CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 18: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds singles to right field during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 18, 2011 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Cincinnati Reds 4-0. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
When Bobby Bragan said, "Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentage people, you would be perfectly comfortable," he had no way of knowing that he was summing up our perception of Jay Bruce many years later. Bruce recently busted out of a slump that made us wonder if he was ever going to deposit a ball in the moon deck again. After slashing .213/.340/.416 in July, Bruce has put up a Ruthian line of .364/.417/.864 in the last 28 days. One number to keep an eye on as Bruce closes out the season is his isolated power. Bruce's walk rate, strikeout rate, and BABIP are all in line with his career norms, but his ISO is 40 points higher than his previous career high (.246 in his sophomore season when he batted only .223). It might be a fluctuation, but it could also be a step forward.
The lovefest continues as Brian Vaughan notes that "Bruce’s .373 wOBA sits firmly second behind only the monster bat of Miami star Giancarlo Stanton" among major league rightfielders. Vaughan also believes that Bruce's defense and baserunning are above-average despite what some advanced metrics say to the contrary. That gives the Reds one nifty player (but you knew that already).
Andromache does some loving of her own, but this time it's all about the Reds' catcher. She notes Hanigan's low ISO number, but focuses on his superb K/BB ratio. Hanigan does not have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, but his 0.87 is outstanding. There is little reason to believe that this number is an outlier since it is very similar to his career mark of 0.83. If Hanigan had the requisite number of plate appearances, his K/BB ratio would be good for second place in the National League (tied with Jose Reyes). The top spot is held by another Marlin. Can anyone guess the player without looking it up?
The Reds' 2012 Rookie of the Year Candidate cannot stay out of the spotlight for very long. Dusty Baker mentioned that "the numbers he’s put up this year are just outrageous for a rookie and for a guy that didn’t even start the year on the team." Walt Jocketty should have listened to Mads.
Bloomberg released its second annual ratings for spending efficiency in pro sports.
We’ve used payroll data (from USA Today, Basketball-Reference.com, NBC Sports, and NFL.com) to calculate how much teams spent per win over the last five seasons. (For baseball, we also include the first half of the current season.) We then compared every team against league average, producing a total score we call the efficiency index. The median score for every league is zero. The lower the score, the less a team spent for its wins.
It is no surprise that the top spot belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Reds are 73rd out of 122, but the team's efficiency index (0.0090) is very close to the median. It is more impressive when one considers how bad the Reds were in 2007 and 2008.
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