When I look over the Reds roster, it amazes me that we have the winning % we do. Up and down the roster, I see quality players, but it hasn't translated into wins.
Well, one reason is because our hitters have been incredibly unlucky. The Reds team BABIP is an unbelievable .274. That is by far the worst in the major leagues (link: The Hardball Times). To give some perspective about how "unlucky" our hitters have been:
- The league-average BABIP is .298.
- The 29th ranked BABIP is a full 8 points higher than us at .282.
- There are only 4 teams whose BABIP is under .290, and their average BABIP is .285, only 5 points under .290. We're a full 16 points under .290.
- If the Reds team BABIP is adjusted to the league average, this would be our line (MLB rank in parenthesis):
AVG --- .262 (17th)
OBP --- .330 (17th)
SLG --- .443 (9th)
OPS --- .762 (12th) - (6th in the NL)
Now, I didn't adjust every team according to their BABIP to come up with those ranks, just because it's more work than I care to put into it at the moment. But it shouldn't matter much, since we're adjusting toward a league-average BABIP, the rankings should come out more-or-less the same.
The bottom line is that when luck is taken out of the equation, our offense has been a little above average.
Things like this are why I'm not so down on 2009 as other people. The Reds have undeniably underachieved this season. Of course, those batting figures include Dunn and Griffey's numbers, who won't be around, but Patterson and Bako won't be around, either. I also think we can expect significantly better numbers from Jay Bruce. Add it all up and I think we'll just about break even with roster moves that are, or can be, taken as given.
BTW - Those that want to blame Dusty's approach to hitting for our lame offense, note that the team ranks 12th in walks this season. Last season we ranked 11th, so Dusty hasn't had the negative effect on our plate discipline that people chastise him for. Of course, that doesn't say anything about the ridiculous line-ups or the fact that Corey Patterson is in the line-up every night. I'm no Dusty apologist, but we need to get the facts straight.
Now, on to the pitching staff.
Our starters ERA is a deplorable 5.10, good for 25th in baseball. But, as we all know, Harang and Arroyo have been way off. If you take their 3-year average ERAs and plug those into this seasons innings, the starters' ERA becomes 4.59, which would be good for 20th. Better, but still not great. Our 5th starters (Fogg, Bailey, Thompson, etc) have killed us.
The biggest thing we need to do this offseason is add another starter. With all the money freed up from Dunn and Griffey, we should be able to get a good one. If Harang and Arroyo rebound (Arroyo already has, IMO), Cueto gets better, and we add a top-of-the-rotation starter, I don't see why our pitching staff shouldn't be one of the better one's around, given the good stuff we've gotten from the bullpen.
NOTE: By adjusting the teams BABIP to .298, I come up with 81 extra hits. We have 1111 hits on the season, which gives a new total of 1192. Since I don't think it's right to assume all those hits would be singles, I adjusted both doubles and triples by 1.07 (1192/1111) to come up with the teams adjusted SLG%. The added XBHs amounts to .005 points.
The formula I used for BABIP is (H-HR)/(AB-HR-K+SF).