Interesting article by Mark Sheldon:

When do we stop saying “it’s just spring” and start worrying — if at all?

Keep these 2009 statisitics in mind:

Francisco Cordero had a 12.10 ERA in spring. He saved 39 in the regular season with a 2.16 ERA.

Arthur Rhodes had a 5.63 ERA in spring and 2.66 ERA in regular season.

Bronson Arroyo had a 5.95 ERA in spring and a 3.84 ERA in the season with 15 wins.

On the flip side…

Micah Owings was lights out with a 1.52 ERA in spring and had a terrible season (7-12, 5.34).

OF Darnell McDonald batted .300 in camp to make the team and was sent out by May.

Jay Bruce had a nice spring with a .300 average and batted .223 when the games counted.

And this year is probably no different. And he follows it up with some thoughts/questions…

Do Burton’s numbers mean he’s no longer a roster lock, especially with Logan Ondrusek looking great and throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings? Is Harang headed for another tough year?

They say numbers don’t lie, but in spring, they don’t always tell the truth either. That’s why I try not to make a lot out of anything based on spring stats, unless it’s a position battle between two guys without much of a track record (ie: Stubbs and Dickerson for center field).

When it came to Harang, Dusty Baker was not worried.

“I definitely look beyond [the spring numbers],” Baker said. “He’s throwing the ball with better velocity and coming inside, and using his legs. If you don’t get the results, you have to find some positives in there. The positive is he’s throwing the ball good.”

*There were six errors committed during the sloppy game. Drew Sutton’s two at shortstop probably did not help his cause for the last couple of bench spots.

51 Responses

  1. Jason461

    In spring, I think numbers do lie, actually, because they do not accurately reflect that not all the players have the same goals. Even on a team level, the goal is not what it is during the season. That is, winning games is nice, but it’s not the point (yet).

    In spring, you’ve got vets like Harang reworking their mechanics or their swing or whatever. Defenses often aren’t Major League ready. The competition overall is diluted. And then, you know, there’s the fact that spring numbers seem to have just about zero correlation to regular season performance. When I was a kid I used to pay close attention to spring numbers. But now? Yesterday was the first time I even looked at a box score.

    I’m ready for Monday when we start playing games that count.

  2. Mark in cc.

    I know this is taken a little out of context but Dusty’s quote in the Enquirer today:

    “I look beyond the results,” Baker said.

    That explains Corey Patterson and Wily Taveras too.

    Harang has to be a concern. What did he have one good outing in the Spring. At some point it is about results.

    I think with the emergence of Ondrusek and the continued decline of Jared Burton (who still has options), Burton spends the entire year in the minors in 2010 to try to get him straightened out.

  3. Steve

    In a certain sense, spring numbers don’t matter. Plenty of the matchups are not one-vs-one and players are sometimes working toward goals other than winning. If a pitcher or hitter has a few bad days, or even a mediocre month, it’s probably no cause for alarm, especially for veterans.

    However, in the Reds case, what do we make of it when the spring numbers are a continuation of the past few regular seasons? Aaron Harang’s spring performance would be less worrisome if it hadn’t been for his past two regular seasons. Same with Jared Burton.

    What makes Harang’s situation even more interesting is that the Reds may soon have a viable alternative to him. The past couple of years, no matter how terrible Harang did, the Reds really had no other options for the starting rotation. That’s not necessarily the case this year.

    • Matt WI

      However, in the Reds case, what do we make of it when the spring numbers are a continuation of the past few regular seasons?

      I think about this too… not so much for individual players, but the team. This spring, the offense looks a lot like last season on offense. We know how that went.

  4. toyboy

    @Mark in cc.: Mark in cc:… when you lose you have no choice but to “look beyond the results”. Maybe this is the year we turn that corner. This team has the talent to win. But, anyone that has played the game knows you don’t throw a switch and all of a sudden start playing winning baseball. There should be concern especially with the ace of the staff, Harang. But with this teams overall talent, the concern can be adequately throttled back. Let’s see where we are in Mid May.

  5. Matt WI

    @Steve: I agree, but that doesn’t necessarily make Harang good trade fodder either

    Other teams know that he’s struggling too. We need him to catch fire again, even if the only purpose is to flip him. But it’s always easy to want to trade a guy when he’s down and expect something for him. That won’t work.(I’m not saying you are suggesting this, I’m just taking off from your point that Harang may not stay around).

  6. Jason461

    @Steve: Hasn’t most advanced statistical analysis shown that Harang has just been really unlucky the last two years? Last year, for example, he had an FIP better than Arroyo. Given that, I have a hard seeing how his spring can be viewed as a continuation of the struggle given that, from the most objective perspective, he hasn’t struggled that much. Not to say he wasn’t better in ’06 and ’07, but he hasn’t been nearly as bad the last few years as many people seem to believe.

    Until someone shows me some evidence regarding the predictive value of spring performance, I will continue to ignore the numbers.

  7. toyboy

    @Jason461: What the heck is FIP? Is that another stat used to justify $12 million for dismal outings?

  8. Matt WI

    FIP: Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. The formula is (HR*13+(BB+HBP-IBB)*3-K*2)/IP, plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number. FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. … makes more sense that W-L’s.

    Jason, I think you bring up a fair point… his ERA is up, but a lot of other things have gone wrong outside of his control (especially run support). Somewhere in the middle is a pitcher who isn’t as dominant as he’s looked before but isn’t as nearly as bad as he looks at first blush for the past two seasons.

  9. Jason461

    Just a thought while we’re all talking about numbers… I think one of the things we forget is that we use stats for two things. First, we use them to assess how a player has performed in the past. Second, we use them to try an predict how he will perform in the future. A lot of people get worked up about fancy numbers like FIP, but I think they aren’t seeing the reasons behind why those numbers exist.

    Stats like wins and ERA, for instance, don’t correlate very well from year to year. That is, it’s hard to predict how many games a pitcher will win next year based on how many he won last year. The more advanced stats exist largely because they are predictive. That is, they try, as much as possible, to filter out things like luck and run support to figure out exactly how good a player is so that we can have a reasonable idea of what he will do next year.

  10. Chris Garber

    “That’s why I try not to make a lot out of anything based on spring stats, unless it’s a position battle between two guys without much of a track record (ie: Stubbs and Dickerson for center field).”

    I’m with Fay.

    • Bill Lack

      “That’s why I try not to make a lot out of anything based on spring stats, unless it’s a position battle between two guys without much of a track record (ie: Stubbs and Dickerson for center field).”I’m with Fay.

      Fay? What does he say about this?

  11. Steve

    @Jason461: Yes, the more advanced statistics — partly — exonerate Harang’s past two years. He surely isn’t a 6-14 or 6-17 pitcher. But he’s also not the 16-win pitcher that he was in 2006 and 2007 either. His K/9 is down, his BB/9 is up. Most troubling his fly ball rate is up, which explains why his HR/9 is much higher than 06/07.

    So yes, he’s not a bad pitcher, but he’s probably not a great pitcher either. If he rebounds based on his new mechanics and new pitching coach it’s probably reasonable to expect him to still be well short of his best years.

    And his spring training outings this year are certainly in line with that.

  12. Steve

    One more point on Harang. I don’t think he necessarily needs to return as the Reds’ ace for us to contend for a playoff spot. I see both he and Bronson as basically .500 pitchers that will give the Reds a lot of innings and keep us in most of the games they pitch. Cueto has been around .500 also, which is about where I expect him again this year. Chapman/Leake/Wood have a decent chance to be around .500 in the fifth spot as well. They each have excellent talent that needs to be balanced with inexperience.

    That leaves Homer Bailey. A point I’ve made here a couple times this spring is that for the Reds to break through and be above .500 the key is how Homer pitches.

    If Homer becomes a star, as I think is very possible, then the Reds really do have a chance to finish .500 and maybe get into the wild card race. If he finishes 14-8 with a 3.75 ERA, which is optimistic, the Reds will be a winning team.

    Now, that might save Dusty Baker’s job, so there you have the law of unintended consequences rearing its ugly head…

  13. Jason461

    @Steve: I totally agree with you. My only issue is that I have never seen a single piece of information that indicates that spring numbers are good predictors of in season performance. I keep waiting for someone to show me evidence (I’ve looked and I don’t see it) and they haven’t. The primary problem is sample size. Harang has thrown 13.2 innings. That isn’t enough to tell you anything. For example, I want to be encouraged by the 3:1 K:BB ration, but that’s silly because we’re talking about 13.2 spring training innings.

    Also, Harang’s peripherals were actually pretty good last year. Not as good as his peak, but his FIP inched down considerably from where it was in 2008.

    But, mostly, you’re right. I’m betting we get 2009 Harang who, with any kind of run support, will win way more than six games.

  14. Steve

    It’s amazing how far the Reds pitching has come in the past few years. We can look forward to a post-Arroyo, post-Harang world with a lot of anticipation.

    2011: Bailey, Cueto, Volquez, Chapman, Leake, Wood

    We need 5 of those 6 to work out. That’s a really cheap pitching staff, less than $3 million total. We could really spend some serious cash on hitters.

    We won’t have to trade Brandon Phillips, unless we want to, to make room for Todd Frazier.

  15. toyboy

    At the end of the day a pitcher is judged on wins and losses. I don’t know many HOF pitchers that are there because their FIP was strong. All of these numbers are developed by geeks that have to much time on their hands. Sorry, an old school guy here…..I’d have loved for someone to tell Bob Gibson he needed to come out because he reached his pitch count….So gimme a break on the “new data”

    This number vs that number never came into play when Dunn’s name came up. He went away and so will Harang. And hooray to Steve! The post Harang days are getting close.

    Oh by the way,….I’d be very happy to eat these words and have Harang be comeback player of the year.

    • francijx

      So gimme a break on the “new data”

      Yeah! And dagnabbit, the world sure seems flat to me. I don’t care if “science” says its round. Consider me old school…

  16. pinson343

    You want to look beyond results (statistics) in spring training, where two young relatively unproven players are competing for a spot. As has been argued, you don’t want to decide on Dickerson vs. Stubbs strictly based on their ST stats. You need to factor in previous performance of course, and the judgment of the coaches, scouts, and manager (for better or worse) HAS to come into play.

    Harang’s bad spring may be a cause for concern, but we won’t really know until the season starts.

    Similarly, a team having a poor record in ST games may or may not be a cause for concern. Generally it’s irrelevant, but a long losing streak just before the real season starts sometimes does carry over. Then again, sometimes it doesn’t.

  17. Steve

    (getting off of toyboy’s porch, right now) 🙂

    Leake off to a good start today through three innings. Stubbs with two extra-base hits (HR and 2B) and three RBI. Janish with another hit and run scored. Nix another HR.

    toyboy, the point of the advanced stats is to do a better job of predicting who will be good in the future — which the successful franchises are using right now. It’s OK for fans to ignore them if they want, but if your favorite team does you’ll keep ending up with players like Willy Taveras and Orlando Cabrera.

  18. pinson343

    Where I get ticked off is where “new stats” that actually aren’t even new, and are clearly useful, are treated as meaningless by supposed baseball experts. A good example is that Philly writer who claimed the current Phils have the “greatest IF in baseball history.” When I wrote him with comparisons using OPS+, his “dignified” and highly professional response was “OPS+ my butt.” (And this is a HOF voter.)

    There’s nothing complicated or new about OPS, and OPS+ is a sensible adjustment. In the 1960’s I came up with OPS on my own, no big deal, that’s the kind of thing a lot of 12-13 year old boys of my generation did. I later learned that Branch Rickey had developed a more refined version of OPS in the 1940’s.

    • mike

      There’s nothing complicated or new about OPS, and OPS+ is a sensible adjustment. In the 1960’s I came up with OPS on my own, no big deal, that’s the kind of thing a lot of 12-13 year old boys of my generation did. I later learned that Branch Rickey had developed a more refined version of OPS in the 1940’s.

      I’ve always been fascinated that there were people before the 80s, like Branch Rickey that somehow intuitively knew that OPS was a better way to look at hitter performance.
      That said, I always like to remind people that OPS and even OPS+ are just estimates and are nowhere near as good as the #s they are estimating. Simply put, OPS it turns out is just a good estimation of Runs Created but can be far off depending on the specific OBP and SLG. OPS undervalues OBP. To the point where I don’t even like it anymore as a stat

      anyways back to my original point. So in the 80s, Bill James figured out Runs Created and soon after someone (I don’t know who) figured out that OPS was a good approximation of RC but they did all the math. It’s amazing to me that kids and some managers somehow understood this long before it was proven.

      and pinson, speaking of the other thing you wrote. Do you know if anyone has actually looked into who the “greatest IF in baseball history” are? When I read that idiotic statement from the writer I was planning on doing the research myself (mainly because I wanted to know how the BRM IF and the Reds early 90s IF compared). I’m so curious because off the top of my head I can’t think of a single IF in history that could seriously be compared to the BRM IF

      • pinson343

        OPS undervalues OBP. To the point where I don’t even like it anymore

        Mike, I’ve heard of an adjustment to OPS that correctly emphasizes OBP.
        I’ll look into what it is exactly.

      • mike

        Mike, I’ve heard of an adjustment to OPS that correctly emphasizes OBP.
        I’ll look into what it is exactly.

        I don’t remember the exact # but it’s a simple multiplier
        something like 1.6*OBP + SLG

        one of my favorite stat blogs gave a couple great examples of how OPS failed this past off season. Couldn’t dig them up (they write a lot) http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/

    • mike

      A good example is that Philly writer who claimed the current Phils have the “greatest IF in baseball history.” When I wrote him with comparisons using OPS+, his “dignified” and highly professional response was “OPS+ my butt.” (And this is a HOF voter.)

      by the way not only was his statement really off base and offensive but it showed he’s not so old school after all

      if I was a Philly fan I would sent this simple email

      “Jimmy Foxx, Max Bishop, Dib Williams, Pinky Higgins, and Mickey Cochrane”

      I’m trying to do research on great Infields in baseball history but not having much luck finding the right data.
      One question. Include Catchers? or just 1B, 2B, 3B, SS?

  19. TC

    The “new stats” as they have been called in this thread, are not interesting to many fans, but they help serious gearhead baseball fans understand what is going on under the hood so that they can speak understand why a player is either successful or failing. There is nothing wrong with not being a stats person. They don’t interest most fans I know. I don’t think of them any less for it. Baseball is great, even without the stats.

  20. mike

    I don’t remember who it was but a coach for some team back in the 80s had a great quote about spring performance/stats

    paraphrasing
    “Spring training stats don’t tell you much, but they do tell you who is healthy and ready to start the season”

    a good example might be a couple of the Reds best players. Votto, our best player and our most productive hitter and Bruce our young prospect who not only didn’t have the best season last season but got hurt.
    Bruce has had a nice quiet spring, getting his work in and has an OPS around .800. To me that just means he’s ready to go.

    Votto had his own issues last season and remember how he started out the 1st couple weeks of spring? He wasn’t hitting at all. Now his spring OPS is over 1.000! Again it’s not the specific # I care about but what this tells me is he’s ready for the season to start and likely to continue where he left off hitting last season.

    lets also not forget all the stuff others have said about competition level and goals but I’d also add, we are playing in Arizona where certain pitches don’t work as well and playing in some odd stadiums some of which have some strange layouts. Saw one the other day on TV that had such a short RF that I could have hit HRs there.

    which brings me to some curious spring performances.

    Remember when Stubbs came up last year he hadn’t hit for ANY power in the minors then he promptly hit 8 HR in 42 games? I expected him to regress this year and not show that sort of power. Then what about his 5 HR this spring? No less his over 1.000 OPS?? Could this be a sign that his power from last year will continue this season??

    and what do spring #s say about things we already were expecting? For example the utility guy race and the choice to sign and old SS?

    Before spring I sort of thought Cabrera could be a flop. He’s old and playing a tough position and had a off year last year. So does it mean anything that he hasn’t hit this spring AT ALL?? Combine that with what we know about Janish. A no-hit great defender. Janish has had a GREAT spring.

    Or about a player like Miles, who again could easily not return to his form from a couple years ago. He hasn’t hit in while and now he’s not hitting in spring.

    and maybe the most obvious example is a guy who should have never been given a shot at the #5 starter spot. Lincoln. Lincoln was awful last year and really hasn’t been good since 2002. He has stunk this spring.

    I wouldn’t want to make decisions based on spring performance but when that performance reinforces things we already know then it really makes me wonder.

  21. TC

    Little off topic, but while we are talking OPS, anyone else notice how strangely Francisco and Balentien’s professional career numbers match up? Obviously Balentien is 2 years ahead of Francisco.

    The difference is Balentien can play defense and has (if ever so slightly) improved his plate discipline, but only since he’s come to the Reds.

    Basically, I’m saying there is a possibility we have two Franciscos in our system.

  22. TC

    Watching the game on FSN-OH. The commentator really doesn’t know the Reds at all. He called Francisco a catcher and said Hanigan “figures to be the 1st string catcher.”

    • Chad Dotson

      Watching the game on FSN-OH.The commentator really doesn’t know the Reds at all.He called Francisco a catcher and said Hanigan “figures to be the 1st string catcher.”

      That’s Vin Scully, who is the best announcer in the history of the biz…but I have noticed him make a couple of mistakes tonight. I’ve never seen that before.

  23. TC

    Gomes just made an incredible grab. Caught the ball in the right corner, on the run, then leaped a 4 foot fense. Wow!

    The Reds world will be buzzing about that.

  24. Matt WI

    @TC: If by buzzing you mean… “anybody else would have made that catch without making a highlight reel.” Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  25. Greg Dafler

    Aaron Harang has had worse run support (3.5 runs per game) than the Pirates have provided their pitchers the past two years. By contrast, the team has scored 5 runs a game during Bronson Arroyo’s starts. Last year, Harang never started a game with Rolen at 3rd. He had very few starts with Janish at SS or Stubbs in CF.

    In such a small sample of games (27 to 32 games) a pitchers W-L record can vary dramatically and is a poor indicator of the next year’s success. Jimmy Haynes and Eric Milton are two examples of guys signed or extended based on 15-win seasons. If you looked at the contributing numbers in their other stats, you’d see that repeating 15 wins was not a reasonable expectation.

  26. TC

    LOL. No. Really man, it was awesome. Can’t tell if you saw it, but if you didn’t it was cool. It was good enough C Trent and Chad tweeted their awe as well.

    This has been the ugliest no hitter I’ve seen. I doubt it will remain that way. Looks like the job is Leake’s despite the lack of hits.

    Just saw the highlight again. The announcer called it “breath taking”. 😀

  27. Chad Dotson

    @TC: The catch by Gomes was unbelievable. I wouldn’t have believed that it was actually Gomes out there if they didn’t zoom in on him.

  28. pinson343

    @mike: That Philly writer was not including catcher. You’re right, the Philadelphia A’s of 1929-31 had a great IF. I wrote to him about the 1975-76 Reds IF.

    • mike

      That Philly writer was not including catcher. You’re right, the Philadelphia A’s of 1929-31 had a great IF. I wrote to him about the 1975-76 Reds IF.

      as you should
      I’m still working on my query to compare IF in baseball history. If my initial #s are correct I think I’ll make it a redleg nation post as the 74-76 look great 🙂

      the thing that’s interesting, as always when comparing things like this, understanding defensive value is crucial. I say this because my initial flawed research showed what infield in the top 3? (and they were a VERY, VERY good infield but I just don’t think their offense overcomes their defense)? The 2009 NYY!!!
      I thought they were a great example of what makes things difficult. A great team who won 103 games primarily on their offense. Looking at their IF offense and it’s hard to imagine an IF with that much firepower….probably not even the BRM. 129 OPS+ is the lowest of the 4 at 2B. That’s AMAZING! Working on coming up with team #s for the infield that includes defense.

      based on the initial research? The Philly infield of 2009 wouldn’t make the top 50

      I’m very curious how the great Reds infields other than the BRM fair, including

      Cardenas/Coleman/Johnson/Perez/Rose in 1965
      Duncan/Larkin/Morris/Sabo in 1990
      Frey/McCormick/Myers/Werber in 1939

  29. preach

    I will say Vin (staff) really does his research. I learned more about the growing up of our players from watching this game then I learned from a whole season of our guys.

  30. pinson343

    @preach: No doubt. I heard Vin broadcast a Reds game last year and learned all kinds of things about the background of Reds players.

  31. TC

    @preach: I did enjoy that. It was especially nice to hear about Bruce’s background a bit.

    @Chad Dotson: I did not realize that was Vin Scully. The first part of the game was preempted by a Cavalier’s game and I didn’t match him to the voice. I just thought it was just a Dodger’s announcer. My bad.

  32. mike

    Looking for some incites here on if I’m going down the right path for figuring out the best infields of all-time.

    As a test here is my initial ordering of the Reds infields since 1955

    The 1st HUGE question is I’m including any player who started 20 or more games in the infield that season. Should I be looking more at just the starters??

    my initial results look sane but tell me otherwise

    In order here are the best Reds infields since 1955. I’ll show baseball-references sOPS for the infield of the team. I did not use this stat in my analysis it’s more to help see how the infield hit. I included defense in my research.

    1974: (131) Morgan, Bench, Driessen, Concepcion, Chaney, Perez
    1975: (131) Driessen, Chaney, Rose, Perez, Morgan, Concepcion
    1976: (138) Flynn, Driessen, Rose, Concepcion, Perez, Morgan
    1973: (121) Menke, Concepcion, Perez, Driessen, Chaney, Morgan
    1972: (127) Chaney, Perez, Concepcion, Menke, Morgan
    1965: (137) Johnson, Coleman, Rose, Cardenas, Perez
    1999: (109) Boone, Casey, Larkin, Lewis, Reese
    1955: (113) Adams, Kluszewski, Harmon, Bridges, Smith, Jablonski, Temple, McMillan
    1977: (123) Morgan, Concepcion, Rose, Driessen
    1991: (118) Doran, Martinez, Sabo, Quinones, Larkin, Duncan, Morris
    2005: (109) Freel, Casey, Encarnacion, Lopez, Randa, Aurilla, Dunn, Jimenez

    and the worst from worst first
    2001: (95) Larkin, Reese, Young, Walker, Castro, Casey, Selby, Boone
    1997: (88) Eduardo Perez, Morris, Boone, Reese, Greene, Pendleton, Larkin
    1984: (92) Krenchicki, Foley, Tony Perez, Cedeno, Esasky, Concepcion, Driessen, Oester, Rose
    1989: (88) Quinones, Oester, Duncan, Benzinger, Richardson, Harris, Larkin, Sabo, Madison
    2006: (105) Hatteberg, Phillips, Aurilia, Clayton, Lopez, Encarnacion

    this ranking looks good to me except for the question of to include just the main starters or all the infielders. The 1999 infield makes sense. Their hitting was good but not great but that was an amazing defense and the 2006 team was the opposite. The hitting wasn’t bad but that was a defensively challenged infield 🙂

    I guess we could also try and split hairs and discuss which infield was better. 74, 75 or 76. Right now 74 comes out on top. Thoughts?

    thanks

    • mike

      1974: (131) Morgan, Bench, Driessen, Concepcion, Chaney, Perez
      1975: (131) Driessen, Chaney, Rose, Perez, Morgan, Concepcion
      1976: (138) Flynn, Driessen, Rose, Concepcion, Perez, Morgan

      I think one reason the 74 Reds IF ended up ahead of 75 and 76 is I might have over valued Bench’s 30 starts at 3B. Still looking into it.

  33. mike

    a little more info related to the Philly writer statement and my infield research so far

    since 1955 I have 1357 Team/Year infields

    The top Philly infield comes out 56th and that was 1977 (the Mike Schmidt team won 101 games)

    Philly’s 1974 infield comes out 64th

    the 2009 Philly infield comes out 152nd

  34. pinson343

    @mike: Interesting stuff, I’ll look at it more and comment later. One quick comment: I’m not surprised that the 1965 Reds IF is up there. The ’65 Reds had a great starting lineup, for offense (especially) and defense. Even with a weak pitching staff, they weren’t far behind the pennant winning Dodgers.

    • mike

      Interesting stuff, I’ll look at it more and comment later. One quick comment: I’m not surprised that the 1965 Reds IF is up there. The ‘65 Reds had a great starting lineup, for offense (especially) and defense. Even with a weak pitching staff, they weren’t far behind the pennant winning Dodgers.

      Johnson, Coleman, Rose, Cardenas, Perez are a pretty great infield.
      the catch? they were super young. Perez was 23, Cardenas 26, Johnson 26 and Rose 25. The Reds didn’t really have a 3B and Coleman at 3B started half the time with Perez starting the other half.
      every single starter on the 65 team had an OPS+ above 100. That’s a bit crazy.
      Sure sure, there are the famous Reds, like Pinson :), Rose, and Robinson but great seasons from Edwards, Coleman and Johnson really pushed them over
      and nearly the worst pitching staff in baseball is what held them back

      here is an amazing stat
      The Reds scored 5.1 R/G in 65. The next closest team in the NL scored 4.4!!
      LA of course was the opposite with the likes of Koufax, Drysdale, Osteen and Perranowski.

      I was chatting on the phone tonight with a SQL expert friend of mine asking question about how to get the data I want and he’s also a big baseball fan. I told him about the Philly writer statement and he just laughed. He whipped off the BRM infield, a great 70s Philly infield and a great Milwaukee infield right off the top of his head, all of which I agree were much better. Good times, good times. But still. How can a guy forget the great Mike Schmidt lead infields of the Phillies?? Not a single player for the current Phills could even come close to how good he was and he had very good teammates around him.

      Now I’m going to bring up the tough question
      74-76 BRM infield
      or?
      Cooper, Gantner, Yount and Molitor?

      sure sure, I’m not finished doing the research but that Brewers infield might be the #1 candidate for best infield in the last 60 years.

      • pinson343

        Johnson, Coleman, Rose, Cardenas, Perez are a pretty great infield.the catch? they were super young. Perez was 23, Cardenas 26, Johnson 26 and Rose 25. The Reds didn’t really have a 1B and Coleman at 1B started half the time with Perez starting the other half.every single starter on the 65 team had an OPS+ above 100. That’s a bit crazy.
        The Reds scored 5.1 R/G in 65. The next closest team in the NL scored 4.4!!

        Now I’m going to bring up the tough question74-76 BRM infield or Cooper, Gantner, Yount and Molitor? sure sure, I’m not finished doing the research but that Brewers infield might be the #1 candidate for best infield in the last 60 years.

        Yes that was a young ’65 Reds IF. It was Tony Perez’ rookie year and he shared 1st base with Gordy Coleman (who batted LHed). Also at catcher there was somewhat of a platoon with Don Pavletich getting 219 ABs against mostly LHed pitching. Don had a career year batting .319/.394/.513. Deron Johnson had a career year in ’65 that helped DeWitt think Frank Robinson was expendable.

        One nite in the 70’s I met Tommy Harper by accident at a hotel in New Haven. He was a traveling baserunning coach at the time, I think for the Red Sox. Anyway we talked about the ’65 Reds. He said how “Not many people know Vada Pinson nearly had 2,000 hits.” You mean nearly 3,000 hits, I said. He said I should send Vada a post card, that he’d send me one back. Wish I had.

        I remember that Brewers IF well, they were great, offensively and defensively. I used to go to Yankee Stadium to watch them play the Yankees, watched them beat the Yankees in a playoff game in 1981.

  35. mike

    another take on the best Infields since 1955

    here is my current thinking for the Best Reds infields since 55

    1976
    1975
    1973
    1972
    1974
    note the same top 5 I had before in different order with the top 3 being VERY close
    1999
    1955
    1965
    1977
    1991

    and worst (worst 1st): 1984, 2001, 1997, 2006, and 1989

    and still not final by any means but the top infields in baseball since

    Milwaukee 1982: Cooper, Gantner, Yount and Molitor
    Oakland 2001: Giambi, Menechino, Tejada, Chavez
    Seattle 2001: Olerud, Boone, Guillen, Bell
    St Louis 2004: Pujols, Womack, Renteria, Rolen
    St Louis 2003: Martinez, Hart, Renteria, Rolen
    Detroit 1990: Fielder, Whitaker, Trammell, Phillips
    Cincinnati 1976: no need to remind you who that was
    Houston 1997: Bagwell, Biggio, Bogar, Berry

    The top Philly infield comes out 48th and that was the 1977 team of Hebner, Sizemore, Bowa, Schmidt

    the 2009 Philly infield comes out 146th out of 1357 which of course is GREAT but not one of the best of alltime