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nate
06-19-2009, 11:52 AM
Excerpt (http://www.redszone.com/forums/Link):


I got on the subject of looking up pitchers whose ERAs wildly differ from their actual performance level today so I decided to share. We hopefully all know by now that ERA is a very flawed measurement of a pitcher’s performance and that is why we defer to metrics like FIP, DERA or tRA. Using a combination of the three, I decided to pull the top five pitches on each side of the luck spectrum and present them.

First, a word of explanation on what I mean when I use the term luck. It actually comprises three distinct realms: defense, park and noise. A pitcher may change his or her approach depending on the quality of the defense behind him, though I am not sure if we have ever seen an extensive study really delve into the topic, but I consider the presence of a good or bad defense behind the pitcher to be outside of his control and thus, a pitcher is lucky if he has a good one and unlucky if he does not. Ditto on pitcher’s versus hitter’s parks. The last part is the actual luck, or noise as we statisticians are more apt to label it.
You can read the rest at the link above.

I've found this interesting because the Reds have some pitchers who've been helped and hurt (http://www.fangraphs.com/winss.aspx?team=Reds&pos=all&stats=pit&qual=0&type=1&season=2009&month=0) by their defense. Rhodes and Cueto seem to have been "picked up" by the defense most often while Homer Bailey and Jared Burton have been "let down."

As a team, the Reds defense (http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&type=1&season=2009&month=0) has helped their pitchers out quite a bit. On the other end of the spectrum, it looks like the Indians D has let their pitchers down regulary.

Any thoughts?

lollipopcurve
06-19-2009, 11:57 AM
As a team, the Reds defense has helped their pitchers out quite a bit. On the other end of the spectrum, it looks like the Indians D has let their pitchers down regulary.

Any thoughts?

Hasn't it been an article of faith that the Reds FO knows little about defense while the Indians front office is cutting edge? If so, how to explain these results?

jojo
06-19-2009, 12:03 PM
Hasn't it been an article of faith that the Reds FO knows little about defense while the Indians front office is cutting edge?

No-that would be a gross and inflammatory over generalization that might otherwise poison a thread that offers a potentially interesting break from Willy Taveras discussion.

lollipopcurve
06-19-2009, 12:12 PM
No-that would be a gross and inflammatory over generalization that might otherwise poison a thread that offers a potentially interesting break from Willy Taveras discussion.

Disagree. Nate cites 2 teams whose approach to roster building have been generalized about plenty, with consideration for defense included as an important element in the assessments of the teams' roster building abilities. One can choose to re-examine one's position on how well those teams have constructed those rosters, or on what strategies those teams have used in constructing those rosters, or one can look at other ramifications of the data. In either case, there's no need to become inflamed.

jojo
06-19-2009, 12:16 PM
Disagree. Nate cites 2 teams whose approach to roster building have been generalized about plenty, with consideration for defense included as an important element in the assessments of the teams' roster building abilities. One can choose to re-examine one's position on how well those teams have constructed those rosters, or on what strategies those teams have used in constructing those rosters, or one can look at other ramifications of the data. In either case, there's no need to become inflamed.

For the sake of argument, i'll retract the inflammatory part of the gross and inflammatory over generalization.

nate
06-19-2009, 12:23 PM
Hasn't it been an article of faith that the Reds FO knows little about defense while the Indians front office is cutting edge? If so, how to explain these results?

No.

blumj
06-19-2009, 12:24 PM
The Indians defense probably takes a pretty big hit with Sizemore and Cabrera on the DL.

lollipopcurve
06-19-2009, 12:25 PM
No.

Was the Reds roster construction strategy foreseen as being as effective as it has been, in terms of employing plus defenders? My sense is no. And if not, what did people miss?

nate
06-19-2009, 12:28 PM
The Indians defense probably takes a pretty big hit with Sizemore and Cabrera on the DL.

True. I think they've just recently taken the "lead" away from the Nats.

membengal
06-19-2009, 12:31 PM
Was the Reds roster construction strategy foreseen as being as effective as it has been, in terms of employing plus defenders? My sense is no. And if not, what did people miss?

I think it was. Replacing Jr. with Bruce was an immediate upgrade on OF D. Replacing Kepp/Hairston with Alex G was an immediate upgrade at SS D. Love Dunn, but he can't make the plays out there that Nix has ended up making. Same upgrade, and people saw that coming.

I don't think the D and potential D improvement was missed in the least. The only fuss I have is that they didn't do as good a job in CF, but let's leave that alone for now as there are other threads for that...

nate
06-19-2009, 12:34 PM
Was the Reds roster construction strategy foreseen as being as effective as it has been, in terms of employing plus defenders? My sense is no. And if not, what did people miss?

I thought the team would be improved defensively. The biggest question was SS. Could Gonzo make it back or would we see Hairston out there? Gonzo did make it back and he's been OK. Nix is a better defender than Dunn in LF, Jay Bruce is awesome in RF. Hernandez and Hanigan seem to be able to catch balls that are thrown right at them which is an improvement. Rosales plays nice D at 3B. BP is great at 2B and Votto has shown improvement at 1B. Hernandez has been an acceptable backup while Votto's been gone.

As for what "people" missed, who knows and frankly, who cares? Let's talk about what we think rather than assign an abstract to what they think.

Scrap Irony
06-19-2009, 12:54 PM
In the thread, most people agreed the Reds would be improved defensively, but argued about how much. Most said the improvement would be obvious, but not worth more than 10-20 runs over the course of the year.

That has proven extremely conservative so far. If the Reds continue to play as they have so far this season defensively, they should be among the top five or six teams in the majors.

Too, as the Reds were constructing the team, many on this site insisted Cleveland had the superior front office and their approach was praised as among the best in the game. Most agreed that Cleveland used numbers much better and more effectively than Cincinnati in constructing a team.

When discussing team defense, however, Cleveland was not mentioned.

Of course, most would rather ram a sharp stick in their eye than admit being wrong on message boards anyway.

nate
06-19-2009, 01:08 PM
In the thread, most people agreed the Reds would be improved defensively, but argued about how much. Most said the improvement would be obvious, but not worth more than 10-20 runs over the course of the year.

That has proven extremely conservative so far. If the Reds continue to play as they have so far this season defensively, they should be among the top five or six teams in the majors.

Too, as the Reds were constructing the team, many on this site insisted Cleveland had the superior front office and their approach was praised as among the best in the game. Most agreed that Cleveland used numbers much better and more effectively than Cincinnati in constructing a team.

When discussing team defense, however, Cleveland was not mentioned.

Of course, most would rather ram a sharp stick in their eye than admit being wrong on message boards anyway.

Arguing for and against "most people," "Most" and "many on this site" is what makes me ram a sharp stick in my eye.

I'd rather discuss the article than engage in another epic strawman war.

Can we try it?

Mario-Rijo
06-19-2009, 01:31 PM
Excerpt (http://www.redszone.com/forums/Link):

You can read the rest at the link above.

I've found this interesting because the Reds have some pitchers who've been helped and hurt (http://www.fangraphs.com/winss.aspx?team=Reds&pos=all&stats=pit&qual=0&type=1&season=2009&month=0) by their defense. Rhodes and Cueto seem to have been "picked up" by the defense most often while Homer Bailey and Jared Burton have been "let down."

As a team, the Reds defense (http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&type=1&season=2009&month=0) has helped their pitchers out quite a bit. On the other end of the spectrum, it looks like the Indians D has let their pitchers down regulary.

Any thoughts?

My 1st thought is tough to help a couple guys who seem to have found a way to stay right smack in the middle of the plate whenever they are not clearly outside it. Those guys will likely have a higher than normal LD% is my assumption. Tough to stop a bullet LD over the IF's heads and dropping before it reaches the OF. 2 other thoughts on Homer, hitters seem to hit the ball right back up the gut on him more than any other guy we have and with authority. Tough to defend that. And the other would be that it's such a small sample size for Homer that we can't really make anything of it. Just seems to me when I think of all the times Homer has pitched I see that hard 2 hopper right back up the middle time and again.

jojo
06-19-2009, 01:34 PM
Was the Reds roster construction strategy foreseen as being as effective as it has been, in terms of employing plus defenders? My sense is no. And if not, what did people miss?

Which roster?

Here's some comments about the defense taken from the thread below:


Assume Bruce can be roughly a 2.5 win OFer this year (which is what he's basically projected to be assuming he's a neutral defender). It would be pretty tough for the rest of the outfield not to be better than Jr+Corey circa '08.

The improvement is likely to come from the defense. Taveras is a push over Patterson/Hairston. So the gains will be on the corners vs Jr and Dunn from last year. Of course that is if Gomes isn't getting significant defensive innings as a platoon partner.

Given the production the Reds actually got last season, the Reds in reality aren't looking at a 4 win upgrade in their outfield over last season unless something truly extraordinary happens (Lord Bruce is anointed, cough, cough).

Here's the thread talking about the outfield... (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74358&highlight=defense+reds)

Basically, the outfield would be improved significantly through defense but the associated offensive trade off would decrease the magnitude of the outfield upgrade.

Concerning shortstop, Gonzo was a wildcard and I think it's fair to characterize most peoples opinion by saying he would have to prove he could do it.

Hernandez probably had the biggest spread concerning people's opinion about his impact.

Here's a look at what their defense was projected to look like (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74707&highlight=reds+2009+projected)....

Those would suggest a roughly 40 to 45 run defensive upgrade just by kicking Dunn, Jr and Keppy to the curve given in house replacement options.

nate
06-19-2009, 01:35 PM
My 1st thought is tough to help a couple guys who seem to have found a way to stay right smack in the middle of the plate whenever they are not clearly outside it. Those guys will likely have a higher than normal LD% is my assumption. Tough to stop a bullet LD over the IF's heads and dropping before it reaches the OF. 2 other thoughts on Homer, hitters seem to hit the ball right back up the gut on him more than any other guy we have and with authority. Tough to defend that. And the other would be that it's such a small sample size for Homer that we can't really make anything of it. Just seems to me when I think of all the times Homer has pitched I see that hard 2 hopper right back up the middle time and again.

Yeah, I agree about the sample size. The guy on the frowning side of the D with a large enough sample size is Bronson. But, his FIP is almost the same as his ERA so I don't think he's being hurt too badly by the D.

That does go to your point because when he's off, aside from Owing, I think he's the starter that gets hit the hardest.

RichRed
06-19-2009, 01:41 PM
Rhodes and Cueto seem to have been "picked up" by the defense most often while Homer Bailey and Jared Burton have been "let down."


The defense completely screwed Paul Janish!

Mario-Rijo
06-19-2009, 01:46 PM
The defense completely screwed Paul Janish!

Yeah there is some era our staff will never get back.

Scrap Irony
06-19-2009, 01:46 PM
Sure, we can try it.

Defensively, Cincinnati seems to have employed the Theo Epstein Approach, in that he's looking for at least average players at as many positions as possible. Too, he has primarily focused on OF defense.

In the offseason, I did some research and discovered most playoff teams had excellent defensive OFs (or at least above average OF D). Jocketty's MO as a GM is to focus on outfield leather and assume decent offensive production while focusing on IF bats with decent gloves. This season all three OF spots grade out of above average. For all the teeth gnashing about Taveras' bat, his glove ranks as just above league average and that's with a week long sulk wherein he's really struggled out there. Bruce has been great since the first couple of weeks and the LF quartet has been downright awe-inspiring. (The difference between 08's LF D and 09's LF D is staggering.)

This worked quite well until Votto got.. whatever Votto got.

Gonzalez has been solidly above average, especially considering how poorly Reds' SS performed last season. Phillips and Votto looked great. 3B remained a problem, espcially with Hairston. (In fact, Hairston is the one guy who's really struggled with the leather, at both 2b and the hot corner, aside from Encarnacion.)

Overall, Jocketty's plan (scouts mixed with a few numbers) has worked wonders.

Why are they struggling to play D behind specific pitchers? Perhaps because they've got two guys playing out of position (Herandez and Hairston) and small sample size issues.

nate
06-19-2009, 01:47 PM
The defense completely screwed Paul Janish!

Now he'll get hosed in arbitration!

jojo
06-19-2009, 01:49 PM
Rhodes and Cueto seem to have been "picked up" by the defense most often while Homer Bailey and Jared Burton have been "let down.

Cueto is likely due for a correction in both his LOB% and HR/FB rates and I'm hoping we don't have to wade through "what is wrong with Cueto" threads during the second half of the season unless he actually does pitch worse (i.e. he could easily pitch similarly and have the results be worse).

I also think that now is the time to sell on Rhodes too...

nate
06-19-2009, 01:50 PM
Why are they struggling to play D behind specific pitchers? Perhaps because they've got two guys playing out of position (Herandez and Hairston) and small sample size issues.

I think M-R's post was on point about this. Guys the D can't help are guys who couldn't hit the corners, albeit in very small sample sizes. Otherwise, the defense is generally very helpful this year.

nate
06-19-2009, 01:56 PM
Cueto is likely due for a correction in both his LOB% and HR/FB rates and I'm hoping we don't have to wade through "what is wrong with Cueto" threads during the second half of the season unless he actually does pitch worse (i.e. he could easily pitch similarly and have the results be worse).

I can dig it. His K-rate seems down too. I guess those two things could be slightly related because if he's not striking them out, then the defense has to catch the ball.


I also think that now is the time to sell on Rhodes too...

Interesting ramifications. Would that indicate they're punting this season? Who would replace him?

Scrap Irony
06-19-2009, 02:00 PM
It wouldn't indicate punting the season at all and there are interesting arms that could replace him, but the casual fan would complain (as would sports' radio), so it likely won't happen.

Though I agree selling high on Rhodes would be a good idea.

traderumor
06-19-2009, 02:04 PM
Cueto is likely due for a correction in both his LOB% and HR/FB rates and I'm hoping we don't have to wade through "what is wrong with Cueto" threads during the second half of the season unless he actually does pitch worse (i.e. he could easily pitch similarly and have the results be worse).

I also think that now is the time to sell on Rhodes too...I'm not real sure that Rhodes, as a 40 year-old reliever, is going to get the kind of return that makes taking his production out of our pen worthwhile, unless he's a pot sweetener. Even then, seems like so much churning to me.

nate
06-19-2009, 02:10 PM
I'm not real sure that Rhodes, as a 40 year-old reliever, is going to get the kind of return that makes taking his production out of our pen worthwhile, unless he's a pot sweetener. Even then, seems like so much churning to me.

It depends on how much a team that's "close" needs bullpen help.

jojo
06-19-2009, 02:16 PM
Interesting ramifications. Would that indicate they're punting this season? Who would replace him?

I meant from the standpoint that he's likely to give up more runs going forward.

The Reds should be adding production not subtracting it so no to the punt IMHO.

Mario-Rijo
06-19-2009, 02:17 PM
It depends on how much a team that's "close" needs bullpen help.

The demand for quality back end relief help is at an all time high right now. I think it was Rosenthal who said recently that the Rockies could probably get more for Huston Street right now than Oakland could get for Matt Holliday. That said I disagree that trading Arthur wouldn't indicate a punting unless it immediately improved us elsewhere and I doubt a trade like that would happen.

TheNext44
06-19-2009, 02:37 PM
I also think that now is the time to sell on Rhodes too...

With Viola dealing in AAA,

3.21ERA 28.0IP 15H 18BB 32K 1.18WHIP

Trading Rhodes makes sense. The Pirates got Brian Giles for a hot lefty reliever. Teams always need good lefty relievers.

Eric_the_Red
06-19-2009, 04:51 PM
I don't think selling high on Rhodes and selling low on Rhodes would net drastically different returns. "If it ain't broke..."

Highlifeman21
06-19-2009, 07:14 PM
Arguing for and against "most people," "Most" and "many on this site" is what makes me ram a sharp stick in my eye.

I'd rather discuss the article than engage in another epic strawman war.

Can we try it?

Strawmen are the RZ way.

I think it's in the bylaws, actually.

Joseph
06-20-2009, 02:17 PM
I don't think selling high on Rhodes and selling low on Rhodes would net drastically different returns. "If it ain't broke..."

I'd have to agree with you. He's not prohibitive salary wise, and he's effective.

The only reason to deal him [great trade in our favor aside] would be if a sharp decline is expected ala some of our other older relievers in the last few seasons [not an illogical assumption mind you] and you want to take him away from Dusty who won't stop using him after the expected decline.