Last night saw Derek Dietrich go all out against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After the brawl that sort of wasn’t in Pittsburgh after Dietrich hit a home run into the river, then his hitting a home run on Monday and possibly offending someone in the Pirates dugout, there were questions about whether or not Pittsburgh would hit Derek Dietrich on Tuesday. They didn’t. Instead it was Derek Dietrich that hit the Pirates. And the dingers. He hit THREE dingers against the Pirates on Tuesday night.

Whether something happens later this afternoon, I guess we’ll all have to wait and see together. But for now, let’s talk about what it is that Derek Dietrich is doing.

If you watched the interview after the game from above, you’ll have already heard that Derek Dietrich has set a new career high in home runs for a season. It’s May 29th. He’s hit 17 home runs. That’s a pretty good pace, and it puts him in some rare company in team history.

Derek Dietrich has 17 home runs this season. He’s got 2 doubles and 1 triple. That ratio is almost unfathomable. Basically, if he’s hitting the ball in the air to the outfield, it’s either going over the fence or it’s being caught.

His OPS is currently sitting at 1.085 thanks to a .254/.364/.720 line in 140 plate appearances this season. He’s not qualified for the leaderboard when it comes to OPS, but if he were, he’d rank 4th in both the National League and Major League Baseball – trailing just Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich, and Josh Bell.

He’s tied for third in baseball with his 17 home runs. Everyone else with at least 11 home runs in baseball has at least 135 at-bats this season. Derek Dietrich has 118. Dietrich is on pace for 50 home runs this season for the Reds based on his 17 through 55 team games. Going back to the number of doubles from above, assuming the same pace is kept there, he would shatter the record for fewest doubles in a season while also hitting 40+ home runs. In 1964 Harmon Killebrew had 11 doubles to go with 49 home runs.

Where did all of this power come from? Derek Dietrich has been an above-average hitter in the past. From 2015-2018 with the Marlins he posted an OPS+ of 114. The ballpark in Miami wasn’t exactly doing him any favors in terms of non-park adjusted numbers. At home he slugged just .385 in those four seasons. On the road he slugged .468. There’s an enormous difference between .468 and the insane .720 that he’s slugging this year. But Great American Ball Park helps some. He’s also still in his “peak” age frame, sitting at 29-years-old.

There’s not much to really explain what’s going on. It’s probably a lot of little things all coming together to make for a magic first two months. There’s some luck in play here. 17 home runs and 2 doubles simply doesn’t make sense. But here we are. One home run every 6.94 at-bats doesn’t make sense. Yet here we are. Getting into a more friendly home ballpark, and division with some friendly ballparks for hitters helps – but not this much. And yet, here we are.

Derek Dietrich is having a magical season. He’s killing the baseball right now. We’re all having fun watching it. There’s not much explaining what’s going on, but in his own words:

The Reds have let me be myself

And for now, it’s been joyous to watch.

29 Responses

  1. zblakey

    What happens down the road (roster wise) when Scooter is healthy – who plays and where? How many years of control do the Reds have over Dietrich?

    • matthew hendley

      Dietrich has a year of roster control left. He will be eligible for his third year of Arbitration at the end of the season. As what to do with him, Its only me, but Ben Zobrist usage would be a model I would use. Against RHP, rotate his positioning on the field providing a day off for various individuals, and resting him against left handed hitters. A good problem to have. Especially if scooter comes in and picks up the better portion of last years stats.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I’m not saying a super sub role isn’t what’s best, I’m just having a hard time figuring out who sits to allow that. You don’t sit Gennett or Winker against RHP. You probably don’t sit Votto against RHP, even this year as he’s struggled to get going he’s still has an OPS+ above average vs RHP. It’s not been good against lefties to this point. You could sit Puig, but last season he had some reverse platoon splits happening, though his splits are back to normal so far this season. Dietrich could play for Suarez, I guess, but that’s giving up a good amount of defense on top of sitting the Reds best offensive player. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Bell makes it work.

      • CP

        Its a good problem to have to say the least

      • matthew hendley

        @ Hotto4Votto. Its not an issue of benching them. if you rotate him a position a day, you allow for players to remain better rested. there are 5 days that he can fit into a fielding rotation without replacing a single player twice in a row. (1B, 2B, All OF w/ DD playing LF and Winker moving to the replaced player spot) Also the DH position, in IL games. None of the players mentioned deserve a long spot on the Bench of course, however a day off a week could do wonders to their output.

      • greenmtred

        You wouldn’t sit a particular guy for days on end, unless he were injured, of course, but you could get Dietrich plenty of playing time and keep Suarez, Votto, et al better rested than currently with regular days off. There’d always be formidible pinch-hitters available with this plan, too.

  2. Shchi Cossack

    Derek Dietrich and Scooter Gennett represent the Reds moneyball effort, taking advantage of the economy of baseball. The plethora of 2B available throughout MLB makes their value plummet. Nobody needs a 2B and nobody can trade a 2B for any value in return, the Reds tried. The key is to figure out how to take advantage of the market inefficiency. There are options available. We’ll soon see how the new Reds regime decides to handle their ‘situation’.

    • matthew hendley

      the word is extensions. Cheap extensions. DD still has a year left of team control, and reset his base numbers signing a 3 mil deal. Should he continue his current trend, obviously this would be driven way up, but moving to get a team friendly or neutral extension would allow the Reds to cost control him for quite a few more years. Makes him a trade worthy chip if necessary. Guy is like a couple base hits, or one dropped bat and runway walk away from hitting 2 WAR- in May. Regardless at a minimum the Reds needs to offer Arb at the end of the year.
      Scooter gets tricky, if we were to do an extension, and I think we should, we could also go for the team friendly extension based on his willingness (hometown discount) and his recent history (Injury history). This should drop his price. A possibility with him is an incentives based, Low guarantee high incentive based contract. 4 years should be the goal for both players (including this year, so 3 really).
      Both of these players are going to continue to be producers, despite the false narrative of 30 being some magic cutoff age for players both of these players are going to massively produce through the next couple years. 35 for scooter and something similar for DD is when the reds can no longer afford the risk of keeping them. The reds 2B situation is precarious now. Long is playing 2B for the Mariners, Dixon is a Tiger. Jose Peraza can barely be considered a position player at this point. Senzel is demonstratively a CF, and never really has been a 2B. The reds have provided a brick wall that probably will require a significant reboot time for JVTR to get things started again. One way or another things need to be addressed.

    • MFG

      Agree, 2B seem to be a dime a dozen and the Reds have drafted allot of infielders recently in Senzel, India, etc. The odd man out in all of this is Peraza because if you can hit they will find a place for you to play. Peraza is not hitting and Dietrich is and when Scooter returns they will give him every opportunity to win 2B back as they should. Dietrich will be the “super sub” and give starters a rest. Nice problem to have……….

    • bmblue

      I stand with Doug Gray and prefer the reds not sign these players to these contracts because its not fair to them. The reds are immoral franchise for paying these guys less that what they are worth (and ironically, more than anyone else was willing to pay them). All of you fans are scum for supporting this sad state of affairs.

      The reds need to make a public apology for paying DD less that what he is producing. I demand a public apology.

    • David Moore

      Last night on Twitter, Bill Lack wondered if Joey Votto was the new Wally Pipp..

  3. Matthew

    If the Reds win their next game vs the Bucs and the Cardinals also lost their next game the Reds will jump to 3rd place in the NL Central. 🙂

  4. Matt WI

    So how are people feeling now about Deitrich and his costumes and keeping things loose? Still not taking things seriously enough because the team has a losing record? Or maybe he knows what he’s doing.

  5. RojoBenjy

    Fun fun fun.

    Over on MLB Network, Chris Rose and Kevin Millar would call it “The IT Mojo” since he was a guest on their show. Lol

    • Matt WI

      Apparently he did the Jim Rome show too the day of the 3HR game… next day Rome was claiming “Jungle Karma” credit. He must have had a busy day doing the rounds. Get that man on air more often!

  6. VaRedsFan

    Thanks for posting the interview. The MLB package games goes off the air immediately after the final out. I like content like this.

    DD appears to be a great clubhouse guy, keeping the guys loose, keeping baseball fun. I think his enthusiasm is contagious for the rest of the team.

    He was the 1st one to the mound after Sims gave up the slam last night…encouraging him for a spectacular job.

    Peraza, who is in an epic rut, went deep in the 8th. He and DD had a moment on the bench.

    • WVRedlegs

      True. Leadership the Reds have been lacking.

  7. Optimist

    Is anyone considering the Justin Turner model to follow? Later developing/peaking after the traditional age 27 season? Multiple positions?

    Am I wrong, or is Dietrich more flexible/better defensively than Scooter? IIRC the Scooter in the OF experiment didn’t work.

    Still – they can likely get both on much lesser extensions than Turner, and it will be a sign of good FO action if they can do so with incentives to avoid loss of production due to injury. Ultimately, it’s a good problem to have, unlike so many of the problems of the past five years.

    in the field

  8. DHud

    “Let me be myself” and “having fun”

    Where are all the angry old people at saying he needs to lose the chain, stop watching home runs, and learn to play the game the right way??

    • Matt WI

      Amen. Turns out players can do their jobs AND be fun human beings. Weird.

  9. Tom Mitsoff

    Derek Dietrich is to the 2019 Pirates what Eric Thames was to the 2017 Reds.

    • WVRedlegs

      Very true. And still 9 games left with the Pirates.

      • WVRedlegs

        And that is 9 more after today’s game.

  10. Roger Garrett

    Dietrich brings what this team has lacked and that he is an emotional guy.We need guys like him when its going good and even more when its going bad.Some will argue its just kid stuff with all the jumping around and hollering well it is but its really a bunch of men playing a kid’s game so why not.Its a good thing when he said he gets to be him and that goes a long way among players now a days.

  11. Doc

    What a willing buyer is willing to pay a willing seller is the definition of market value. Perhaps that was never mentioned in the economics classes some posters may or may not have taken.

    Even housing evaluations in every jurisdiction in which we have ever bought or sold, sets the market value for tax purposes at the sale price when a home is bought/sold. Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrell, among others are simply not worth what they are asking because there is no buyer willing to pay that price.