Every once and a while over the past several years I've engaged in a semi-regular pattern throughout each season. I'll glance at some Reds' numbers, and almost every single time, I'll notice something (lots of things since the beginning of 2008) where I just shake my head and laugh to myself.
Nevertheless, here's some fun stuff I've already noticed about teh 2010 Dusty Bakers:
teh 2010 Dusty Bakers as CF: .149/.241/.216/.457
teh 2010 Dusty Bakers as P: .229/.250/.229/.479
Oh, it gets better.
teh 2010 Dusty Bakers as #1 hitter: .143/.233/.208/.440
teh 2010 Dusty Bakers as #9 hitter: .230/.266/.279/.544
Of course, I'm not advocating leading off with the pitcher - though we may get some OBP bump! - but it's just fitting that a Dusty Baker led team would have a higher on-base percentage from his pitchers and #9-hole hitters than his center fielders and leadoff hitters. And it's not just fitting, it's to the point of just being hilarious.
Remember a thread I started two years ago about Dustifying the Leadoff Slot? In that thread, I warned that through Dusty Baker's 15 seasons as manager of the Giants and Cubs, his teams leadoff hitter had an on-base percentage higher than the league average only three times. Dusty's cumulative leadoff OBPs were .334 vs. a league average of .341.
Some folks tried dustifying and rationalizing that .334 isn't too much worse than .341. Maybe they just wanted to make themselves feel better, I don't know.
Yet we're now two years and one month into teh Dusty Baker regime, and well ...
2008 Reds: .326 OBP from the leadoff guy
2008 NL: .342 OBP from the leadoff guy
And the two-hole hitters?
2008 Reds: .305 OBP from the two-hole hitter
2008 NL: .338 OBP from the two-hole hitter
Thank you, Dusty Baker and Corey Patterson. May we have another?
Move on to 2009, which was teh year of Willy T. We know how bad we looked, right?
2009 Reds: .302 OBP from the leadoff guy
2009 NL: .340 OBP from the leadoff guy
2009 Reds: .302 OBP from the two-hole hitter
2009 NL: .338 OBP from the two-hole hitter
Are we seeing a trend yet? Perhaps the first few weeks of 2010 can help us identify what we're seeing ...
2010 Reds: .235 OBP from the leadoff guy
2010 NL: .324 OBP from the leadoff guy
2010 Reds: .300 OBP from the two-hole hitter
2010 NL: .340 OBP from the two-hole hitter
What should we call something that starts off crappy and then manages to get even worse over two plus years? Whatever it is, that's the Reds' at the top of the lineup during teh Dusty Baker regime.
I thought about doing this same exercise for the cleanup hitter using OPS, but I wanted to stop the torture so I haven't bothered to look yet. I can only imagine what those numbers look like though. Any guesses?
The only idea I can ponder is maybe this is all a trick to suppress the salary potential of Joey Votto. With Ryan Howard inking his ridiculous contract, perhaps the Reds' front office figured if they ensured that nobody was ever on base in front of Votto and that the guy behind Votto was a wild hack who cannot hit right-handers, that Votto wouldn't ever be able to post those impressive runs scored and RBI totals that agents love to quote during contract discussions.
Those sneaky Dusty Baker Redlegs!
In the end, the most important number is .456 since 2001. That's winning percentage, and it reminds us that the Lost Decade laughs in all our faces (By the way, what does the Lost Decade's laugh sound like? I envision it being something similar to Heath Ledger's Joker laugh, but perhaps there's something even more sinister and hilarious out there that'd be more appropriate.).
When you get right down to it, the Lost Decade's lineup of owners, general managers and managers is almost like a Dusty Baker lineup.
Wait, that's 10 guys. I guess we'll play by AL rules and somebody's gotta DH.
Will the madness ever end? I guess if it doesn't, all we can do is just laugh at the stupidity.