We are keeping the analysis train going with an overview of the Cincinnati Reds. Honestly, the Reds are kind of an enigma in the fact that their fielding and hitting remained solid, but their pitching let them down.
Most of the time, fielding and pitching follow one another pretty closely. The Reds were a different story in 2011 and it remains to be seen how Walt Jocketty will react to the disappointing results.
DER: .705 (2nd)
RA: 720 (20th)
FLD%: .985 (6th)
Baseball Reference: +31 runs (4th)
Fangraphs: +43.8 runs (3rd)
Fielding Bible: +54 runs (3rd)
Baseball Prospectus: +11 runs (9th)
Composite Runs: +35.0 runs
When we look at the numbers, we begin to see patterns. When five different metrics (including the traditional fielding percentage) say you are good, then you must be good. I'm sort of funny that way. When a collection of experts all say the same thing, it has a little more credibility then when Joe Six Pack says he's watched them play and thinks otherwise.
In the case of the Reds, this was honestly a situation where a lack of pitching caught up with them. Take Johnny Cueto out of the rotation and it was a runaway train wreck.
Honestly, the superior fielding kept their pitching staff from disintegrating before our very eyes. As it stood, guys like Bronson Arroyo and Edinson Volquez went from good to unreliable almost overnight.
In many respects, the Reds' season was a convergence of different factors that came to play at the same time. I firmly believe Scott Rolen should be a Hall of Fame third baseman. He might be the best fielder at the position in our generation, but last season was a lost campaign. He spent half of the season on the shelf and the rest of it struggling to hit. His glove never left him, so if we are looking on a pure quality basis, it would be Rolen.
If forced to go with quantity, then it would either be Joey Votto or Brandon Phillips.
Phillips will likely land the Gold Glove at second base, but he doesn't deserve it. He is a good defender, but not a great one.
Votto will not win the award, but should get consideration. There are some suggesting that he could be traded, but I think that would be a monumental mistake on their part.
Statistically speaking, it was Drew Stubbs last season. Stubbs has a reputation for being a good all-around player, but last season was a struggle on numerous fronts for Stubbs. Jay Bruce also had a down season defensively, but like Stubbs, he has been better.
Center field is such an important position defensively, so Stubbs gets the nod even if Bruce might have been just as bad.
All of this centers on whether they do anything with Votto. If they keep Votto, then the lineup should remain very stable. Paul Janish is another candidate for the top fielding spot and he should benefit from 150 starts. If Rolen can return to health, this lineup will be very stable. Ryan Hanigan will take over the catching duties full-time and Yonder Alonso will take over in left field full-time. Brandon Phillips is a free agent, but most people expect him to re-sign with the Reds.
The 2012 outlook honestly looks better than the 2011 output. It's amazing that a team that finished as high as the Reds did can point to several positions and expect improvement. If they trade Votto, all bets are off. For some reason, I just don't see that happening. There are two or three guys I'd much rather see go if I was a Reds fan.