Everyone knows the story about how abysmal the Reds SP has been this season. But who could have predicted it to be this bad coming into the season? Not I… not Dan O’Brien. So where might the Reds be this season if 60% the SPs hadn’t unpredictably and completely went to hell in a hand basket.

Consider these SPs:

Ortiz 6- 8 5.89 20 20 107.0 141 78 70 23 34 58
Milton 6-12 6.48 25 25 140.3 174 106 101 34 41 90
Wilson 1- 5 7.77 9 9 46.3 68 41 40 10 17 30
Hudson 3- 5 7.88 10 10 45.6 52 40 40 8 30 26
Total 16-30 6.66 64 64 339.3 435 265 251 75 122 204

Now consider their career ERAs and IPs:

Pitcher CERA CIP
Ortiz 4.74 1001
Milton 4.94 1329
Wilson 4.87 942
Hudson 5.04 100

The NL Average SP boasts a 4.27 ERA. Let’s see what the Red’s season would look like if these three SP slots were occupied by NL league average SPs, SPs +.5 over league average, and SPs +1 over league average.

League AVG 4.25 171 -94
.5+ League AVG 4.75 191 -74
1+ League AVG 5.25 209 -56

Here is the Reds current Pythagorean W-L and what it would be if these 3 rotation spots accumulated a 4.25, a 4.75, and a 5.25 ERA instead of their abysmal and unpredictable 6.66 ERA. Also included is a full season projection for the Reds Pythagorean record with these ERAs:

Reds-6.66 585 626 .466 53 61
Reds-4.25 585 532 .547 62 52
Reds-4.75 585 552 .529 60 54
Reds-5.25 585 570 .513 58 56

Full Season PPCT PW PL
Reds-6.66 .466 76 86
Reds-4.25 .547 89 73
Reds-4.75 .529 86 76
Reds-5.25 .513 83 79

So given the career numbers of the four pitchers who make up those 3 SP rotation slots, one would think that if they would have pitched to their career norms (~4.85-4.90 ERA combined), the Reds would currently be in line to win somewhere around 84 to 85 games this season. That would put them in sniffing distance of the wild card race.

If these guys, who were supposed to be the front end of our rotation, pitched only league average, 4.25 ERA, we’d be knocking on the door of 90 wins and in the thick of the wild card race.

If these guys simply pitched bad, 5.25 ERA, instead of horrendously, 6.66 ERA, we’d still be looking at a respectable .500 plus season.

If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts…….

This does bring to light however, that this team is positioned to put itself into contention next year simply by adding three league average SP to the rotation.


Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Heh. Yeah. Simple. That’s what adding Milton and Ortiz plus having Hudson for a full season was supposed to do. Average pitchers.

  2. I know that no one strives to be average. However, the Reds have such a potent offensive lineup, just think how different this season would have been, if only the pitching staff were average! If you think about it, the staff has been so bad, if it had not been for this recent respectability wins and loses-wise, the 2005 Reds could have went down as the worst Reds team ever! I don’t see how front office heads don’t roll in the off season.

  3. Tom, the only problem with your thinking is they’re stuck with Milton and Wilson again next year b/c of the contracts that O’Brien gave them. The only hope is that they regain their mediocre forum.

  4. They should, but won’t, put Wilson in the bullpen. That would leave Milton needing to revert to form and the GM finding two starters who can pitch league average.

    This analysis pertains to 3/5ths of the rotation, so we’d need Claussen and Harang to repeat or improve upon their 2005 season.

  5. I know that no one strives to be average. However, the Reds have such a potent offensive lineup, just think how different this season would have been, if only the pitching staff were average!

    Average was the goal, teh idea was a 1999 and 1956 EBH attack and a “strong bp” (whoops) and a passing startinmg staff (double whoops)

    Best EBH hitting team in Reds history, shoddy defense and a staff that didn’t get over the hill.

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