Let’s play a game. I will give you numbers and you guess which one doesn’t fit.

  1. 125, 114, 44
  2. 153, 153, 72
  3. 121, 123, 91
  4. 111, 113, 206, 80
  5. 109, 128, 28

First, I’ll tell you that each number set represents a player.

  1. Yasiel Puig
  2. Joey Votto
  3. Jesse Winker
  4. Derek Dietrich
  5. Eugenio Suarez

Second, I’ll tell you that the first number in each set is that player’s career wRC+.

Third, I’ll tell you that for everyone except Dietrich, the numbers separate the beginnings or ends of slumps from the rest of the season. Puig’s date is May 1, Votto’s is May 24, Winker’s is May 15, Suarez’s is June 1. For Dietrich, the last three numbers are his wRC+ for March/April, May, and June.

Yes. I have chosen arbitrary endpoints. Also, all endpoints are arbitrary in baseball. There is nothing special or magical that happens to a player’s ability at the end of a season. We break numbers there because they are convenient for us. But we could just as easily use rolling 150 game averages. In fact, let’s do that.

Puig – 110 wRC+
Votto – 112 wRC+
Winker – 118 wRC+
Dietrich – 117 wRC+
Suarez – 109 wRC+

Only Joey Votto has really been different from his career averages during that period. That’s to be expected given his place on the aging curve and the career-worst slump that’s part of his 150 game sample.

My least favorite thing about writing about baseball is the part where people scream at me that this or that player is done or should be signed to a long term deal or whatever based off of a hot or cold month. Baseball doesn’t work that way. It’s never worked that way.

At the beginning of the season, a lot of people thought Matt Kemp had to play because “he was an all-star last year.” And he was. He had a very good first half last year. It was also the only extended period of good play he’d had since 2014.

The best predictor of what a player will do moving forward isn’t what he did during the last 30 or 45 or 60 days. It’s the trend his career has followed. It’s his career numbers, with some adjustment for where he sits on the aging curve. All endpoints are arbitrary and that includes the ones we use at the ends and beginnings of seasons.

24 Responses

  1. Shchi Cossack

    Here’s some numbers that brought a smile to the Old Cossack’s face this morning…

    .261/.358/.418/.775

    That’s and OPS+ of 100 and an ISO of .157 for the 2019 season for Mr. Votto.

    just a bit of mining produced an even bigger smile…

    .282/.386/.535/.921

    That’s an OPS+ of 136 and an ISO of .253 for the month of June for Mr. Votto.

    Now if the Reds can get Senzel, Winker, Suarez, Puig, Dietrich/Gennett all on the same path as the old guy, this offense will explode.

    • Brock

      That ISO of .253 for June…yeah baby. Really makes me happy to see.

    • Eric Wormus

      Last 14 days:
      Puig – 210 wRC+
      Votto – 177 wRC+
      Winker – 180 wRC+
      Senzel – 138 wRC+
      Dietrich – 121 wRC+
      Iglesias – 104 wRC+

      Reds record: 7-6.

      When you have a poor-mediocre team it doesn’t matter much who gets hot or when, you just don’t have enough talent to sustain any kind of long term success. The Reds have a stunning lack of organizational talent, and it will only be worse in 2020.

      • Brock

        So…why watch? If you’re this down on the team, why do you even care?

      • Jason Linden

        I… this comment makes no sense. The Reds have been playing some very good teams the last few weeks. 7-6 against that group would be acceptable to anyone.

      • Mason Red

        Acceptable only to .500 teams or those hoping to be.

      • Jason Linden

        No. Literally no, Mason R. To be 7-6 against teams over .500 is REALLY good. Every year, several teams make the playoffs with losing records against winning teams. This stuff drives me nuts because it feels like you’re just making knee-jerk comments and not looking stuff up. Stuff that is readily available.

      • Jim Walker

        If the point is the hitters can’t stay this hot. That is almost certainly correct. And what’s the offense going to look like (regardless of the competition) if several regress at once at the same pace they are overachieving now? That makes sense too.

        But 7-6 (.538) versus the recent competition is not a bad rate versus any teams in a run of 13 games.

      • Jim Walker

        7-6 (.538) translates to 87 wins in a 162 game season. Looking at that and thinking it is bad just underscores how fine the edge is in MLB between “very good”, “good”, “not so good” etc.

      • Eric Wormus

        The point of this is the talk all of April was, “Man, look at this pitching staff. If we can get the bats going, look out because we are going to get on a run.” Well, over the past 14 days the bats got going and they only managed a 7-6 record.

        If you play 7-6 all season, sure, that’s an 87 win team. But the Reds dug themselves a hole with the 1-8 start. When you get the kind of production you’re getting out of Puig/Votto/Winker/Senzel you can’t waste it on a 7-6 run.

        It’s the inverse of the month of April; they gave up fewer than 3.5 runs per game for the month of April and went 11-16.

        Who you play isn’t all that relevant. They’re 3-7 against the Pirates for crying out loud. They took a 3-4 homestand L against Pittsburgh and Washington. They’ve established they can lose to anyone (except maybe Miami).

        The point is, when you get 3-4 hitters who put up some of their best numbers at the same time you have to do better than 7-6 because, as Jim is pointing out, the hitters aren’t going to hit like that all year.

        I completely understand wanting the Reds to be good. I very much want to root for a winning team. I don’t understand insisting they are good when they aren’t.

  2. Klugo

    Offseasons are a time for improvement. Time is spent to improve strength, conditioning,etc, etc, as well as skill. It’s also time for rest and recovery.

  3. Eric Wormus

    Last 14 days:
    Puig – 210 wRC+
    Votto – 177 wRC+
    Winker – 180 wRC+
    Senzel – 138 wRC+
    Dietrich – 121 wRC+
    Iglesias – 104 wRC+

    Reds record: 7-6.

    When you have a poor-mediocre team it doesn’t matter much who gets hot or when, you just don’t have enough talent to sustain any kind of long term success. The Reds have a stunning lack of organizational talent, and it will only be worse in 2020.

    • Colorado Red

      Must disagree.
      Must have Yankee fan commenting here.
      Reds have a solid farm system.
      2020 should be better.
      Question is what does Dick do?

      • Eric Wormus

        Who in the farm system can help the team in 2020?

    • Lwblogger2

      Not a ton on the farm for 2020. Maybe Aquino? VanMeeter could perhaps play a role. Trammel isn’t crushing in AA but that league is pitcher friendly. Thing is though, the Reds have a fair amount of money coming off the books. They could go the FA route to add at least 2 good players or 1 great player. Get to the playoffs any way you can. Once there freaking anything can happen.

  4. Old-school

    Watching Indians v royals.
    Trevor Bauer is Bronson Arroyo except he throws 5-7 mph harder. It’s unfair. Poor Billy and his .570 OPS had no chance. What would he cost? Reds need another elite SP.

    Whit merrifield is a David bell type player. Nick Senzel x 30. Can play 2b and 3 OF positions .athletic..right hand hitter and all star with .850 Ops. . His contract is 4 years 16 million on a 100 loss team going nowhere. Give them a Hunter Greene package. They can wait on Hunter.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Bauer is only controlled thru the 2020 season and the Tribe is asking an exorbitant prospect cost in trade. I don’t believe he’s an answer for the Reds. The starting pitching for 2020 I headed by Castillo and Gray with plenty of serviceable options for #3-#5 and a possible FA addition to the starting rotation during the off season.

      Merrifield is an interesting option with an interesting contract. He’s playing in his age 30 season, so age is a concern. His contract controls him thru the 2023 season with a $10MM team option tied to a cheap buyout for the 2023 season. The contract is front-loaded with just $2.75MM + incentives for the 2022 season. Merrifield appears capable defensively in CF, probably better than Senzel, but certainly not elite. I think his bat and glove would play up in GABP and the NLCD. The Royals basically bought out his arbitration seasons with his current contract. I’m not sure if it would even take a package headed by Greene to pry him away from KC, but I would certainly want to find out. Inserting Merrifield in CF and moving Senzel back to the dirt would provide positive impact for the offense and defense in 2020. Dayton Moore has a plan for KC and knows what he wants to fulfill that plan. If Merrified was younger, he would fill that plan nicely, but at 30, maybe not.

  5. jreis

    Problem with the 5 players listed is that they are so streaky. it is unlikely that they will all catch fire at the same time.

    I have always been a bigger fan of the consistent players. I like Iglesias and I think Senzel will be a consistent player as well. Jose Siri is a guy that I have been watching a lot too in the minors. yes he strikes out a lot but for the most part he puts up consistent numbers as well.

    • Jason Linden

      Consistency of the type you imply doesn’t really exist. All players have ups and downs. That’s the point of the post. You could do this for essentially any five players from any team. Even Mike Trout has “cold” stretches and “hot” stretches relative to his career numbers. Go look it up. (Note: Cold for Mike Trout is still better than almost everyone else)

      • Lwblogger2

        I was just going to say that. Almost all players are streaky to some extent.

  6. george

    6/26/2018 REDS 33 wins 46 losses
    6/25/2019 REDS 36 wins 41 losses
    All the words, all the hope, and all the angst for +3 wins after 77 games.
    One of those analytical dudes in the basement will be telling Bob what those 3 wins cost the team and the bottom line so far this year.
    Big Bob doesn’t have a lot to be proud of for the increase in payroll.
    Just a random thought…

    • Peter Onte

      But I’ll take a team 5 games under .500 (this year) vs a team 13 games under .500 (last year) — just a random thought….

      • Old-school

        End points absolutely matter to winners and they aren’t arbitrary. They have all star teams every year- like today. That’s a hard endpoint that matters. They have playoffs at the end of each year. Those teams who win have hard endpoints. Those players who perform for 162 games matter. In fact, the 10 teams who win more than the other 20 matter.

        Those players who.make all star teams and play in the postseason are there for reasons that matter. They’re called winners and champions for a reason. They perform within the big 162 – a clear and absolute measuring stick. Losers go with the ebb and flow and cherry pick success.

      • Old-school

        Sorry Peter. Not a reply… Just a general post.