We are just past the quarter mark of the season. Time to take inventory and examine where this club is at this point.

The Reds are sporting a 17-27 record, are in last place in the NL Central, and have the next to worst record in the National League. They have scored 198 Runs and given up 208 Runs. Thier pythagorean winning percentage of .475 would give them 21-23 record. It would appear that they are not as bad as thier current record would suggest. Let’s take a closer look at the performance of the club so far.

Pitching

          ERA-RNK  OPS-RNK WHIP-RNK
Reds     4.22  10 .736   9 1.38   8
NL       4.06     .730     1.36

Overall the team pitching is pretty near league average.

Starting Pitching

          ERA-RNK  OPS-RNK WHIP-RNK
Reds     4.20  10 .733   7 1.37   8
NL       4.19     .742     1.37

The starting pitchers have been almost dead on league average.

NAME       G   IP  H ER  R HR BB SO WHIP  ERA 
Arroyo     9 61.1 54 18 24  1 21 43 1.22 2.64 
Harang     9 59.0 60 29 30  4 15 53 1.27 4.42 
Belisle    9 55.0 63 28 31  4 11 37 1.35 4.58 
Lohse      9 53.0 67 28 31  5 12 37 1.49 4.75 
Milton     6 31.1 39 18 21  4  9 18 1.53 5.17 
Livingston 1  5.1 10  4  4  1  1  1 2.06 6.75 

As expected Arroyo and Harang are heading up the staff. Arroyo is off to another great start this season. Harang’s ERA looks a little bloated next to his better than average WHIP. Belisle is holding his own, and it would be big plus if he continues to pitch well. Lohse is returning to earth after a hot start. Milton threw as expected before going on DL. There are not really any big surprises here.

Bailey is on the horizon and pitching well at AAA Louisville (2.27 ERA 1.13 WHIP). With this team looking like it will amount to nothing better than a .500 team, I’d like to see them promote him here in a few weeks and start getting his feet wet in the bigs this season, so he can contribute next season. I can’t say I’m excited about Saarloos getting the nod for the fifth start over Bailey, or even Dumatrait (1.94 ERA 1.22 WHIP) for that matter.

Relief Pitching

          ERA-RNK  OPS-RNK WHIP-RNK
Reds     4.17  11 .741  11 1.39   9
NL       3.79     .708     1.35

The relivers seem to have been the thorn in the side all season long so far. Their numbers are a bit below average, but not near as bad as I was expecting.

NAME        G   IP  H ER  R HR BB SO WHIP  ERA
Weathers   18 20.2 15  5  7  0  3 22 0.87 2.18 
Salmon      4  4.2  1  2  2  1  4  5 1.07 3.86 
Coutlangus 18 13.1 11  5  6  2  6 10 1.28 3.38 
Saarloos   20 17.2 15 10 12  1  9 11 1.36 5.09 
Santos     17 21.0 20  9  9  3 13 13 1.57 3.86 
Coffey     23 20.0 25 11 13  4  8 20 1.65 4.95 
Cormier     6  3.0  4  3  3  1  1  1 1.67 9.00 
Stanton    21 13.0 17 10 10  1  5 11 1.69 6.92 
Burton      4  3.1  1  0  0  0  5  2 1.80 0.00 

Weathers numbers look really great. Coutlangus has been pretty decent and a bit of a pleasant surprise. One might think that since he pretty much jumped from AA last season to the Reds this season, that Medlock and Guevera, who also pitched well last season at AA, might at least be able to get promotions to AAA.

Coffey on the other hand has been disappointing. I’ll never understand how a guy with his stuff is so hittable. Saarloos has been all right. Santos walks too many people. Stanton has been a disappointment also, I figured he’d do okay as a late setup guy, but he’s been banged around pretty hard. The jury is still out on Salmon and Burton, although I’d highly suggest that they both start throwing strikes.

Bray and Majewski should be here soon and when they arrive it will make for some interesting personnel decisions in the pen. Guardado is a wild card; anything positive he provides this season would be an unexpected plus.

Hitting

           BA-RNK  OBP-RNK  SLG-RNK  OPS-RNK
Reds     .252  11 .321  10 .415   7 .737-  7
NL       .256     .327     .398     .725

For all their efforts to try to move the Reds towards a small ball, defensive-oriented, do-the-little-thing-right team. It appears that the Reds offense in still slanted towards a slugging team. The offense is slightly above average, which is a little surprising to me; it’s about as best as I would have hoped for coming into the season.

Catchers

           BA-RNK  OBP-RNK  SLG-RNK  OPS-RNK
Reds     .209  15 .257  15 .324  14 .580- 15
NL       .254     .316     .372     .688

NAME      AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Ross     100 .200 .234 .330 .564 
Valentin  45 .222 .321 .311 .632 

Well, here is a problem spot on offense. I think Ross is much better than this; I expect that he’ll get hot soon and we’ll see his OPS up around .730 or so by seasons end. Valentin isn’t showing much either, and I hold no hope out for Moeller’s bat. We have no prospects in the minors behind the plate either. This is position that Krivsky could work on shoring up in the organization. If there are any veteran fire sales at trade deadline this year, a catching prospect would be a decent return.

First Basemen

           BA-RNK  OBP-RNK  SLG-RNK  OPS-RNK
Reds     .283   5 .348   8 .416   7 .763-  9
NL       .267     .355     .426     .781

NAME        AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Hatteberg  101 .277 .354 .376 .730 
Conine      77 .286 .345 .455 .799 

The aged platoon is not faring so bad so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes south fast. This team would look better with these two being the first two guys coming of the bench to PH; we could still have their veteran leadership around then also.

Joey Votto has made adjustments at AAA from a slow start and is now hitting .275 BA/.397 OBP/.415 SLG/.812 OPS. With this team going no where this season, I’d get him up here for a half season at least. He should match these two guys production pretty easily. Interesting to note also that Votto has been seeing a little time out in LF recently also.

Second Basemen

           BA-RNK  OBP-RNK  SLG-RNK  OPS-RNK
Reds     .296   2 .347   5 .520   2 .866-  2
NL       .261     .330     .415     .745

NAME       AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Phillips  174 .293 .339 .494 .833 

Wow, a great start for Phillips. He started out hot last season too. He’s going to have to prove to me though that he can go the season without a prolonged funk like he hit last year. I also hope the power he is showing doesn’t get into his head again; that was his downfall when he first came up with Cleveland. I hope he continues to impress me.

Third Basemen

           BA-RNK  OBP-RNK  SLG-RNK  OPS-RNK
Reds     .241  11 .309  13 .296  14 .605- 15
NL       .257     .337     .406     .744

NAME          AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Encarnacion  101 .218 .301 .287 .588 
Castro        44 .182 .217 .227 .445 

Edwin Encarnacion is hitting again already at Louisville, .359 BA/.375 OBP/.590 SLG/.965 OPS. I hope they don’t keep screwing around with him, and get him back up here at 3B quickly. Encarnacion is going to hit; if only they could teach him to throw. Wow, I was surprised that Castro even managed to under-produce Encarnacion’s horrid start.

Shortstops

           BA-RNK  OBP-RNK  SLG-RNK  OPS-RNK
Reds     .242  12 .300  13 .424   7 .724-  7
NL       .270     .331     .406     .736

NAME       AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Gonzalez  147 .252 .306 .456 .762 

Gonzalez is off to a great start, for him, mostly due to some early season power. He’s always been a bad hitter — career .687 OPS — so this is a bonus. Don’t expect it to last. I still would have preferred that the Reds have pursued an OF bat in the offseason rather than Gonzalez, and moved Phillips to SS and Freel to 2B.

Left Fielders

           BA-RNK  OBP-RNK  SLG-RNK  OPS-RNK
Reds     .250  13 .342  13 .518   5 .861-  5
NL       .278     .363     .465     .827

NAME   AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Dunn  150 .267 .368 .560 .928 

The average is up, but the walks are down slightly, and the Ks are actually up. Pretty much the same old Dunn we either love or hate. He’s on pace for his normal 40 HR, 100 RBI, 100 R, and 100 BB season. He is what he is, I say take him for that and quit wishing he was something else.

Center Fielders

           BA-RNK  OBP-RNK  SLG-RNK  OPS-RNK
Reds     .244  13 .323   7 .393  11 .716- 10
NL       .265     .330     .408     .738

NAME       AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Freel     140 .257 .333 .371 .705 
Hamilton  119 .261 .336 .521 .857 

Freel needs to pick up his walk rate. He’s a deficit if he is not carrying a .360+ OBP.

What can you say about Hamilton? I really think he’s for real. What an awesome swing. He’s basically the Kearns replacement I was hoping we would have spent our FA money on last season instead of getting Gonzalez. He can go a long way to make up for some of the offensive shortcomings that I was expecting from this team this season. He should pretty much be out there in CF every day, not Freel.

Right Fielders

           BA-RNK  OBP-RNK  SLG-RNK  OPS-RNK
Reds     .291   4 .387   1 .544   1 .931-  1
NL       .262     .329     .406     .735

NAME      AB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS 
Griffey  125 .304 .414 .544 .958 

Griffey is smoking hot. We’ve always known he could still hit. It’s just a matter of whether he stay out there to get 500 ABs.

Defense

        FPCT-RNK
Reds    .979- 14
NL      .983

C       .994-  5
NL      .991

1B      .992- 11
NL      .992

2B      .986-  9
NL      .985

3B      .932- 13
NL      .958

SS      .962- 14
NL      .971

LF      .975- 14
NL      .989

CF      .984-  8
NL      .985

RF      .963- 14
NL      .977

Defense is still the achilles heal of this team. There was a lot of preseason talk by the Reds that this would be much improved this season due to the signing of Gonzalez and adding him to Phillips and Freel up the middle. The sad truth is, we are still a pitiful defensive team, and it is not a surprise. This solution did nothing about Dunn or Encarnacion’s gloves still being out there or the aging Griffey whose defense appears to be slipping a bit. If the Reds really want to address this issue, it is going to take a major overhaul of the face of this team.

Wrapup

This is a team that I expected to be a slightly under .500 team. They are now a bit worse that that, but I believe that can be mostly attributed to the real bad stretch the bullpen endured. I really don’t see how this team can hope to contend, especially after the bad start, and I’m perplexed that they appear to want to continue to play to win now. My hope is that they soon move some of the young talent who appears to be close to ready, mainly Bailey and Votto, into place and deal some of the veterans who aren’t in the future plans.

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6 Responses

  1. Brian

    This tidbit was in a Baker Column at BP

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=6247


    Let’s say that before the season started, someone told you the following would be true about the Reds six weeks into the season: Adam Dunn would be exceeding his career EqA by nearly 20 points; Ken Griffey, Jr. would have 9.2 percent of the team’s plate appearances and would have their highest VORP; Brandon Phillips would improve on last year; Alex Gonzalez would be slugging .475; and Josh Hamilton would be off to a running start. What would you think? That their playoff odds would be at 8.3 percent?

    The Brewers’ hot start has had a big impact on the Reds’ low playoff expectation number, certainly. The team’s defensive efficiency isn’t helping either. Only Tampa Bay, Colorado, and Florida have lower team defensive efficiency ratings than the Reds. Predictably, three of Cincinnati’s starting pitchers are among the league leaders in BABIP among those with at least 35 IP: Kyle Lohse is seventh at .341, Matt Belisle is ninth at .336, and Aaron Harang is 14th at .320. The non-production out of the third base slot has been a problem, but lots of teams succeed with offensive black holes at one and even two positions.

  2. Chad

    Great analysis, Tom.

    I think that 95% of the problem with this team is the bullpen. There are other problems, but none have had the negative impact on the field that the bullpen has had…as the BP quote above demonstrates.

    IMO.

  3. Chris

    Starters: 265 IP, 19 HR (1 every 13.94 IP)
    Relievers: 114 IP, 13 HR (1 every 8.7 IP)

  4. Chris

    Two points of disagreement:

    1. I didn’t know Griffey could still hit. I had pretty much written him off, which shows what I know.

    2. I think Dunn’s defense is improved. Significantly. He’ll still make a few errors, as he did in San Diego, but so does everyone. In all candor, Griffey’s looked worse afield than Dunn has. I don’t know what the numbers will say at year’s end, but I’m in agreement with the beat writers and broadcasters who’ve weighed in so far – Dunn looks like he’s a better defender, at the very least.

  5. Bill

    On the EE front, the Enquirer has a quote from Narron today: “If something happened today where we needed him, we’d call him back,” Narron said. “If it’s a month from now and he’s playing well and improving, it’s a good thing for him.”
    The article finishes by saying, “The Reds don’t want to call up Encarnacion for a brief stint, like the one Jeff Keppinger got while Aaron Harang was on the bereavement list.”

    This doesn’t sound like an organization talking about their prospect/future/should be third baseman, sounds like someone that’s available for the right price.

    Anyone confident in Krivsky getting true value for EE?

  6. preach

    Look at Narron’s first 44 games to include the decisions made and the record and compare it to Perez’s 44.

    Just sayin’