The 2021 Cincinnati Reds season is devoid of further opportunities. Sunday’s win over the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates officially brought it to a close, their 83-79 record now hammered into the record books for good.
A few quick notes on that before we turn our attention to the team’s hitting this year:
- Their winning percentage this year (.512) was actually worse than that of 2020 (.517), in case you were looking for the ‘progress’ argument.
- Both seasons ended in 3rd place finishes within the division, divisions that are/were not particularly good divisions
- The New York Yankees are somewhat of the gold standard in baseball, and they’ve had 29 consecutive seasons with a better winning percentage than the one posted by either the 2020 or 2021 Reds
Welcome to life as a Reds fan.
Anyway, the Cincinnati Reds did pick up some bats and swing them this year, at times swinging them with a rather effective swat. And so, we will celebrate some of their better stats in this here post.
Per FanGraphs, Reds hitters compiled a total of 20.0 fWAR, good for the 12 most among the 30 MLB teams. Their 105 wRC+ produced from their non-pitchers ranked 9th in the game, their .337 non-pitcher wOBA an impressive 5th. Similarly, their .784 non-pitcher OPS ranked as the 5th best in all MLB, fueled by a .337 OBP by non-pitchers that was tied for the 4th best in all of baseball.
Interestingly enough, the Reds ranked dead last among the 30 teams in FanGraphs’ Speed rating, their 3.2 total non-pitcher mark lagging well behind the 29th ranked New York Yankees mark of 3.6. For reference, Cleveland ranked best at 5.2, and given that the Reds also ranked dead last in wSB - their value added via steals stat - that all certainly matched the eye-test of this lumbering club.
As counting stats go (instead of those rate stats), the entirety of Reds hitters piled up 295 doubles during the 2021 season, which ranked 4th in all of baseball (and 2nd in the ‘still using pitchers at the plate’ National League). And if you’ll reference the speed and wSB numbers I just mentioned, that will probably make their mere 13 team triples fit right in, too, a mark that was the 3rd lowest in all of baseball. They did at least attempt to make up for that with the number of balls they smoked over the fence, though, as their 222 dingers tied for the 6th most in the game.
Their 105 plunkings were the most in the game, which you were probably well aware of already. And for all of you small-ball enthusiasts out there, let it be known that their sac flies (45) and sac bunts (35) ranked 6th and 8th among all MLB teams. Though as the small-ball enthusiasts will also surely already know, the Reds ranked dead last in steals with just 36 all season long. Eric Davis could’ve done that himself in a month. Hell, despite ranking dead last in total steals, the Reds still somehow had the 12th most caught-stealing (24) in the game.
Their team batting average of .249 was tied for 6th best. If you focus purely on non-pitchers, they hit .256 as a team, a mark that ranked as the 7th best non-pitcher team mark.
As for some individual stats, there were no league-leaders of note this season, though several players managed to rank quite prominently across the board.
We’ll start with Joey Votto, as we always do. His ISO (.297) was the 4th best in the game, behind only Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Bryce Harper, two of whom will win MVP awards this year. His 36 dingers ranked 14th in the game (he missed an entire month of the season, you’ll recall), his slugging percentage (.563) ranked 6th, as did his wOBA (.391). His stolen base left him tied for 103rd best among qualified hitters. He finished with a .938 OPS, second best on the Reds and 7th highest in all of baseball.
Nick Castellanos had a baller season, too. His 34 dingers tied for 20th in the game (he, too, missed some 24 games, you’ll recall), his even 100 ribbies leaving him tied with Shohei for 18th most in the game. His .267 ISO ranked 13th in the game, his slugging percentage (.567) the 5th best among all hitters on the planet. His .391 wOBA was tied with none other than Joey Votto, which you’d remember if you’d memorized the previous paragraph before getting to the latter half of this sentence. His 38 doubles ranked 8th in all MLB, while his 4.1 fWAR was the best among Reds hitters. He finished with a .939 OPS, the best on the Reds and 6th best in all baseball.
Finally, we’ll highlight the brilliant rookie year of Jonathan India, who should have some hardware for his trophy case here in a few weeks. His 34 doubles ranked as the 24th most in all baseball, His 98 runs scored ranked 18th in all MLB (a lone run behind Tatis Jr.), his 71 walks 24th (one behind Jose Ramirez). Only Ty France and Mark Canha (27 each) were hit more often than India’s 23 plunkings, all of which propelled him to the 8th best OBP in all of baseball (.376, just ahead of ahem the .375 mark posted by Joey Votto). His .835 OPS was tied with Kris Bryant and .001 behind Manny Machado, ranking just ahead of Justin Turner (.832) and Nelson Cruz (.831), among many others. All told, that was good for a 4.0 fWAR rookie campaign.
Stats courtesy of FanGraphs.com, a site loaded with courteous stats. I encourage you to become a member and support their excellent work.