Reds' revival fueled by defense

Thanks to improved run prevention, Cincinnati is the class of the NL Central

Updated: April 11, 2011, 2:03 PM ET
By Jonah Keri | FanGraphs
Scott RolenJeff Curry/US PresswireScott Rolen's slick glove is a big reason the Reds are poised for a repeat in the NL Central.

Adam Dunn is one of the best hitters in the game. A metronome of power and patience, he's averaged more than 40 home runs and 100 walks a season for the past seven years. Going by advanced stats such as weighted on-base average, he's been a more valuable hitter than even perennial MVP candidate Ryan Howard.

So when the Cincinnati Reds shipped Dunn to Arizona on Aug. 11, 2008, the franchise's entire outlook changed … for the better.

Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) is a staff writer for Grantland. His book, The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team From Worst to First, is a national best seller. His new book Up, Up, and Away, on the history of the Montreal Expos, is now available for preorder.