"On Paper" Playoff Leaders (based on rankings above)
This Week's Feature: The Cincinnati Reds
The Reds are currently in a tie for first in the NL Central. And, while they lag behind the Cardinals, today is the first time in power ranking history that the Reds have made the "on paper" playoff rankings. May was a great month for the Reds, and this past week added to it. They went 5-3 since our last update, and won three of their games in blowout fashion against the Pirates and Astros. While the power rankings don't know about the runs and wins, the gaudy component statistics they posted pushed up their ranking by 21 points and three spots.
What has contributed to the Reds' success thus far? The biggest surprise has been the offense. Prior to 2009, the Reds made a conscious decision to focus on defense, almost without concern to what their offensive output would be. As a result, the Reds were an outstanding fielding team last year...but the offense was a disaster. This year didn't look to be a whole lot better, but right now, after park corrections, the Reds rank as the 2nd-best offense in National League with a 0.345 wOBA behind only Milwaukee. They rank 2nd in OBP, 1st in SLG, and are tied for third in EqBRR with +4 runs. Joey Votto has led the attack (.427 wOBA), but is joined by outstanding performances by injured C Ryan Hanigan (.426), a resurgent Scott Rolen (.394), Jonny Gomes (.376), Ramon Hernandez (.367), Jay Bruce (.361), and Brandon Philips (.352). That's a lot of hitters that are (aside from Bruce, perhaps) substantially over-shooting their projections. But it sure has been fun to watch.
In contrast, fielding-wise, they rank as only average (+1 by UZR/DRS, -2 on catchers, so -1 run overall). A big part of what is pulling down the team fielding is starting LF Jonny Gomes, who is roughly a -5 run fielder by both UZR and DRS--right about where you'd expect him to be at this point in the season. His offense, and the injury to Chris Dickerson, keeps him in the lineup, however.
While the offense seems likely to regress moving forward, the pitching has actually been a bit disappointing. They rank 12th in FIP (4.27) and xFIP (4.36), despite what should be an impressive rotation given the surprising performance of rookie Mike Leake. That said, their ERA stands a big high at 4.60, indicating that the team may have been a bit unlucky (.311 BABIP, though some of that may be park effects). Aaron Harang, in particular, seems likely to improve (3.84 xFIP, 5.48 ERA, .338 BABIP) as we look ahead, and an effective Harang could go a long way toward keeping the Reds in the wild card hunt over the remainder of the season.
It's been a great first two months to be a Reds fan. Here's hoping that they can keep at least some of this up over the remaining two thirds of the season.
Converting Runs to Wins
RS = Actual Runs Scored, after a park adjustment
eRS = Estimated Runs Scored, after park adjustment (see "Offense" table below)
RA = Actual Runs Allowed, after a park adjustment
eRA = Estimated Runs Allowed, after park adjustments (see "Defense" table below)
W% = Actual Winning Percentage
pW% = PythagenPat Winning Percentage, based on actual runs scored and run allowed totals
cW% = Component Winning Percentage, using estimated runs scored and estimated runs allowed totals. If you don't like the league adjustment, click in the header and sort by this column.
LgAdj = League adjustment, based on differences in league quality (justification here and here).
TPI = Team Performance Index, a hypothetical winning % based on component estimates of runs scored and runs allowed after the league adjustment.
Team Offenses and Defenses
RS = Actual Runs Scored
eRS = Estimated Runs Scored: wRC + EqBRR
wOBA = The Book's statistic, but park adjusted, and using data from both wRC and EqBRR
OBP = On Base Percentage (Times on Base / Plate Appearances)
SLG = Slugging Percentage (Total Bases / At Bats)
wRC = From FanGraphs, with baserunning removed, after park adjustments
EqBRR = Dan Fox's composite baserunning statistics from Baseball Prospectus, minus stolen bases since they are included in wRC.
Clutch = "Clutchiness" measure from fangraphs; difference between actual WPA and expected WPA based on component statistics. We report this in runs.
RA = Actual Runs Allowed, after park adjustment
eRA = Estimated Runs Allowed: tRuns - Field - Catch
ERA = Straight-up Earned Run Average
FIP = Fielding-Independent Runs, based strictly on K-, BB-, and HR-rates.
xFIP = Experimental Fielding-Independent Runs from FanGraphs. Like FIP, but with HR/Outfield Fly Ball rates regressed completely to league average. xFIP is as predictive as any other DIPS-like stat.
xFIPrns = Pitching Runs Allowed, based on xFIP
Field = The average of team UZR and team DRS (minus rSB since I calculate catcher fielding separately).
Catch = Catcher Fielding Runs, based on SB's, CS's, WP's, PB's, E's, and this year catcher interference. The methods are essentially those described here. But I'm using B-Ref data this year, and so there are slight tweaks to the methodology, generally in ways that should lead to greater precision.
BABIP = Batting Average on Balls In Play. Fluctuates at the team level with fielding, although chance events can have effects as well.