I like to look at comparisons with the rest of the NL. I think they show that the Reds are a better than average offensive team and a worse than average pitching team (for the NL). The offense is pretty good, but not good enough to compensate for the pitching.
These are overall stats, and don't consider improvement/diminishment as the team has changed throughout the year.
Offensively, the team is a high home run and walk team but deficient in getting base hits. Run production lags behind OPS/OBP. As of today, in the NL, they are:
First in Walks
First in Home Runs
Second in OPS (.791)
Tied for second in OBP (.342)
Fifth in runs
Eighth in hits
Tied for 10th-12th in Batting Average (.263)
Pitching wise, the team is improved over 2005. I don't have the 2005 numbers handy, but the team ERA (last two years) was over 5. Now the numbers are a bit better:
11th in team ERA (4.67)
11th in runs allowed
15th (of 16) in OPS against (.804)
First in homers allowed
Third in fewest walks allowed
Ninth in most strikeouts
7th in saves (tied)
I guess my conclusion is that the Reds have steadily had a good offense the last three years and still do. The offense would be even better with a few higher BA hitters. (Griffey and Dunn hitting around .250 with lots of at bats obviously pulls down the BA for the team.)
But overall pitching is still the culprit. The Reds are competing this year because the pitching is finally in a "normal" range (as opposed to the horrendous numbers in 2004 and 05). But the pitching numbers at this point are still unsatisfactory. (Note that the OPS against is .804, worse than the offensive OPS of .791)
To go a bit further, the following starting ERAs are -- in my view -- the single biggest problem. Mays (27 IP) - 7.33; Claussen (77 IP) - 6.19; Michalak (21 IP) - 5.56; Ramirez (104 IP) - 5.37; Milton (141 IP) - 5.16.
So, with all the frustration over the offense and bullpen, it looks to me that getting two good new starting pitchers next year would dramatically upgrade this team.