While Major League Baseball is still being played by teams who were good enough to enjoy October baseball, the Cincinnati Reds season ended almost 2 weeks ago. Now that we’ve had time to adjust to the emptiness that the end of the 2016 season has brought, it’s time to take a look at some performances of the past 6 months. Normally we’d pick out some regulars and review how each player performed and maybe even compared it to previous seasons, but since we will be previewing those very players in a few short months we decided to take a different route by looking how the team did against certain splits over the course of the season. Today, we’ll be covering the 2016 Reds’ home/road splits.
We’ll look at how the team hit and pitched in each category first and then talk about some of the individual performances that contributed to those numbers. For the sake of brevity, we aren’t going to look at each player’s home/road splits and analyze them. That is a lot of numbers and I don’t want you guys to suffer through more tables than you already are, but I will point out a few guys that had interesting splits, drastic splits, or even splits and talk about them for a little. We will even compare some players to previous seasons and their career numbers.
First, we’ll take a look at the hitting numbers and how a few of the regulars in the lineup performed against these splits.
As a team, their home splits weren’t all that different from their road splits. The team hit for more power at home than on the road, contributed mostly by the inflated HR total at GABP, and also took more walks at home. I wasn’t terribly surprised that the Reds hit better at home, considering they had a 38-43 record at home compared to a 30-51 record on the road. I included the 2015 stats because the team was mostly the same so the 2015 season served as a good comparison. The Reds hit slightly better as a team in 2016 and their splits were a little bit more even, but when compared to league average their OPS+ was the same in each season.
Joey Votto had the most drastic split when it came to hitting better on the road than at home. I feel like the word "drastic" has a little bit of a negative connotation with it when it comes to talking about splits, but that isn’t the case with Votto. His home split, while worse than his road split, was still the best on the team. These aren’t that far off from his career numbers as far as the difference goes, but both sets are better than his career numbers and his 2015 numbers.
A couple of things stood out about Votto’s numbers. First, his home run total compared to his extra base-hits. I was curious about how this would play out with each hitter even before looking at the numbers due to the small dimensions at GABP compared to the larger dimensions at some of the other ballparks. Even though he had more home runs at GABP, he had 7 more XBH’s on the road. The second is that he had a ridiculously high BABIP of .390 on the road this season. Looking at his career numbers, he’s always had a higher-than-average BABIP, but this year it was much higher than what he normally puts up. This certainly isn’t meant to write off anything Votto did this season, but it was interesting and was at least a part of why Joey has so much success on the road.
Billy Hamilton was the anti-Votto this season, hitting much better at home than he did on the road. The difference in the 2 categories matched up pretty well with what he put up in 2015, but his 2016 numbers were much better than the previous season. The thing that I found most interesting with Billy wasn’t as much his performance in 2016, but it was his 2015 and 2016 performances stacked up against his career numbers. After 2 straight seasons of hitting much better at home than on the road, his career numbers on the road were still better on the road than at home. That’s because he hit incredibly well on the road that season while hitting very poor at home. I didn’t include this in the table above, but his slash line at home was a measly .214/.276/.325 compared to a .280/.306/.379 line on the road.
The last one we will talk about on the offensive side is Zack Cozart. He is another one who hit a little better on the road this season than he did at home. The thing that stuck out to me with Cozart was the difference in his walk and strikeout totals. He walked less and struck out significantly more in road games than he did in home game in 2016. I didn’t include his 2015 numbers since he didn’t even play half a season, but check out those career splits. They are nearly identical across the board in each category. That’s what you call consistency, my friends.
The first thing you’ll notice in these stats is why our record on the road was so much worse than it was at home even with better road hitting stats, and that is because our pitching got absolutely lit up on the road this season. It has been harped on multiple times over the last 6 months about how bad the Reds pitching staff was in 2016, but man those road numbers are awful. We obviously gave up a ton of home runs this season, setting the record for most in a season, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot more home runs were hit against us at GABP at home than on the road. One stat that was interesting in this was the HR/FB% for the team. Check out the difference in 2016’s percentage compared to 2015’s. If you thought that every ball hit in the air left the yard this season then, well, you thought right because that was pretty much the case.
When it comes to individual performances, I only included three guys and they were all starters. They were the three that pitched the most innings out of the rotation and were the only ones that came close to a full season. I didn’t include any bullpen guys because a) I wanted a larger sample size, and b) I didn’t want to subject myself to those numbers again.
Dan Straily pitched much better at home this season than he did on the road. Even though he walked more batters at home and struck out the same amount, he was able to limit his hits and obviously gave up fewer runs at home. The biggest contributing factor was that he was able to keep the ball in the yard at GABP more than he was able to on the road, which is kind of crazy. He somehow had only a 9.5 HR/FB% at home compared to the team total of 16.9% while putting up a 14.9 HR/FB% on the road. He also enjoyed a crazy-low .215 BABIP at home this season. Since this was Straily’s first full season in Cincinnati, I only included his 2016 numbers since his last full season was back in 2013 with Oakland.
Anthony DeSclafani had some really interesting home/road splits this season. While he allowed fewer runs to score at home, he also struck out almost 20 fewer batters at home than he did on the road and walked 11 fewer batters at home. That is even more interesting when you compare that to his 2015 performance, where he struck out a lot more batters at home than he did on the road while getting tagged for 20 more earned runs at home than he did on the road. He was also hurt by the long-ball a little at home this season, giving up 9 home runs and a 15.8 HR/FB%.
Lastly, Brandon Finnegan also had some interesting numbers in his home/road splits. Unlike the other two, he pitched a little worse at GABP than he did on the road. His biggest issues this season were home runs and walks allowed, as he was in the bottom 5 in the NL in both categories. However, he struggled with each issue in different places. Not surprisingly, he struggled with home runs at home, giving up 17 home runs at home to only 12 on the road. He also had an incredibly high HR/FB% of 17.7 at home this season. On the road, however, he really struggled with his command, doubling his home walk total in only 7 more innings on the road. Since this was Finnegan’s first full major league season, I only included his 2016 numbers because his previous 2 seasons did not provide a large enough sample to be accurate.
While these stats don't paint a complete picture of how the team performed in 2016, it is at least a different perspective into the performances of some of our regulars. We'll be rolling out with more of these stats and numbers in the coming days, so hopefully all of these can give us a more insightful look into the 2016 Reds.