Fiddling with fielding stats on a Saturday morning...
Here are some different ways to measure the Reds' team fielding this year:
|bUZR||+43 runs||2nd in NL|
|DER||0.706||3rd in NL|
|THT "Fld"||+44 plays||3rd in NL; ~35 runs equivalent|
|xRR||+73 runs||1st in NL;|
|ERA-FIP||-0.38||1st in NL; ~60 run equivalent|
|BtB PwrRnk||+49 runs||1st in NL; "my" stat is based on bUZR, THT Field, and catcher fielding|
If one of the front office's major goals heading into this season was to improve the team's fielding, they seem to have succeeded: the Reds are clearly one of the best fielding teams in the league.
How much does it matter? Let's run with a figure of +50 runs this season, which is where I have the Reds in the BtB Power Rankings, and is a rough average of all the other run estimates. Add that to the average of ~40 runs below average that Reds teams have been from 2004-2008 (by bUZR), and you have a total of a 90 run improvement in fielding this year compared to the 2004-2008 teams. In the current NL run environment, that's roughly a 10-win improvement compared to the 2004-2008 teams!
Of course, the counter to this is that the Reds were roughly an average-hitting team over the entirety of the 2004-2008 span (+65 in 2005, -72 in 2008, roughly average in other years, according to FanGraphs), and are now on pace to be ~125 runs below average by the season's end (~14 wins).
So, their 10-win improvement in fielding is countered by a 14-win decline in hitting. ::sigh::