The Mets enter Cincinnati seeking to snap their six-game losing streak and the Reds seem like a good candidate to oblige, as they still have yet to eclipse the 10-win mark. Before the season, the Reds seemed like a reasonable candidate to improve upon last year, because their 2017 hitters were solid, and the 2017 pitching staff was thought to be unrepeatably bad. Their pitching has remained dreadful, but their hitters have remained a positive. Those position players are the focus of this edition of the stats preview.
Reds’ King of Walks: Everyone knows where this is going. The current Reds leader in BB% is none other than Mr. Plate Discipline himself… Jesse Winker? Winker is putting on his best Joey Votto impression this year, walking in 15.6% of his plate appearances, while only striking out in 16.5%. There is no need to worry about Votto too much, though, as he is walking at an almost equivalent 15.5% rate. It would be the lowest walk rate he has posted since 2011, though, and the first time this decade he has not been in the top ten in the league for BB% (he currently sits 18th, and did not qualify in 2012 or 2014).
Hamilton’s Wheels: Billy Hamilton has not been stealing bases at anywhere close to his normal pace, with just five on the year. He is getting on base at roughly the same rate as his career OBP (.298 career, .306 this year), but it has not translated to swiping bags. He is still adding value with his speed, though, as he ranks 14th in Baserunning Runs (1.6). That pace is about 40% better than his 2017 base running value.
Sizzling Suarez: Eugenio Suarez has been the Reds’ most valuable player in 2018 (0.9 WARP) in roughly half the plate appearances as the other starting position players. His walk rate, strikeout rate, HR/FB% and ISO are all significantly better than his career norms, though, so he may be due for some regression.
The Good: Amir Garrett has struck out 29.2% of batters he has faced, and only walked 3.1%
The Bad: At -52, the Reds’ run differential is the worst in the NL. The Mets are fifth worst at -9.
The Ugly: The Reds’ pitching staff’s collective WARP is -0.9. The Mets are at 3.3.
Mets’ call-up P.J. Conlon has never posted an FIP above 4 in the minors.
Photo credit: Aaron Doster – USA Today Sports