Note: This will be a continuous thread throughout the season that I hope to be able to update around twice a month to show how the Reds are trending both offensively and pitching/defensively.
Last season I ran a running thread throughout the season to track the Reds' statistical trends from a pitching/defense viewpoint, and I even attempted to highlight some of the differences in games in which Griffey started in center field compared to games in which he did not, and in games in which Harang or Arroyo started on the mound compared to games in which they did not.
This season I'm going to try to take the analysis a bit further and monitor the trends for both the offense and the pitching/defense. When the Reds trend up, we'll have a pretty good idea why, and when the Reds trend down, we'll similarly have a pretty good idea why. First, here's the offensive output through the first two weeks of the season ...
The Reds' offense can be summed up nicely throughout the first two weeks of the season with just two words: they stunk. However, the National League as a whole has seen a drop in offense as well so the level of stink from Reds batters is only moderate when compared to the rest of the league. Of course, a large chunk of the country was stuck in well below average temperatures through the first two weeks of the season, and hitters typically do not like cold weather. As the weather warms up, so will offenses across the league, and the hope is that the Reds offense heats up hotter than the rest of the league.Code:Overall Team Totals R/G BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ PA/BB PA/HR PA/2B PA/EBH PA/GIDP PA/SO 2005 Reds 5.03 .261 .339 .446 .785 107 10.35 28.47 18.87 11.05 54.49 4.85 2005 NL 4.45 .262 .330 .414 .744 100 11.83 38.50 20.89 12.73 48.38 5.88 2006 Reds 4.62 .257 .336 .432 .768 95 10.25 29.01 21.64 12.11 51.61 5.28 2006 NL 4.76 .265 .334 .427 .761 100 11.67 35.35 20.77 12.19 49.24 5.76 2007 Reds 3.58 .226 .316 .344 .660 81 8.84 44.20 34.00 18.42 40.18 5.33 2007 NL 4.09 .250 .326 .387 .713 100 --- --- --- --- --- -- R/G BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ PA/BB PA/HR PA/2B PA/EBH PA/GIDP PA/SO 2005 Reds 5.03 .261 .339 .446 .785 107 10.35 28.47 18.87 11.05 54.49 4.85 2006 Reds 4.62 .257 .336 .432 .768 95 10.25 29.01 21.64 12.11 51.61 5.28 2007 Reds 3.58 .226 .316 .344 .660 81 8.84 44.20 34.00 18.42 40.18 5.33
As it stands now though, Reds batters have excelled thus far this season in one offensive category, walks, and they're taking walks with an improved PA/BB ratio of 8.84 (i.e. Reds batters have drawn one walk per every 8.84 plate appearances). In each of the previous two seasons, Reds batters averaged one walk per every 10+ plate appearances. If the Reds can maintain their very nice walk rate throughout the season, their on-base percentage and run scoring will ultimately benefit.
However, extra base hits and any type of hits period have disappeared from the Reds lineup almost entirely during the first two weeks of 2007. The team's batting average has dropped to .226, which is 24 points lower than the NL as a whole currently. Both home runs and doubles are way down from the previous two seasons, and the Reds' team slugging percentage has dropped all the way down to .344. Even the NL as a whole, despite being down itself, is still slugging .387 collectively. In 2005, the Reds averaged an extra base hit every 11 plate appearances. In 2006, that number creeped up to one extra base hit every 12 plate appearances. So far in 2007, the Reds are only smacking an extra base hit every 18 plate appearances.
Not surprisingly, the lack of hits and extra base hits has dropped the Reds' runs per game average all the way down to 3.58 runs per game. While the NL's run scoring has also dropped down to 4.09 runs per game, the Reds' offense is still performing at a below average clip altogether. As the weather warms up, so should the offense, but if the Reds continue to pace below the league average offensively then it could become very difficult to keep contending in the NL Central.
Now the pitching/defense, and this has been a very pleasant surprise for all Reds fans ...
A couple reference points here ...Code:Overall Team Totals R/G ERA dERA ERA+ HR/9 K/9 BB/9 K/BB 2B/9 DER BABIP 2005 Reds 5.45 5.15 4.75 86 1.38 6.00 3.09 1.94 2.30 .691 .317 2005 NL 4.45 4.22 4.27 100 1.02 6.57 3.29 1.99 1.89 .708 .300 2006 Reds 4.94 4.53 4.53 106 1.33 6.56 2.89 2.27 2.05 .699 .310 2006 NL 4.76 4.49 4.39 100 1.12 6.71 3.39 1.98 1.91 .705 .303 2007 Reds 3.42 3.01 3.45 132 0.75 7.61 2.42 3.14 1.84 .709 .300 2007 NL 4.09 3.66 4.06 100 0.82 6.62 3.61 1.83 ---- --- --- R/G ERA dERA ERA+ HR/9 K/9 BB/9 K/BB 2B/9 DER BABIP 2005 Reds 5.45 5.15 4.75 86 1.38 6.00 3.09 1.94 2.30 .691 .317 2006 Reds 4.94 4.53 4.53 106 1.33 6.56 2.89 2.27 2.05 .699 .310 2007 Reds 3.42 3.01 3.45 132 0.75 7.61 2.42 3.14 1.84 .709 .300
BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play): The batting average on all balls hit into play off a pitching staff. This is primarily determined by a combination of luck and the fielding defense behind the pitcher. League average is around the .300 mark, and normally BABIP figures usually find their way back to that .300 mark as the number of games increases. If a pitching staff is below .300, they are considered to be hit-lucky. If they are above .300, they are considered to be hit-unlucky. Regression to the mean, in this case .300, almost always occurs as a season progresses.
DER (Defensive Efficiency Ratio): The ratio of balls in play that the defense is able to convert into outs. This is also driven partially by luck, however, teams with better fielding defenses will almost certainly find their way among the league leaders in DER while teams with poorer fielding defenses will likely find their way among the league trailers in DER. A very good DER would be near 0.740, while a very poor DER would be around 0.670. League average is around the 0.700 to 0.710 level.
dERA is DIPS ERA, which is a formula originally created by Voros McCracken. It is a stat that attempts to isolate the factors that are not dependent on the fielding defense behind a pitcher (i.e. strikeouts, walks, and home runs). It is used to deterine how an individual pitcher or pitching staff has performed regardless of the defense behind them.
ERA+ is simply a measure of a pitcher or team's ERA, adjusted for home park, and compared to the league average. An ERA+ over 100 is above average, and below 100 is below average.
Most of the other pitching statistics should be fairly self-explanatory.
Not only have the 2007 Reds improved in every pitching category from last season, they're at least above average in every category compared to the NL this season, and in some instances they're well above average. Have Reds pitchers likely had an advantage pitching to hitters in cold weather so far in 2007? Most likely, but so has the rest of the league as a whole. When offense heats up, pitching numbers will regress a bit league-wide, but hopefully the regression for the Reds' staff won't outpace the league-wide regression.
Personally, I'm excited about the altogether improvement across the board.
Reds pitchers are striking out over a batter more per 9 innings than they did in 2006, and they're also walking fewer batters per 9 innings than they did in 2006. They've also allowed fewer home runs, and their DIPS ERA has dropped a full run. Defensively, the team's defensive efficiency ratio has improved from previous seasons, and the team's BABIP allowed is right on league average compared to being well below average during the previous two seasons. Tally it up, and it's easy to see how the Reds' team ERA and runs allowed figures have dropped by 1.5 runs.
Here's the Reds' pitching staff splits by starters and relievers ...
Once again, there's a significant improvement from previous seasons in just about every category. Reds starters are striking out more batters, walking fewer batters, and allowing fewer home runs (though the latter is helped by Eric Milton only receiving one start so far). Reds relievers have improved everywhere except for their walk ratio.Code:Starting and Relief Splits ERA dERA HR/9 K/9 BB/9 K/BB 2005 Starters 5.38 4.93 1.56 6.07 2.95 2.06 2006 Starters 4.58 4.43 1.31 6.61 2.64 2.50 2007 Starters 3.54 3.25 1.06 7.66 2.00 3.82 2005 Relievers 4.75 4.44 1.05 5.87 3.34 1.75 2006 Relievers 4.44 4.74 1.36 6.44 3.40 1.89 2007 Relievers 1.72 3.98 0.86 7.47 3.45 2.17
Now here's the Reds' game splits by games started by Harang/Arroyo or other starting pitchers. All relief performances occurring in games in which Harang or Arroyo started are included in their category, and all relief performances occurring in games started by other starting pitchers are included in that category. The goal is to show how the average total pitching effort looks in each category. Coming into the season, a massive question mark is how the Reds pitching would perform in games not started by Aaron Harang or Bronson Arroyo. So far, that answer is looking nice ...
The numbers we're seeing in games started by the back end of the rotation are almost a cinch to worsen, but so far the pitching has been better overall in non Harang/Arroyo starts. Not surprisingly, as the season continues the pitching staff as a whole will rely much more heavily on Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo than it has so far.Code:Game Splits ERA dERA HR/9 K/9 BB/9 K/BB 2006 Arroyo/Harang 3.83 4.14 1.17 7.13 2.62 2.72 2007 Arroyo/Harang 3.46 3.41 0.52 7.62 3.29 2.32 2006 Other SP 5.04 4.80 1.42 6.13 3.11 1.97 2007 Other SP 2.59 3.49 0.97 7.60 1.62 4.70
Finally, the raw runs scored/allowed and actual record for the first two weeks ...
- April 2-15 totals: 43 runs scored and 41 runs allowed in 12 games with an actual record of 7-5.
As the season continues and the Reds' offense and pitching/defense trend in various directions, we'll have a nice idea when the Reds are collectively spiking up and fading down.