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Just for Fun: Could this be 1962 all over again?

This post is strictly intended to stoke your imagination. It is my belief that we should fully enjoy first place, and any relevant games, while they last. This season could go in the tank, or it could be a memorable one. The likelihood is that this is probably at best an 85-win team, but what fun is dreaming if you don't dream big every once in a while! Hope springs eternal!

So, just for fun, I was looking for similar teams to this current crop of Reds based on their pythagorean record and their actual record, just to see if there are any indicators for the future. When perusing the list of similar teams, I came across the 1962 Reds, who were 21-16 after 37 games, and who had scored 173 runs while allowing 183 to score (the current Reds are 177 and 178 respectively) and who went on to win 98 games, though they still only managed a 3rd place finish in the National League.

Similar to this year's team, the '62 squad started out slow. They were just 7-11 after dropping the first game of a double-header on 4/29, bu then went 14-5 over their next 19 games. Sound familiar?

Their paths to 21-16 aren't exactly the same, but they're pretty close. Here are a couple of graphs to show you how similar they are:



After the jump, we'll take a look at the individual players and imagine what it would take for these Reds to win 98 games!

Unfortunately, nobody is having a start of the season quite like Vada Pinson had in 1962. Over his first 37 games, he batted .336/.372/.671 with 12 HR and 36 RBI. The current Reds don't have a player with over 100 PA who is batting over .300. Also on the downside of this comparison is the fact that it is unlikely anyone will hit like Frank Robinson did after 37 games into the season. Robby batted .369/.443/.686 with 39 doubles and 36 HR in the final 125 games of the season. I don't see anyone on this current squad coming close to that.
1962 2010
First 37 Games Season First 37 Games
Player PA wOBA wOBA Player PA wOBA
Vada Pinson 164 .427 .345 Ryan Hanigan 69 .423
Wally Post 132 .382 .355 Joey Votto 160 .388
Don Blasingame 90 .348 .316 Ramon Hernandez 84 .369
Gordy Coleman 145 .340 .345 Scott Rolen 133 .358
Johnny Edwards 124 .331 .302 Jay Bruce 146 .355
Frank Robinson 161 .316 .425 Jonny Gomes 112 .335
Leo Cardenas 137 .299 .322 Brandon Phillips 161 .331
Eddie Casko 154 .283 .304 Orlando Cabrera 150 .293
Cookie Rojas 64 .256 .250 Drew Stubbs 139 .284

Offensively, I think this year's squad can come close to the 1962 team, but it's unlikely they'll reach the 802 runs scored that that team put up. Right now, I'd say this team is likely a 760-780 run offense, which is about 4.7-4.8 runs per game. This is higher than what I would have predicted earlier in the season mainly because I've become a believer that Jay Bruce is breaking out this year. Perhaps that's a little premature on my part, but I don't care. This post is all about the optimism!

1962 2010
First 37 Games Season First 37 Games
Pitcher IP FIP IP FIP Pitcher IP FIP
Bob Purkey 79 3.65 288.1 3.87 Bronson Arroyo 52.2 4.61
Joey Jay 73 3.81 273 4.00 Mike Leake 46.2 4.18
Jim O'Toole 65.1 4.05 251.2 3.54 Aaron Harang 46.1 4.86
Jim Maloney --
115.1 3.92 Johnny Cueto 42 3.93
Johnny Klippstein 11 4.90 108.2 4.87 Homer Bailey 41.1 4.78
Moe Drabowsky 26 6.27 83 4.83 Francisco Cordero 19.1 4.35
Joe Nuxhall --
66 3.01 Nick Masset 18 3.54
Jim Brosnan 15 3.88 64.2 3.04 Micah Owings 16.1 3.26
Ted Wills 5 5.21 61 4.84 Arthur Rhodes 15 2.93
Dave Sisler 9 6.92 43.2 4.34 Mike Lincoln 13 4.72
Bill Henry 8.2 3.62 37.1 3.96 Danny Herrera 10.1 2.58
Sammy Ellis 16.2 6.95 28 6.88 Logan Ondrusek 8 7.39
Bob Miller 5.1 6.56 5.1 6.56 Carlos Fisher 4.1 4.88

Where the current squad will really need to pick up their game is on the pitching staff. It's hard to compare these two eras because bullpen usage has changed so dramatically, but the 1962 starting staff was much better than what we have seen from the 2010 squad. The present version has shown signs of improvement, and I think we can be optimistic, but it is still unlikely we'll see three pitchers like Purkey, Jay, and O'Toole, all of whom pitched over 250 innings with an ERA under 3.80.

Anyway, remember, this is all just for fun. The 2010 Reds aren't going to win 98 games. I don't expect anybody to believe that, but it's still fun to imagine the possibilities. We'll get back to baseball reality tonight. But for the rest of the afternoon, feel free to daydream about the possibilities!