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Why don't sabermetricians manage baseball teams

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by SkiptomyLou, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. SkiptomyLou

    SkiptomyLou Member

    You see two teams, the Red Sox and Braves, about to have two of the biggest collapses in baseball history. Both of their managers are "baseball men." They played professionally at some level and have "been there." Well, look what being there has gotten them.

    What I argue is that front offices should hire Bill James types to put together lineup cards and make bullpen decisions. Hell, Fredi G is a card-carrying member of SABR and has ignored everything the society preaches for the entire season. Because of that, the Braves will be sitting home in October. There is little argument that a Bill James type gets the Braves into the playoffs rather easily.

    So what will it take for this door to be broken down?
  2. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Would that Bill James type be able to replace the two all-star caliber pitchers the Braves lost to injury in August? Or the rash of injuries that the Red Sox have had on their pitching staff?
    Can he keep his best reliever from releasing a fastball a fraction of a second too soon, so that it's grooved down the middle instead of breaking on the inside corner?
    Would he be able to teleport between stadiums and keep the Cardinals and Rays from getting hot at the same time his team is struggling?
  3. Azrael

    Azrael Active Member

    Maybe Bill James can just unlock the door from the inside, since he's already the Red Sox Senior Advisor for Baseball Operations.

    And Gene Mauch wants to see you in his office about the "biggest collapses" in baseball history.

  4. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    No point. The strategy side of the game is insignificant enough that the gains you get from a sabermetric-minded manager aren't worth the hassle in the press and in the clubhouse.

    The only thing that'd really matter is bullpen usage, and even then, it shouldn't be that hard for the GM to tell him "try to use your best pitchers in close games and save some scrubs for blowouts."
  5. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    Lewis's book made it pretty plain that at least in the case of the A's, the games weren't being called in the dugout. Howe was strictly middle management, not much more than a fry cook. And you have seen the invertebrates Beane has hired since. Not one strong personality or "baseball man" among them.
  6. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    I can't speak for the Braves, but Francona's job has always been to somehow employ the egos and neuroses of one of baseball's highest payrolls to the team's best advantage. I believe that the business school term for doing that is "management." Beane doesn't need a manager? I saw the 2003 gag job the A's pulled with a cipher for a skipper. He apparently doesn't need any pennants, either.
    There isn't a manager or a numerical analysis that can cope with a starting rotation turning in an ERA over six.
  7. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    The Diamondbacks did this in 2009, hiring A.J. Hinch and acknowledging that the manager didn't really matter. It was a horrific failure, and both Hinch and the GM who hired him -- stat guy Josh Byrnes -- were fired in 2010. They were replaced by "baseball men" Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers respectively. The Diamondbacks are a 90+ win division champion.
  8. SkiptomyLou

    SkiptomyLou Member

    Look at the Braves. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what high leverage situations are. Yet Fredi doesn't get it. Hence, Venters and Kimbrel have been way overused and horrible in the month of September because of it. Also, any time a nonpitcher bunts it shows stupidity by the manager
  9. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member


  10. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    I don't think the Braves need a manager versed in baseball game theory, they just need a better manager, period. If they don't win the wild card, you can probably attribute it to the heavy workload of the pen and going a bit too long with Costanza and some others. Fredi got hired because of some success with the Marlins, who are never quite as bad as people think they'll be. (They're just completely anonymous.)

    Larry Dierker was a guy heavily into stats, and he won a bunch in the regular season, but not in the postseason. That Earl Weaver guy was pretty good though. However, I think it's much more important for the front office / GM to be aligned that way. Ultimately, that's where the buck stops with the team, and as bad as a manager might be, he can't screw you over that much if you're properly stocking the team. I don't think Joe Torre was a magic soothsayer, as his pre- and post-Yankees stops might show, but the Yankees always did OK. Same with the Red Sox and Francona, and all the guys Branch Rickey employed.
  11. SkiptomyLou

    SkiptomyLou Member

    The point is, the Braves DON'T value advanced stats at all, but have stayed reasonably successful. Is it absurd to think they are going to have a Pirates-like decline starting this September and continuing for the next few decades?
  12. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    The Phillies and Giants are notoriously "old-school" in their front offices and their dugouts. Are they in danger of a Pirates-like decline, too?
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