June 23, 2024

The Cincinnati Reds are currently on an eight-game losing streak, having struggled to secure victories in their recent outings. Despite their pitching holding up reasonably well, allowing relatively few runs, the team’s offensive performance has been lacking.

Over the past 30 days, the Reds’ offensive woes have been evident, with their scoring output significantly below par. Key players like Nick Martini, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Jake Fraley, and TJ Friedl have faced setbacks, contributing to the team’s struggles at the plate.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Cincinnati Reds

Their offensive metrics, including team wOBA and wRC+, rank among the lowest in the league during this period. Additionally, their team batting average is the worst among all 30 teams, indicating a collective struggle to produce runs.

While there have been some instances of bad luck, as reflected in their low team BABIP, the overall offensive performance raises questions about the team’s ability to generate scoring opportunities consistently.

Consider their hard-hit rate, for example. BABIP, or Batting Average on Balls In Play, has become a prominent statistic due to the emphasis on exit velocity and launch angle. The principle is straightforward: the harder and more optimally you hit a ball, the harder it becomes for fielders to convert it into an out. Ideally, if the Reds were consistently hitting the ball hard, you’d expect their BABIP to improve over time.

However, Cincinnati’s hard-hit rate over the last 30 days ranks among the lowest in the league, indicating a lack of solid contact. Additionally, they have a high rate of soft contact and the highest pull rate in baseball. Despite teams adjusting their defensive strategies, the Reds continue to struggle with generating hard-hit balls.

According to Statcast data, the Reds rank second-lowest in balls hit with exit velocities over 95 mph this season, with their average exit velocity also ranking among the lowest.

Despite these challenges, the Reds excel in two crucial areas: their walk rate, which ranks fifth-best in the league, and their baserunning, rated as the second-most valuable. Considering these strengths, perhaps the Reds should focus more on drawing walks and utilizing their speed on the bases.

Players like Friedl, though not known for their hard hitting, can contribute by getting on base and advancing themselves. By utilizing the flexibility of players like Spencer Steer and maintaining a lineup focused on patience and baserunning, the Reds could enhance their offensive performance.

Official Cincinnati Reds Website | MLB.com

Until reinforcements arrive later in the season, this approach may offer the best chance for the Reds to improve their offensive output.

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