Apparently George Grande repeated one the of dumbest most useless stats in a broadcast the other night. It is so misleading and so annoying, it makes me want to scream. Fortunately for Grande, he is not alone in repeating this stat, and not alone in believing its worth something. I missed the comment, because I mute their broadcast, but apparently they were bemoaning that the Reds are 14th (now 15th) in batting average with RISP. My question is, WHO CARES? What does that prove? The answer is absolutely nothing, you should look at another number which is WAY more important. What do you want to do with runners in scoring position? UH….score runs? YES!! Even with my public school education I can figure that out. So why not look at Runs Scored with RISP?

The Reds are 7th in the NL 303 RS in those situations.
More importantly the Reds are 3rd (one run behind Atlanta) with Runners ON base.
Most importantly the Reds are 2nd in Runs Scored (honestly who cares WHEN they score?)

You can throw out the “they score the runs in bunches” argument, but that doesn’t fly either, the truth is all the NL teams have about the same number of games under 5 runs and over 5 runs, the variance is minimal.

22 Responses

  1. al

    the reds have scored 3 runs or less 40 times so far. The orioles have done it 30 times and scored fewer runs overall. Granted they have a far better pitching staff, but i think it’s reasonable to say that some of the orioles wins have come because they don’t get totally shut down as often as the reds do.

    “(honestly who cares WHEN they score?)”
    see, they don’t actually just tally up runs at the end of the year and declare one team to be kings of baseball… you do actually have to win individual games, so it does sort of matter when you score.

    if you score lots of runs with risp, but don’t have a high batting average with risp as a team, it means you must be getting the runs in bunches.

    I think it’a fair comment to say it would be better if the reds got more hits with RISP and had a higher BA. I think looking only at runs scored, or only at runs scored with RISP is just as weak, if not weaker. Sure it’s not a total picture, but it gives you an idea how often the reds score when there are people in scoring position and that seems like a worthwhile thing to know. It doesn’t tell you how much they score, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful.

    If i’m a manager i’d like to know the odds of success as well as the magnitude, because it clearly doesn’t all come out in the wash.

    “Well its a close game, runners on the corners, what to do? do i pinch hit, do i hit and run? Oh screw it, if we don’t score here we’ll probably loose, but whatever i’m sure we’ll hit a granny off the drays so it’s all the same in the end.”

  2. Mike

    Matt, according to MLB.com the Reds have only scored 249 runs with runners in scoring position. They are, like you said, tied 7th with the Mets in this category, but they are 9th in the NL given the opportunity to score runners in scoring position.

    40% of players reaching scoring position have scored for the Reds. When you take into consideration that Houston is next to last in the NL at .391 and San Diego is in 8th at .409 it shows us that the Reds are more towards the back of the pack with this statistic. When it’s all said and done, I think improvement in this area would at best make a minimal difference in the W-L category.

    Interestingly enough, the Giants are 1st in this category with a 43.8% return. 2 runs behind the Cardinals for the lead in RS from scoring position. So, for what it’s worth, they are the best in the NL at this statistic, but they are only 8th in overall RS due to their lack of power (15th in NL).

    As for the variance is minimal argument, I think it’s clear that the Reds have had more than their share of games with 3 runs or less, so I’m not sure how we can just ignore that statistic. Again, would it effect this team’s W-L record if they didn’t have such a high number of low scoring games? I don’t think it would, because this pitching staff is so bad that they need to score 6 runs a night to expect to have a chance.

  3. Matt

    Mike, They have only scored 249 runners from Scoring position. They have scored 40 runners that were on either 1B or from home. The stupid stat on mlb.com doesn’t take into account the guy on 1B or Home in RISP situations. Which is absolutely assinine. 1st and 3rd, someone hits a homer, they count that as one run. How dumb is that?

  4. Matt

    Mike Crouse,

    Its not clear to me that the REds have had more than their fair share of 3 runs or less games. One guy on here compared them to one team, the Orioles. The Reds score 3 runs or less in 45% of the games, the Orioles in 34% of the games, what about the other teams….is that the biggest swing? its not that big.

  5. al

    i compared the reds to the orioles because they were very close to the reds in runs. picking the indians, because they’re from ohio, they have been held to 3 or fewer runs 37 times, while scoring 30 fewer runs than the reds. Again, for the amount of runs the reds score, they get shut down a lot.

    Sure RISP doesn’t guarantee a run with a hit, but it’s fairly likely. WIth that in mind, a batting average let’s you know how likely you are to get a hit (on average), and so it is a good predictor for how likely you are to score at least one run with risp.

    This is important, and different from looking at how many runs are scored total with RISP.

    For example: One team has RISP 4 times and gets a hit in three of those, and scores 3 runs (BA of .750). Another team has RISP 4 times and hits one HR with runners on the corners in those times. They score the same three runs (BA of .250).

    Are those teams the same? Not necessarily. The team with the higher batting average scores more consistently with RISP, though not more. If those situations are all in the same game, it’s the same essentially. If they are in different games, it can have a large effect, like what the reds have done this year. They hit the big homer, and win that game, but fail to get the run here and there that would win close games.

    In the end, it is the pitching which should have been addressed, and the reds inability to hit consistently with RISP wouldn’t seem so glaring if the reds pitchers could pick up the offense every once in a while.

  6. al

    okay, whatever. I didn’t realize i was dealing with someone blind enough to think that pitching is the reds only problem.

    Lineups, defense, bunting, situational hitting, GIDP… all of these things have been problems for this team this year. For you biggest problem = only problem, and that’s just wrong. but there doesn’t seem to be much point discussing it with you.

    maybe i would see things your way if you used more exclamation points or put everything in caps.

  7. Matt

    I see just fine, thank you. Pitching, defense has been a problem. Getting so little production out of first base is a problem, giving so many abs to Aurilia when he sucked was a problem, I am not saying there are 0 other problems. What I am saying is NONE of them are even approaching our pitching problems. It would be like worrying about a warn out air freshner in your car when you have 4 flat tires. Situational hitting and RISP is not a problem that needs to be fixed. They are 7th in Runs scored in those situations, that hardly is a problem.

    And as I pointed out, what is important is scoring runs anytime. The Reds are 2nd in Runs Scored. If you can’t understand that the point of the offense is to score runs, then I wonder who the blind one is.

    As to your point of arguing on the internet, I agree, its really hard to make a point this way. send me an email and we can meet for lunch somewhere. I will be happy to show you the error of your ways. 😆

  8. Joel

    Okay, here are the numbers for the NL in games in which there team scores less than 4 runs:

    Tm W L PCT
    atl 10 20 .333
    nym 9 31 0.225
    fla 4 33 0.108
    was 16 27 0.372
    phi 7 29 0.194
    chc 9 28 0.243
    cin 3 40 0.070
    stl 9 18 0.333
    pit 10 35 0.222
    mil 5 31 0.138
    hou 7 30 0.189
    ari 11 33 0.250
    col 6 33 0.154
    lad 4 38 0.095
    sdg 12 28 0.300
    sfo 7 33 0.175

    The problem is not that the Reds score less than 4 runs – as you can see teams do it a lot. The problem is that they have very little success when they score less than four runs. Their winning pct is almost 1/3 of the league average (.175).

    And Matt, pitching isn’t the only problem, it’s just such a big slice that it seems that way.

  9. Joel

    Hopefully this table is easier to read.

    Tm……W……L……PCT
    atl……10……20…….333
    nym……9……31……0.225
    fla……4……33……0.108
    was……16……27……0.372
    phi……7……29……0.194
    chc……9……28……0.243
    cin……3……40……0.070
    stl……9……18……0.333
    pit……10……35……0.222
    mil……5……31……0.138
    hou……7……30……0.189
    ari……11……33……0.250
    col……6……33……0.154
    lad……4……38……0.095
    sdg……12……28……0.300
    sfo……7……33……0.175

  10. al

    “And as I pointed out, what is important is scoring runs anytime. The Reds are 2nd in Runs Scored. If you can’t understand that the point of the offense is to score runs…”

    so matt, you would be pleased if the reds scored 1000 runs on opening day, batting around hundreds of times, piling on run after run after run, dunn hiitting 60 grandslams in the game… and then were shut out the rest of the season while giving up 800 runs? Hey we win the run total! what’s our prize?

    Excuse the hyperbole, but it just seems so ridiculous to say that it doesn’t matter when your team scores.

    you keep trying to simplify this discussion by saying that the point of the offense is to score runs. Well i’ll go you one further, the point of the offense is to help win games. How’s that for bare bones? How do you win games, you score at least one more run than the other guys, period. So it really doesn’t matter if your team is great at blowing people out every fourth day, it would be better if they barely beat teams most days, (see nationals, whitesox).

  11. Matt

    I am glad you can recognize that is just hyperbole and has no room in this discussion. The White Sox, Nationals, and DBacks are the ONLY 3 teams out of 30 that buck the pythagorean so far this year. 3 out of 30! We should play poker if you like those odds.

    At the end of the year if all three teams are more than 5 games off of their pythagorean I will be you a hat. Its just doesn’t happen that often. When it does its usually just luck.

  12. Glenn

    You guys look like you’re having fun. Let me throw this out. I have to agree w/Matt. If the Reds are doing well scoring runs, what difference does it make whether they score from first base or third, as long as they are scoring.
    But for the sake of aurgument, could the Reds poor performance in driving in runners from scoring positions be due to the fact that the batters are pressing, trying too hard, because they know their pitching staff can’t stop anybody? Could this also be contributing to Casey run at the record for grounding into double plays?

  13. Joel

    First of all, Bill, thanks for plugging my article. I wouldn’t say that it is definitive, but hopefully it adds some relevant information to the discussion.

    The way I see it, there are two sides to this coin. On one side, suppose the Reds do score less than 4 runs too often. I mean, they’ve done it 43 times compared to the NL average of 38.5. The bigger issue, as I said before, is that they just don’t win any of those games, while other teams seem to at least win them occasionally. I’m not certain as to whose fault that is, but it feels like it comes down to the pitching.

    On the other side, you have the fact that the Reds win more games than average when the pitching staff gives up 6 or more runs. These are games that they probably shouldn’t win but do. Here is another fabulous chart that shows how NL teams do when their pitching staff gives up more than 6 runs. Hopefully it is readable.

    Tm. …… W …… L. …… PCT
    atl …… 1 …… 23 …… .042
    nym …… 3 …… 22 …… .120
    fla …… 2 …… 22 …… .083
    was …… 3 …… 19 …… .136
    phi …… 5 …… 24 …… .172
    chc …… 7 …… 24 …… .226
    cin ….. 10 …… 32 …… .238
    stl …… 6 …… 15 …… .286
    pit …… 2 …… 29 …… .065
    mil …… 4 …… 21 …… .160
    hou …… 3 …… 25 …… .107
    ari …… 6 …… 30 …… .167
    col …… 5 …… 37 …… .119
    lad …… 8 …… 24 …… .250
    sdg …… 4 …… 18 …… .182
    sfo …… 7 …… 31 …… .185

    As you can see, the Reds have allowed 6 or more runs 42 times this year, more than any team in the league except Colorado and 12.5 more than the league average of 29.5. Unlike Colorado though, they have been able to win almost 25% of these games and are just behind St, Louis and L.A. when it comes to winning percentage in these games. These are games won by the hitters.

    I think it’s just a trade-off one way or the other. If the Reds improve at scoring “more consistently”, they may win more games at the lower end of the board, but they aren’t going to win as many of the games when the pitching is not there – and there are a lot of those.

    And something that has not be brought up yet is that the Reds are 14-5 this year when the pitching staff allows less than 4 runs. So, when the pitching staff does it’s job, the hitters seem to do theirs too.

  14. Mike

    Sorry Matt, thought you were talking about actual runs scored from scoring position only.

    Good data, Joel. I wasn’t able to find anything on this yesterday, where did you get the data?

    According to Joel’s data the average NL team has scored under 4 runs 38.5 times, the Reds 43 times. 4.5 times more than average, when you take into consideration that they are the 2nd highest scoring team in the NL, this stat stands out. Does it matter for W-L changes? I don’t think so, that’s not my argument, but it does prove that they have been “shutdown” a lot more than what you would expect given their overall run total. The only argument I’ve ever tried to make is that this team was not the 2nd best offense in the NL. I’ll still stand by that, though I think they’re getting better at being consistent. I just hope Jr can stay hot for a while. I’m enjoying watching him play.

    Comparison with other high scoring NL teams:
    Cardinals 447 Runs – 27 games
    Reds 434 Runs – 43 games
    Braves 428 Runs – 30 games
    Phillies 410 Runs – 36 games
    Padres 406 Runs – 40 games

  15. Mike

    Peter,

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that the offense is the problem, or is even bad. I think these conversations are for looking deeper into the rankings of the Reds offense, not for the sake of arguing if it would give the Reds a better W-L record. You’re right, we could have the Cardinals offense and defense and this team would still be no better than .500.

  16. mike

    I agree completely. This team has to score runs in bunches and have games with 8+ runs to expect to win. There is no such thing as wasted runs when your pitching staff has an ERA like the Reds do.

    I’m a big Dunn supporter so you won’t hear any argument from me on him or even the offense fot that matter. I’m not backing guys like Grande, Marty, etc. I think those are comments are made out of ignorance and frustration from mostly watching guys strikeout.

  17. al

    first off, 20 million dollars wouldn’t have brought in pedro and clement. Clement turned down the same money he’s getting in boston when the reds offered it to him him, and pedro wouldn’t have left boston if it wasn’t to new york, period. Maybe the reds could have bought clement for 10mil + per year, but they couldn’t have gotten pedro at all.

    They could have had a better staff if they had given money to loaiza and clement instead of milton and ortiz, but i think gullet had a lot to do with our pitchers sucking, and he probably could have screwed up other guys just as well.

    I don’t think free agency was going to make the reds a contender this year. Not with Graves and Co in the pen and Wilson pitching hurt. They just needed too many players.

    Also, i don’t know why you wouldn’t keep larue, he’s the second best hitting catcher in the NL, he’s not making a ton of money, he plays hard, and he respected in the clubhouse.

  18. al

    those salaries listed on ESPN are a result of backloading of contracts and don’t reflect what we would have had to gurantee those players. clement is making an average of 8.5 mil, and pedro is getting an average of 13.5 mil.

    for comparison milton is only getting 5.3 in this the first year of his deal (while we know that the whole contract is for 25.5 over three years, same as clement). We would have had to gurantee clement at least 10 mil per year, and pedro just wouldn’t have come here at all, plain and simple. Maybe for 20 mil per year, but probably not then either. I think it was new york or staying in boston for him the whole time.

    As for paul wilson, Pedro has the same injury that wilson had, lots of pitchers do and are fine for a long time. paul had just had a great year, signing him was not a mistake. He was cheap, he was effective, he was a clubhouse leader, and all pitchers run a risk of being injured, it’s just something teams have to deal with. There was never a chance that the reds weren’t going to re-sign wilson, nor should there have been.

    Realistically the reds probably could have gotten clement and a pitcher like loaiza or maybe even millwood instead of milton, ortiz, and jiminez (jiminez being the biggest mistake), and that would have been better, for sure. I don’t think that this team could have really contended with those changes, but it would have been a lot more fun to watch (unless gullet did to those guys what he did to milton).

    I do agree that DanO is too gun shy in a lot of situations and should have delt graves when he had the chance.

  19. Matt

    Wilson had a great year? 4.36 isn’t great…its average. That should read.

    Wilson had an average year, after many many other average ones.

  20. Pinski

    Jimenez the biggest mistake? Really? A guy who hit 270 with 12-15 hr power? With an on-base percentage around 350? I mean come on. What is it that you are smoking when the clear mistake is Milton.

    Milton the man with a career ERA of 4.76. The man who is a fly-ball pitcher. The man who last year gave up 43 HRs and this year is on pace for more? How is he NOT the biggest mistake DOB made? Plus D’Angelo is only making 2.7 million while Milton is making around 8 (yeah he gets about 5 million but he also got a 2-3 million signing bonus). And D’Angelo is only hurting the checkbook, he is not hurting the club by bein allowed on the field every fifth day.

  21. Mike

    Who knows for sure, but I don’t know if they really ever had a shot at Clement. Clement himself said that he was impressed with the Reds offer and that he could see himself getting along with the players on the team, but that he did not want to stay in the same division with the Cubs and the opportunity to play for Boston and have Jason Varitek as his catcher was the deciding factor. More money will always change factors like that, but I personally think it would be a bad move for any pitcher of his status to play for the Reds for 10-15% more in salary. I think this is going to be the Reds biggest obstacle for bringing in great pitchers via FA.

  22. Mike

    Dude got lucky all of last year, especially in the first half. I don’t know his WHIP off hand for ’04, but it couldn’t have been great. Every time he took the mound I would get a sick feeling in my stomach…