We’re at the half-way point of the 2017 season. So far the Reds offense has been outperforming last year by quite a bit, nearly half a run per game.

  • 2016 – 4.42 runs/game

  • 2017 – 4.84 runs/game

What factors have lead to more runs?

1. Batting average?

  • 2016 – .256

  • 2017 – .260

2. Walk-rate (BB%)?

  • 2016 – 7.4%

  • 2017 – 8.1%

3. Strikeout rate (K%)?

  • 2016 – 21.1%

  • 2017 – 20.9%

4. On-base skills (OBP)? 

  • 2016 – .316

  • 2017 – .327

5. Power (ISO)?

  • 2016 – .152

  • 2017 – .189

6. Base stealing (SB)? 

  • 2016 – .86/game

  • 2017 – .85/game

The Reds have hit for more power and have gotten on base better. About one-third the higher OBP is due to batting average, and two-third due to a better walk-rate. At least in this example, stolen bases have played no role in higher run scoring.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 30 Comments

  1. And if the best hitters or at least the best on base hitters were hitting in the top of the lineup, the offense could probably crack 5.00 runs per game…especially if the Reds would eliminate on of the two worst hitters in the league from the starting lineup and bat the remaining worst hitter in the league at the bottom of the lineup, the very bottom of the lineup.

    • Exactly. One would think that the Red’s brain-trust would do what you propose, but that would mean they have to be logical. After all Joe Maddon bats high OBP players leadoff, and I think he’s won a World Series.

  2. The improvement in power and getting on base have been done despite no help from Billy and Peraza at all.Amazing especially when Billy gets the most at bats on the team.

    • If Billy had an OBP of .360 or more, he would be an tremendous asset to the team.
      His OBP for a leadoff hitter is poor, relatively speaking, but he has contributed. I would be interested in seeing the Reds scoring per game in games where Billy reaches versus those he does not reach base.
      Winker (if he were with the Reds and retained his AAA OBP) would be an obvious improvement as a leadoff hitter.

      Someone yesterday mentioned Eugenio Suarez as a leadoff hitter, who seems to reach base despite his declining BA lately.
      It is no surprise when looking at the Big Red Machine days, that Pete Rose and Bobby Tolan had good OBP numbers in 1970, and the Pete and Joe Morgan had very good (> 0.400) OBP numbers in 1972.

      At present, with no changes in personnel on the 40 man, I would bring up Winker and have him play LF, move Duvall to Right (he has worked hard to be a good outfielder and could handle right field) and move Schebler to Center. Billy can come in as a pinch runner or late inning defensive replacement.

      The outfield defense would be poorer, but if Winker led off, I agree that our offense would be better.

      Or have Cozart/Gennett as 1-2 hitters, and bat Billy 8th or 9th. I just don’t see the light coming on and Billy becoming a much better hitter.

    • Billy has scored the second most runs on the team (Votto, surprise surprise, is first). Dependent stat, I know, but it indicates that he’s not a total hindrance to the improved offense this year.

  3. Great simple comparison, it’s nice to see how improved they’ve been. Interesting to see how they’ve already almost matched their WAR from last season offensively (15.4 last year, 15.0 this year). Hopefully they can keep building on that. On the pitching side it’s interesting to see the bullpen this year is unsurprisingly far better than the bullpen last year, but the starters are much worse (3.1 WAR last year, already -1.3 this year). Theres still time for them to turn it around but they desperately need some of these young guys to come up and have some success!

  4. I just saw your post Old Cossack and I think we are talking about the same two hitters.Maybe and I am keeping my fingers crossed but maybe changes are coming.

    • Yeah, I feel the same way, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up for those changes to be implemented. If we see the changes in the lineup and roster after the all star break, my faith in DW will skyrocket.

  5. Despite the improvement they’re still just 7th in the NL in runs scored (13th overall). Thats not going to cut it with GABP as our home park. Arizona is 5th & Colorado is 6th. We need to be in that range to compete since our pitching isn’t going to be top flight anytime soon. They can’t get by with daily holes in the lineup & ineffective batting orders.

  6. The absolute number of steals is almost exactly the same. The key would be when those steals occurred and what part they played ( or didn’t play) in the creation of runs.

    I live in Chicago so I was watching the Cubs feed on Saturday. I was half paying attention but there was a play where Hamilton went from 1st to 3rd on a dribbler up the middle. The Cubs announcers started discussing that some of Votto and Cozart success this year is tied to the fact that they see more fastballs when Hamilton is on base since breaking pitches are easy to steal on….no actual data was offered.

    • I’ve heard that on a few different opposing broadcasts over the last year or so. Whether or not it is true, it seems to be the prevailing thought around baseball.

      Not really related, but Hamilton’s been a pretty big disappointment to me this season. His hitting has been worse than expected, and he’s even been worse on the bases and in the field than in 2015 and 2016. Taking 0 steps forward is a bad sign.

      • Yeah. I’m a big fan of Billy’s, but after a few good spells, he’s struggling terribly. I’ve noticed for awhile that his steal attempts seem infrequent (no data) and wonder if he’s hurting or has lost his confidence. In any event, the current version isn’t adding enough to the Reds’ to merit starting full-time, let alone batting lead-off. All of that said, I do worry that shuffling the outifield in such a way (Schebler in Center, Winker at one of the corners) that the defense goes from good to mediocre at best will have unpleasant consequences that would take large improvement in offense to overcome.

    • I haven’t read “Ball Four” since 1970 but I believe in the book Jim Bouton said Yankee pitchers complained that Yogi Berra always called for fastballs when base stealers were on base.

      • Most catchers do. Usually get to the catcher faster and perhaps more importantly, are usually located better (and thereby improve release time for catcher).

  7. The decision is do the Reds give up on Hamilton now, the end of the season, or go another season with him in 2018? Next year is his first arbitration year. The 1st option is to at least finish the year with him to see if he can turn into something. The 2nd option is to make him a 5th outfielder and accept him as a defensive replacement and pinch runner this summer. The 3rd option is to do #2 next season. The #4 option is to move his .290 OBP. .240 BA, 10 doubles, 20 RBI, 50 SB’s and defense to some other team over the off season. He might help a loaded contender but do nothing for those mired in also ran status.

    • Or move him to 9th? Or a batting 9th/def replacement 4 man OF hybrid w/Winker? They just can’t carry both Hamilton & Peraza.

      • I know I’m beating this horse alot but I hope he has a big week in Denver! Billy is a great fit for them imo! Small sample size of course but he’s 19-48 (.396) in Coors. I think the weak OF bloops he hits have a much higher chance to fall in because they still have to play back somewhat. If the OF plays shallow then any ball he hits in the gap or actually cranks is an easy inside the park HR. Not to mention he would save them atleast 1-2 runs a homestand defensively.

        • Hamilton is not in tonight’s lineup in Coors. Has a stiff back.

          • So I assume we get Peraza leading off with his .276 OBP since he is the fastest guy in the lineup.

    • Next year is 2nd ARB year…they agreed to ~2.5 mil this year….next year is 5 mil.

  8. Are you sure?
    Can you recheck the data?
    I can’t believe better on base percentage and more power translates to more offense.

  9. I’d be curious at what the numbers would look like if you plugged Votto’s 2016 1st half numbers into the rest of the team’s numbers. I’m guessing that would move the needle quite a bit.

    • Ahhhh…..drill down further to granularity
      Billy Hamilton -..294 obp.no power
      Zach Cozart- All star
      Joey Votto -MVP candidate
      Adam Duvall -Almost all star…great power
      Schebler -20 home runs at the break
      Mesoraco/barnhart- 2+ war at all Star break
      Gennett12 HR and 1.5 war part time
      Peraza- negative war.

      Does that help ?

      • I’m not sure what you are saying. Are you saying Votto’s bad 1st half last year didn’t contribute to the teams poor 1st half stats that Steve posted

        • I think Steve’s last year numbers are for the whole season, not just the 1st half. Over the full season, Votto had an excellent year (monumental 2nd half). Had he had a 1st half like this year, his overall numbers certainly would have been better. Not sure how much it would have moved the needle though.

          I will add however that scoring is up throughout the NL so far this year. It’s up by about 0.2 runs per game league wide.

  10. Good mix of veterans and young guys leading the offense. Great to see Schebler blossoming and Duvall actually improving on last year. IF the Reds had average starting pitching this year the team would be near or at the top of this mediocre division, even carrying Hamilton and Peraza’s bats.

    • With that in mind, excited to see Castillo on his third start tonight in a very tough place to pitch.

  11. Can anyone tell me how many solo home runs Votto, Duvall and Schebler have? Just wondering how many more wins the Reds would have if the top of the order were “occasionally” on base.

  12. Overall run scoring is up in MLB as well. That may account for some of it. It isn’t as drastic as what we’re seeing with the Reds though. 2017 the NL is averaging 4.67 runs/game. in 2016 that figure was 4.48 runs/game for the season.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2017 Reds


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