Yesterday, we looked at how the Reds’ Lake Wobegon offense (everybody’s above average) led to the team’s first winning record in a decade. Today, the pitching.

Pitching is quite a bit harder to parse than hitting, at least to my meager number-crunching skills. Regardless, we again used the pre-season ZiPS projections, and through-Sunday actual pitching stats. We first ranked all Reds pitchers with over 20 IP (sorry Chappy) by ERA, then compared their actual ERA and peripherals (WHIP, K/9 and K/BB) with projections. Again, I included BABIP as a very rough indicator of luck.

For whatever reason, ZiPS didn’t include Mike Leake or Logan Ondrusek in its pre-season run, which may be the biggest point of this whole exercise: Those two rookies combined for an unexpected 180+ IP of league-average pitching. That’s a very nice place to start.

Name ERA ZiPS ERA ERA +/- WHIP ZiPS WHIP WHIP +/- K/9 ZiPS K/9 K/9 +/- K/BB ZiPS K/BB K/BB +/- BABIP
Arthur Rhodes 2.09 3.43 -1.34 1.01 1.30 -0.29 8.01 8.66 -0.65 2.88 2.15 0.73 .243
Johnny Cueto 3.31 4.08 -0.77 1.24 1.29 -0.05 6.62 7.62 -1.00 2.42 2.55 -0.13 .286
Travis Wood 3.33 4.62 -1.29 1.11 1.53 -0.42 7.12 6.10 1.02 2.58 1.30 1.28 .261
Jordan Smith 3.38 4.87 -1.49 1.23 1.46 -0.23 5.30 4.58 0.72 3.14 1.57 1.57 .290
Nick Masset 3.73 3.82 -0.09 1.29 1.31 -0.02 9.64 7.18 2.46 2.59 2.21 0.38 .306
Daniel Ray Herrera 3.91 3.88 0.03 1.61 1.36 0.25 5.48 6.85 -1.37 2.33 1.96 0.37 .363
Francisco Cordero 4.04 3.05 0.99 1.50 1.29 0.21 7.38 9.28 -1.90 1.47 2.39 -0.92 .302
Bronson Arroyo 4.09 4.20 -0.11 1.18 1.33 -0.15 4.74 5.97 -1.23 1.74 2.14 -0.40 .245
Mike Leake* 4.23 1.50 5.92 1.86 .317
Logan Ondrusek* 4.32 1.26 5.94 1.94 .265
Sam LeCure 4.46 5.12 -0.66 1.54 1.50 0.04 6.38 6.58 -0.20 1.43 1.68 -0.25 .298
Homer Bailey 4.70 4.98 -0.28 1.32 1.47 -0.15 7.36 6.80 0.56 2.57 1.80 0.77 .310
Bill Bray 4.94 3.75 1.19 1.23 1.37 -0.14 9.51 9.30 0.21 2.78 2.48 0.30 .277
Edinson Volquez 5.14 3.66 1.48 1.69 1.30 0.39 9.86 9.00 0.86 1.64 1.97 -0.33 .338
Aaron Harang 5.15 3.96 1.19 1.54 1.27 0.27 6.58 7.63 -1.05 2.29 3.36 -1.07 .340
Micah Owings 5.40 4.86 0.54 1.59 1.42 0.17 9.45 6.08 3.37 1.40 1.58 -0.18 .298
Carlos Fisher 6.00 4.33 1.67 1.57 1.48 0.09 8.57 7.76 0.81 1.67 1.68 -0.01 .338

What do we see?  We see that other than our closer, the guys who under-performed against projections haven’t played much, some due to injury (Harang & Voltron).  For others (Owings, in particular), it’s harder to say whether the lack of playing time was the cause, or result of poor pitching.

Arthur Rhodes, of course, has been incredible.  But yes, he’s also been lucky (.243 BABIP, 50 pts below his career number).  Nick Masset’s absurd 9.64 K-rate blew his ZiPS projection away.  Between Wood, LeCure, Matt Maloney (too few IP to make the chart), Arroyo, Cueto, Bailey, and Leake, the Reds had 115 of 143 games started by guys who out-pitched expectations.  That’ll win a division.