Red 'Rithmetic - Avoiding the cliff

Sep 4, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals players Andy Dalton (left) and A J Green (right) prepare to throw out the first pitch before the game against the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Toward the end of the baseball season, players should avoid wandering too close to the edge of the precipice while looking at their stats. When you fall over the edge, you are swallowed up by wall-to-wall NFL coverage.

Which Reds' pitchers are high risk?

I've already flogged the point about Cueto, Bailey and Chapman needing some rest down the stretch. While none of them has fallen off that cliff, Mike Leake has been gradually skidding down some kind of jagged hillside.

The rest of the Reds' staff looks pretty safe from a workload standpoint, but there is another set of pitchers who could be cruising for some regression - which is something that every daddy fears when he loans out the T-Bird. It might not come this year. It might not come at all. And there might be something the numbers miss.

It might also seem like too late in the season to be talking about this. But, especially with relievers throwing smaller samples of innings, pitchers can go at any time. Especially when the season stretches into October. Here's who I've got:

Pitcher

ERA

FIP

xFIP

SIERA

BABIP

career BABIP

LOB%

Johnny Cueto 2.56 3.13 3.60 3.58 .290 .284 79.6%
Jose Arredondo
3.00 4.25 4.03 3.77 .261 .272 77.5%
J.J. Hoover 2.35 3.24 4.03 3.35 .214 .268 (Zips) 84.2%
Logan Ondrusek 3.42 5.07 5.26 4.74 .252 .250 80.5%
Alfredo Simon 2.47 3.00 3.84 3.36 .331 .309 77.9%

League average Left On Base (LOB)% = ~71%

Reds' pitching staff BABIP-against = .291

We've heard this same line on Cueto for two straight seasons, so I think the important variable for him is whether he runs out of gas. His BABIP is around his career average, while his LOB% may not truly be inflated given the fact that he's so good at holding/picking off runners and getting ground balls.

I'd say Jose Arredondo is at the greatest risk of melting down, at least in proportion to his role in the bullpen. It remains to be seen if and how Hoover and Ondrusek will be used in the post-season.

Alfredo Simon, meanwhile, probably gets penalized for having a middling strikeout rate that doesn't match his microscopic home run rate. I don't know how much longer he'll hold a 2-something ERA, but I wouldn't be surprised if his K-rate ticked up. Even a regression to his FIP would be fabulous for a mop-up reliever.

Joey Votto's Outer Limits

There isn't enough season left for Joey Votto to qualify for the batting title. He's come to the plate 374 times, but he would need at least 502 PAs. Like in '09, Joey has packed a lot of good into a short season. Out of Major League players who have at least 350 PAs this season, Joey leads in OBP, OPS, wOBA and wRC+.

He also leads the majors in BABIP, at .404. Forty percent of the time Joey puts the ball into play, it's a hit. Joey's BABIP has always been high, but normally it's a bad thing when a player hits 42 points above their career BABIP. In Joey's case, given his command of the strike zone and bat control, I might believe around a .375 BABIP over his prime years.

Similarly, Joey's .468 OBP is pretty hard to believe at first-glance. It's true that he skipped most of July and August - possibly avoiding a swoon (though the Reds' schedule was pretty soft then), but this number is totally nutso anyway you cut it. It's 13% higher than the closest major league hitter on the board (David Ortiz).

Is it possible for Joey to stay above .450 during his peak years? If so, whoooooooaaaaaaa.

20,000 days since the Reds traded Curt Flood

Via the Hardball Times, an in-depth lock back at one of the Reds' worst trades in franchise history.

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