Labor Day Leaderboard Lookout

Dustin Bradford

A look at the chase for black ink as the calendar flips to September.

The Reds begin a home series against the Central-leading Cardinals today, in what is their most important series of the season to date. So who cares about individual stats within the context of their league peers? Me, that's who. I get a big kick out of seeing all that bold type on a player's bb-ref page. I don't plan on getting help.

OBP/Times on Base: Joey Votto (.431/264 - 1st); Shin-Soo Choo (.415/251 - 2nd). We take for granted that Votto has commandingly held the lead all year - what else would he be paid for? - but Choo’s season has been a revelation. The Reds are third in the league in OBP. The league average (excluding pitchers) is .323. The Reds have a handful of guys within a tenth of a point of the average, but only Votto and Choo are well above that mark. Hopefully Choo holds off the field to stay in second place. He currently has a fifteen point lead on Paul Goldschmidt.

"Times on Base" isn’t a particularly sexy stat, but it’s significance is self-evident. Pete Rose is the only player in Reds history to reach 300 in this category (exclusive of ROEs). There’s an outside shot that Votto and Choo join the club this year.

Runs: Choo (91 - 2nd); Votto (88 - T3rd); Jay Bruce (76 - 10th). Choo and Votto should cross the line with over 100 runs each, which will be the first time since 2010 the Reds have had two players reach the century mark. Neither are likely to lead the league, since Matt Carpenter has an eleven run lead.

Runs Batted In: Brandon Phillips (99, 2nd); Bruce (87 - 5th). It seemed a given after Phillips dramatically moved up the batting order that he wouldn’t be able to catch Paul Goldschmidt (104 currently), but he drove in 4 during the Colorado series from the two-spot. Dave Parker is the last Red to lead the NL in ribbies, when he had 125 in 1985.

Bruce had a great shot at triple figures last year as well. He went cold over the final week and finished at 99. If he gets that monkey off his back, the Reds will have a pair of triple digit RBI men for the first time since 1977.

HR/Doubles: Jay Bruce (26, t4th; 36, 3rd). Offensively, it’s been a perfectly Bruceian year, with his adjusted OPS within a few points of his average. He’s hit for a higher average compared to 2012, but the slugging has dipped some. That means he likely won’t increase his HR total for the sixth straight season. But leading the league in XBHs (he’s up three on Goldschmidt) is mighty impressive. And who knows, Jay may go on a tear and top last year’s 34 HRs. September is historically his second best month. And the Reds play a lot at home in the stretch run - and once in Houston, which is basically a home series for the Beaumont Bomber.

Sacrifice Flies/Sacrifice Hits: Zack Cozart (9 - 1st; 11 - t2nd). Not a strong year at the plate for Cozart, highlighted by his place in the lineup for most of the year. Still, there’s some value to moving a runner up or especially driving in a guy from third. One of the benefits for a relatively low-strikeout hitter. Phillips is tied for second in sac flies with 8, and Arroyo leads in sacrifices with 12.

Hit by Pitch: Choo (23, 1st). After starting the year at a record pace, the beanings have come less frequently for Choo. That’s a good thing, for the sake of his health. And by staying in second place in walks, his OBP hasn’t suffered. Starling Marte sits two behind Choo, but he’s unlikely to catch him after landing on the DL due to a - you guessed it - hit by pitch.

Pitcher Wins: Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo (13, t6th). Kill the Win? Easy - first, let’s see if Latos or Bronson can leapfrog the field. They’re two behind a four-way tie at the top. Latos is tied for second in W-L percent. Cool.

Saves: Aroldis Chapman (33, t4th). Yeah, it’s been a little bit of a disappointing year. But being far off the lead in Saves is more a matter of opportunity. It seems like we haven't seen Aroldis since July. No chance he catches Craig Kimbrel, who’s at 43.

Innings Pitched: Homer Bailey (177.1, 9th). The Reds’ rotation quartet is balanced. Homer’s at the top in innings but they’re all within eight innings of each other. Three of them have allowed exactly 72 runs. Latos is the leader there with 67.

Strikeouts: Bailey (173, t5th); Latos (170, 8th). Good showing for the power half of the quartet. Bailey is also in the top ten for K/BB, as is Arroyo.

Adjusted ERA: Latos (130, 6th). If the Reds play in the Wild Card play-in affair, I hope it’s Latos who gets the nod. Also, Kershaw’s ERA+ is 208. Yowzas.

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