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Thread: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

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    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
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    Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    This is from Justin Inaz's Reds Blog:

    http://jinaz-reds.blogspot.com/2009/...eld-worse.html
    Monday, March 16, 2009
    Is the 2009 Reds opening day outfield worse than last year's?

    The Reds are a faster team this year, most notably in the outfield where they might open the year with Dickerson/Taveras/Bruce after beginning last season with Dunn/Patterson/Griffey. Offensively, the latter combination is better than we we have this season. But can the speed of the 2009 trio make up for this loss in offense?

    Here's a quick study to that end, inspired by an e-mail exchange.

    Hitting

    2008:
    Dunn: +28.2 runs/150 g
    Patterson: -38.9 runs/150 g
    Griffey: + 4.6 runs/150 g
    Total: -6.1 runs

    Granted, I'm counting one of the worst seasons in recent memory here with Patterson. But he was the opening day center fielder, and for all intents and purposes was the CF starter for much of 2008. Who else should we use here?

    2009 projected:
    Dickerson: -15 runs/150 g
    Taveras: -22 runs/150 g
    Bruce: +4 runs/150 g
    Total: -33 runs/150 g

    Obviously, we're losing a lot of sock this year, even taking into account the pure misery of Patterson's season.

    Baserunning

    2008 baserunning using Dan Fox's stats:

    Dunn: -2.5 runs/150 g
    Patterson: +1.0 runs/150 g
    Griffey: -5.4 runs/150 g
    Total: -6.9 runs/150 g

    2009 "projections" (average of 2007 & 2008 stats/150 g for Taveras...For Bruce and Dickerson I extrapolated from their 2008 performances, but then regressed half-way to zero in recognition of the small sample sizes on both of them) using Dan Fox's stats:

    Dickerson: -1.1 runs/150 g
    Taveras: +9.8 runs/150 g
    Bruce: -0.1 runs/150 g
    Total: +8.6 runs/150 g

    That's a difference of 15.5 runs per 150 g in baserunning.

    Fielding

    Here is the projected runs per 150 games for the 2009 trio of outfielders vs. what the 2008 Reds did according to bUZR:

    2008:
    Dunn: -19.8 runs/150 g in LF
    Patterson: -1.4 runs/150 g in CF
    Griffey: -20.6 runs/150 g in RF
    Total: -41.8 runs/150 g

    2009 projected:
    Dickerson: +3 runs/150 g in LF
    Taveras: +3 runs/150 g in CF
    Bruce: +2 runs/150 g in RF
    Total: +8 runs/150 g

    That's a difference of almost exactly 50 runs, due to the change in defense in the outfield between opening day last year and opening day this year. Staggering.


    Hitting + Baserunning+Fielding:

    For the 2008 opening day squad, I have them as -6.1 runs on offense, -6.9 runs in baserunning, and a mind-blowing -41.8 runs in the field for a total production of 55 runs below average.

    For the 2009 opening day squad (assuming Dickerson is in LF), I have them as a miserable -33 runs/150g on offense, +8.6 runs/150 g baserunning, and +8 runs per season in the field for a total projected production of 16 runs below average.

    ...

    So, what these data indicate is that our speed-focused outfield combination of Dickerson/Taveras/Bruce is projected to more productive--on the order of 40 runs and ~4 wins--than the combination we started with last season of Dunn/Patterson/Griffey. I certainly didn't expect the difference to be this large, and wasn't sure it would even be in this direction.

    There are all kinds of potential critiques you might levy here, of course. The biggest is that 2008 saw Patterson have one of the worst seasons in reent memory, far below his 2008 projection. And therefore, what we got from our 2008 outfielders might be below their true talent levels.

    So let's make Patterson a replacement player and take 20 runs off the difference. Even then, we're talking about a projected 2-win improvement over last year's opening day squad, despite the substantial offensive dropoff.

    Maybe there are other changes that you'd make...but can you come up with reasons to subjectively shift the data another 20 runs toward the 2008 team's ledger? Even at that point, you'd only make the 2008 outfield the equals of the 2009 outfield.

    If you ask the typical saber-leaning fan, I doubt you'll find many that would believe that our outfield might be at least as good, if not demonstrably better, than it was opening day last season. But that's what these data indicate, and I'm finding the numbers pretty compelling. It's all about improved baserunning and (especially) improved fielding. It makes a huge difference.
    This is an excellent analysis of the Reds starting outfield in '08 and '09. Justin always does a great job, I highly recommend reading his blog, I always learn something from it.

    I just wanted to expand it to the Reds entire outfield in '08 and '09. I think this gives a better view of each season's overall value in the outfield, since no one actually logged 150 games for the Reds, but 4 logged over 100 games.

    Anyway, here are my offensive projections in Runs Created for the entire Reds outfield in '09, using the simple Runs Created Formula.

    Gomes 45
    Dickerson 55
    Taveras 55
    Bruce 100
    Hairston 15
    Ward 15

    That is a total of 285 runs created, with the group totaling 2000 innings.

    Last year the Reds outfield created 295 runs according to the simple Runs Created formula.

    So I see the Reds outfield offensively creating around 10 less runs than last years.

    Now for the defense.

    Last year the Reds Outfield over UZR was -33.6

    http://www.fangraphs.com/winss.aspx?...n=2008&month=0

    Here are projections for the '09 Reds outfield based on FanGraph's URZ and my estimate of innings played for each player.

    Gomes -8.0 (350 inn)
    Dickerson 3.7 (450)
    Taveras 5.4 (600)
    Bruce -7.3 (600)
    Hairston 1.4 (100)
    Ward -3.5 (doubt he will get many innings in the outfield, but this is assuming he gets around 100, worse case scenerio)

    This totals -8.3.

    So combine all the numbers and you get that the '08 Reds outfield in terms of offense and defense, created 261 runs

    I have the '09 Reds outfield in terms of offense and defense, creating 277 runs.

    I don't know how to figure out baserunning numbers in terms of runs, but I think that with the loss of Freel, and Jr. and the addition of Taveras, it will be at least as good as last year, if not significantly better.

    So I project that in terms of offense and defense the Reds outfield this year will be around 16 runs better than it was last year, and if you factor in baserunning, even more.

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    I could have told you the outfield would be better without all that analysis.
    Who's on first?

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Nice analysis. Kind of takes all areas into perspective.

    The problem I have is that I wouldn't consider the defensive metrics as accurate to predict future performance as the offensive stats. That, and I wouldn't weight them the same.

    In GAB, we all know that HR's rate are amplified. If our pitchers are struggling, a lot of balls will see the stands. All the defensive speed and prowess won't lessen that blow.

    Ultimately, the success of our new defensive skill will be heavily dependent on the pitching. We will definitely need to see that massive improvement because of how much production we lost in Dunn.

    We've already seen in ST the result of this loss: a bunch of 1 and 2 run offensive totals. So far, I know its early, but the pitching has not been up to the task in many games.

    Your analysis does offer hope, though. My hope is that we see a rebound in the pitching and start to get more hitting out of Bruce, EdE, AGon, and Hairston/ Keppinger. As it is currently, I see a mid-70 win total.
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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Quote Originally Posted by JBChance View Post
    Nice analysis. Kind of takes all areas into perspective.

    The problem I have is that I wouldn't consider the defensive metrics as accurate to predict future performance as the offensive stats. That, and I wouldn't weight them the same.

    In GAB, we all know that HR's rate are amplified. If our pitchers are struggling, a lot of balls will see the stands. All the defensive speed and prowess won't lessen that blow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBChance View Post
    Ultimately, the success of our new defensive skill will be heavily dependent on the pitching. We will definitely need to see that massive improvement because of how much production we lost in Dunn.

    We've already seen in ST the result of this loss: a bunch of 1 and 2 run offensive totals. So far, I know its early, but the pitching has not been up to the task in many games.

    Your analysis does offer hope, though. My hope is that we see a rebound in the pitching and start to get more hitting out of Bruce, EdE, AGon, and Hairston/ Keppinger. As it is currently, I see a mid-70 win total.
    Agreed, and Dunn's defense in LF wasn't as horrible as everyone likes to speculate, esp. in 2008. The 2-3 times that Dickerson gets to a ball and/or doesn't miss the cutoff guy isn't going to make up for the loss of 25+ HRs...

    70 wins out of this team would be a minor miracle with the current roster.

    PEACE

    -BLEEDS
    I think that in a year or two, one of these guys - Frazier, Dorn, Valaika, Cumberland, Stubbs - will be ready to replace Dunn. They won't hit as many home runs as Dunn, but they should have similar OPS. - 757690, July 22, 2008

    Alonso will be playing 1B for the REDS and batting 4th one year from today. - Kingspoint, July 9, 2009

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Just my 2 cents but I'm gonna be an optimist and say this year will be better..

    Bruce will have a nice year.... Taveras' defense and speed should help us. Dickerson will perform way beyond expectations and by year's end people will actually question whether he's a better major league prospect then Bruce. You watch.
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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    I think Taveras is the big question mark whether or not they are better this year. Speed huge plus, power huge minus. But with these guys hopefully not putting up the amount of Strikeouts of last year and the better ability to move runners I think its gotta be better.

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Quote Originally Posted by JayBruce32 View Post
    Just my 2 cents but I'm gonna be an optimist and say this year will be better..

    Bruce will have a nice year.... Taveras' defense and speed should help us. Dickerson will perform way beyond expectations and by year's end people will actually question whether he's a better major league prospect then Bruce. You watch.
    Tavares' defense isn't better than CP. His bat isn't currently either.
    His .300 OBP will kill any potential that Dickerson brings to the table.

    What I'd be questioning is WHY Dickerson isn't playing CF and we spent money on a REAL FA OF to play LF. That is what is sad...

    PEACE

    -BLEEDS
    I think that in a year or two, one of these guys - Frazier, Dorn, Valaika, Cumberland, Stubbs - will be ready to replace Dunn. They won't hit as many home runs as Dunn, but they should have similar OPS. - 757690, July 22, 2008

    Alonso will be playing 1B for the REDS and batting 4th one year from today. - Kingspoint, July 9, 2009

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    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Quote Originally Posted by BLEEDS View Post
    Agreed, and Dunn's defense in LF wasn't as horrible as everyone likes to speculate, esp. in 2008. The 2-3 times that Dickerson gets to a ball and/or doesn't miss the cutoff guy isn't going to make up for the loss of 25+ HRs...

    70 wins out of this team would be a minor miracle with the current roster.

    PEACE

    -BLEEDS
    First of all, the numbers show that over a course of a year Dickerson will save the Reds around 25 runs with his defense instead of Dunn. That translates to around 30 more plays, not 2 or 3. Even if you add in Gomes in a platoon, the Reds save around 15 runs defensively vs Dunn. A Gomes/Dickerson platoon, using career numbers, offensively creates around 10 runs less than Dunn, so combined, Dickerson/Gomes should actually create and prevent more runs than Dunn.

    Second, while I agree that these defensive stats are not as accurate as offensive ones (which aren't that accurate themselves, to be honest) they are accurate. Offensives ones are around 95% accurate, so lets say that defensive ones are only 75% accurate, which I think everyone would agree is very low. That would mean that at worst, Dickerson/Gomes platoon saves around 11 runs defensively vs Dunn. That would put them at about the same in terms of runs created and prevented combined vs. Dunn.

    Thirdly, you bring up a great point by mentioning missing the cut off guy. UZR does not include outfield arms at all, let alone throwing to the right base. There are many aspects to fielding that are not covered by UZR or the other defensive metrics. Such as throwing to the right base, hitting the cutoff man, backing up the right base, being a good cutoff man. These aspects matter, and actually would make defensively strong fielders look even better.

    Now I will add that I think that Dunn was strong in the fundamentals, so that would not effect his numbers all that much. But I do think that these new metrics probably underestimate the value of a good defender over a poor one, if anything.

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    I loved watching Dickerson in the OF last year. He turned so many doubles into singles. He got to balls that Dunn and Junior only dreamed of.
    Who's on first?

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Quote Originally Posted by ChatterRed View Post
    I loved watching Dickerson in the OF last year. He turned so many doubles into singles. He got to balls that Dunn and Junior only dreamed of.
    I agree. I thought he was a good spark, who knows if he'll keep it up.

    IMO, he would have fit beautifully in CF, then we could have spent some money on a real power Bat for LF, like Walt said was his #1 priority.
    THAT would have been nice.

    Now we're stuck with Tavares, who will be the death of us. Sure he's fast, but you can't steal first. He doesn't walk, so we better hope 65% of his bunt attempts are successful and he bats like .320.
    I don't see it happening.

    PEACE

    -BLEEDS
    I think that in a year or two, one of these guys - Frazier, Dorn, Valaika, Cumberland, Stubbs - will be ready to replace Dunn. They won't hit as many home runs as Dunn, but they should have similar OPS. - 757690, July 22, 2008

    Alonso will be playing 1B for the REDS and batting 4th one year from today. - Kingspoint, July 9, 2009

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Quote Originally Posted by BLEEDS View Post
    Tavares' defense isn't better than CP. His bat isn't currently either.
    His .300 OBP will kill any potential that Dickerson brings to the table.

    What I'd be questioning is WHY Dickerson isn't playing CF and we spent money on a REAL FA OF to play LF. That is what is sad...

    PEACE

    -BLEEDS
    Do you get paid to trash Tavares? Instead of only pointing out his weakness, it is possible to realize that he is a major league player with a track record. He has played in a World Series. He led MLB in steals last year. You make him out to be Homer Simpson and it just is not fair.

    I think this outfield could be much better than last years. I expect Bruce to blossom and I have real hope that Dickerson will show that he belongs. I fully expect our new CF to be a force to be contended with - defensively, running the bases, scoring runs and being a spark for the offense that will need it.

    Go Reds - each of you who wear the beautiful red, gray and white. I wish all of you well and always will.

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Tavares' defense isn't better than CP. His bat isn't currently either.
    His .300 OBP will kill any potential that Dickerson brings to the table.
    How can Tavares' bat not better than CP. If Taveras gets 4 hits this year his bat will be better than CP. He hit .252 last year and that was his worst year that he has had. You can't judge him on a .308 OBP either because that was also the worst of his career. The year before he hit .320 with a .367 OBP. He also basically steals every time he is on base and has a cannon. People should at least give him some sort of a chance before they hate this guy so much. Especially when he is still young and has only had one really bad year and it about to play only in his 5th season.

    On a different note... with the stats aside.. There is no way the outfield this year will not be better than last years. Griffey and Patterson were both dead weight. Griffey hardly really did anything and Patterson went through like 55 1 for 75 slumps. Dunn hits 40 home runs every season, which we don't have now, but he barely drives runs in any other way. Bruce hit over 20 homeruns last year and he didn't start until memorial day, and went through some big slumps and still didn't end up hitting near his potential. Then you can subtract the 300 less strikeouts we will have from the 3 that are gone and I don't even know how this is an argument anymore. Bruce, Votto, Phillips, and Edwin, all have the POTENTIAL to hit 30 homeruns and Ramon Hernandez and AGon have more pop than who played their position last year and even Dickerson hit 6 homeruns in only about 100 AB's which is on pace to hit 30 in a full season ( which I doubt will happen).

    5, 10, 15, 20 win difference this year, I have no idea. This team is better than last years team. Our offense isn't as powerful but I think will be way more consistent and I think will hit WAY better with runners on base because of the less strikeouts. Defense is also much better and add that to a most likely excellent starting rotation and a bullpen that was 3rd in the NL last year and is mostly in tact still. There is no way we won't improve.

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty the Red View Post
    Do you get paid to trash Tavares? Instead of only pointing out his weakness, it is possible to realize that he is a major league player with a track record. He has played in a World Series. He led MLB in steals last year. You make him out to be Homer Simpson and it just is not fair.

    I think this outfield could be much better than last years. I expect Bruce to blossom and I have real hope that Dickerson will show that he belongs. I fully expect our new CF to be a force to be contended with - defensively, running the bases, scoring runs and being a spark for the offense that will need it.

    Go Reds - each of you who wear the beautiful red, gray and white. I wish all of you well and always will.
    I wish I did, then I'd be rich!
    Seriously though, I'll stop beating that to death. It's just my opinion - one backed by stats and history, but an opinion nonetheless.

    Personally, I like my leadoff hitter to get on base, call me silly.
    When you are getting out 70% of the time, that's not something you want 150 games and 600 PA's from.
    His only "good year" was because of a Ridiculous percentage of his bunts going in for hits - like 66% compared to his career 44%. That stat is an outlier and NOT repeatable. It was also for only 97 games.

    To me, he's CP with much less D and better speed. They both suck as leadoff hitters, but at least CP had some pop. Tavares's OPS is like 10 points above his OBP, that is HORRIBLE!

    I agree that Dickerson has potential, and Bruce circa 2009 should be better than Griffey 2008, but Tavares does nothing for this team that Dickerson, Stubbs, or any handful of other players could do, for league minimum.
    His VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) is NEGATIVE. That is horrific.

    That being said, I hope he hits .320 and OBP's .370 and steals 100 bases.
    I also hope the Easter Bunny is real, that I can win the lottery and not pay taxes on it, and the Missouri river can start flowing chocolate.
    Has about the same chance as happening IMO.

    PEACE

    -BLEEDS
    I think that in a year or two, one of these guys - Frazier, Dorn, Valaika, Cumberland, Stubbs - will be ready to replace Dunn. They won't hit as many home runs as Dunn, but they should have similar OPS. - 757690, July 22, 2008

    Alonso will be playing 1B for the REDS and batting 4th one year from today. - Kingspoint, July 9, 2009

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    Quote Originally Posted by JBChance View Post


    In GAB, we all know that HR's rate are amplified. If our pitchers are struggling, a lot of balls will see the stands. All the defensive speed and prowess won't lessen that blow.
    Defensive speed and prowess will exactly lessen that blow. The more balls that are caught in the OF and fewer errors means less baserunners when a ball leaves the park and fewer opportunities to hit a ball out b/c you do not give the opposition those extra chances.

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    Re: Reds Outfield: '09 vs '08

    This is just a guess but I think Dickerson is rated a +3 defensively for the full year as a CF not a LF. He should be much better than average defensively as a LF and I could see projecting an additional 10 runs saved as a LF.

    Secondly, someone mentioned that range is the only consideration in these defensive stats. I am not really sure how any of the others rate the 2009 OF vs. the 2008 but per Hot Dog (above) Taveras has a cannon and therefore a much better arm than Patterson. My grandma has a better arm than Dunn. If you add in arm strength as a defensive category (and I know Oswalt would have much preferred anyone in RF last night over Dunn when a Japanese player hit a shallow fly ball to RF with runners on the corners to score an easy run) the 2009 version of the Reds gains at least another 10 runs.

    I think Dickerson will be much better offensively than projected by everyone. I would change the -15 to a -10. Please note how much Taveras worked the count in the WBC. He is also doing so in Florida. This is reason for optimism. Did someone turn the light on?

    At any rate I think the 40 run improvement is conservative. In fact I think 50 is conservative, but Dickerson has to prove himself offensively first. Maybe even Taveras will approach an average CF.


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