Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (18-24)
0 5 0
Chicago Cubs (25-18)
3 4 0
W: Mills (4-3) L: Mahle (1-2)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

And so it continues. Another decent pitching effort wasted by a complete lack of Cincinnati Reds offensive production in a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. To make the playoffs, this team needs to not just win series but to put a long winning streak together. We keep hoping to see some signs that that may be possible, but hope is not working out to this point. The loss drops Cincinnati 6.5 games behind the first-place Cubs.

The Offense

The not-real-surprising bottom line is, according to the Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale, the Reds are 0-15 when they score fewer than three runs; 18-9 when they score at least three. Think for a moment about the likelihood that Cincinnati would score two or fewer runs in 36 percent of their games — more than one out of every three! Not even amazing pitching can overcome that.

After being shut out tonight, they’ve gone scoreless the last 15 innings of play — not the first streak like that in this shortened season.

Here’s my two cents worth on the excellent work Doug Gray has done to document the fact that the Reds have a historically low batting average on balls in play (BABIP):

You’ll note below that Dick Williams refers to the “bad luck” reflected in the BABIP number. The graphic above from Doug shows that even the worst teams in terms of BABIP (at least prior to 2020) have an average of above .260. Someone will correct me if I am wrong on this, but the thought process seems to be that the Reds are really, really unlucky instead of really, really bad.

I’m not sure which is more correct. It seems to me that if the team is unlucky on its average on BABIP, there would be a ton of line shots hit right at opposing fielders, and great running or diving catches by opposing defenders on both bloopers and balls in the gap. I watch the vast majority of innings this team plays, and I am not seeing that. I’m seeing grounders, popups, and flyballs hit by the Reds that are not very challenging to opposing defenders.

What I saw tonight was Shogo Akiyama take two pitches the other way for base hits — not trying to hit every pitch as hard as he can, but hitting it where they ain’t. Pinch-hitter Brian Goodwin hit a grounder up the middle where nobody was standing and got a hit. Mike Moustakas hit a ball hard into the gap for a double. He also hit a line drive with an exit velocity of 87.2 mph and an xBA (expected batting average) of .520 that was caught by Javier Baez. Perhaps that’s the sort of bad luck being cited, but I haven’t seen as many of those as I would expect, given the statistics.

I’m not casting aspersions on Doug’s point in any way. His work is revealing and has prompted much discussion. I am fascinated by the analytics, but they don’t always connect to what I’m seeing. Maybe that’s the value of data, to bring greater clarity to what long-time fans like me think their “eye test” is producing.

The Pitching

In a season of precious few bright points, Tyler Mahle has been one. Tonight he looked absolutely dominant in five of the seven innings he pitched. He had a couple of bad pitches, and with the Reds in their current state, that means a loss. He tied career highs with seven innings pitched and 10 strikeouts. I’ve been down on Mahle for awhile, but he has shown me something in the past month. He looks like a legit starting rotation option for the rest of this season and for 2021.

Notes Worth Noting

I have not verified the numbers in this tweet, but if correct … wow …

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs

Wednesday, September 9, 8:15 pm ET

Trevor Bauer (2.05 ERA, 3-3) vs Yu Darvish (1.44 ERA, 7-1)

73 Responses

  1. Broseph

    Is exit velocity figured into xba? One thing notes in this article that doesn’t get mentioned enough is hard hit balls. BABIP depends on lots of variables and xba does a better job at portraying how good the hits actually.

    You can hit bloopers all day and have low BABIP, but if guys are ripping the cover off with low BABIP, that’s a different story.

    I’ll look it up, but my guess is this team ranks close to last in exit velo and xba which is more indicative of poor hitting than “aww shucks, they’re in the shift”

    • Broseph

      Mobile phone is not grammar friendly. But my point still stands. This is not a case of a good hitting that is just unlucky, it’s just not a good hitting team.

      • Doug Gray

        I’ll correct both you and Tom: The Reds have been incredibly unlucky and they also probably aren’t all that good. Both things can be true.

      • Broseph

        Found on Baseball Savant Reds as a team are tied for second worst in xBA at .241. Only the Rays are worse and xBA figures in a batters skill via exit velocity and launch angle. Even further wOBA they’re 9th worst in MLB at .308 which includes defense but xwOBA (defense not included) has them ranked at 12th in MLB at .339. This tells me they’re numbers are inflated from homeruns which is 3 players and everything else is weakly hit, soft contact at defenders.

        Don’t get me wrong, I want them to win and bring home some brass and rings. But as a team they are not good at hitting, and it’s not just because they’re “unlucky” because of the shift.

        Don’t get me wrong,

      • jim walker

        After a long discussion on Twitter yesterday with Doug, I endorse his statement. However, I would still likely reverse the weight to they aren’t very good at some important parts of hitting and that has probably been accented by some greater than usual poor luck. 😉

  2. Redsfandownunder

    The off the charts data is interesting…but my eyes agree with yours Tom

  3. WB

    I suspect we’re going to need website maintenance more often.

    • Doug Gray

      I hope not because it’s expensive.

  4. Charlie Waffles

    Hey, who said there are problems with the US Postal Service? They helped the Reds mail in their effort again tonight just fine, and on time.
    Williams comments are very concerning. I thought the field manager was most of the problem. But it could be a much more deeper rooted problem.
    BABIP doesn’t account for the zombie like play day in and day out.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I am also concerned that Williams would cite bad luck publicly.

      • Melvin

        Yeah. You make good points Tom and yes Williams is concerning me more and more. No discussion at all about David Bell and his job?! He’s not exactly endearing himself to the fans that’s for sure. No accountability. Just bad luck. Wow. So if we do hit is that good luck? Is this gambling or baseball? I understand there is a certain amount of “luck” but come on. Do they think we fans are total idiots and we’re just supposed to ignore what we see?

      • RojoBenjy

        Tom- agreed that’s really naïve for a baseball executive to say–maybe not so much for a “baseball executive” however.

      • RedsMonk65

        Yeah, at this point I don’t really care what the reason is. But saying it’s all bad luck is simply a cop-out. This team cannot hit. Period. Although some of the characters have changed, that has been true for a couple of seasons now. The team stinks, and their record shows it. The pitching has been very good, but not good enough to overcome the lack of consistent hitting and sometimes shoddy defense.

        I’ve been following this team since the heady days of the BRM in the early ’70s. Never fair to compare a modern team to that juggernaut, but in 50 years I have never seen a Reds team so inept at hitting the ball. It’s embarrassing. I am highly disappointed. Dispirited.

        And now, I’m turning my valuable time, energy, and attention elsewhere ….

  5. Hanawi

    They are unlucky and bad. They have one of the three worst xBA in baseball and are also tied for the biggest negative difference. So they are starting at the bottom and going deeper.

    I attribute it to the HR or nothing approach that Ward brought last year and which they seem to have continued this year. They are pretty middle of the road in many stats (hard hit %, etc.) that would predict a good batting average, but they have one of the highest launch angles and lowest ground ball rates in baseball. So they hit a lot of lazy fly balls.

    The approach can succeed (Dodgers have the highest launch angles in baseball, but also are among the best in hard hit ball %, barrels per at bat, and exit velocity).

  6. Johnnie Sparks

    In my 30 yrs off watching baseball ive never seen a offence this BAD. Guys off the street can do better

  7. RedNat

    Sad thing is, this our starting lineup for the next 2 years plus or minus Senzel, Castellanos, Stephenson. Each of the last 5 septembers my despair grows. I always think this is rock bottom and it can’t get any worse, then next year happens. Ugh

    • Hanawi

      This is the sad truth. Reds’ saviors are 2-3 guys (Garcia, Stephenson, Aquino?) that at best have cracked the back half of a top 100 list. Garcia looks like he needs a full season in the minors at least. Which means they might be able to get a stopgap SS better than he or Galvis for next year. Both the Moustakas and Votto contracts are going to be rough going forward.

      They desperately need a Soto, Tatis, Acuna, Robert type to break out in the lower minors.

    • DK in Erie PA

      As Charlie Brown once stated, tell your statistics to shut up. The statistics show a historically low BABIP while my eyes show a team that has bad at bats and doesn’t hit the ball hard very often.

    • Jrad4reds

      Castellanos would be a fool to opt out of his contract, with how he his hitting. Sure he has power but his average is way down and his strikeouts are way down. Plus do you think owners are going to give home a better contract than what he already has after this shortened year?

  8. JB

    This team is atrocious. Tonight the Cubs just hit it to the guy in right and watched him run around after the ball like he was Les Nessman. This team is bad viewing. I’m done watching and boycotting until people are fired and replaced with competent people. Hats off to Doug and Tom for their write ups and hard work. There are times where you get the brunt of our anger at this team and for that we are sorry. 17 losing seasons out of 20 and front office doesnt really seem to care. Sad for such a team with great history.

    • doofus

      +100 for the Les Nessman visual you evoked.

      • jim walker

        Yeah, but I claim equal billing for a Benny Hill yakety sax chase. 😉

    • RojoBenjy

      JB- the FO either doesn’t care or doesn’t have a clue when the try to care–both are maddening

  9. TR

    I’m encouraged by the performance of Mahle. He’s taking on a maturity and becoming an important part of the Red’s starting pitching staff.

    • Kevin Davis

      He has pitched well. His line from last night would have looked even better with a competent right fielder. WHIP is really good, and his number of pitches per inning are down about 1.5 over last year. If Disco goes someplace else next year, I think Mahle is more than an adequate replacement.

    • jim walker

      Don’t look but right now Mahle and TeJay Antoine are both moving past Luis Castillo in the pecking order for my money. Does their stuff match Castillo at his best, no of course not. But their use of what they’ve got to work with is giving them bottom line results.

      • Don

        I agree with you Jim.

        Mahle has grown into a pitcher, he figured out last night what the umpire as mostly calling strikes and pitched the ball there.

        A few more starts by Antoine (he looks great do far, great call by Doug) and his sample size will not be small anymore.

        Castillo based on 2020 statistics (and 2nd half of 2019) is the 5th starter. Teams are figuring him out which is hit the fast ball (usually not much movement) early in the count to not see the change up or just take or foul off pitches until he walks you. Castillo seems to let up at times vs the bottom 3rd of the order which looks to get him in trouble. #8 batter in 2019 hit .254, only leadoff @ .282 was higher all other batting positions were less the .211 (6th and 7th)

        Disco is 6th.

        Miley is a TBD based on such a limited set of stats.

      • Charlie Waffles

        I agree with your assessment. One is destined to take DeSclafani’s spot in the rotation. The other could force a move to the bullpen for Miley, or even Castillo for that matter.
        That assumes they could re-sign Bauer. They need to have him back.
        Speaking of the bullpen, that 8 man unit will need to be completely overhauled and revamped this winter. I think you start with Garrett and Sims and build up from there. Maybe, Lorenzen stays on. Next year’s bullpen should have at least 3 effective lefthanders in it. So starting with Garrett, Sims and Lorenzen leaves 5 spots to fill up the bullpen. Some of those 5 spots could come from within with the likes of Nate Jones, Kuhnel, Hendrix, Bowman, and maybe even Miley. But a couple of top bullpen arms are a must to get via trades or free agency this winter. I’d prefer a couple of big trades as opposed to getting in the deep end of the free agent pool again this year.

    • RedsMonk65

      That I heartily agree with. Very impressed.

  10. GreatRedLegsFan

    I didn’t see much of the game, maybe I’ve lost any hope already, but at one time Shogo opened the inning with a single. Following, Garcia hit for a double play, which was in turn followed by a Barnhart’s double. Given the current offensive hindrances, would had been too much to ask Garcia to bunt, move Shogo to 2nd and then score with Barnhart’s double? I guess it’s not in Bell’s strategies book.

    • Tomn

      I pull my hair out wishing players would bunt the ball. Especially Garcia with a runner on. Can NO ONE BUNT? The 3rd base line is almost always wide open or the 3B is pretty far back unless there’s a runner on 2nd. Tucker seemed to try to bunt at least once yesterday and never had a decent offering. I’m so sick of our team not trying to just get on base and put some pressure on the other team. Play to win or don’t play at all.

      I’m so glad to see Mahle having another good outing. His pitch to Bote which Bote hit a double was a high pitch that got just a bit too much of the plate and Bote somehow got the barrel on it. So frustrating. The hit later on by the SS was similar. In any event, I think Mahle is finally ‘getting it’ at the MLB level. I think he and Antone are two future starters. Their emergence is the brightest part of the year for the Reds. By far.

      Post edited for language

      • Doug Gray

        Tom – no cursing. Be more careful.

    • RichS

      How can you plan for Barnhart getting any kind of hit?

  11. Don

    As soon as it was stated on the broadcast that the wind was blowing in, I had a feeling there would be no HRs and knew the Reds would not score as they are not capable of scoring without hitting HRs. The Cubs would string together a few hits and manufacture a few runs to win.

    Mahle pitched good almost great, certainly well enough to win.

    I am hoping that the Williams statement is the obligatory vote of confidence everyone seems to get before they are removed from their job.

    • Melvin

      Even if that’s true it still makes Williams look really stupid and untrustworthy. No wander Bell acts as if he owns the team and answers to no one about the crazy way he handles things.

      • Don

        Publicly the boss cannot day that the manager is a risk of being fired until the firing is announced. Anything else would be not be a good thing to do from an overall team perspective.

        If the players know the manager is on very thin ice and does not have the stated full confidence of the boss, what respect/authority the manager does have would be totally gone.

        To me it is not a reflections on the boss and good or bad, it is part of the what the boss needs to say right up to the minute before the employee is fired.

        Williams cannot publicly undermine Bell until after the firing occurs, then why bother as there is no needed.

  12. JB

    The cardinals won their 2nd game of the doubleheader last night. They scored 5 runs in the 3rd inning with a ball never leaving the infield. Manufacturing runs . Something the Reds are clueless at.

    • TR

      It seems to be the Cardinal way; some would call it grit. Whether the Cards have a good or so-so team, they always seem to be in the game.

  13. Old-school

    Shogo may be turning the corner a bit and adjusting to MLB.
    September stats :

    18 PA .308/.500/.385/.885

    22% BB 0% K 2 SB

    Joey Votto’s home/road splits:

    Home: 79 PA .354/.468/.677/1.145 ISO .323
    Road: 69 PA .083/.203/.117/.320. ISO .033

  14. NorMichRed

    Well, $$$ spent on #gettheoffense notwithstanding, “they are who we thought they were.” Whether it’s inability to do it or just a lack of a mental spark in this bizarre season, where individual reactions to our daily crisis mentality are no doubt affecting some performances, they just plain don’t hit. Or field. While we groused about it a little bit before games started being played, it looks like Strat-O-Matic simulation predicted a lot of the weak spots pretty well. They showed concerns about horrific fielding (especially IF but also OF, see Galvis, Votto, Castellanos, Winker when he plays et al.), prolonged low-performance slumps by Castellanos and Moustakas in between minor productive spurts, and a continuing decline in Votto. And mostly good pitching by the top 3 in the rotation with an occasional melt. Honestly, Strat-O-Matic did a pretty good job of predicting the Reds’ mediocrity. They really only missed in giving an unrealistically high prediction performance card to Shogo before he’d seen MLB pitching. He may still pan out, but the adjust to North American play has been ponderously slow. But his recent oppo hits show some aptitude. Tougher to assess fairly are the often questionable…and questioned…decisions by Bell. He appears to be too much of a L vs R button-pusher, but if he wasn’t doing that and arguably playing the percentages, we’d probably be grousing on the opposite side of the argument. (The problem quite often, as many have posted, is having a depleted bench late in the game by doing such button-pushing with his position players after a player’s first or second AB.) A bigger problem to me is that this team seems to play with minimal heart or resolve. Many nights, I feel I’m watching a combination of baseball and a zombie movie. At least some of that is, and has to be, reflective of the on-field manager and staff. Hutchinson’s and Sparky’s don’t fall from trees, but it sure would be nice to find one of those that also understands the modern game.

  15. ClevelandRedsFan

    According to baseball Savant, the Reds expected batting average is .242. Their actual average is .210.

    To Doug’s point above: it can be both bad luck and bad hitting. Those are the real numbers. .242 batting average still is not good.

    However, the hitting philosophy of hit the ball as hard as you possibly can is clearly not working.

    How many times have we seen Votto work a 4 or 5 pitch walk and Castellanos come up hacking at the first pitch outside the zone? It happened again last night.

    How many times have we seen the Reds make a below average pitcher look like Cy Young? It happened again last night.

    How many times have we seen the Reds with a hitting game plan that is only 1 standard deviation more sophisticated than a Neanderthal? Just simply mash and keep mashing. It happened again last night.

    At one point this year, Winker was hitting .350. Since then, how many times have we literally seen him swing so hard he falls over. Was this happening early in the year? No.

    Since his big game in Milwaukee, how many times have we seen Winker ONLY pull the ball? Average is now down to .286.

    How many times have we seen guys actually go opposite field?

    The last one is key. Reds offense has become 1 dimensional and predictable for other pitchers and coaches to shift on.

    Every batter has tendencies. Because Reds only seem to care about exit Velo, they continue to hit the ball where their exit Velo will be highest. That means pretty much the exact same spot every single time. Teams can just hunker down in the shifts and pitchers can throw where they are likely to hit in the same spot. Everyone
    knows the Reds will get themselves out. They might hit a couple homeruns but that’s it.

    It’s like in the NBA or NFL when you keep running the same play over and over and over again, other teams will figure out how to defend against it.

    There’s a famous quote about the definition of insanity. Perhaps the Reds should look into that.

    • greenmtred

      Luck can’t be quantified because its existence as a real factor can’t be proven. For these reasons, it makes a great explanation. But what is it? Is it something completely beyond our control that capriciously lands on us? I’m doubtful. If, over the course of 40-plus games, a team has a terrible BABIP, it seems likely that lack of skill or a bad approach is to blame, rather than angry Gods.

    • Melvin

      In theory advanced analytics is supposed to make us smarter. The only REAL thing it’s doing for us is making us stupid……real stupid. It does have value if used properly. It can’t be that hard to find a “baseball guy” that can incorporate, not rely on, advanced analytics. This isn’t rocket science.

      • Steven Ross

        Winker hasn’t asked me what I think about his recent plate appearances but I’ve noticed he’s swinging so hard, he’s practically coming out of his cleats. Reminds me of a golf swing. Let the club do the work. If you try and kill it, you usually fail. The same principle applies to Winker. When he was tearing the cover off the ball, he had a nice, smooth easy swing. Not lately thus his success has declined.

    • DataDumpster

      Excellent summation of the illogical and undisciplined hitting approach. Along with Tom’s points, I agree that the vast majority of the balls in play are the lazy flys punctuated by the occasional high velocity line drive or sharp bouncer right at someone. But, even if we totally discard analytics for a moment, let us consider that the Red’s plate appearances this season are pretty much equal to the output of 3 full time players in a 162 game season. A typical player would then have 21 homers but only 52 RBIs plus an historically awful .210 average. Would anyone consider this player to be just unlucky?

    • VaRedsFan

      I will echo Cleve’s thoughts. Very well put sir.

    • RedsMonk65

      Good points — I think you’re right on target.

  16. Tom Mitsoff

    Another quick note on Mahle: His WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) is 1.000. That is considered excellent. It means you’re allowing only one batter to reach base on average. It’s difficult for opponents to do too much damage when that is the case.

    • Bill J

      Counting only hits and walks Reds 10 no runs Cubs 5 3 runs.

    • Don

      Did not realize that about Mahle. a 1.0 WHIP is excellent. 1.3 is considered average

      Bauer is off the charts good at 0.864 in 2020
      Antone is 0.947
      Gary is 1.18
      Castillo 1.477 (below awful) Career 1.18
      Disco is 1.7 (way below awful), Career 1.29

      Mahle is pitching himself in the 2021 rotation.

      Castillo need to get better.

      Bauer will be missed, Disco not so much.

    • Gene Kehoe

      Mahle has been better than Castillo this year with an ability to go deeper in games and obviously far better than Disco or Miley. Sad to see so many excellent starts wasted. Reminds me of the early 1980s when the Reds had Soto and a variety of other solid starters and zero offense to back them up.

  17. doofus

    If the poor hitting is a matter of luck, then should the front office obtain and distribute a rabbit’s foot to all the hitters?

    • VaRedsFan

      4-Leaf clovers are on sale this week.

  18. Zigbee

    Reds scouting has been bad. How many on this team were drafted? Lorenzen, Winker, Votto, Senzel, Barnhart, Mahle, Iglesias, Aquino, Garrett, Garcia, now Stephenson and R Stephenson. Out of these players who has been impactful? Two or three? When you have a culture of losing 17 out of 20 years the front office has failed.

    • John Jones

      23% of the Reds opening day roster is no longer on the team. Compare that to the 100% of the cardinals team. I would say scouting is not very good either.

  19. Bill J

    You can’t Williams for defending Bell,he hired him, if he didn’t it would make him look bad. I have said before all that’s cared about is strike outs by pitchers home runs by hitters.

  20. Still a Red

    The BABIP stat is pretty amazing. I think it is more that just unlucky AND no talent..that would mean this team has the worst accumulation of hitting talent the MLB has seen over the last 30 years by far…given the gap in the stat, perhaps ever…and I don’t believe that is true. It has to be their approach, whether its focusing on ‘mashing’ the ball or launch angle. I’m guessing you can’t teach someone to ‘mash’ the ball or hitting the right launch angle, you have to find them…I’m sure Rose, Griffey, Morgan, Perez, Bench, Foster did not worry about such things.

    • jim walker

      FWIW (or not) Perez was famous for saying “see the ball; hit the ball”. What may be more important was his attitude. I recall going on 60 years later one particular star of the game interview he did. His English was still pretty primitive then but the attitude came through through the heavy accent and the “i”s pronounced as much in Spanish as in English.

      He had just gotten a game winning hit. His comment: I want to be up there (at the plate) when the game is on the line. I want to swing the big stick and get the big hit because if I get the big hit they will give me the big check.

  21. SultanofSwaff

    The offensive woes have been addressed here already so I would like to point out something in the game that was quite troubling—when Mahle got into trouble and gave up the big hit it was David Bell calling the pitches from the dugout. The rest of the time Bell couldn’t be bothered, and that’s not fair to the pitcher or catcher. It was a perfect example of the opposing hitter showing you with his prior swings which pitch to throw to get him out but the manager deciding based on what the analytics suggest. I might understand if the manager was a former catcher but too many cooks in the kitchen is a recipe for failure.

  22. lost11found

    What’s our record?

    18-24.

    How did we ever win 18?

    Its a miracle.

    • RojoBenjy

      Half of those wins are 7 inning games to boot.

  23. BigRedMike

    The record since 2015 is telling. The Reds have very little young talent to show for that record. Instead they signed older players and Votto’s aging is not helping.
    More money on salary certainly can help, but, it is not always the best indicator. There are several teams with worse financial situations than the Reds and they are always better than the Reds. It is about development, scouting, and making as many correct decisions as possible.
    Does anyone thing the Rays and A’s would have had an offseason like the Reds last year? Those teams do the exact opposite of what the Reds did.
    Also, there needs to be a consist philosophy of a team, instead of all over the place like the Reds. Frustrating. Cannot try to build through the draft and then get rid of all the younger players and sign free agents.
    Have a plan

    • RojoBenjy

      “Cannot try to build through the draft and then get rid of all the younger players and sign free agents.”

      Yep.

      • ClevelandRedsFan

        I don’t mind the Reds signing free agents. All good teams should use free agency to plug a few holes on the short term.

        What continues to set this franchise back is the approach of trading away prospects for 1 or 2 year rental players.

  24. Chris

    Hmm. Apologies if this has been covered… Anecdotally, they are hitting the ball in to the shift. Every time. The strategy – adjustment if you will – around baseball for the last few years has been to look at a guy’s spray chart and just park everyone where they normally hit that ball. Your job as a hitter is to adjust to that. The Reds largely haven’t. I’ve seen many sharp grounders up the middle turn in to double plays. A lot of sharply pulled pitches turn in to 3 unassisted. It’s not scorching liners that the opposition is making acrobatic plays on – it’s just hitting the ball exactly where they have you played – every single at bat of every single game.

    So I do put a lot of it on the hitters and the offensive philosophy in general. Does xBA factor in where the defenders are playing? Certainly BABIP does not. So while it’s not fair to say that these hitters are just “bad,” I think it is fair to admonish them for failing to make adjustments at the plate that allow them to hit the ball to a spot where there’s not 8 dudes trying to field it.

    • jim walker

      I agree it would help in this discussion if we had the definition of “luck” used by everyone. I have difficulty in calling it bad luck when players continue to pound balls into the teeth of shifts specifically designed to defend them.

      xBA does not specifically account for defensive positioning. It is based on launch angle and exit velocity. By inference, if the xBA for a specific flyball or line drive is .700, 70% of the time there was not a fielder positioned to catch it. However, it does not adjust for where the fielders were positioned on any specific batted ball.

      http://m.mlb.com/glossary/statcast/expected-batting-average#:~:text=Definition%20Expected%20Batting%20Average%20%28xBA%29%20is%20a%20Statcast,that%20a%20batted%20ball%20will%20become%20a%20hit.

      • RojoBenjy

        Are the Reds not understanding BABIP the way they should be? They are so late to the analytics, are they using old interpretation of data when the rest of the league has “been there, done that” and figured out the flaws?

        Seems like the opposition is cleaning up on the Reds’ ignorance of hitting approach and/or in-game strategy. Is that real or an illusion?

        –asking for a friend

      • Nick

        Talent and skill are the great enhancers of luck. Reds, not so much.

  25. Tom Mitsoff

    Doug Gray posted a compelling series of tweets today on the BABIP topic, with much more background data. I would encourage you to go there and take a look. I’d also encourage Doug to create a post here with the full content, as the depth into which it goes is very, very interesting.

  26. Still a Red

    Beating the shift. Ted Williams beat by going over it. But that was Ted. Don’t forget that going the ‘other way’ requires cooperation from the opposing pitcher. If the defense is playing you to pull, the pitchers is going to give pitches to pull. Fighting that off to go the other way requires a skill set that probably not that many hitters have (especially the Reds). Or, you have to know which pitch to go the other way on and take advantage when the pitchers gives you one. Votto used to be able to lay off the pull the ball pitch and/or fight it off to the other side…not so much anymore. And, I’m sorry, if anyone could bunt anymore, we’d probably see less shifting. NL pitchers these days can’t even bunt.