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Facts about the 2023 Cincinnati Reds

Facts. They’re factual.

Washington Nationals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/Getty Images

337 major leaguers have logged at least 170 PA so far this season. Only four have a higher BABIP than that of Matt McLain (.398) - Will Benson (.402) is one of them.

Joey Votto, with 171 PA this season, is among those 337. Only eight players have a lower BABIP than him so far (.209). Speaking of Joey and that group of 337 players, only Santiago Espinal of Toronto and Philly’s Brandon Marsh have a lower soft-contact rate than Joey’s (7.1%, per FanGraphs). That soft contact rate is, to date, the lowest of Votto’s Hall of Fame career.

Not a single Red ranks in the Top 70 in hard-hit rate among that group. Votto, at t-72nd (37.4%), is tops on the team.

Since June 6th, the Reds have hit the 3rd most homers of any team in baseball (91), trailing only the absurd Atlanta Braves (131) and Shohei Ohtani’s Los Angeles Angels (96). June 6th was the date on which Elly De La Cruz debuted for the Reds, by the way, and the team’s 76 steals since that day are the most in all of baseball.

Only two teams - the Kansas City Royals (31) and Arizona Diamondbacks (28) have more triples this season than the Reds (26). The Reds had 31 total triples in the 2021 and 2022 seasons, combined.

Despite the offense looking rather sound overall, Statcast lists only the Cleveland Guardians (3.6) as having a lower barrel-per-PA than the Reds (4.3). Echoing that is the team’s total number of balls hit with 95+ mph exit velocities, as they are the owners of the second fewest of that variety behind only Oakland.

The team’s average homer distance of 395 feet is tied for the shortest among all teams. Only the Dodgers (16.0) and Mariners (14.4) have higher average launch angles than the Reds (14.2 degrees), however. Good thing they call GABP home!

On the pitching side of things, the 118.6 mph max exit velocity yielded by the Reds is the single highest mark of any team so far this year. Only four clubs - Rockies, Nationals, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks - have allowed more balls hit with 95+ mph exit velocities than the Reds.

We haven’t heard the term ‘Spincinnati’ much since the overhaul in the pitching direction in the post-Driveline era, but that doesn’t mean the Reds don’t have it any more. In terms of ‘active spin,’ only one of the 560 pitchers in Statcast’s database who throw fourseam fastballs get more active spin than Brandon Williamson (99.5).

Alexis Diaz ranks in the 97th percentile in fastball spin. He ranks in the 98th percentile in each of xBA, xSLG, and whiff rate, too.

At 4.83, the Reds team FIP ranks as the 4th worst in all of baseball, however, behind only the powerhouse trio of Colorado (5.18), Oakland (5.12), and Washingon (5.12). At 4.80, their team ERA ranks 5th, as the mighty Kansas City Royals staff joined that threesome ahead of them.

The team’s relief corps has mostly continued to get the job done despite peripherals that have, all season, screamed REGRESSION at the top of their lungs. The bullpen’s collective 11.7 K-BB% is 4th lowest in the game behind only - you guessed it - Colorado, Oakland, and Washington. Their xFIP of 4.73 is actually 3rd highest in the game - thank you, Oakland and Colorado, once more.

Reds relievers have walked 216 batters so far this year, bested by Oakland (277), Colorado (225), and Kansas City (219). The team’s relief does have 69 holds so far, however, and while that ranks somewhat in the middle of the overall leaderboard, it’s nice nonetheless.

One stat that has remained consistent throughout the season is the bullpen’s inability to generate many grounders despite their home park being a pop-fly-dinger one. Their 39.9% groundball rate is the 2nd lowest in all of baseball behind only Atlanta (39.5%). Their flyball rate (39.7%) also ranks as the 5th highest among relief units. That’s a bold strategy, Cotton!

The team’s starting corps hasn’t been too much different. Perhaps that’s an ideology top to bottom! Their 38.2% groundball rate ranks as the 3rd lowest behind Oakland and the Chicago White Sox, while just 5 clubs have a higher flyball rate than their 39.8%. Given that they sport a 15.3% HR/FB rate - 4th highest among all teams - it’s alarming that they give up that many fly balls to begin with.

You’re likely already privy to the rotation’s overall struggles in keeping runs off the board. Their season-long 5.36 ERA ranks 3rd worst - Colorado! Oakland! - and their 5.04 FIP ranks 4th - welcome back, Washington! Only Colorado (115) and Washington (112) have seen their starters surrender more homers than Cincinnati (110), too.

Perhaps their reliance on fastballs has been the problem. Their collective -46.1 wFB value is the 3rd worst on heaters among any starting group. I’ll let you take a gander at which two clubs rank worse. Their collective curveball value (3rd worst) and changeup value (4th worst) certainly aren’t doing them any favors, either, but at least the teams ranking behind them in those categories aren’t Colorado and Oakland (spoiler alert!).

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs, unless linked otherwise.