One of the best developments this baseball season is the new daily updates at baseball-reference.com. (You used to have to wait until November to see the stats, game logs, etc.). Their site is much faster and easier to use than some larger, TV-network-affiliated sites I can think of.

Anyway, here are some interesting things from the leaderboards after one month:

  • Ryan Freel is second in the league in games played – he’s appeared in all 25 of the Reds’ games. I’ve looked at this before, and Freel + extreme playing time = bad things. Usually, that means a lower AVG, no power whatsoever, increased strikeouts, and a lack of steal attempts. This year is pretty similar – Freel’s hitting .262, .340, .321 (against career numbers of .272, .366, .380). He’s struck out 15 times against 84 ABs, which is almost exactly his career norm. Freel unfortunately leads the league in getting caught stealing (4 CS vs. only 5 SB, when his career figure is 76%). Phillips has also played in every game.
  • The Reds have scored and allowed 109 runs in those 25 games. 4.36 R/G ranks 9th among the 16 NL offenses, and 7th among pitching staffs. It’s too early for base defensive stats to be of any use, so I stepped over to Prospectus to see that the Reds rank 10/16 in Defensive Efficiency (“the rate at which balls put into play are converted into outs by a team’s defense, or (1 – BABIP)”).
  • Aaron Harang has been working in the batting cage. He already has 3 sac bunts and has 2 base hits (.154 AVG). He only had 13 sac bunts and 14 hits from 2004-06, combined. This actually matters. According to Prospectus, Harang’s hitting was so bad (2 for 74 with 0 BB in 2005) that he was costing himself up to 10-15 runs per year, compared to even a normally-bad-hitting pitcher.
  • Brandon Phillips has already grounded into 5 double plays (3rd in the NL). That seemed like a fluke, until I saw the he hit into 19 DPs last year. That was just 2 behind Brad Ausmus for 5th place, and matches Sean Casey‘s second-worst year. Anyone have an idea as to why BP hits into so many DPs? I never even noticed it before. I suppose part of it is that he bats behind guys who get on base a lot (Dunn last year and Hamilton this year).
  • Dunn and BP rank 2-3 in “power speed number,” a Bill James creation. ((2*HR*SB)/(HR + SB). This is a fluky list — noted double-threat Jimmy Rollins ranks first. Dunn, of course, ranks #1 in strikeouts.
  • Josh Hamilton is behind only Barry Bonds in HR frequency, homering every 10.7 ABs.
  • Kyle Lohse is first in the league in fewest walks per 9 IP (1.05). Belisle is 5th with 1.44. They hold the same spots on the K/BB leaderboard.
  • Coffey and Saarloos are tied for 2nd in the league with 14 relief appearances. Volume, not quality, is the story there. Coffey’s also beaned a league-most 4 batters.
  • Eric Milton is tied for the league “lead” with 4 losses.

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9 Responses

  1. GregD

    Ryan Freel, Brandon Phillips, and Adam Dunn are tied as team leader in SB’s. Dunn is the only one of those three to not yet get thrown out in a steal attempt.

  2. Sultan of Swaff

    Kirk Saarloos, 14 times?!? That explains the Reds season more than all those comparative stats put together.

  3. Daedalus

    Kyle Lohse is first in the league in fewest walks per 9 IP.

    Is this the biggest difference between Kyle Sore Lohser and the new and improved Kyle Lohse?

  4. DevilsAdvocate

    Is this the biggest difference between Kyle Sore Lohser and the new and improved Kyle Lohse?

    That’s one, but as you’ve noted before, the biggest difference is that this is his free agent year. Perhaps that’s too cynical, but everyone always falls over themselves to praise his stuff – his struggles are usually blamed on his ‘ten-cent head’ which I take to mean a lack of concentration and mental focus on the task at hand. But this year…nothing sharpens the senses like the knowledge that your livelihood depends on it.

  5. DevilsAdvocate

    And speaking of free agent years, I’d like to give a shout out to Eric Milton. He’s pitched quite adequately (given our admittedly low expectations) and certainly deserves better than his 0-4 record. Harang has eaten more innings, but their ERAs are less than half a run apart. And Harang is the polar opposite at 4-0.

  6. Chris

    That’s definitely true, though there’s a different in how they got there. Milton’s average start is 5.1 IP, 2.75 ER. Harang is throwing 6.1 IP, 3 ER. This team has a crappy bullpen, and Harang has been eating innings to make up for it.

    Harang ranks #16 of 227 NL pitchers in worst bullpen support (Arroyo is #2). Milton is at #197, in the territory where Reds relievers have helped him, allowing fewer inherited runners to score than an average pen would have.

    Milton’s been better than I feared, though – a solid #5 starter

  7. DevilsAdvocate

    You’re absolutely correct to hit that point harder than I did. Thanks for those numbers. Harang’s innings total is tremendously valuable considering the relief corps that would have pitched those innings otherwise.

    At the same time it’s difficult to give the bullpen credit for helping Milton when he’s still got an 0-4 record (or much blame for hurting Harang when he’s 4-0. I guess their ERAs are affected, though.) Arroyo is another story. Yikes. ❗

  8. GregD

    The true crime is that Arroyo has been noticeably better than Harang, yet carries an 0-2 record into tonight’s game.

    Harang has allowed 5 ER in 3 of his 6 starts. Arroyo has an 80% quality start percentage.

  9. Chris

    You’re correct, DA, the bullpen help affects the ERAs. The team is only scoring 2.25 runs per Milton start, which explains his record, just as it does Bronson’s.

    I think Milton’s left 3 of his starts with runners on 2nd base, twice with <2 outs, and none of them have scored. That’s the “help” he received. The idea is that an average bullpen would’ve been expected to give up something in those situations (I suspect it’s something just short of 1 run), but in reality, Santos and Saarloos got out of the innings without damage (to Milton – Santos replaced a Milton baserunner via fielder’s choice, and allowed him to score).