In this morning’s post, the case was made that the Reds should look at on-base percentage (OBP), walk-rate (BB%) and isolated power (SO) as three important numbers for judging possible new players.
To provide context for what elite, good, average and poor rates are for those stats, let’s lookÃ‚Â the numbers for major league baseball in the 2014 season.
146 players had enough plate appearances (500) to qualify for the batting title. That’s about five per team. The tables below break down those 146 players into performance percentiles. Keep in mind these are averages etc. for regular players. There are many more major league players last year who were worse than these who did not make it to 500 at bats. But since the Reds will presumably be looking for a regular LF this winter, it seems most relevant to look at criteria compared to regulars, not all players, from the previous year.
Also, for each statistic, the Cincinnati Reds players who had at least 220 plate appearances are placed in the appropriate category.
First, let’s look at on-base percentage:
Joey Votto is the only Reds player with an elite (defined as top 10 percent) on-base percentage. Devin Mesoraco made the top 20 percent and Todd Frazier’s OBP was well above average for regulars. Other than those three hitters, the team OBP numbers are calamitous. Five of the Reds eleven players were in the bottom ten percent.
Next, let’s look at walk-rates:
Votto, again, is the only Reds player in elite territory. In fact, Votto’s 17.3 percent would have led the majors in walk-rate. In 2013, Votto and Shin-Soo Choo placed first and second in walk-rate in the majors. Devin Mesoraco has a good walk-rate and Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and Frazier are right around major league average. Again the Reds are well-represented in the bottom 20 percent.
Finally, let’s look at isolated power:
Devin Mesoraco’s ISO was elite in 2014. Todd Frazier was next, falling just outside the top 20 percent. The Reds had several hitters in the middle third, mostly toward the top of that group. Once again, five Reds players finished in the bottom 20 percent.
On Friday, we start looking at the available options, beginning with free agents. An ideal package of target numbers appears to be a .330 OBP or better, an 8 percent walk-rate and an ISO above .125. Obviously, you’d be willing to accept a lower ISO if the batter had an extra-high OBP and vice versa. And there are other factors, such as defense and cost, to consider as well.
More discussion of all that on Friday.