clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Reds are Leveraging their Leverage

New, 30 comments
If Scott Rolen keeps coming through like this, we might just start to expect it.
If Scott Rolen keeps coming through like this, we might just start to expect it.

The great thing about the 2010 Reds is not that they are hitting the ball well - though that is pretty awesome and unexpected - but that they are hitting the ball well when it matters most. See what I mean?

Low Leverage Medium Leverage High Leverage
.281/.346/.471
(2nd in MLB)
.262/.333/.423
(11th in MLB)
.298/.374/.481
(1st in MLB)

Okay, so they're actually hitting the ball well in all leverage situations, but they're doing considerably better in high-leverage situations. (NOTE: For the uninitiated, the leverage of the situation is determined based on historical events where situations that can more dramatically improve a team's chances of winning a game are considered high leverage. Typically, high leverage situations happen in the 7th inning or later of close games.)

What this means is that when the game is on the line, the Reds have been stepping up to the plate better than any other team in the majors. And it's not just one player that is hitting the ball better in high leverage situations. It's a team epidemic! See what I mean after the jump...

Player Low Leverage
Medium Leverage High Leverage
PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Joey Votto 104 .289 .385 .489 .382 99 .313 .404 .566 .417 22 .474 .545 .895 .603
Ryan Hanigan 50 .366 .480 .561 .448 36 .276 .417 .414 .370 8 .571 .625 .571 .538
Drew Stubbs 97 .274 .361 .464 .373 95 .186 .263 .302 .258 21 .353 .429 .706 .488
Scott Rolen 105 .253 .333 .440 .340 79 .315 .354 .740 .451 24 .350 .417 .700 .452
Jay Bruce 107 .287 .374 .479 .376 96 .229 .333 .398 .318 27 .318 .407 .500 .413
Orlando Cabrera 108 .250 .296 .300 .273 106 .276 .311 .388 .324 28 .304 .296 .565 .345
Ramon Hernandez 65 .254 .323 .390 .314 52 .372 .481 .488 .434 20 .250 .400 .250 .321
Laynce Nix 40 .231 .250 .410 .285 28 .296 .321 .667 .402 11 .250 .400 .375 .319
Brandon Phillips 132 .270 .451 .777 .339 107 .319 .489 .874 .381 17 .167 .167 .500 .278
Jonny Gomes 90 .325 .378 .563 .402 69 .293 .377 .552 .377 25 .261 .280 .304 .259
Miguel Cairo 39 .250 .308 .472 .341 23 .333 .364 .381 .346 8 .250 .250 .250 .225

 

I know it's only been 22 plate appearances, but I am swooning over Joey Votto's performance when the game is on the line. A .603 wOBA? Be still my heart. (For those not familiar with wOBA, it is a rate-stat that takes into account everything a player does at the plate. It's like OPS, but more logical and better. It is scaled the same as OBP, to give you some perspective).

I'm guessing that not a lot of this list should come as a surprise. Scott Rolen has been a mediocre hitter when the outcome is less apparent, but when the situation is dire, Scotty beams it up! (nerd joke!).  Perhaps the one surprise might be Drew Stubbs, who has answered the bell on several occasions late in the game, including yesterday.

On the negative side, I was surprised to see Jonny Gomes performing so poorly in high leverage situations. My theory is that Gomes gets it done so early that he eliminates the need for high leverage situations late. He and Ryan Hanigan are the only players with a wOBA over .400 in low leverage situations.

What does this all mean? My guess is that this is more informative reflectively than going forward. I imagine that if we look at this list in 2 months, it will look very different. That is to say, good hitters hit well pretty much all of the time, and bad hitters get lucky sometimes. Over a larger sample, we'll probably see these guys all closer to their overall average across the board.

For good or bad, I think we can expect that in general with the Reds offense. They've had a little more trouble scoring runs of late, and with the 2nd best pitching staff in the league coming to town tonight, it will probably only get worse before it gets better.

The good news is that the Reds have shown time and again that if they can keep it close, there's a good chance they'll pull the game out. That sort of confidence can help overcome slumps, and may even cause a team to do things you'd never expected. Let's hope so.