor offense that lost its top run producer.

BCubb2003
05-06-2009, 10:48 PM
How does 1999 rank? It's part of the previous 10 years. My hunch is thkat 1999 and and 2005 defined the idea of the big hitting and weak pitching Reds.

Edskin
05-07-2009, 12:00 AM
How does 1999 rank? It's part of the previous 10 years..

Doesn't seem like it, does it? Might as well have been 100 years ago.

westofyou
05-07-2009, 10:53 AM
How does 1999 rank? It's part of the previous 10 years. My hunch is thkat 1999 and and 2005 defined the idea of the big hitting and weak pitching Reds.

Nope, 1999 Reds hitting despite being the Reds team with the most runs post 19th century was also a shade under the league average in offense and above average in pitching (slightly)

ochre
05-07-2009, 06:06 PM
The Reds' three biggest run scoring seasons since they traded for Griffey were:
825 runs (4th in NL)
820 runs (1st in NL)
783 runs (7th in NL)

Griffey's PAs in those seasons:
623 PA (.942 OPS)
555 PA (.946 OPS)
631 PA (.869 OPS)

The other seasons he averaged ~350 PA.

I think the aught Reds were, offensively anyway, a team built around Griffey. When he was healthy the team scored runs.

M2
05-07-2009, 06:17 PM
Ask and you shall receive....

08: 12th
07: 7th
06: 9th
05: 1st
04: 10th
03: 13th
02: 9th
01: 12th
00: 5th

Here's my question, who thought the Reds had a good offense from 2001-4? I don't recall a lot of people around here saying they did. Pitching was still the bigger problem, but the offense didn't deserve any praise either.

ochre
05-07-2009, 06:21 PM
Here's my question, who thought the Reds had a good offense from 2001-4? I don't recall a lot of people around here saying they did. Pitching was still the bigger problem, but the offense didn't deserve any praise either.
That ties in with my post too. Those were the darkest years from the perspective of Griffey's health.
'01 417 PA
'02 232 PA
'03 201 PA
'04 348 PA

That's a whole lot of money tied up in a guy that was having a hard time getting 300 PAs per season for those 4 years.