2012 in Review: The Reds' outfield (Ludwick, Stubbs, Bruce, Heisey, Paul et al.)

This is the perfect photo. - Joe Robbins

It's hard to think of The Outfield without thinking of this. Or at least it will be after you click on that link.

There is some symmetry between that 1986 annoying-hair smash hit and the 2012 Reds. First of all, Ryan Ludwick helped "paint over" Joey Votto's injury just like that girl is painting over the screen for some reason while The Outfield is playing. And now the Reds have to confront whether they "just want to use (his) love" and move on. That's probably enough.

The Reds' outfield is in flux. Before the 2012 season, it looked like there was a chance the team might settle into some stability and get three homegrown regulars installed for a few seasons. For one thing: Chris Heisey, under team control through 2016, had a chance to wrest the left field job from Ryan Ludwick.

That's not how things played out. Ludwick outhit everyone but Joey Votto and Drew Stubbs outhit pretty much no one. Ludwick's season, the best offensive campaign in left field of the four post-Dunn years, solved things out there (if only for a year). At the same time, Stubbs' season in the woods raised a lot of questions, the most important being: will he be the center fielder in 2013?One of the surreal footnotes to the surreal end to the Reds' season was the Wilson Valdez played the last inning in CF. If that's not a bad sign for Drew Stubbs, I don't know what is.

* If it's any consolation for Drew, FanGraphs really loves his defense.

Then there's Jay Bruce. His on-base percentage has dropped in two successive seasons, but in overall production he's basically the same player he's been since 2010. While there was no giant leap forward, he's also just entering his prime. He won't be 26 until next April.

There is, of course, the oft-mentioned streakiness. While I think it really doesn't matter how you produce - unless it it's consistently least opportune times for some reason - it's still pretty uncanny.

Here's one arbitrary slicing of Jay's season, from end-to-end:

Apr 3 to May 16: 144 PAs, 10 HR, .300/.340/.631

May 17 to Jul 19: 222 PAs, 8 HRs, .199/.297/.382

Jul 20 to Sep 9: 187 PAs, 15 HRs, .321/.401/.703

Sep 10 to Oct 3: 80 PAs, 1 HR, .149 .213 .230

What you get is pretty serious boom and bust, in alternating periods of 150-225 PAs (or about a month to a month and a half). One thing that's probably gotten over-looked is that, in addition to Ludwick and Frazier, Jay Bruce really turned it on while Votto was away.

Bruce's defense looked and smelled worse this season, also (although FRAA liked it). Was he growing into his slimmer, svelter body? I'm not sure. I think we need at least one more season to see a trend here.

Left field

Predicted playing time (2012 preview)

Ryan Ludwick - 60%

Chris Heisey - 30%

Todd Frazier - 5%

Willie Harris - 5%

Actual 2012 playing time

Ryan Ludwick - 64% (929.1 innings)

Chris Heisey - 24% (355.2 innings)

Xavier Paul - 8% (109.2 innings)

Todd Frazier - 3% (49.1 innings)

Willie Harris - <1% (9 innings)

Value

All stats are only while playing as LF, except WAR (which may contain other positions).

For defense, I've tried a new approach. Taking a survey of defensive metrics (FRAA, UZR, DRS) and fan scouting report, I'm giving players one of five ratings, ranging from minus-minus to plus-plus.

Ryan Ludwick

G GS PA wRC+ bWAR fWAR Defense
108 107 448 130 1.7 2.8 neutral


Chris Heisey

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
63
36
159
113
-0.3 1.2
+


Xavier Paul

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
17
12
50
11
0.2
0.5
neutral


Center field

Predicted playing time (2012 preview)

Drew Stubbs - 90%

Chris Heisey - 10%

Denis Phiips - <1%

Actual 2012 playing time

Drew Stubbs - 76% (1107.1 innings)

Chris Heisey - 21% (297.2 innings)

Wilson Valdez - 3% (35 innings)

Denis Phipps - <1% (9 innings)

Value

All stats are only while playing as CF, except WAR (which may contain other positions).

Drew Stubbs

G GS PA wRC+ bWAR fWAR Defense
135 123 544 64 -0.2 1.3 ++


Chris Heisey

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
36
34
154
74
-0.3 1.2
neutral

Right field

Predicted playing time (2012 preview)

Jay Bruce - 98%

Chris Heisey - 2%

Denis Phipps - <1%

Actual 2012 playing time

Jay Bruce - 92% (1343.1 innings)

Chris Heisey - 6% (84.2 innings)

Denis Phipps - <1% (9 innings)

Xavier Paul - <1% (9 innings)

Todd Frazier - <1% (7 innings)

Value

All stats are only while playing as RF, except WAR (which may contain other positions).

Jay Bruce

G GS PA wRC+ bWAR fWAR Defense
154 149 633 119 1.4 2.4 -


Chris Heisey

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
13
10
40
56
-0.3 1.2
neutral





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