In place of my normal weekly ups and downs, I thought I would hash out a small something I have seen with the Reds’ overall team offense this season that has me hopeful. I have (and many other people do I would assume) a theory about successful offenses built for postseason play. Just in my few years of watching baseball, I have found that scoring runs in bundles is not the only key to a truly dominant offense. A team’s approach at the plate is quite influential to any team looking to have a successful regular season and make a deep run into the playoffs. More often than not when the pressure rises and the pitching gets better, it’s those offenses that have a more methodical and patient approach at the plate who can cope. This brings me to the trend I have saw with the Reds offense from last season to now.
In 2010, there was no denying that the Redlegs’ offense was great. Ranking in the top 5 of nearly all major offensive categories makes that difficult. But when I say nearly, I mean nearly. The Reds piled up the 6th most strikeouts (1218) and the 8th fewest walks (522) which put them just on the wrong side of the league average in both categories. This is an indication of exactly the kind of team the 2010 iteration of the team was: a more free swinging mashing club. To be honest, I really am nitpicking as the offense performed awesome but when free wheeling offenses get to the playoffs they are often hurt more than a more patient offense that looks to walk more, strike out less, and put balls in play. After looking through the offensive numbers for the Reds thus far this season, I do see a change. A more patient approach has come about and it can really be noticed just by watching. What follows is a juxtaposition of the 2010 and 2011 Reds offensive numbers from some key categories.
2010 Reds – 9th most in NL (522)
2011 Reds – 2nd most in NL (203)
2010 Reds – 6th most in NL (1218)
2011 Reds – 8th most in NL (411)
2010 Reds – 19.4%
2011 Reds – 18.3%
2010 Reds – 8.3%
2011 Reds – 9.0%
2010 Reds – 2.33
2011 Reds – 2.02
While it might be slight in some areas, it can be seen that the Reds as a whole have made an improvement in reducing the number of strikeouts and looking to be more patient and draw more walks. Even if the numbers in these categories have improved only 5-10% for 2011 that makes for less fruitless strikeouts, more balls in play, more walks, and more pitches from opposing pitchers. This makes the Reds offense in 2011 just as formidable but even more resilient and complete. This may just come in handy later in the year when it takes a full and complete offense to compete and advance come playoff time (fingers crossed)