Last night’s game wrap drew a couple of comments worth exploring. I said that this offense is “padding their stats”, and that they are not “working together as a team to score runs”. I suggested it is time for a batting order shuffle, and closed with the thought that this lineup should be producing 2 runs per inning, not 2 runs per game. That is of course grossly exaggerated, but the point is we need a lot more hits strung together and crooked numbers of runs put up.
One comment from Twitter pointed out the sequence in the 2nd inning that produced one of the runs last night was a semi-manufactured run: CarGo walk, Hundley 1B on a hit-and-run and CarGo reaching 3rd, DJ ground out. OK, I didn’t say “never”.
I’ll try not to spend that one run all in one place. It shows up as a zero in the 0-for-8 with RISP figures, a bit deceptive because it was a great AB by DJ. He attempted a safety squeeze first, then worked the count full and grounded into the 5.5 hole with Hundley moving, barely thrown out by Barmes.
Another commenter said he didn’t see how the Rox stats were being padded. Let’s look at how the Rox rank offensively in the NL. (I’m leaving out the AL for now, 3 DH-fueled offenses in KC, Baltimore, Detroit are skewing the numbers at the top.)
In team batting, the Rox are 1st in batting average (.274) and 2nd in slugging (.439, behind the Dodgers). That is enough to put them second in OPS (.838).
Here the illusion begins – their OBP at .316 is just about league average, in the middle of the pack. Really disturbing, the Rox are way off the pace in runs scored. SD leads with 123 (thanks in part to us), and we are sitting at 93, below the league average of 96.
How can a team hitting the ball well not produce runs? We don’t have a glaring GIDP machine in the lineup, so it’s not so much rallies killed as rallies that never develop. There are three stats to look at: productive outs (a runner is advanced a base), baserunners seen/scored (not necessarily an RBI), and baserunners advanced in key situations.
Rox as a team:
Productive outs: 22 of 81, 27% – ranks 12th in league, Washington at 41%
Baserunners scored: 69 of 459, 15% – right at league average, SD at 18%
Runners scored from 3B, less than 2 out: 17 of 39, 44% – 13th in league, Mets at 68%
Runners advanced from 2B, nobody out: 15 of 35, 54% – league average, Mets at 67%
When you boil those numbers, the Rox and Mets are scoring runs at the same rate: 4.04 per game. The Mets are getting that done on way fewer opportunities. The Dodgers and Padres are getting a lot of opportunities and delivering, both producing 4.9+ runs per game.
It’s the Wikipedia picture for “untimely hitting”. The Rox are below NL average in most situational hitting metrics. I don’t care about average, or slugging, or BABIP – I care about OBP, followed by runs crossing the plate by any means necessary.
That’s why I suggested moving the best OBP guy – LeMahieu at .444 – up to the 2 hole. DJ is also the best situational guy: 80% productive outs, 25% baserunners scored, 67% runners on 3rd < 2 out and runners on 2nd no out. That would put him in the mix with the above-average part of the lineup. Blackmon (24%), Dickerson (22%), Arenado (20%), and Tulo (19%) get runners home at above-league average 14%.
We know CarGo is struggling – he and Hundley are seeing traffic but getting them home at only 9%. I’d also move Morneau down to 6, he is average at getting runs home and frankly he’s getting fewer opportunities because guys in front of him are getting it done. I’d rather risk a 1-2-3 inning from the bottom half than what we have now where hits are spread out and the same thing (no scoring) happens. When CarGo becomes a better option than somebody higher in the order, move him back up. I know that’s heresy based on salary and fantasy production, but it is a stark reality – numbers never lie. We also have to discard this L-R-L-R thing, it’s a fallacy.
There it is. That analyzes the best lineup we have, not the Sunday version and not against James Shields. Tulo, Morneau, and Hundley all sitting. Even the Padres Sunday lineup looks pretty good against Kendrick – watch out for Spangenberg, he has made the most of limited time.
San Diego Padres
CF: Wil Myers
2B: Cory Spangenberg
RF: Matt Kemp
LF: Justin Upton
3B: Yangervis Solarte
C: Derek Norris
1B: Yonder Alonso
SS: Alexi Amarista
SP: James Shields
CF: Charlie Blackmon
LF: Corey Dickerson
3B: Nolan Arenado
RF: Carlos Gonzalez
C: Michael McKenry
2B: DJ LeMahieu
SS: Rafael Ynoa
1B: Daniel Descalso
SP: Kyle Kendrick