It’s been exactly one month.

After great controversy regarding the timing, the Reds summoned Nick Senzel to the majors on May 3.

With the second overall pick in the 2016 MLB amateur draft, the Reds had chosen Senzel out of the University of Tennessee. He had hit .352/.456/.595 and stolen 25 bases during his junior season in Knoxville. Senzel was widely regarded the best college hitter available. He had played 160 games at the University of Tennessee, mostly at third base.

Historical footnote: The Phillies used the #1 pick overall that year on California high school outfielder Mickey Moniak. Moniak (21) is now playing for AA-Reading and rated the Phillies #10 prospect. He’s slipped in-and-out of the bottom of MLB top-100 lists.

A few days after being drafted, Nick Senzel signed a $6.2 million bonus. He became the organization’s #1 ranked prospect and soon, a Top Ten prospect in all baseball.

The Reds assigned Senzel the position of third base for rookie ball and low-A in 2016 and for high-A and AA in 2017. In 2018 for the Louisville Bats, Senzel split time between 2B and 3B, and played one game at SS.

Regarding his durability, Nick Senzel played three complete seasons for Tennessee, appearing in 160 out of the 161 games UT played from 2014-16. But as a young professional, Senzel was beset by injuries including a torn tendon in his right index finger (2018) and a sprained ankle (2019). He also suffered two bouts of vertigo, missing the final week of the 2017 season and four weeks in 2018. He missed the 2018 Arizona Fall League due to surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

In his May 3 Reds debut, Senzel went 1-for-4 with two walks. He started in center field and has stayed there. Manager David Bell has had him bat mostly in the leadoff spot. Since his celebrated introduction, Nick Senzel has played in every Reds game. In fact, he hasn’t missed an inning, including both ends of the May 27 doubleheader.

This post is a detailed report card on Nick Senzel over the past month. It’s a look backward (note past-tense verbs), not a projection. Not only is the sample size minuscule, but the calendar-based endpoint is arbitrary. A couple of bad games could put Senzel below average on metrics where he’s now above average.

On the other hand, Nick Senzel has played in 28 games with 134 plate appearances. We have data. We can either take a peek or ignore it. Let’s look.

We’ll break down Senzel’s offensive skills into contact, plate discipline and power and analyze each part. Then we’ll examine the contribution of speed and defense to his game.

Contact Skills

Contact skills are fundamental to hitting. Can the batter hit the ball and with authority?

The average contact rate [Contact%] for a major league hitter this season has been 76 percent, with a swinging strike rate [SwStr%] of 11 percent. Nick Senzel surpassed the league’s overall Contact% with his own of 79.5 percent. His SwStr% was 9.5 percent. So in general, Senzel made above average contact.

On pitches in the strike zone, Senzel was normal. Both his contact on pitches swung at in the strike zone [Z-Contact%] and the league Z-Contact% were 85 percent. On pitches outside the zone, his contact rate [O-Contact%] was 69 percent, higher than league average 62 percent. One explanation could be because he had good plate discipline (more on that later) and only swung at pitches that were close to being strikes. Either way, it was a positive quality.

Senzel’s strikeout rate [K%] is 26.9% while league average was 22.9%.

Senzel’s basic contact skill produced a batting average [AVG] of .267. Major League average was .249.

Another way to measure contact skill for a batter is looking at his Batting Average on Balls In Play [BABIP]. BABIP measures how often batted balls (excluding home runs) fall in for hits. The main variables in BABIP for a batter are defense, luck and talent. The harder a ball is hit, the more likely it becomes a hit. A fast runner can nudge his BABIP a bit higher by beating out the occasional ground ball.

While there are short-term variances in a player’s BABIP due to defensive plays and swings in luck, over a period of time it’s a decent measurement of contact skills. Joey Votto, for example, has a career BABIP of .351, while Jose Peraza’s career BABIP is .301.

The major league average BABIP right now is .295. Nick Senzel’s BABIP in May was .346, which is outstanding.

Here is the spray chart (Baseball Savant) for all the balls Senzel has put in play. Note that he spread his ground balls to both sides of the field. On balls to the outfield, he showed a strong tendency to the opposite field, including three of his four home runs.

Plate Discipline Skills

There are several ways to measure whether a batter has good plate discipline skills. The first is simply looking at his swing-rate [Swing%], namely at what percentage of pitches does the batter swing. The average swing-rate in the majors is 45-46% and has remained steady since 2002.

In his first month, Nick Senzel’s swing rate was average, at 46%.

But a better way to look at plate discipline is measuring the percent of pitches outside the strike zone at which at a batter swings [O-Swing%]. Another term for O-Swing% is the batter’s “chase rate.”

Data from over a million plate appearances since 2008 shows that swinging at the right pitches is positively correlated with batting average, on-base percentage (walks) and hitting for power.

The closer a pitch is to the middle of the strike zone, the better the outcome for the batter. Swinging at pitches outside the strike zone dramatically cuts batting average and power.

So what’s a good chase-rate?

While the overall swing rate in baseball has remained constant, O-Swing% has increased over the past 18 seasons. In 2002, players swung at 18% of pitches outside the zone. Today, that number is 30%, a healthy increase. On the other hand, O-Swing% has leveled off league-wide and remained relatively steady for the past ten seasons.

League-wide, the O-Swing% for 2019 is 30.7%. The Reds as a team are pretty close to that, at 30.9%. They range from Joey Votto (20.7%) and Jesse Winker (26.1%) to Matt Kemp (39.2%) and Jose Iglesias (43.8%).

Nick Senzel’s O-Swing% was a glittering 26.1%. That put him in the top 25% of all major league hitters with at least 120 plate appearances.

One way that discipline manifested for Senzel was his walk-rate [BB%] of 9%. League average was 8.8%. Senzel’s walk rate going back to his days at Tennessee has always been strong. In college, over three years he had a 13.2 BB%. His minor league rate was 10.6 BB%.

When you add Senzel’s batting average with his walk-rate, it produced an on-base percentage [OBP] of .331. League average was .321.

Power Skills

The most common statistic used to measure a batter’s power is the number of home runs [HR] he hits.

Nick Senzel has never been known for hitting home runs. He had 13 in 600 college plate appearances and 28 in 1000 minor league times at the plate. You wouldn’t say he lacked home run power, but it hasn’t been a big part of his offensive skill set. He has 4 homers for the Reds in 125 appearances. If you extrapolated that to a full season (which you shouldn’t), it would be 20-25 homers.

Slugging Percentage [SLG] is another popular measure of power. SLG is calculated by dividing total bases by number of at bats. A single is one base, a double two bases and so on. It credits the batter with extra-base hits beyond home runs. But SLG can be misleading because it does include singles. A batter with 100 total bases produced by 100 singles (zero extra-base power) would have the same SLG as a batter with 100 total bases produced by 20 home runs and 20 doubles. You might prefer the batter with 100 singles, but if you’re out to measure power, there’s no question which of those two batters hits for more of it.

The best way to address this problem is to delete singles from the SLG formula and just measure extra-base hits. To do that, subtract a player’s batting average from his SLG. That eliminates one-base from every hit, leaving only extra-base hits. It produces the statistic Isolated Power [ISO], a pure measure of power.

Here’s a chart that shows ISO for the past 40 seasons. The Selig Steroid Era is indicated in dark blue. Duly noted there is no clear-cut end to the steroid era. Penalties and testing became gradually more rigorous beginning in 2003. The Mitchell Report published in 2008. The Juiced Ball/Statcast Era is in red, with the early results for 2019 in dark red on the far right. The most recent jump actually began the second half of 2015.

The 2019 major league ISO through May was .177. It’s a long ball era. In contrast, league ISO was .111 at the time of the Big Red Machine. Current Reds range from a low of Jose Peraza (.118) to an otherworldly .431 by Derek Dietrich. Back on planet Earth, a normal high ISO is along the lines of Eugenio Suarez (.260), Anthony Rizzo (.300) or Mike Trout (.304).

Nick Senzel’s ISO was .183, so above league average. In addition to the home runs, he hit six doubles and two triples. Senzel’s major league ISO to date was roughly consistent with his numbers at UT (.176) and the minors (.196).

Another measure of a batter’s power is the percentage of his Hard-Hit balls. League average is 34.3%. Christian Yelich has 55% and Josh Bell has 49%. Eugenio Suarez leads the Reds with 50% and Jesse Winker is second at 43%. Lowest on the team is Jose Peraza at 29% (bottom 5% of the league).

Nick Senzel’s Hard-Hit rate has been 42.4%, comfortably above average.

Comprehensive Batting Measures

Metrics that measure overall offensive contribution through linear weighting of outcomes also show Nick Senzel has been above average.

The weighted on-base average [wOBA] for the league is .317. Nick Senzel’s wOBA was .331. Similarly, his weighted runs created plus [wRC+] (the “plus” means the stat is scaled to a league average of 100) was .102.

So overall, in his first month, Nick Senzel was a few percent better than the average major league batter.

Speed and Base Running

Nick Senzel attempted 8 stolen bases [SB] and was successful 5 times. That success rate (62.5%) was below the rate of 75% at which stolen bases become net positive contributions to run scoring. Getting caught stealing costs a base runner and an out. In an age where home runs generate such a high percentage of runs scored, base runners and outs are far more important than the extra base.

FanGraphs produces a statistic called Base Running [BsR] which measures base running success in addition to stolen base attempts, such as taking extra bases, being thrown out at bases, etc. The number itself represents the runs above or below average the player contributes through base running.

Before looking at Senzel’s number, it’s important to make the point that base running doesn’t really matter much either way in the big picture. In 2018, only one player (Jose Ramirez) had enough BsR to make one win’s worth of difference. At the other end of the spectrum, no player had enough negative BsR to make the difference in even one game.

Nick Senzel’s BsR score is -0.3. BsR is a counting stat, not a rate stat, which means that Senzel having only played 28 games kept his BsR low in either direction for now. The main takeaway is that he’s been thrown out on the bases a few times.

(Matt Habel published a terrific post at Reds Content Plus on Saturday where he looked at where the Reds rate overall in base running and explains what’s happening. Short version: The Reds have been lousy on the bases this year, but not for the reasons you probably think.)

Defense

Nick Senzel has played 100% of his major league time in center field, a position he’d never attempted or practiced before this season.

He committed one error [E] in 236 innings. But as we know, errors are a small part of a player’s defense. Range and arm strength are other important measures.

Senzel has a -3 Defensive Runs Saved [DRS] above average mostly due to a negative grade in range. Another popular measure of defense is Ultimate Zone Rating [UZR]. Senzel also has a negative UZR score (-0.9). That’s again due to his range but also the ball he dropped that was hit right to him. He has a UZR/150 score (what his UZR would be over 150 games) of -10.2. That’s bad. Last year, the worst UZR/150 was -24.5. A UZR/150 of -10.2 means Senzel’s defense would cost the Reds 1 game. But a month is too small a sample for the extrapolation to be valid.

Senzel’s arm is rated positive by both DRS and UZR.

Nick Senzel at One Month

Again, this is a one-month snapshot, not a projection or prediction of the future.

In his first month as a major league player, Nick Senzel fulfilled the promise as a hitter that he’d shown in college and minor leagues. He’s stayed healthy. He’s demonstrated above average contact, on-base and power skills. That’s a great combination. His base running has been slightly negative, but inconsequential in context. Senzel’s defense was what you’d expect for playing a new position. He’s been relatively sure-handed but his inexperience playing the position cost him range.

When you look at it all together, FanGraphs puts Senzel’s Wins Above Replacement [WAR] (offense, defense, base running) at 0.4. Baseball-Reference has it at 0.2 with a solid offensive WAR offset by the negative defense.

Nick Senzel demonstrated an impressive and encouraging underlying skill set at the plate. When/if he improves his range in CF or when/if the Reds move him back to his natural position in the infield, his net contribution would be strongly positive. Just as you would expect for a draft pick and prospect of his caliber.

[If 2300+ words and two dozen metrics don’t slake your Nick Senzel fix, check out my companion piece on Senzel published this morning at Reds Content Plus. It goes into detail on Senzel’s batting using advanced stats, including quality of contact, exit velocity, barrels, pull percentage and expected values. It looks at how Senzel is doing against different types of pitches. You’ll also get a healthy dose of spray charts and heat maps. One final thing there, a surprising early handedness split. Become a subscriber at RC+, or better yet, a recognized Insider, and support the writing Matt Wilkes, Matt Habel, Wes Jenkins and I are doing there.]

35 Responses

  1. Klugo

    I’d give him an A so far.
    I still see him as an infielder ultimately though. I’d love to see him at SS. It’d be great if a CF would step up from the developmental ranks or to see the Reds go out to get one.

  2. C Holbert

    I think Senzel has lived up to expectations thus far. With him being the only “for sure” ready prospect, it begs a question. The teams bringing up prospect after prospect, have been drafting high just like the Reds. Why do other teams seem to be churning out major league players, and the Reds have only one, and “supposedly” have others at least two years away, maybe?

    • Steve Mancuso

      A lot of it has to do with Latin America. In the last 10 years the Reds have hit on a couple Cuban players, but others haven’t panned out. Meanwhile other organizations (you saw Juan Soto for the Nationals) have been doing a better job of targeting, signing and developing. Hopefully the Reds are catching up and putting more of a priority on this.

      But the Reds do have Jesse Winker, Tyler Mahle, Raisel Iglesias, Amir Garrett, Robert Stephenson (finally) and Michael Lorenzen. Not as much as some other organizations, but more than just Senzel.

      • C Holbert

        Maybe it is the position players I am not understanding. I am thinking specifically of the Braves specifically. Maybe they are an anomaly. It gets frustrating, I am sure not only for me, to see the lack of positional production.

      • Steve Mancuso

        You’re right. The Reds have been below par in drafting and developing for a long time. Hope the new personnel shakeup and emphasis from front office makes a difference. It really lagged under the previous GM regime. Can’t fix it overnight. Hard to complain about the last few #1 picks, though.

        And a bunch of teams are jealous of the Braves in that respect.

      • Jonathan Linn

        Hi Steve. I’m not sure if your comment that the Reds are bad at drafting and developing players compared to the rest of the league is accurate. Isnt there a post on redsminorleagues.com that disputes this theory?

        As you note, most of the “HOT” players were signed out of Latin America and not drafted. The Reds have a poor record with those types of players as Cueto is the only one who has been successful (unless I’m forgetting someone).

      • Steve Mancuso

        Hi Jonathan. I know Doug used to strongly defend recent Reds drafts and the people who did them. But the most recent thing I remember reading from Doug about it (think within the last few months) he’s cooled on that a bit. Dick Williams brought in new people. I’m sort of smushing Latin America and draft together. The Reds have had their draft successes, as I pointed out, but their pipeline has been pretty slow overall.

  3. C Holbert

    I would agree. I am a little with India being at AA. At #5? I would have thought he would have been a little more advanced.

    • Lwblogger2

      He was just drafted so not shocked about where he is. He could easily get promoted directly from AA, although he’s probably not ready. Not sure where he’s going to play in MLB either. His primary positions are blocked. The Reds can afford to be very patient with him.

  4. matthew hendley

    Senzel has impressed, the information in the article is obviously very good, but he has also come up and not allowed himself to become overwhelmed. K rate is a tad high, but that will adjust as he becomes more familiar with MLB Pitching and Umpire preferences. productive member, always hustling. Don’t mind the SB, as long as he isn’t getting caught. To many DP hitters on the reds. Needless to say he is the guy in CF this year and I would not be off on him doing it again next year.

    • BigRedMike

      Kind of pessimistic

      Who are the hitters that are above league average at hitting into double plays? Looks like you analysis has been shown to be incorrect. Should be easy to list since there are too many. Kind of like the 15 teams that are tanking

      • matthew hendley

        This post is not about winker, its about Senzel. If I sounded pessimistic on Senzel that was not the intent. He does strike out a tad too much. This will change.

        As for the tanking comment, please sit here and tell me with a straight face that their are 30 teams honestly trying to win the WS this year. 20 teams?

  5. Steve Mancuso

    The latest poorly informed Brennaman narrative is the Reds are double-play prone, now getting repeated here. Thom saw a game where the Reds hit into three DPs in one game and it fed his anti-Jesse Winker narrative. He, of course, didn’t bother to do TWO MINUTES of research to find out that he was, once again, telling it like it isn’t.

    Fact 1: The Reds rank #17 out of 30 teams in GIDP.

    Fact 2: The Reds rank #24 out of 30 teams in ground ball percentage.

    Fact 3: Grounding into DP is not a sign of bad offense, it’s a function of having runners on base, which is a good thing. The top three teams in GIDP are in the top five in OBP. Among league leaders in GIDP: Houston, Boston, Milwaukee, Yankees, Cubs.

    • Pete

      Winker’s GBB%, GB/FB:
      Mar/April: 41.1, 1.25
      May: 57.4, 2.6
      June: 80.0, 4.0

      2018: 42.1, 1.24

      Hopefully May is an outlier, he is hitting ball to all field nearly mirroring 2018. His soft/medium/hard & LD% numbers are as well. His K & BB% have fallen off in the wrong directions. May has not been kind to him in his short career.

      I’m guilty of being hard on Winker because I believe he is a very good hitter and hopefully will be a perennial .300 hitter with a .400 OBP. Certainly not anti-Winker but the team is depending on the old Jesse. I also think early 2019 is not going to be his norm moving forward. Whether it’s luck or something else, I hope he gets it going soon. Can’t speak for Thom B. but this is my take.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Hey Pete!

        Did you really just include data from June to help make your point? On June 3? 🙂

        It’s right to worry about a player’s ground ball rate. Winker has struggled. But THAT’s the real issue, his GB% not double plays. Again, the DPs are a significant function of people being on base.

    • VaRedsFan

      I know you can’t pick and choose when to have your double plays….but, his seem to come at the worst times in close games. Nobody cares if you GIDP when the Reds are winning 8-1.

      6 GIDB for Winker last year.
      Already 8 this year. Reds are 1-5 in games he has GIDP
      The Reds lost 4 of the games by 2, and the other by 3. (He had 2 GIDPs in a game twice)

      • Steve Mancuso

        As I said before, the issue with Winker is is ground-ball rate and struggling in general at the plate to lift the ball. Preoccupation with double plays is gorilla dust.

  6. jreis

    Steve, I have to disagree with your comment ” baserunning really doesn’t matter much in the big picture”. I think it is a big reason our offense has really struggled this year. we are really struggling to create run scoring plays without the aid of the homerun and having faster players would really help . Most recent example is this Saturday’s game with Jessie Winker. if he beats out just one of those dp ball he hits, a run scores and who knows what happens after that.

    I think Senzel’s baserunning skills are actually really good and it is a breath of fresh air for this club. I am hoping in the coming years our prospects display the same base running skill sets as Nick and then I think our offense will really prosper.

    • Steve Mancuso

      It comes down to belief vs. data. Particularly in a home run era like this, speed isn’t paramount. In fact, speed is only loosely correlated with success at running the bases. Many of the most effective base runners are experienced and smart, not necessarily fast. See: Scott Rolen, circa 2009. Stolen bases and speed correlate poorly with runs scored at the team level.

      I sympathize with the instinct that base running is important. But the data shows it impacts very few wins and losses and pretty much evens out over teams over seasons. The people who study this by watching every single play of every single game calculate that even the best, fastest runners (Billy Hamilton) end up about 1 win over the average player over a season. Your example of “who knows what happens after that” in a game the Reds lost by 3 runs demonstrates that.

  7. Bred

    Wink EV is above the league average. How much do you attribute Wink’s shoulder surgery to not getting the correct launch angle to hit the ball in the air? Or did the new hitting coach change something? His BABIP is drastically lower this year than it ever has been.

    • Hanawi

      I’m of the opinion that Ward is a big part of the problem. Dodgers have much more talent than the Reds and many of the issues the Reds have this year were being said about the Dodgers last year.

      I haven’t gotten into the numbers but maybe I will too take a look at the two teams over the past two years and how they’ve differed.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Players go through slumps. The various theories: something about the surgery, something about the new hitting coach, etc. are possible, but just theories at this point. We’ll have to wait for more data. Winker was awesome last year. That player is still around. He’s hit the ball pretty hard with bad luck. Happened in yesterday’s game again.

      • TomN

        I’m convinced Winker is and will be a very good hitter. He has a great feel for the zone and a good eye. I think teams have changed how to pitch him (low and inside?). He’s yet to adjust in my opinion. Everything I’m supposing is just based on my observation – not data – so subjective. I admit to being a big Winker fan. It wasn’t long ago he was tied with Suarez for HRs and driving the ball out of the park all over the place it seemed. He was out a few games with an injury and seems to have been hitting nothing but GBs to 2nd base since then. I still believe he will be a solid offensive contributor for years and it would not surprise me to see him lead the reads in OBP THIS YEAR. And one of the leaders in OPS. I obviously think he will come around.

  8. redwolf

    Ward is definitely a concern of mine. Look at the improvements on that team since he left… most noticeably Bellinger.

      • Pete

        Thanks! Very good information. Here’s what I don’t get about Yasiel Puig – OPS, wRC+:

        2013: .925, 160
        2014: .863, 148
        2015: .758, 111
        2016: .740, 101
        2017: .833, 117
        2018: .820, 123

        What happened to the budding superstar of 2013-2014? Mark McGwire was the Dodger hitting instructor for 2013-2015, Ward 2016-2018. Puig had a minor recovery in 2017 and extended into 2018 but still light years from his peak of 2013-2014.

        I wonder if anyone has looked back to his first couple of seasons to see if his hitting approach has changed. It would seem elementary but you never know. Puig is certainly very frustrated right now and might be open to listening to someone new’s advice. Is his bat too slow now to get back to his heyday? Maybe shorten his swing a bit? In fact, I might be persuaded to offer him to a club-friendly contract for 1-2 years if the bat speed is still there.

        I don’t know about Ward but the Reds bats have really regressed this year, except Suarez. I’m not including Dietrich and Iglesias as newcomers. Puig is a very proud man and maybe he’s reached the end of his rope and ready to try a new, or very old, approach.

  9. Doc

    I was one of the people who constantly replied to Doug’s Senzel cheerleading that I would believe it when I’d seen it. I’ve seen it and I believe it.

  10. Seat101

    Steve,
    Two things:
    1) I assume that Sezei is going to be better than Eddie Miller at learning to read pitchers and will have fewer “caught stealing“ (actually picked off) as time goes by. And as you say, just being on any base and not sitting in the dugout is key when the next guy gets a home run;

    2) Using my eyeball test, I believe Senzel seems to be a little quicker now reading fly balls

    And here is a reminder of the good ol’ days
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cp8dIoLeBzo

    • Sliotar

      Steve,

      Nice breakdown of data.

      I like data as a decision-maker in baseball and I use it in my business.

      To @Seat101’s point…. the eyeball test often feels relevant, too. And, to me, Senzel fits in with other lead-off guys on several good teams, who can beat you in a variety of ways.

      Who can do whatever is needed in that crucial 5th At-bat, late in games.
      Leg out a single, go for a walk-off, steal a base, whatever is needed.

      Betts, Springer, Lindor, Kepler, Cain, McCutchen…Senzel looks every bit the part of those other lead-off guys.

      Getting the BB% over 10% and the K% under 25% would seem attainable goals for his 2020 season. Very minor flaws on a great debut.

  11. Roger Garrett

    Senzel is playing every day and making a difference.He is being treated and responding just like his minor league numbers say he should be.Winker was great prior to his injury and surgery last year.No reason to doubt him despite his poor start and no reason to set him against lefties.Give him his 600 at bats and he will be just where he should be at the end of the year.Reds make it a habit to anoint a player and then throw them under the bus almost week by week.Senzel and Winker along with Suarez are the only position players on this team that anybody would want.Pencil them in everyday for the next few years and lets play ball.Just to be clear Senzel will have his rough days as well because he just will and some will say he isn’t the answer just like they are now saying about Winker.Its just amazes me how this club can give some 4 or 5 years and others less then a half a year to prove themselves

  12. David

    So from the article, Senzel is a better offensive player than Jose Peraza?

    (okay, just kidding)

    It’s only been a month, but he seems to be able to hit ML pitching. As he gets more experience, I think he will get better. Talented player, no doubt. Unfortunately, there are not enough like him in the Red’s farm system.

    And Johnny Bench and Tony Perez used to hit into a LOT of double plays. Drove me crazy, but it is a feature of having players in front of you with high OBP, ala Joe Morgan and Pete Rose. I think in 1972 they both had OVER a 0.400 OBP.

    Baseball really HASN’T changed, but people are a little bit better informed about what statistics are important now.

  13. Old-school

    Nick Senzel is a cornerstone player. The reds need 1-2 more of these to add to Suarez and a new Votto.
    Lodolo plus Greene plus Trammell plus Santillan plus India gives the Reds prospect capital to improve in the future internally or acquire another cornerstone player externally. The expiring contracts of Puig and Roarck and Gennett and Wood and H&H give the reds a budget to sign 1-2 more cornerstone players.

  14. Chris G

    Good stuff, Steve.

    One thing I wonder about baserunning – especially steals and failed attempts: Has anyone tried to quantify their importance, given game run/out situations? Getting thrown out with 2 outs, a 2 run lead, and nobody on third is a different story than getting thrown out with 1 out in a tie game.

    When people stole a lot of bases, I think the data evened out, and the simple 75% success rule of thumb worked. But I wonder now, given the tiny sample size: Can we assume that all stolen bases (and all CS) are created equal?

    • Steve Mancuso

      That’s an important consideration. Part of the way that’s dealt with is the second step where you say it takes 10 runs above average to equal a win. That’s where the events under different win conditions even out.

      What I’m wondering is if the 75% figure is too low as we move into a historic HR environment. Extra bases become less and less important.