Why batting average with RISP is meaningless:
Citing hitters' batting averages with runners in scoring position (RISP) is an oft-quoted thing around Major League Baseball.
Turns out, it means almost nothing.
For a career, most batters hit within a few points of their overall average with RISP. Even Hall of Famer Tony Perez, known as a great clutch hitter, hit only five points higher with RISP (.284) than his overall average (.279).
The fifth-place Reds are hitting better with RISP than the first-place New York Mets.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are hitting a whopping .291 with RISP (13 points higher than their overall average) yet have scored fewer runs than the Reds.
And don't suggest that it's harder to hit with RISP. The NL overall batting average is .261; with RISP, it's .260.
What does matter is how many opportunities a team gets with RISP.
That is a result of on-base average, which includes walks. The Reds are second-to-last in the league, with 754 at-bats with RISP. The Phillies, who are hitting nine points lower with RISP than they are hitting overall, lead the league in runs scored because they have good hitters and also are tops with 921 at-bats with RISP. If the Reds had as many opportunities as the Phillies, they would have 37 more runs, even if they hit only .220 with RISP. And that would be good for four more wins.
Conclusion? When the Reds consider trades and other acquisitions, they should take a hard look at the new guy's on-base average.
What's hurting the Reds isn't all those home runs and strikeouts; it's all those low OBAs (David Ross, Alex Gonzalez, Ryan Freel, Brandon Phillips and Jeff Conine).
And, of course, poor pitching and defense and a weak bench.