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Thread: The Solo-HR Offense

  1. #1
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    The Solo-HR Offense

    Okay, humor me. Let's take a hypothetical offense here. For now, we'll call it MyFavoriteTeam.

    This is the what MyFavoriteTeam has to offer offensively:

    Code:
    POS	AVG	OBP	SLG
    P	0.123	0.155	0.153
    C	0.246	0.307	0.358
    1B	0.274	0.363	0.413
    2B	0.262	0.306	0.419
    3B	0.278	0.348	0.450
    SS	0.270	0.318	0.403
    LF	0.248	0.381	0.519
    CF	0.258	0.298	0.414
    RF	0.290	0.374	0.553
    Avg	0.250	0.317	0.409
    That .250/.317/.409 offensive performance might be "good" (or merely good enough) if it was paired with the 1985 Royals pitching staff or the 2001 D'Backs hurlers. But how does this offense survive in a hitters park in 2008? Well, that's a mere hypothetical at this point.

    Now, let's say that the stud RFer shown above is a serious injury risk. And the 1B is old and is an implosion risk. The 3B has upside, but he's the sole major contributor with serious upside.

    If I was rooting for MyFavoriteTeam, I most assuredly would be frightened by the "offense" from these middle defenders. The collective OBPs from these middle defenders look atrocious: .307, .306, .318, and .298. Nevermind the pitcher. How can you build an offense when no one is on base?? Collectively, this view of the team's OBP is 0.020 below league average.

    On the other hand, there appears to be some pop, and it's nicely distributed across the lineup. There's no way the pop makes up for the serious deficiency in OBP--instead, it looks like a team that will be heavily dependent on the solo HR for its runs. Essentially, I would say MyFavoriteTeam is a rather poor offensive team, and it will be starved for runs in a HR-friendly park in 2008.

    Perhaps life would be made easier by rooting for the 2008 Red Sox instead.

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  3. #2
    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: The Solo-HR Offense

    Hmmm. Collectively your view of the teams OBP is below league average but I think its a flawed view.

    For one thing using Phillips career 162 g avg isn't fair or accurate. Much more likely to be the avg of his 2 seasons in Cincy which is .327 not the .306 you list.

    Keppinger is going to be the SS for awhile at least and his OBP is .400 last year or .367 for his career, not the .318 listed. Keppinger should maintain something close to his career avg -he's a legitimate hitter and he'll be in the lineup more often than not even when AGon returns.

    Votto and Hatte should combine to be right around the OBP listed, which is good. And I don't think Hatte is an implosion risk -he's older but his game plays well at his age since its not about speed or infield hits. As long as his bat speed can keep up with most fastballs(and there is no sign so far he's losing anything there yet) he'll steadily continue.

    Catcher IS weak but at least Ross does have some pop.

    Patterson's OBP is a concern, too, although his increasing contact rate might raise his BA and OBP (purely on hits since I doubt his better contact rate means more patience)a few points.

    Dunn is an OBP machine, Junior still gets on regularly, and if he gets hurt Bruce is his replacement and I'll bet right now he OBPs above the .350 mark.

    There's a major difference in these numbers - not enough to make this a great OBP team but better than your chart alludes. Rather than a one run homer offense I think its primed to be a2 and 3 run homer offense. And yes, whatever this team lacks in OBP I think its pop across the lineup DOES help overcome that since my opinion is that OBP will be at or very near league avg.

  4. #3
    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: The Solo-HR Offense

    Just think, everytime Castro and Phillips are the DP combo, they will also show us a historical effort of being out making machines.

    Castro is a top 20 out making machine in the history of baseball, and Phillips unfortunately is quickly going down a similar path,

    Here's a question for the RedsZone faithful..... How many GIDP will the Reds' 2B/SS combine for in 2008? My guess is 60+.

    That's right, if you take all the 2B that play for the Reds in 2008, and all the SS that play for the Reds in 2008, you will see at least 60 GIDP between them.

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    Re: The Solo-HR Offense

    Sure, I took some liberties in a few estimates, but this is not beyond the realm of reason. In fact, I'm sticking very close to the data. These estimates are all based on averages (nearly all are *career* averages), and I'm using realistic proxies for how the opening day lineup will appear. Here's what I used:

    P: Reds 2008 pitcher batting data
    C: assumed 1/2 Bako, 1/2 Valentin (actually a bit better OBP than Ross, with substantially less power). No Ross in there.
    1B: Hatteberg career average. I'll be surprised if he meets his career averages, he's quite likely to fall off a cliff.
    2B: Phillips. He is likely to experience a decline, particularly due to the loss in "power" from cheap homers.
    3B: EdE is the one with true upside in this lineup.
    SS: Used 1/2 Kepp, 1/2 Castro. Basically, the net effect here is similar to what Gonzalez will bring when/if he returns.
    LF: Above represent fair expectations for Dunn, although remember that he has often bounced between good years and bad ones.
    CF: 100% Patterson.
    RF: Griffey career averages. These are optimistic expectations for Griffey and any replacement, when he eventually gets hurt.

    Overall, this assumes an equal distribution of ABs and no backups. Of course it's less precise, but it's a fair barometer of what we're likely to see, beginning on Opening Day.

    My three points still hold. (1) The OBPs for middle defenders are downright criminal for a club that is supposed to be contending. I don't see how defensive gains will make up for a .295-.310 OBP from half of the everyday lineup. (2) We should all be frightened of the ridiculous offenses that we're likely to see in 2008. (3) This offense looks to be one dimensional and based largely on HRs (cue broken record).

    The irony here is that the Reds appear to have a few pitchers worth a darn, too bad they can't field a lineup to round out a winning ballclub.

    P.S. This is not intended to serve as the daily "Dusty is a bonehead" thread. Nor is it intended to be a "we-shouldn't-have-traded-Hamilton thread", although that certainly plays a role in the offensive upside of this club.
    Last edited by D-Man; 03-22-2008 at 02:52 AM.

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    Re: The Solo-HR Offense

    The park effect will fool 95% of those who watch "your favorite team"....so my guess is they'll still report there's not enough pitching. Most baseball insiders say that about the best pitching teams in the league.

    Betcha 10 to 1 that Brantley will say it ( i get an extra dollar if he says it in his faux country voice: something like "absolutely, you never have enough of those fellas that stand on that hill out there...isn't possible".....Marty will respond with a "you got that right").

    D-Man's point is spot on-his favorite team lacks offense.

  7. #6
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    Re: The Solo-HR Offense

    D-Man, you're averaging the BA/OBP/OPS numbers, but the Pitcher slot is being weighed too heavily. By averaging the numbers, you're counting Pitchers as if they produced a full 11.1% of the lineup's PA but the average team's Pitchers produced only 5.5% of their team's PA. It'd probably be better to just count the Pitchers as a #9 "slot". If we do that the average ends up at .257 BA/.326 OBP/.422 SLG.

    Now even then the OBP and OPS results are below-average, but we're also assuming that each of the nine slots listed receives the same number of PA with the same starting position players in it for 162 games. That can't happen, as we know, but the Pitchers can't get 11.1% of the team's PA either. And actually, due to possible regression from older players (Hatteberg, Griffey) and the acquisition of Patterson (who's a complete OBP dud), a line of .257 BA/.326 OBP/.422 SLG might be fairly close to what we could see from the team.

    I haven't run my projected RC numbers on this yet as the roster isn't finalized, but if the Reds produce a .748 OPS in 2007 they would likely score fewer than 750 Runs, which would be a drop of at least 33 Runs versus 2007. Even at 750 Runs, the Reds' Pitching Staff would have to allow 103 fewer Runs versus last year in order to produce a projected Pythag of 81 Wins. To project 90 Wins (the minimum we should be looking for) the Reds would have to allow 178 fewer Runs than they did last season. Yowzers. If those offensive numbers are even near accurate we can only hope that the emergence of kids in both the rotation and then in the lineup (Votto and, eventually, Bruce) helps the team work a miracle.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
    --Ted Williams

  8. #7
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    Re: The Solo-HR Offense

    Fantasy BAseball?
    "Is there a problem officers?"

  9. #8
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    Re: The Solo-HR Offense

    The good thing is offense is easy to find. If you're a decent GM.

  10. #9
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    Re: The Solo-HR Offense

    Well, he is the thing for me.

    #1) If Patterson plays, he can't expect to play long if he puts up his historical numbers. He has to improve at the plate to get PT IMO. Maybe not reach his full potential, although that is what we are hoping for. But if he can get his OBP up to .330 with some pop and with outstanding CF defense, we might be able to live with that. On the other side of the ledger, how many runs does his defense save?

    #2) If Patterson doesn't hold the job, Freel probably gets it. Historically, he has been a solid OBP guy, although obviously last year he was down. Will he improve this offense most as CF or as super utility guy? I still personally love him as a utility guy that plays 3-4 days a week at 3 OF positions plus 2B, 3B and SS (put him at 2B and slide BP over to SS for a day). When he is in there, he is your leadoff guy.

    #3) Can we consider Bruce as offensive upside down in AAA waiting his turn? At worst, he helps cover you with the Jr injury risk.

    #4) I believe Phillips still has OBP upside. He isn't going to hit too many more HRs, but I believe he will continue to improve his plate selection.

    So my view is that we do still have some upside offensive potential in here. I would say that we do not have a well constructed lineup at all. We do not have a reasonable leadoff option. I could live with Freel, Kepp, Dunn, Jr, Votto/Hatt, Phillips, Encarnacion, Ross. But Patterson, Votto, Dunn, Phillips, Jr, Encarnacion, Gonzo, Ross doesn't look nearly as good.

  11. #10
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    Re: The Solo-HR Offense

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD View Post
    D-Man, you're averaging the BA/OBP/OPS numbers, but the Pitcher slot is being weighed too heavily. By averaging the numbers, you're counting Pitchers as if they produced a full 11.1% of the lineup's PA but the average team's Pitchers produced only 5.5% of their team's PA. It'd probably be better to just count the Pitchers as a #9 "slot". If we do that the average ends up at .257 BA/.326 OBP/.422 SLG.

    Now even then the OBP and OPS results are below-average, but we're also assuming that each of the nine slots listed receives the same number of PA with the same starting position players in it for 162 games. That can't happen, as we know, but the Pitchers can't get 11.1% of the team's PA either. And actually, due to possible regression from older players (Hatteberg, Griffey) and the acquisition of Patterson (who's a complete OBP dud), a line of .257 BA/.326 OBP/.422 SLG might be fairly close to what we could see from the team.

    I haven't run my projected RC numbers on this yet as the roster isn't finalized, but if the Reds produce a .748 OPS in 2007 they would likely score fewer than 750 Runs, which would be a drop of at least 33 Runs versus 2007. Even at 750 Runs, the Reds' Pitching Staff would have to allow 103 fewer Runs versus last year in order to produce a projected Pythag of 81 Wins. To project 90 Wins (the minimum we should be looking for) the Reds would have to allow 178 fewer Runs than they did last season. Yowzers. If those offensive numbers are even near accurate we can only hope that the emergence of kids in both the rotation and then in the lineup (Votto and, eventually, Bruce) helps the team work a miracle.
    Well said, Steel--your analysis helps put things in perspective.

    I have one additional point to add to the thread. I addressed it only briefly in my post above, and it has to do with the one-dimensional aspect of the offense. Pretty much every Red brings HRs to the offense, and that certainly helps. But for too many contributors--Ross, Griffey (when his game goes south), Valentin, Phillips, and now Patterson--the homers are virtually *all* they bring to the table offensively. [Phillips and Patterson can steal bases too, and that helps. But given their recent track records, they appear to add relatively little in the way of batting average, walks, or doubles.]

    Thanks to Sal Baxamusa of Hardball Times, we know that the Reds were in the bottom third of MLB teams in 2007 in terms of offensive consistency (i.e., the Reds' offense was relatively inconsistent). See here:

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...stency-is-key/

    And in 2006, the Reds offensive efficiency was even worse. The Reds were one of three teams to be above average in both scoring fewer than three runs and scoring more than six runs. In other words, it was one of the few feast-or-famine offenses.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...e-first-draft/

    I see a bit of a pattern here, and 2008 looks even worse. The Reds have replaced the club's most dynamic offensive contributor in 2007 with Patterson,. And at first blush, the Reds look to be in a rough year offensively. I just don't see a well-rounded offense at all. Quite the opposite.

    The silver lining, of course, is that the Reds have Bruce, Votto, and Freel waiting in the wings in case the projected contributors stink up the joint. Although none of these three are guaranteed to provide top-notch performances.
    Last edited by D-Man; 03-24-2008 at 08:23 PM.


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