A wonderful bit of baseball writing passed in front of me yesterday. It is about the ways in which advanced statistics fall short written by someone who is also very conversant in advanced statistics. Here it is. You should go read the whole thing.
What really struck me in reference to the Reds was number eight in the list of ten beliefs: Diversity is good for batting lineups.
It’s not something I’d thought about before, but it makes sense. The article puts forward that if there are hitters with different kinds of approaches sprinkled throughout the lineup, it makes it harder for the pitcher to get settled in. Last year, when they were busy being terrible at hitting, there was no diversity in the Red lineup. Mesoraco and Frazier both had solid walk rates, but generally speaking, the Reds lineup operated on a “close your eyes and swing hard” program. And really, Todd and Devin both do that too from time to time. And while that might not be the best procedure, it can work. I mean, Vladimir Guerrero happened, and he was always awesome to watch.
But Votto is totally different. Votto doesn’t swing much and he pretty much doesn’t swing at anything out of the zone. Even in the zone, he doesn’t swing unless he feels like he can really thump it. Obviously,Ã‚Â that makes pitchers uncomfortable. But, I’d wager it makes them even more uncomfortable when they’ve just been pitching to Phillips or Cozart or whoever.
This also articulates why the Reds need to be looking for a patient hitter on the open market. It’s not just that you want a good hitter, but you want a hitter who is differently good from the rest of your lineup. Or at least maybe you do, if the article is right. And it sounds right to me.
How’s it sound to you?