Cincinnati Reds’ hitters showed good power plate approach in 2016

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In the era of advanced metrics, the Cincinnati Reds’ batters show themselves able of the proper approach.

The Cincinnati Reds have  sufficient problems on offense.  They strike out too much and don’t walk enough.  But they do know when to swing for the fences and when to slap the ball around.

A newly quantified metric is long ball outs.  Those are fly balls which travel 320 feet or more from home plate before being caught.  Fortunately, the Reds’ batters who are high and low on this list make some sense.

Ranking second through fourth for most long ball outs on the list are the Reds’ sluggers, Joey Votto, Adam Duvall, and Eugenio Suarez.  It was a little bit surprising to see Votto have the most among the three, but his line drives would qualify for this type of out.  That Duvall and Suarez are both near the top make perfect sense, especially considering their OBP issues.  They can expect a big year from Adam Duvall in 2017.

Of the regulars, nobody had fewer long fly ball outs than Billy Hamilton.  That is a good sign as he finally got his OBP up to sustainable numbers in 2016.  Catcher Tucker Barnhart had likewise low numbers.

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The middle guy in the list is shortstop Zack Cozart.  Cozart had 56 long fly ball outs to go with 16 home runs.  Those numbers are little high, but within the realm of normalcy.

While six of the Cincinnati Reds’ everyday players kept their long fly ball outs in-line, two players did not.

Former Red Jay Bruce had a ridiculous number of long fly ball outs.  They happened before and after his trade to the Mets.  Bruce’s issue was a lack of consistency.

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Then there is the Cincinnati Reds’ number one whipping boy.  Brandon Phillips led the Reds in long fly balls outs.  He hit 69 of them, while producing 11 home runs.

Only Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates had more long fly ball outs while hitting fewer homers in all of baseball.  Harrison had 78 long fly balls compared to Phillips’ 69.  For comparison, Mike Napoli of the American Champion Cleveland Indians hit 45 long fly balls vs. 34 home runs.

Napoli is a bit extreme, but Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins hit fewer long fly balls and more home runs that Phillips.  Worse than that, the Reds have both a better slugger in Dilson Herrera and a better contact hitter in Jose Peraza chomping at the bit to play everyday.  Aside from Phillips’ contract, there is no reason to start him everyday.

Next: Reds' prospects to watch in 2017

The Reds have had issues maintaining their team OBP.  Votto is able to maintain a high OBP while hitting fly ball outs.  The rest of line-up needs to maintain better balance for the Reds to be successful.