Welcome to Red Reporter's new Friday feature in which we will dive into Reds related numbers, outliers, and oddities. Let's get to it, shall we?
Joey Votto: MLB Leader.
While perusing Baseball-Refence.com last night, this caught my eye. Mr. Votto may question his title as "best hitter in the game," but the numbers leave very little doubt. The handsome Canadian is simply amazing. We should all take a moment to appreciate the greatness we are privileged enough to watch.
Speaking of Votto... Joey is currently on pace to hit 71 doubles this season. As many of you know, that would be a new MLB record. However, even if Votto falls short of the MLB record (67), he has a great chance to make double-hitting history. The magic number is 60. Six players in this history of the game have reached 60 doubles in a season, but no one has done it since 1936. If Votto can club 30 more doubles in the Reds' 94 remaining games he will become the first player since The New Deal to reach 60 doubles in a season.
Bring on the LOOGY
Here you see the Reds' offensive platoon splits for the 2012 season. There are several items of interest here. First, going by OPS, the Reds' most productive situation is having a left-handed hitter face a left-handed pitcher. (Shhhh! Don't tell the opponents.)
Secondly, check out the walks. Despite accounting for just 25% of the team's plate appearances, left-handed hitters have accounted for 41% of the team's walks. Incredibly, no left-handed pitcher has intentionally walked any of the Reds' left-handed hitters. Votto & Bruce continue to hit lefties well, but the opposition still perceives the match-up as an advantage.
And finally, the bad news... Unfortunately, the Reds' right-handed hitters struggle mightily against their same-handed counterparts. Considering the vast majority of the team's plate appearance are RHB vs. RHP, this is disheartening.
Much is made of the Reds' perceived inability to "hit in clutch situations," this season. Broadcasters often cite the Reds' poor batting average with runners in scoring position (.239). However, as you can see in this chart, the Reds offense actually performs best in high leverage situations (Leverage explained). The lesson: don't fall victim to drawing conclusions based on one simplistic number.
Reds' prospect Billy Hamilton has 82 stolen bases in 67 games this season. That is more than total number of stolen bases for six Major League teams in 2011 (Cardinals, Tigers, Cubs, Braves, White Sox, Orioles). Over the last two seasons, Billy Hamilton has 57 more stolen bases than the entire Reds' roster during the same time frame.
Hamilton is not on the 40-man roster, but you have to wonder... when the rosters expand in September, could the Reds consider adding him to the 40-man and calling him up to the MLB roster? I know, I know... He is not MLB ready. Nonetheless, with the otherworldly speed he possesses, he could be a difference-maker, even if he does nothing but pinch-run.