Pretty interesting look at how good the Reds have been with the gloves from Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs...
Last year, when there was a grounder, the Reds were ever so slightly worse than average. Now they’re comparable to last year’s Cubs. You couldn’t come up with a more flattering defensive comparison.
It’s worth pointing out that the Reds pitching staff could be playing a role here. It’s possible that some of the excellent defense is actually excellent pitching, and that remains a challenging idea to examine. As a staff, the Reds pitchers have reduced their hard-hit rate. According to the information at Baseball Savant, the Reds rank sixth-best in “expected” wOBA. Last year, they ranked 28th. That’s a huge leap, even if it’s a huge leap in a new and experimental measure, and it’s not like this has to be all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be all defense, or all pitching. It’s almost always probably both.
But no matter how you slice it, it’s a promising development. On the run-prevention side, the Reds look considerably improved, even while using a starting rotation that isn’t exactly the rotation they’d prefer to be putting on the field. This doesn’t mean the Reds are truly good; this doesn’t mean the Reds are going to be there in wild-card contention. But when a team gets better at not allowing hits, wins start to show up with far greater frequency. The Reds might well have the best defense in baseball. It’s something worth your continuing attention.