Bill James has 6 indicators the refer to his concept of the plexiglass principle. Lots of stats people refer to it as regression to the mean, but at it's core it's more than that.
How do the Reds stack up?
1. Did the team out perform their expected record (their pythag record)?
The Reds did not, but it's so close -2 games. I'm not sure it matters when a team is that close. If they had out performed their pythag record by 10 games -then you could expect a big adjustment.
2. Teams that improve tend to fall back to the pack and vice versa.
The Reds did improve by 4 games. I'm still not sure that is signifigant in that it would require an adjustment.
3. Teams tend to go toward .500. Regression to the mean.
The Reds are doing so....by 4 games. Is that signifigant?
4. Age. Young teams get better. Old teams declne.
With this team there was a substantial push to younger in Bruce, Stubs, Janish, Votto, Hanigan. Rolen and Hernandez push the other way. Improvement occurred when playing the younger players.
Most folks pointed toward the aquisition of Rolen as the differnece maker, but in reality the improvement occurred with Stubbs and Janish.
Appears to me that the team is getting younger.
5. Good Triple AAA teams.
The Bats are a good team. They had a good record. They used a wide array of players and kept on winning -they had a deep team.
What about the teams double A performance? It might be a better indicator. The double A team ran out of gas when many players either got hurt or were assigned to AAA.
6. Late season performance.
This is the principle were the Reds shine brightest.
All in all, indicators 4 and 6 appear to point the team toward improved play next season. 1, 2, 3 appear to be break even and 5 may be break even depending on how you view it.
I would say that the team looks headed toward improvement.