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Thread: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.d...T04/805110428/


    Hey, who's counting?
    Success really doesn't hinge on 'the little things'


    We keep hearing that the Reds "don't do the little things well," but did you know the average for National League teams last year was 47 sacrifice flies (or about two every seven games) and 65 sacrifice bunts (two every five games), and that the Reds were only one below the sac-fly average and plus-8 on the sac-bunt average?

    There's a reason they're called "the little things." They don't affect the outcome of a team's regular season as much as the big things (getting on base, which directly affects total runs scored).


    TALE OF TWO SEASONS

    How about these numbers on Aaron Harang (right) through his first eight starts:

    2007 - 5-1, 5.04 ERA (55 runs of support from team)

    2008 - 1-5, 3.09 ERA (22 runs of support from team)

    Is there anybody out there who still wants to insist that the best gauge for evaluating starting pitchers is their won-loss records?


    JAY, NOT LENNY

    The biggest reason 21-year-old Jay Bruce (below left) is still in Louisville is that the Reds brass - including the development people - want him to get his on-base average closer to 65-70 points above his batting average to show he has the discipline to hit in the majors. Right now, Bruce's on-base average (.343) is only 23 points higher than his batting average (.320). This isn't to say Bruce has to get his OBA into that plus-65-70 range to get called up, but he has to be moving in the right direction.

    He's drawn only seven walks compared to 30 strikeouts. Roughly 5 percent of his plate appearances go for walks.

    The NL average walk rate for a non-pitcher this season is 9.7 percent. If Bruce can't match that rate in Triple-A, he's going to have a hard time against quality major-league pitchers.

    By the way, Brandon Phillips ' career OBA is only 44 points above his career BA. That's tolerable if you're blasting a lot of long balls, but if you're not ...


    THE BATTING ORDER

    Pundits (including us, in this space last week) tend to over-analyze the rationale in explaining why a specific batting order should be utilized. All you need to know is this: Bat your high on-base guys 1 through 3. We strongly recommend Jeff Keppinger, Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion, respectively.

    Runs come from hitters getting on base and the hitters behind them (Joey Votto, Phillips, Ken Griffey Jr. ) getting them home.

    Batting Encarnacion anywhere but 1-4 is a waste of his .360 OBA, which is 102 points higher than his batting average (.258). We think his BA (and, thus, his OBA) will climb with the season.


    GET 'EM ON, GET 'EM IN


    Over their careers, almost everybody hits within 10 points of their batting average (either way) with runners in scoring position. With runners in scoring position, Tony Perez - regarded as one of the great clutch hitters in history - hit only five points higher than his overall batting average with RISP (.284, .279).

    Did you know the 1976 Reds hold the major-league record for most runners left on base in a season - and yet they scored the second-most runs in franchise history?

    Why? They also had a franchise-record .357 on-base average.


    HIT DUNN NO. 2

    It is simply untrue that Adam Dunn (below right) is not a good

    2-hole hitter.

    Though conventional wisdom says a 2-hole hitter must make contact and spray the ball around, the facts don't support it. It's more important to get on base because that's what best leads to scoring runs. Hitting behind the runner might look good and fit "the book" approach, but sac-bunting and swinging away are a break-even proposition.

    Look at it this way: Whether to sac-bunt or swing away is a matter of managing risk. If you sac-bunt, you're less likely to get on base, but the outs you generate are not as bad because you advance the runner. If you swing away, you're more likely to get on base and advance the runner additional bases, but you're also more likely to generate a "bad" out that doesn't advance the runner or, even worse, results in a double play.

    On balance, sac-bunting and swinging away average out, just as Dunn's approach to hitting averages out.

    He makes considerably less contact than the average 2-hole hitter (he's high-risk), but he's high-reward because of all the bombs he hits - and he has an excellent on-base average, which means that even though he's whiffing a lot, he more than offsets it with his high on-base average from walking a lot.

    At No. 2, a .380 OBA guy who strikes out and is slow is better than a fast .315 OBA guy. Especially if Mr. .380 OBA hits 40 bombs.

    Batting Dunn No. 2 gets him to the plate 50 more times in a season than batting him No. 5.

    And why is such a big deal made about the 2-hole hitter advancing the runner, anyway? Last year, the Reds' No. 2 hitter came to bat more than half the time (56 percent) with nobody on base.

    Did you know that over the last two seasons Dunn has been right in line with the league average in terms of advancing runners from first base? (League average: 40 percent; Dunn, 39.7 percent)

    The only Red with a comparable number of opportunities who advanced runners at a significantly higher rate was Encarnacion (45 percent), while Phillips - who might look more like a traditional 2-hole hitter to some - actually has advanced runners at a lower rate (38 percent) than Dunn.

    And did you know that in only 35 more at-bats than Dunn with a runner on first, Phillips has hit into 24 more double plays?

    Joel Luckhaupt, Justin Inaz and Greg Gajus contributed.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 05-11-2008 at 02:42 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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  3. #2
    Member kbrake's Avatar
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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    I find it refreshing to read something like this once in awhile. Certainly beats the typical Cincinnati media.

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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    Refreshing. Is it possible the Reds can "outsource" writing out the lineup card to Erardi (et al)?

    I am hopeful that Reds brass and a great many "casual fans" read this and give the opinions therein some serious thought. I shall be writing Mr. Erardi and encouraging him to continue his excellent work explaining the statistics of baseball to a wide mainstream audience.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    I love the approach. A lot the (us?) sabermetric types simply can't get out of their own way. The concepts really aren't complicated -- in fact they're almost obvious on reflection. Erardi (and his researchers, including RedsZone's Justin Inaz) deserves a lot of credit for putting the information out there in a very digestible, non-judgmental manner.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I love the approach. A lot the (us?) sabermetric types simply can't get out of their own way. The concepts really aren't complicated -- in fact they're almost obvious on reflection. Erardi (and his researchers, including RedsZone's Justin Inaz) deserves a lot of credit for putting the information out there in a very digestible, non-judgmental manner.
    Well-spoken.

    This is a point I fully agree with, and neglected to mention in my original post.

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    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post

    The biggest reason 21-year-old Jay Bruce (below left) is still in Louisville is that the Reds brass - including the development people - want him to get his on-base average closer to 65-70 points above his batting average to show he has the discipline to hit in the majors. Right now, Bruce's on-base average (.343) is only 23 points higher than his batting average (.320). This isn't to say Bruce has to get his OBA into that plus-65-70 range to get called up, but he has to be moving in the right direction.


    Encouraging. Don't let Dusty read this.
    ". . . acquiring J. Blanton from Oakland for, apparently, Bailey/Cueto, Votto and a lesser prospect. I do it in a second . . . The Reds' equation this year is simple: Make Matt Belisle your #3 starter . . . trade for Blanton, win 85 or more, be in the mix all summer." - Paul Daugherty, Feb. 8, 2008

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    Member Spring~Fields's Avatar
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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    I thought that article was very helpful and informative. I would like to see the press do more articles like these in a timely manner.

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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    I started reading the article this morning and immediately was impressed by it enough that I had to look again who had written it. John Erardi and the contibutors of Joel Luckhaupt, Justin Inaz and Greg Gajus did an outstanding job of fact-finding to support their claim for the lineup they suggested.

    Can't wait to see when and if the suggestion actually makes it onto Dusty's lineup card.
    Just like today, watching Keppinger have 5 straight hits yesterday and has been the Reds leading hitter most of the season and still batting 7th makes little sense when the top of the order overall hasn't produced.

    Dropping Griffey to 6th was brilliant (in the article) but is Dusty afraid to hurt Jr's feelings by doing so? Griffey's days of deserving to hit 3rd or 4th in the order have long passed by.
    With Dunn's relatively high OBA it makes sense to hit him second except for the fact he isn't the ideal batter to bunt the leadoff hitter along.

    Kudos to Erardi & Company for the best lineup I've seen offered for the Reds to use this year!

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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    This article just frustrates me.

    How can a newspaper writer understand how baseball works so much better than our vet manager??! Unreal. And I agree with everything he says.

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    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    I'd like to see a lineup starting with Kepp, Dunn and EE but the reason Dunn fits as a #2 is because of what he can't do as opposed to what he can do. The fact that Dunn can't drive in runs worth a darn is why they might as well try him in the 2 hole. If he knocked in 130 runs with his 40-45 HRs I'd leave him in the middle of the lineup even with a high OBP. Erardi makes it sound like a positive that over 50% of the time the #2 hitter comes up with no one on base on this team. Actually that's not a good position to put a 40 HR guy. That argument hurts Erardi's case more than it helps.

    He also speaks about avg with RISP and how it rarely varies much from overall BA, well my bet is for Adam Dunn is varies a great deal. I can't find any career numbers for that stat but for the past 4 yrs his BA w/RISP is way below his overall avg.

    As for his Tony Perez example, 5 pts over a long career is a lot of clutch hits.

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    Member SMcGavin's Avatar
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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    As for his Tony Perez example, 5 pts over a long career is a lot of clutch hits.
    Over Perez's 2800+ ABs with RISP those 5 points of average equal fifteen hits. Considering Perez played 23 years, we're talking less than one per season.

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    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    Quote Originally Posted by SMcGavin View Post
    Over Perez's 2800+ ABs with RISP those 5 points of average equal fifteen hits. Considering Perez played 23 years, we're talking less than one per season.
    Don't bring facts or math to the table when the issue of "clutch" is raised. You might start a riot.
    ". . . acquiring J. Blanton from Oakland for, apparently, Bailey/Cueto, Votto and a lesser prospect. I do it in a second . . . The Reds' equation this year is simple: Make Matt Belisle your #3 starter . . . trade for Blanton, win 85 or more, be in the mix all summer." - Paul Daugherty, Feb. 8, 2008

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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    As for his Tony Perez example, 5 pts over a long career is a lot of clutch hits.
    I don't think it really is a huge difference. I don't know where Erardi got his stats, but if Perez had 1000 clutch AB's (hypothetical), then 5 points is only the difference in 5 hits over his career. Which to me, is a very small difference, IE, not too clutch.

    IIRC, Dunn wasn't so bad bringing runners in last year when he had the opportunities. From 1st base, he was top 15 in MLB, I think. And not bad from 2nd either. He did a better job of bringing runners in than a lot of AL players last year that had 110+ RBI. I need to look it up when I get some time. He would bat 2nd for what he can do IMO, that is get on base. He will move plenty of runners to 2nd with a walk.
    Last edited by TOBTTReds; 05-11-2008 at 07:42 PM.

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    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    Quote Originally Posted by TOBTTReds View Post
    I don't think it really is a huge difference. I don't know where Erardi got his stats, but if Perez had 1000 clutch AB's (hypothetical), then 5 points is only the difference in 5 hits over his career. Which to me, is a very small difference, IE, not too clutch.
    I guess it all depends on whether you think .284 is clutch or not. If Adam Dunn hit .284 w/RISP he'd be an MVP candidate. Which brings me back to my original point. Adam Dunn should hit 2nd because of what he can't do as opposed to what he does well. He's earned a demotion to the #2 spot in the order. It's ashame he can't knock in more runs to go with his 40 HRs but since he's very weak at that they might as well try him in the 2 hole. It's very difficult to put a guy in the heart of the lineup who hits so poorly w/ RISP. If Erardi is correct that it's very rare for a guy to hit less than 10 pts below his BA with RISP then Dunn must be a rare kind a guy. From 2004-07 he was 15 below his overall BA and this year he's hitting below .200 with RISP.

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    Member wally post's Avatar
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    Re: John Erardi Gets It -- "Who's Counting"

    This is a really good piece. And, of course, it leads to frustration given our management.


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