Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

30 Teams: Cincinnati Reds

By Mike Moritz

The reigning National League Central division champions Cincinnati Reds made some within-the-organization noise this off season by signing 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto (three-years, $38 million), Jay Bruce (six-year, $51 million), Bronson Arroyo (three-year, $35 million) and Johnny Cueto (four-year, $27 million) to extensions. So this young core looks to be together for years. The Red were also discussing a four-year deal with starter Edinson Volquez until he suddenly rejected the offer. The Reds had the highest offensive WAR in 2010, 33.4. They were also third in wOBA (.339), fifth in ISO (.164) and were forth in home runs with 188. And even with a homer happy stadium, they still managed a decent 9.4% HR/FB ratio and a 4.29 xFIP.

Although the Reds offense and defense (44.8 UZR) was great and they had a solid pitching staff, they were swept anyways in the NLDS by the Phillies. They were no-hit in Game One by the great Roy Halladay and the offense was shut down the rest of the way scoring just four runs through the whole series. 

The then, as stated before, went on to signing four young players to extensions. They also signed Dontrelle Willis, re-signed catcher Corky Miller, re-signed Miguel Cairo, outfielder Jeremy Hermida, shortstop Edger Renteria, outfielder Fred Lewis, re-signed catcher Ramon Hernandez and pitcher Chad Reineke. And apart all of this, there was not much else done by GM Walt Jocketty. Don't get me wrong, what he did with his young core players was great and that is how you build a consistent, good team for years to come.

I wanted to mention Joey Votto, who won the NL MVP. His stat line from last year was as follows: .324/.424/.600/.439 and 37 homers and 36 doubles and a 14% walk rate. And his line drive, fly ball, and ground ball rates are as follows as well:


Notice how all of these stats were worse in 2010 than in his career or in 2009. It was because he was aided by an abnormally high BABIP of .361 and the major league leading 25% HR/FB rate, suggesting that he had luck on his side. I am not high on him for 2011. None of his other statistic improved, rather they all stayed around his career mark. I am going to go ahead and project a regression; .295/.390/.500/.400, 30 homers and 30 doubles. Still top notch but I would not bank on him putting up those kind of numbers again.

Jay Bruce has not shown much progression, and I am not saying that it is a bad thing but I am just saying. His walk rate was been increasing since 2008, his rookie year, but it has been going up since he was in the minors that year. I look for him to have a nice season but about a .270 (.335 BABIP) average and 30 homers. I think his walk rate should go even higher and the OBP should be about an 80 point differential. Note: he is also a great defender says his 20.2 UZR from last year.

I have the Reds written down to be a finalist for the NL Wild Card. But in a few years, they should be a top notch team.

(Stats in courtesy of: fangraphs.com

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