2010 Reds

Overachievers and Proud of It

Despite recent events, the Reds are going to win the NL Central.  Rather than talk about that slow, inexorable backward stumble into October, I thought we could use the time to look at how we got here.  How did the club generally (though not unanimously) expected to finish fourth in the six-team Central end up with the biggest lead in the NL?

Joey Votto is the NL MVP.  That’s obviously a nice place to start.  But a team with a $76M payroll needs everything to go right.  They need their young stars to break out, their journeymen to have career years, and a couple of aging vets to rebound (one last time).  The Reds got all three.

We compared the Reds 2010 numbers (through Saturday) with the 2010 ZiPS projections.  Today, the offense, ranked by how much their wOBA surpassed expectations:

Name PA AVG OBP SLG OPS wOBA
ZAVG ZOBP ZSLG ZOPS ZwOBA
AVG +/- OBP +/- SLG +/- OPS +/- WOBA +/- WOBA +/-
Chris Valaika 28 .333 .333 .481 .815 .355
.249 .287 .361 .648 .286
.084 .046 .120 .167 .069 .069
Joey Votto 581 .320 .423 .590 1.013 .435
.293 .372 .500 .872 .380
.027 .051 .090 .141 .055 .055
Miguel Cairo 197 .289 .354 .416 .770 .345
.249 .300 .340 .640 .292
.040 .054 .076 .130 .053 .053
Juan Francisco 37 .314 .351 .457 .808 .355
.252 .283 .425 .708 .308
.062 .068 .032 .100 .047 .047
Ramon Hernandez 307 .305 .365 .440 .805 .354
.255 .324 .385 .709 .317
.050 .041 .055 .096 .037 .037
Paul Janish 200 .274 .354 .411 .765 .331
.239 .310 .340 .650 .295
.035 .044 .071 .115 .036 .036
Drew Stubbs 509 .247 .314 .415 .729 .327
.235 .305 .348 .653 .296
.012 .009 .067 .076 .031 .031
Ryan Hanigan 210 .278 .383 .409 .792 .349
.267 .347 .357 .704 .321
.011 .036 .052 .088 .028 .028
Scott Rolen 486 .294 .366 .520 .886 .378
.283 .352 .439 .791 .351
.011 .014 .081 .095 .027 .027
Laynce Nix 173 .291 .345 .462 .807 .342
.249 .302 .456 .758 .329
.042 .043 .006 .049 .013 .013
Jay Bruce 513 .274 .343 .464 .807 .347
.251 .315 .459 .774 .336
.023 .028 .005 .033 .011 .011
Chris Heisey 198 .253 .330 .437 .767 .332
.270 .329 .415 .744 .334
-.017 .001 .022 .023 -.002 -.002
Brandon Phillips 610 .281 .334 .438 .773 .337
.276 .327 .446 .773 .343
.005 .007 -.008 .000 -.006 -.006
Jonny Gomes 500 .262 .330 .430 .760 .329
.243 .328 .471 .799 .350
.019 .002 -.041 -.039 -.021 -.021
Corky Miller 71 .242 .286 .348 .634 .283
.243 .328 .361 .689 .314
-.001 -.042 -.013 -.055 -.031 -.031
Orlando Cabrera 471 .263 .306 .342 .647 .290
.291 .337 .396 .733 .331
-.028 -.031 -.054 -.086 -.041 -.041
Jim Edmonds 24 .136 .208 .364 .572 .250
.225 .327 .422 .749 .331
-.089 -.119 -.058 -.177 -.081 -.081
Chris Dickerson 45 .205 .222 .273 .495 .235
.247 .336 .394 .730 .331
-.042 -.114 -.121 -.235 -.096 -.096

We’ve known this all year, but it’s still stunning to see in black and white.  Other than a couple bit players and the twin anchors dragging on the offense all summer (Gomes and Cabrera), everyone’s been playing better than expected.

Votto was clearly going to be the Reds’ best hitter, but few projection systems shout “potential triple crown” in March.  Drew Stubbs also exceeded expectations by a big factor.  Consider those your breakout young hitters.  Scott Rolen and Ramon Hernandez are the “one last time” vets, and all the role players have been exceptional, particularly Ryan Hanigan, Miguel Cairo, and Paul Janish.

(I have NO idea what ZiPS was thinking about Corky Miller.  His actual 634 OPS is 70 points over his career number.  Nobody is considering his 2010 performance a disappointment, especially the 12 starts he gave them in late June/early July, when he hit 727.)

I also compared 2010 BABIP numbers to career numbers, to get an idea how much luck may have been involved.

Name BABIP Career BABIP BABIP +/-
Chris Valaika .400

Joey Votto .356 .351 .005
Miguel Cairo .315 .292 .023
Juan Francisco .500

Ramon Hernandez .344 .278 .066
Paul Janish .295 .261 .034
Drew Stubbs .324 .325 -.001
Ryan Hanigan .288 .289 -.001
Scott Rolen .313 .309 .004
Laynce Nix .359 .295 .064
Jay Bruce .329 .287 .042
Chris Heisey .308

Brandon Phillips .299 .287 .012
Jonny Gomes .302 .294 .008
Corky Miller .294 .220 .074
Orlando Cabrera .286 .287 -.001
Jim Edmonds .125 .324 -.199
Chris Dickerson .360 .365 -.005

In some cases (Ramon, Nix, Janish, Corky), it appears that luck played a big part.  (I’m also curious whether Jay Bruce’s good-but-not-breakout season has been lucky, or whether the drop in HRs somehow caused the BABIP spike).

The fact that 3-4 players are having lucky/good years shouldn’t be surprising.  What is unusual is that nobody has been significantly unlucky.  That’s how you win divisions, especially with a small budget.

Tomorrow, the pitchers.

16 thoughts on “Overachievers and Proud of It

  1. I don’t know why, but the only oddity to me is the absence of a single player hitting below their projected stats. It’s well within the realm of possibility for Votto, Bruce, and Stubbs to do what they are doing……even Rolen. OK, Janish is probably in over his head, but he’s not as bad as he showed last year either.
    As for BABIP, I’m amazed Bruce’s .329 is as high as it is, given how unlucky he was in April.
    Question is, is it a given that next season will be a come down or do you think with a nifty trade or FA acquisition we can maintain this?

    • Question is, is it a given that next season will be a come down or do you think with a nifty trade or FA acquisition we can maintain this?

      I think what will offset any drop next year (Rolen, etc) is the youth

      Bruce (23!!), Francisco (23), Alonso(23), Stubbs (25), Heisey(25), Votto(26), Janish(27), Leake(22), Chapman(22), Wood(23), Cueto(24), Bailey(24), Lecure, Volquez, and Maloney (26)

      all could very well improve, which in Votto’s case is a wonderfully scary idea
      I think what excites me about next year is a full year of Cueto, Bailey, Volquez, Leake and Wood.

      Sign/trade for a big LF and/or SS and this team looks even better to me next year

  2. SoS,

    If I were a betting man (which I am) I would say this means the odds of the Reds repeating with the same team is about 10%. Hopefully Walt knows that and doesn’t sit pat.

  3. When you’re thinking about next year, there are two types of “over-achievers.” Guys like Stubbs, Janish, and Hanigan are harder for ZiPS to project, since there’s very little major league track record to base it on.

    Ramon shouldn’t be a part of next year’s team in any event. They can easily improve in LF and SS, and we can continue to hope for a breakout from Jay Bruce.

    The real risk is if Votto regresses or Rolen collapses. (One being much more likely than the other).

    To sum up: If Bruce can make up for Rolen’s likely fall-off, and Jocketty finds a legitimate LF, and resists the temptation to resign Gomes, Cabrera, and Ramon – the offense could be just as good next year.

    • BTW, Chris…great post. I think this one of the more interesting things we’ve had here at RN recently.

      I know how much we all look at those projections before the season, and they help to inform what we believe the team will do. To see, in cold, hard, black and white how many players have exceeded expectations…very interesting.

      I’ll be concerned about the Plexiglass Principle next year anyway, but I think Chris is right that there isn’t necessarily going to be a drop-off next year.

  4. @Chris Garber: I agree with your assessment of Stubbs, Janish, and Hanigan. While there may be some regression with Janish and Hanigan, I believe their performances are repeatable.
    SS However, I’m not sure they can easily improve SS. Obviously, you dump OC, but Janish is a middle of the pack guy in the NL. We’ll definitely need a capable backup because Soft-J has shown the tendancy to wear down, but I don’t know if an above average guy is out there in our price range.
    LF Which brings up the question of money. For us to make a run at a quality LF, does it mean keeping Arroyo is an either or proposition? Do you leverage Alonso and Francisco to make a deal (I do)?
    C My assumption is this: based on Mez’s performance in the AFL, Walt will then decide to dump Hernandez and go w/ Corky as the backup until Memorial Day.

    • LF Which brings up the question of money. For us to make a run at a quality LF, does it mean keeping Arroyo is an either or proposition? Do you leverage Alonso and Francisco to make a deal (I do)?

      This one’s easy, Sultan. Gomes has a VORP of 10.5. That’s 13th among NL LFs, and 22nd in MLB. To terrify you, he’s one spot ahead of Corey Patterson (9.6). In other words, Gomes is easy to replace, especially when you consider defense.

  5. Interesting stuff…you must have found the time to do this while Charlie was running around pre-school by himself.

  6. Nice post and congrats on getting added to the Neyer network.

    It would be interesting to see wOBA converted to runs (unless it’s already part of the table that can’t fit on my monitor…) I’m guessing we’ve outperformed by something like 80-100 runs or 8 to 10 wins offensively.

  7. @Chris Garber: Heisey is at 0.3 VORP in 300 fewer PA, a pace slightly behind Gomes. Consider the defense and you’re looking at a wash at worst. Fangraphs has Gomes at -3.5 Runs Above Replacement (aka below replacement) compared to Heisey at 9.2 RAR.

    Neither guy is an ideal option, but there’s really no reason to being Gomes back as a starter. I could be convinced he’s worth carrying as a bench bat, particularly if he learned some 1B (just in case), but I’d just as soon have Danny Dorn fill the role.

  8. I don’t know that I agree with “inexorable backward stumble into October.” The Reds are 4-7 in September, sure. However, that was based almost entirely upon the awful road trip in CO and St. Louis. The Reds are 3-1 at home in September and have four games against the second worst team in the NL. I can see them very realistically being 7-8 going into the teams last road trip. It is not at all implausible to see them finish with a +.500 month.

    • I don’t know that I agree with “inexorable backward stumble into October.”

      Outscored 35-43 over the last 10. Batting .250/.322/.358. Pitching: 4.40 ERA, 1.27 WHIP (basically propped up by the three starts vs. PIT).

      Despite winning 2/3 vs. PIT, this team ain’t right.

      • Outscored 35-43 over the last 10. Batting .250/.322/.358. Pitching: 4.40 ERA, 1.27 WHIP (basically propped up by the three starts vs. PIT).

        I have really gotten the feeling that the lineup misses Bruce
        It’s not just Bruce’s bat being in the lineup (he was HOT before he got hurt) it’s that it gives Dusty more flexibility with who starts in LF/CF. The Reds have played those 10 games, where the offense has been pretty bad with only 3 OF. Bruce means that Stubbs or Gomes can be sat at the right times.
        I’m sure a post will be up soon about the Reds acquiring Bloomquist. Bloomquist is pretty terrible. BUT I get the feeling the Reds got him because he’s played EVERY POSITION!! (except catcher and pitcher). Sure sure…he’s below average at EVERY POSITION but I feel like the Reds/Dusty have had their hands tired a bit recently because they only have 3 OF

  9. @Chris Garber: No, I get that we’ll be going in a different direction next year in left. But in order to upgrade there it’s going to cost some money….unless you have a lot of faith in Frazier, whom I’d rather see at third long term. For a team on a limited budget, does that preclude resigning Arroyo when you know we have to lock up Votto and possibly Cueto? I’m just not confident we have a lot of headroom in the payroll department…..and that assumes we don’t bring back OC or Ramon.

    • unless you have a lot of faith in Frazier, whom I’d rather see at third long term.

      Frazier has been playing LF all year long. I mean, I’ve never seen a player stuck in LF at Louisville in my life like Frazier has been in LF.

      come to thnk of it; Louisville has been consistent in most of their positioning all year…Castillo/Miller catching, Alonso at 1b, Valaika at 2b, Cozart at ss, Francisco at 3b, Frazier in LF, Burke/matthews in CF and Balentien in RF. Normally, they’re moving everywhere, but they haven’t been this year.

  10. It is important to remember that a number of players are gonna be getting significant pay increases. BP will go up to $11M. Votto, Bruce and I think Cueto are all due arbitration. How much is JV’s arbitration gonna cost management? I can’t see bringing back OC, with the way Janish has played this year. Valaika or Cozart would make nice backups in the infield. I can’t see Hernandez coming back or repeating the year that he has had. I can’t see Gomes having his option picked up. Arroyo is probably coming back just to add veteran presence to the rotation. I know Harang is coming off the payroll but his check is going to go to JV. Cordero seems untradeable right now. I can’t see a large improvement in LF or SS going into next season.

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