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RFS62
04-28-2007, 08:45 AM
With the angry mob of villagers steadily approaching with torches and pitchforks in hand, I often wonder why anyone would want to be a major league manager.

We've romanticized the position over the years. We love to see old film clips of Casey Stengel entertaining the writers with his Stengelese. Leo Durocher, man what a character. Never met a microphone he didn't like. And what could be better than an Earl Weaver tirade or a Sweet Lou rant?

We love those kind of characters. They get to tune up star athletes and put them in their place. Just like we would if we had a chance, eh?

Well, things are different. The old days are gone. What we have now are athletes who make more in two days than the manager makes all year. The threat of demotion isn't a shadow of what it was back when every team had hundreds of players in the minor leagues ready to take your job if you were out sick for a week. Now we've got asset management more than the merit system.

A modern manager either understands the new realities of dealing with multi-millionaires sitting on his bench, or he goes on to sell insurance or used cars and remembers the good old days.

The modern manager now has to teach fundamentals to major league players. Back when every team had many more minor league affiliates, you didn't make it to the show if you had glaring weaknesses in your fundamental game. Or if you did, it was because you were a stud player who filled an immediate need.

The modern manager has to deal with a new era of press relations. The press thinks they're the story very often now, and many times would love to be the guy who nails a big sports figure in a gaff.

The modern manager can't count on his veterans policing themselves. You're lucky if you have a clubhouse with guys like Frank Robinson (as a player) who hold kangaroo courts and dispense clubhouse justice over lack of hustle or mental errors. Instead, our manager gets to do this himself, in the absence of any authority figures in the Reds locker room.

And our modern manager gets to listen to our hero Franchester who smiles to his face and blasts him on the air. Mr."Tell it like it is"... Mr."I'll be here when you're gone" .... blaming Narron for the players lack of fundamental he inherited from guys he never coached in the minor leagues. So, if they can't perform what used to be considered basic skills, it's his fault. He should have been able to straighten all that out in spring training. What a load of crap.

Jerry Narron is still learning on the job. It's the Reds way in the last decade. We hire guys like Narron whom we don't have to pay much where we think we see the potential to become a good manager. We don't pay for the Sweet Lous of the world.

Then we assemble a team with a fraction of the payroll of teams like the Yankees and expect the manager to spin straw into gold.

We throw them down a well, don't throw them a rope, and get mad at them when they drown.

Still, you ask anyone who ever held the position, and they will gladly sign up for the next round of abuse. They ALL are hired with the absolute certainty that someday they'll be fired. That's their reality. That's what their families all know. That's the best they can hope for.

These guys must really love the game.

mth123
04-28-2007, 08:52 AM
I think money is a factor. Managers are frequently guys who didn't get set for life as players and they need to keep working. Even low paid Managers make 400K or 500K per year. I'd try it for a couple years for that.

cincinnati chili
04-28-2007, 09:51 AM
Good post. There's a glass-ceiling perception among good minor league managers who did NOT play in the majors that they have to be very lucky or really buddy-buddy with management to ever sniff the majors. Not sure that's true, given the Jim Leylands of the world, but it's the perception.

There are also a lot of "old school" minor league managers who feel like the book Moneyball hurt their chances of every moving up to the majors or high minors. Paranoia perhaps, but that's the perception.

RFS62
04-28-2007, 10:02 AM
There's a glass-ceiling perception among good minor league managers who did NOT play in the majors that they have to be very lucky or really buddy-buddy with management to ever sniff the majors. Not sure that's true, given the Jim Leylands of the world, but it's the perception.

There are also a lot of "old school" minor league managers who feel like the book Moneyball hurt their chances of every moving up to the majors or high minors. Paranoia perhaps, but that's the perception.


I remember for years hearing about how we should give Dave Miley a shot at the Reds job.

"Old school" oozing from every pore. A perfect guy for the minors where the players still had to toe the line or be out of baseball.

Once he finally got to deal with the big league ego, he folded like a lawn chair. He wasn't prepared for the sensibilities of the modern day player.

On the other hand, he did pick up a couple of nice chairs as parting gifts.

RedFanAlways1966
04-28-2007, 10:19 AM
Great post, '62. I wonder if the modern managers bother to read the modern posters that rip them on the internet? I hope not.

RFS62
04-28-2007, 10:32 AM
I wonder if the modern managers bother to read the modern posters that rip them on the internet? I hope not.


I almost went back and added a paragraph about teh interweb and radio talk shows. We sure is smrt. They should listen to us more.

membengal
04-28-2007, 11:06 AM
Did Durocher ever put Wllie Mays sixth in the line-up to slot a light-hitting SS ahead of him in the order? Did Earl Weaver ever hit Mark Belanger fifth and Eddie Murray sixth right behind him?

westofyou
04-28-2007, 11:14 AM
Did Durocher ever put Wllie Mays sixth in the line-up to slot a light-hitting SS ahead of him in the order? Did Earl Weaver ever hit Mark Belanger fifth and Eddie Murray sixth right behind him?

Durocher was lucky enough to have Alvin Dark as SS when he had Mays.

He did bat Belanger 1st or 2nd over 1600 times. Knowing Weaver he would have sat Dunn against Snelling, if he was worried he'd have said that his timing was messed up enough without having to face a guy like Snelling.

Chip R
04-28-2007, 11:16 AM
RFS, did John McGraw get this much criticism back in your day? ;)

M2
04-28-2007, 11:17 AM
I almost went back and added a paragraph about teh interweb and radio talk shows. We sure is smrt. They should listen to us more.

And we'll be here when Marty's gone.

SunDeck
04-28-2007, 11:23 AM
Did Durocher ever put Wllie Mays sixth in the line-up to slot a light-hitting SS ahead of him in the order? Did Earl Weaver ever hit Mark Belanger fifth and Eddie Murray sixth right behind him?

The comparison of any player (except Jr. as a Mariner) on the Reds with Willie Mays is laughable.

membengal
04-28-2007, 12:11 PM
Sigh. I was NOT comparing them, other than to note that Dunn is the Reds' most run productive bat, and he was stuck behind Alex G last night. I am guessing the Giants did NOT shove their most productive bat behind an offensive black hole. Ever. There was no good excuse for that last night. On any level.

Always Red
04-28-2007, 12:27 PM
In 1954, Willie Mays hit .345, with 41 HR and 110 RBI, and batted 6th nearly the entire months of May, June, July and the first part of August.

http://www.retrosheet.org/

Lockman, Dark (SS), Thompson, Irvin and Mueller all hit in front of Mays during this time. To be fair, Dark had a pretty good year in 1954, with 20 HR and a BA of .293. Lockman, though, was a relatively light-hitting 1B.

Narron is trying to shake things up; Dunn (and EE) has been struggling and Gonzalez has been hitting the ball well. I don't think it's that big of a deal, to be honest, and I expect Gonzo will be back down in the 7 or 8 spot soon enough, where he belongs.

membengal
04-28-2007, 12:38 PM
Is that right? See, live and learn.

50 years later, I hereby call that managerial decision with Mays rock stupid.

KronoRed
04-28-2007, 12:49 PM
And we'll be here when Marty's gone.

Well that makes me smile today, thanks M2 :D

Always Red
04-28-2007, 12:49 PM
Is that right? See, live and learn.

50 years later, I hereby call that managerial decision with Mays rock stupid.

:laugh: :laugh:

MWM
04-28-2007, 03:34 PM
Nice post, RFS. And you're right, the world of managing a MLB team has changed dramatically. The problem as I see it though is too many sitting back and bemoaning about how things have changed rather than changing along with it. This is common in any facet of life when things change. There's a contingent of people who sit back and see an opportunity and those who sit back and talk about how it ain't how it used to be. The former are the ones that find a way to thrive in the new environment, while the latter wind up withering away and becoming irrelevant.

Baseball has changed. So if you still want to be a part of it, then you sure as hell better change too, because it isn't going to return to the good ole' days anytime soon. This is incredibly obvious in watching today's managers manage. As a whole, the current crop of managers are stuck in a bygone era and have not adapted to the current climate of the game. It's clear that the characterisics that made a manager great way back when are not the same that make them great today.

So what makes a great modern day manager? I don't really know. I'm not sure that anyone knows yet because too few organizations have looked for a new world manager. They continune to throw old school managers out there. They need to rethink what a manager's role is and what would make one successful. Maybe they need managers with degrees in Psychology. Maybe they need managers who know little about the game, but know how to handle egos. I really don't know what the answer is, but I know that it's not the crop of mangers out there now who are stuck in the past.

Things change. So what? It's the circle of life. Either evolve or become extinct. I don't feel all that sorry for managers who refuse to see that things have changed and are still trying to manage like it's the 70s or 80s.

Marc D
04-28-2007, 03:44 PM
Nice post, RFS. And you're right, the world of managing a MLB team has changed dramatically. The problem as I see it though is too many sitting back and bemoaning about how things have changed rather than changing along with it. This is common in any facet of life when things change. There's a contingent of people who sit back and see an opportunity and those who sit back and talk about how it ain't how it used to be. The former are the ones that find a way to thrive in the new environment, while the latter wind up withering away and becoming irrelevant.

Baseball has changed. So if you still want to be a part of it, then you sure as hell better change too, because it isn't going to return to the good ole' days anytime soon. This is incredibly obvious in watching today's managers manage. As a whole, the current crop of managers are stuck in a bygone era and have not adapted to the current climate of the game. It's clear that the characterisics that made a manager great way back when are not the same that make them great today.

So what makes a great modern day manager? I don't really know. I'm not sure that anyone knows yet because too few organizations have looked for a new world manager. They continune to throw old school managers out there. They need to rethink what a manager's role is and what would make one successful. Maybe they need managers with degrees in Psychology. Maybe they need managers who know little about the game, but know how to handle egos. I really don't know what the answer is, but I know that it's not the crop of mangers out there now who are stuck in the past.

Things change. So what? It's the circle of life. Either evolve or become extinct. I don't feel all that sorry for managers who refuse to see that things have changed and are still trying to manage like it's the 70s or 80s.

Too bad I'm all repped out.

mth123
04-28-2007, 04:11 PM
Nice post, RFS. And you're right, the world of managing a MLB team has changed dramatically. The problem as I see it though is too many sitting back and bemoaning about how things have changed rather than changing along with it. This is common in any facet of life when things change. There's a contingent of people who sit back and see an opportunity and those who sit back and talk about how it ain't how it used to be. The former are the ones that find a way to thrive in the new environment, while the latter wind up withering away and becoming irrelevant.

Baseball has changed. So if you still want to be a part of it, then you sure as hell better change too, because it isn't going to return to the good ole' days anytime soon. This is incredibly obvious in watching today's managers manage. As a whole, the current crop of managers are stuck in a bygone era and have not adapted to the current climate of the game. It's clear that the characterisics that made a manager great way back when are not the same that make them great today.

So what makes a great modern day manager? I don't really know. I'm not sure that anyone knows yet because too few organizations have looked for a new world manager. They continune to throw old school managers out there. They need to rethink what a manager's role is and what would make one successful. Maybe they need managers with degrees in Psychology. Maybe they need managers who know little about the game, but know how to handle egos. I really don't know what the answer is, but I know that it's not the crop of mangers out there now who are stuck in the past.

Things change. So what? It's the circle of life. Either evolve or become extinct. I don't feel all that sorry for managers who refuse to see that things have changed and are still trying to manage like it's the 70s or 80s.

This post should be archived.

RedsBaron
04-28-2007, 05:07 PM
The trend in major league baseball for more than a century has been for the manager to have less and less control. John McGraw in the first three decades of the Twentieth Century was master of all he surveyed with the NY Giants. He not only was the manager; he in effect was general manager, chief of scouts, and the Supreme Leader. While a different personality than McGraw, Connie Mack was if anything even more powerful--while no owner would dare challenge McGraw, Mack WAS the owner.
Managers lost authority as the game became too complex for one person to be in charge of virtually everything. No manager under Branch Rickey in the 1930s-1950s ever had near the power McGraw and his fellow managers did earlier in that century.
With the increase in press coverage, and more critical press coverage, managers became less the lords of their domain in the public's eyes. With the great increase in players' salaries, and the advent of free agency, players were no longer at a manager's mercy.
Adapt or die.

Tony Cloninger
04-28-2007, 06:37 PM
When this team starts losing it's always the managers fault, for the most part.....especially if it is a manager who no one really likes.

So AG was ahead of AD despite being on a little tear. JN wants to get the offense going and Dunn is struggling. Is this not allowed beacuse it is a favorite of RZ? Do you think this is why the Reds lost?

WVRedsFan
04-28-2007, 08:44 PM
This post should be archived.
Great posts by both RFS62 and MWM.

Everything has changed so much since I first started watching baseball as a boy in the 60's. I can remember Fred Hutchinson ordering players to take on a 3-0 count. Every time. Times have changed. Pitchers used to finish a season with 12-10 complete games. No more. A good ERA was below 3.00 and a 4.00 was bad. You have to change with the times. Problem is that the paradeims have changed. And when you're heading toward your 6th decade, that's tough. I imagine that's some of what we're seeing in Cincinnati.

Yachtzee
04-28-2007, 08:49 PM
Gone are the days when a manager could rouse his charges with a hearty "Go get 'em, fellas, so that we can get out of here and bound some Budweisers."

GAC
04-29-2007, 05:38 AM
Sigh. I was NOT comparing them, other than to note that Dunn is the Reds' most run productive bat, and he was stuck behind Alex G last night. I am guessing the Giants did NOT shove their most productive bat behind an offensive black hole. Ever. There was no good excuse for that last night. On any level.

When an offensive is struggling as bad as the Reds have been, ANY managers will shuffle a lineup to play that "hot bat". Gonzo, not Dunn, is that hot bat right now. It's not about what have you done for me in the past; but what are you doing for me lately. Over the last week, here is what the two have down....


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG
Gonzalez 6 25 6 10 2 1 2 5 0 .400 .400 .800
Dunn 6 19 3 3 2 0 1 1 0 .158 .273 .421

And one can go back even farther with Dunn to the last 2 1/2 weeks. Since April 11th he has had 3 RBIs and 1 HR. That is totally UNACCEPTABLE.

As much of a fan as I am of Dunn - he needs to be kicked in the A$$ big time. He looks terrible at the plate.

And for the year so far?....


AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS OBP SLG OPS AVG
Gonzalez 76 8 24 4 1 2 9 5 11 0 0 .354 .474 .827 .316
Dunn 85 15 22 4 0 5 10 13 32 5 0 .357 .482 .839 .259

Is it likely to stay this way? Odds say it won't. But you play the hot bat. And if I was Dunn I'd be embarassed that the likes of a Gonzo is putting up similar production right now. Whose next? Castro?


Good post rfs.....

Many deride or downplay how important an "intangible" such as leadership is on a team/in that clubhouse. I'm talking about that player(s) who aren't afraid to call someone out who is making bonehead plays, costing games, and basically have their head up their collective butt.

Many would agree that Vaughn's leadership was very instrumental to this team in '99. Bob Hertzel's book "The Big Red Machine: The Inside Story of Baseball's Best Team" emphasized how important this was with the '75 Reds when they came out of the gate and stunk it up pretty bad due to poor/lackluster play.

It was the players who intervened in that clubhouse.

I don't see that on this team. They may all play and get along well like buddies, and maybe that is the problem - they are too chummy.They are afraid of hurting their pals feelings. And with some of the young players that we have on this team they need to see a Rose or Vaughn "type" personality in that clubhouse.

Friends don't let friends play "drunk". ;)

membengal
04-29-2007, 10:41 AM
GAC, someone said it elsewhere, but moving Alex G up AFTER he had a rare good game or two is the equivalent of a blackjack player chasing his bets after winning a few hands. Over the long haul, you put the guys in the spots where they are most likely to succeed. Alex G should NEVER hit fifth. For anyone.

RFS62
04-29-2007, 11:23 AM
GAC, someone said it elsewhere, but moving Alex G up AFTER he had a rare good game or two is the equivalent of a blackjack player chasing his bets after winning a few hands. Over the long haul, you put the guys in the spots where they are most likely to succeed. Alex G should NEVER hit fifth. For anyone.



No offense, but that blackjack analogy is simply terrible.

The Reds moved Alex up when they saw that he was locked in.

Look at his splits since St. Louis. He's been tearing the cover off the ball.

And stats aren't the only factor used to make these decisions. Very often a player can be raking but be BABIP unlucky. You're rarely playing exactly the way your numbers reflect. A .300 hitter doesn't always hit .300. He has hot and cold streaks. That's why advance scouting is so important. You want to know who's hot and who's not at the CURRENT TIME.

It's the difference between macro and micro evaluation. Both have their place. You have to take full advantage of the times when a player is hot to get the full effect of his abilities. That's one reason changing lineups around doesn't bother me much.

RANDY IN INDY
04-29-2007, 11:27 AM
Originally posted by RFS62:


No offense, but that blackjack analogy is simply terrible.


I would have to agree with that.

membengal
04-29-2007, 11:28 AM
It bothers me because it is once again the Reds miscasting a guy. I relaxed about Alex G's signing, after a fashion, because of the whole we're-getting-glove thing, but his signing should NOT have been a doorway to slot his bat in the middle of the line-up. Period. It's a bad spot for him, and they are now three days into a bad spot for him.

And I know this is the wrong thread to maintain that, since I am among the staunchest of Narron defenders, but this kind of move from him is exactly why I have such a hard time taking him seriously. For all the good he does (good repoire with players, the Hamilton thing), this kind of stuff drives me nuts on the other side of the ledger.

RANDY IN INDY
04-29-2007, 11:29 AM
That's one reason changing lineups around doesn't bother me much.:beerme:

Particularly when you don't have a consistently dominant type lineup that does all the right things regularly. This team has demonstrated early that it is anything but consistent. Play the hot hand.

membengal
04-29-2007, 11:31 AM
Ah, the "do the right things" cult. I yield. By all means, let's put a horrific OBP/OPS guy on balance 5th as punishment because of the "do the right things" alleged shortcomings of this team. Awesome.

Tony Cloninger
04-29-2007, 11:40 AM
No one is saying it should be or even will be a perm slot for AG......why do you think that? Just beacuse it is AG you are upset about it? If it was EE ...or Conine who got hot would you complain then?

Probably about Conine but not about EE?

So far this year...AG looks like a better OBP than we might have imagined...but this is April and it could pass in a few days....of course people will be posting to move him down after his first bad AB...or game.

Dunn seems to have these hot Aprils and then cools down...especially last year. This year he is already cooling down before April is out.

membengal
04-29-2007, 11:42 AM
It's not that it will be permanent, it's that it should not have happened once, much less three days running. I am saying that Gonzalez's bat, on balance, doesn't need to be in such a high leverage spot. Period. EE, Conine, Dunn, Phillips, whoever else, I don't care, just put Gonzalez at 7th and let him be who he is. But don't put him in spots where his general offensive inconsistency is magnified. Just don't.

pedro
04-29-2007, 11:51 AM
No offense, but that blackjack analogy is simply terrible.



I'm going to disagree with you, but not because I don't believe in "playing the hot hand", but that I think Narron changes the lineup so much that it all becomes meaningless. I don't think it's necessarily good for some players as well.

Tony Cloninger
04-29-2007, 12:03 PM
People talk about the black hole at 7-8-9...heck 6-7-8-9 are black holes this year...on this team.......I know i would rather have Phillips and Dunn switch...but you have to do something to end the bad back end of this hitting lineup.

It is the liek the back end of the reds rotation from 2001-2005.

Yachtzee
04-29-2007, 12:38 PM
No offense, but that blackjack analogy is simply terrible.

The Reds moved Alex up when they saw that he was locked in.

Look at his splits since St. Louis. He's been tearing the cover off the ball.

And stats aren't the only factor used to make these decisions. Very often a player can be raking but be BABIP unlucky. You're rarely playing exactly the way your numbers reflect. A .300 hitter doesn't always hit .300. He has hot and cold streaks. That's why advance scouting is so important. You want to know who's hot and who's not at the CURRENT TIME.

It's the difference between macro and micro evaluation. Both have their place. You have to take full advantage of the times when a player is hot to get the full effect of his abilities. That's one reason changing lineups around doesn't bother me much.

I didn't think the blackjack theory was all that bad. I think looking at splits and all are good. I have no problem with moving a guy up in the line up if he has a history of hitting a team or a particular pitcher well. I think it's good to adapt your lineup taking into consideration of whether you're facing a righty or a lefty.

However, I'm not a fan of moving a guy up just because he's got a "hot bat," especially if he's not normally a good hitter. I feel that when you do that, you are essentially reacting to short term results without considering likely future performance. If you move a guy up because he appears "locked in," how long do you keep him up there while he reverts back to his norm? Assuming guys hit in hot and cold cycles, by the time you realize someone has a "hot bat," he's already getting close to the high point in the cycle or else he has already started his decline back towards the mean.

GAC
04-29-2007, 01:09 PM
It's not that it will be permanent, it's that it should not have happened once, much less three days running. I am saying that Gonzalez's bat, on balance, doesn't need to be in such a high leverage spot. Period. EE, Conine, Dunn, Phillips, whoever else, I don't care, just put Gonzalez at 7th and let him be who he is. But don't put him in spots where his general offensive inconsistency is magnified. Just don't.

You're not making sense. You're saying "I don't care if he is hot or not. Historically he is a weak bat." So what? Right now, he is not displaying offensive inconsistency, but just the opposite. Therefore, a manager would be stupid to not only recognize that, but to also place that hitter, especially when your entire offense is struggling to produce runs, and even on a temporary basis, in that high leverage spot to take advantage of it. And the opposite has also been true....When a player slumps, and is having a hard time fighting his way out of it, managers have moved that guy down in the batting order on a temporary basis. Anything wrong with that? Currently, Dunn is the epitome of an inconsistent bat. He is not producing. It will change. That's why lineups aren't written in stone. ;)

But right now, I could care less if it's Gonzo, Castro, or Narron's mother, that is holding the hot bat. I'd rather see them in that upper part of the order, as long as they are producing, then EE right now, who has a .192 BA .272 OB% .205 SLG = .477 OPS.

Right now, EE is over matched IMO, and I don't think we need to be patient and leave him there to fight out of this thing. Why? It's costing us, and there are others who are producing. You play him every day to give him the ABs/experience; but move him down in the order until he starts to show signs he is coming out of it.

But it seems you're saying you'd go with a set lineup, etched in stone, unalterable ever, and "damn the torpedos, full speed ahead, regardless of the outcome."

GAC
04-29-2007, 01:19 PM
And MWM.... that was an excellent post. I just wish someone would explain to me, because it is always used in a negative way what connotates "old school"? If it's trying to manage the game today like 30-40 years ago, and beyond, then I would agree.

But sometimes I'd like to punch Michael Lewis in the mouth! :lol:

Yachtzee
04-29-2007, 01:42 PM
You're not making sense. You're saying "I don't care if he is hot or not. Historically he is a weak bat." So what? Right now, he is not displaying offensive inconsistency, but just the opposite. Therefore, a manager would be stupid to not only recognize that, but to also place that hitter, especially when your entire offense is struggling to produce runs, and even on a temporary basis, in that high leverage spot to take advantage of it. And the opposite has also been true....When a player slumps, and is having a hard time fighting his way out of it, managers have moved that guy down in the batting order on a temporary basis. Anything wrong with that? Currently, Dunn is the epitome of an inconsistent bat. He is not producing. It will change. That's why lineups aren't written in stone. ;)

But right now, I could care less if it's Gonzo, Castro, or Narron's mother, that is holding the hot bat. I'd rather see them in that upper part of the order, as long as they are producing, then EE right now, who has a .192 BA .272 OB% .205 SLG = .477 OPS.

Right now, EE is over matched IMO, and I don't think we need to be patient and leave him there to fight out of this thing. Why? It's costing us, and there are others who are producing. You play him every day to give him the ABs/experience; but move him down in the order until he starts to show signs he is coming out of it.

But it seems you're saying you'd go with a set lineup, etched in stone, unalterable ever, and "damn the torpedos, full speed ahead, regardless of the outcome."

But in order to take full advantage of "hot bats," doesn't it require a bit of clairvoyance to determine who's going to get hot and who's starting a slump? How do you know when a guy is about to cool off and when someone else is about to break out? Moving guys around based on who's hot and who's not seems like you're going to be behind the curve more often than not. I think if someone displays consistent results, move them up. However, if it's likely a guy is having a hot series, it's probably better to leave him where he is.

RANDY IN INDY
04-29-2007, 02:04 PM
Ah, the "do the right things" cult. I yield. By all means, let's put a horrific OBP/OPS guy on balance 5th as punishment because of the "do the right things" alleged shortcomings of this team. Awesome.

You don't get it. If he's hot, ride him till he's not and then put him back when he cools off. It's all about who is producing right now on a team that is struggling offensively. Sometimes you have to get out of the book and into what's really happening on the field. Is Gonzalez going to put up the numbers over the entire season. Very, very doubtful, but I certainly don't have a problem taking advantage of the production while it's there. Your crappy "cult" argument is nothing but a poor defense of a bad position.

RANDY IN INDY
04-29-2007, 02:06 PM
But in order to take full advantage of "hot bats," doesn't it require a bit of clairvoyance to determine who's going to get hot and who's starting a slump? How do you know when a guy is about to cool off and when someone else is about to break out? Moving guys around based on who's hot and who's not seems like you're going to be behind the curve more often than not. I think if someone displays consistent results, move them up. However, if it's likely a guy is having a hot series, it's probably better to leave him where he is.

I don't think you have to be to clairvoyant to see who is hot and who is not. It's pretty darn obvious. Right now, the way the Reds are hitting, I would rather have the hot bat getting the extra at bats than the ones that aren't.

membengal
04-29-2007, 03:36 PM
You don't get it. If he's hot, ride him till he's not and then put him back when he cools off. It's all about who is producing right now on a team that is struggling offensively. Sometimes you have to get out of the book and into what's really happening on the field. Is Gonzalez going to put up the numbers over the entire season. Very, very doubtful, but I certainly don't have a problem taking advantage of the production while it's there. Your crappy "cult" argument is nothing but a poor defense of a bad position.

You are the one who chirped the magic "do the right things" phrase.

And, no, I am not a fan of moving guys who are hot for the reasons Yachtzee related and others. Look, I am rooting like hell for Alex G, I have him on my fantasy team, I want him to hit 20 homeruns this year. Heck I think he can. But I would rather he do it from the seven hole, where his historical (based on MANY at-bats) low OBP does the least damage and his power might do the most good. That's all.

But, hey, if my railing on the move jinxes him to more homeruns, like today, fine by me.

RFS62
04-29-2007, 03:59 PM
However, I'm not a fan of moving a guy up just because he's got a "hot bat," especially if he's not normally a good hitter. I feel that when you do that, you are essentially reacting to short term results without considering likely future performance. If you move a guy up because he appears "locked in," how long do you keep him up there while he reverts back to his norm? Assuming guys hit in hot and cold cycles, by the time you realize someone has a "hot bat," he's already getting close to the high point in the cycle or else he has already started his decline back towards the mean.



I understand everyone's problem with the "hot hand" approach.

But if you didn't look at it this way, what would be the point of advance scouting?

It's the perfect example of the micro vs. macro argument. Long term stats are perfect for the macro. They are much more important in analyzing personnel moves. But every player has ups and downs, injuries and hot streaks throughout the season. And on top of the short term stats, the coaching staff is watching Alex's stroke, and it's not hard to see he's raking. Will it last forever? Probably not. But let's maximize the return while we can.

Making these kind of subjective judgments, in concert with an understanding of stats, that's what the smart teams do.

Sabrmetrics tells us in no uncertain terms that lineup construction doesn't matter. I don't agree with that, and I do believe that certain players are better suited for different slots in the lineup, especially if you are expecting your number two hitter to move runners over by either bunting or hitting it on the ground to the right side. I'm not pushing that approach either. Just commenting on how different game plans require different skill sets.

Yachtzee
04-29-2007, 04:44 PM
I understand everyone's problem with the "hot hand" approach.

But if you didn't look at it this way, what would be the point of advance scouting?

It's the perfect example of the micro vs. macro argument. Long term stats are perfect for the macro. They are much more important in analyzing personnel moves. But every player has ups and downs, injuries and hot streaks throughout the season. And on top of the short term stats, the coaching staff is watching Alex's stroke, and it's not hard to see he's raking. Will it last forever? Probably not. But let's maximize the return while we can.

Making these kind of subjective judgments, in concert with an understanding of stats, that's what the smart teams do.

Sabrmetrics tells us in no uncertain terms that lineup construction doesn't matter. I don't agree with that, and I do believe that certain players are better suited for different slots in the lineup, especially if you are expecting your number two hitter to move runners over by either bunting or hitting it on the ground to the right side. I'm not pushing that approach either. Just commenting on how different game plans require different skill sets.

I agree with what you say for the most part. If a guy genuinely appears to have figured things out with his swing and plate approach, that's something to take into account. However if a guy is doing the same things he has always done and is just getting lucky, I think it's folly to reorganize the lineup around luck. A guy who seems dialed in today could put on the "golden sombrero" tomorrow.

Personally, I think lineups should be organized around OBP. Guys with good OBP should bat at the top of the lineup because a high OBP shows that they're good at not making outs. On one level, it means they're getting on base. But it also means that if someone is on base ahead of them, they could also be moving the runner over and not making outs. I want these guys to get the most ABs in a game. Guys with lower OBP, I'm probably going to bat lower in the order. I might actually ask them to lay down a bunt or something like that because I'm not as certain they'll get on base, I might be more willing to give up an out in order to move a runner over. But I'm fine if a manager takes micro decisions into account, as long as those decisions are based on some real information and not just because a guy is getting lucky for a week with his hits falling in.

GAC
04-29-2007, 09:06 PM
But in order to take full advantage of "hot bats," doesn't it require a bit of clairvoyance to determine who's going to get hot and who's starting a slump? How do you know when a guy is about to cool off and when someone else is about to break out?

Solid statement. I base it mainly on the fact that when your entire team, offensively, is struggling like the Reds have been doing this first month of the season, it's not an uncommon practice for any manager to "shake it up" when it comes to the batting order to try and get a lethargic offense going. After 4 weeks it's not hard for a manager to see, when looking at one's statistics, as well as watching them at the plate, who is struggling and possibly in a slump, as well as who looks as if they are coming out of it.

No, it's not a scientific approach. Not every decision in the game of baseball (during a game) has to be based on science. Call it playing a hunch based on observation I guess. But if I see that someone, as rfs mentioned earlier, appears to be "zoned in" - and it could be a guy who is normally a .240 hitter - then I'm gonna try to maximize that, even on a temporary basis.

When EE first came up, didn't he bat in the lower part of the batting order? And didn't some suggest that is where Hamilton should also start out? Why? Due to their youth and inexperience people didn't want to immediately see their feet thrown into the fire in a high pressure situation where one is required to produce.

It's just not uncommon for a manager to use that bottom half of the batting order, where there isn't that pressure, to help a struggling/slumping player. And the opposite is also true when a player gets hot, while someone in that top slot is slumping.

I've really been watching EE over the last week. His plate approach is looking much better. He was still making outs, but he was also making solid contact on the ball. His timing has looked much better. I personally felt things were gonna start to fall in for him. Again, it's not scientific, just based on observation.

But hasn't it also been said somewhere, and even discussed on this forum, that when it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter WHERE one bats in the lineup? Maybe that is a subject matter for another thread topic? ;)

Yachtzee
04-29-2007, 09:41 PM
Solid statement. I base it mainly on the fact that when your entire team, offensively, is struggling like the Reds have been doing this first month of the season, it's not an uncommon practice for any manager to "shake it up" when it comes to the batting order to try and get a lethargic offense going. After 4 weeks it's not hard for a manager to see, when looking at one's statistics, as well as watching them at the plate, who is struggling and possibly in a slump, as well as who looks as if they are coming out of it.

No, it's not a scientific approach. Not every decision in the game of baseball (during a game) has to be based on science. Call it a hunch I guess. But if I see that someone, as rfs mentioned earlier, appears to be "zoned in" - and it could be a guy who is normally a .240 hitter - then I'm gonna try to maximize that, even on a temporary basis.

When EE first came up, didn't he bat in the lower part of the batting order? And didn't some suggest that is where Hamilton should also start out? Why? Due to their youth and inexperience people didn't want to immediately see their feet thrown into the fire in a high pressure situation where one is required to produce.

It's just not uncommon for a manager to use that bottom half of the batting order, where there isn't that pressure, to help a struggling/slumping player. And the opposite is also true when a player gets hot, while someone in that top slot is slumping.

But hasn't it also been said somewhere, and even discussed on this forum, that when it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter WHERE one bats in the lineup?

Those are things to be taken into consideration, sure. I might drop Encarnacion down in the batting order because he's just having a real hard time. I don't get to watch the Reds on TV, so I don't really know if Gonzalez is doing better because he's being more patient or has changed his stance to close a hole in his swing or something, but based on what he's doing right now vs. his usual self, I have to feel he won't keep this up much longer. Meanwhile, some of the other guys who are slumping right now are likely to turn things around. When do you drop Gonzalez back down? And if dropping the cold bats is the way to go, why not bat Freel 7th or 8th? He's been just as much an out machine as Encarnacion lately.

I think that it has been said that where one bats in the lineup is used in the context that ordering a lineup so that you have a light hitting on base guy first, a bunter/slap hitter "move 'em over" type second, and power hitters 3rd and 4th really only matters in the first trip through the lineup. If that's the case, I look at lineups from the perspective of conserving outs. I want guys who get on base and don't make outs up top because they'll come to the plate more often. If they get on base, that keeps the inning alive, scores runs, sets the table for guys down the line up, and wears down the pitcher faster. I put out-machines in the lower half of the lineup because I want to score as many runs as I can before one of these guys has to bunt a guy over or grounds into a double play. That's the general philosophy. Do I modify it based on short term considerations? Yes. But I resist the temptation to drop guys who get on base and hit for power down in the lower half of the lineup because of a slump. There are other candidates on this team who are slumping just as bad, if not worse, than Adam Dunn who should be batting lower in the order in favor of Gonzalez.

Marc D
04-29-2007, 11:05 PM
I made the analogy to chasing in a game thread but it wasn't blackjack, it was poker. Chasing in poker is a much more accurate analogy than chasing in gambling imo.

When certain people hit a losing streak, they start making bad plays based on their gut that go completely against the all too well known odds (chasing). You often here phrases like "I'm due" or "I'm feeling lucky". They chase draws because they "feel" they'l get the card they need etc. It works in the short term every now and then, never in the long term

In baseball terms its putting a well known low OBP player like Gonzalez in an impact lineup spot while he's "hot" and hoping you'll be able to spot the trend quick enough when he cools off. If he takes an 0 for 5 on Tuesday has he cooled off or do you bat him 5th again? If he has another bad night how long untill you "know" he's cooled off? How many runs does it cost untill we find out? Then you move him and he goes 4 for 4, is he hot again? How long untill you "know"?

I believe you take your best players based mostly on OBP and hit them in the same spot for long periods of time letting the odds work in your favor. I have more faith in big numbers than JN's gut or clairvoyance.

That said, I agree with the SABR guys who say lineups don't really matter so its really a moot point from a production point of view. It does however, give insight into the mental makeup of our manager.

RANDY IN INDY
04-30-2007, 07:57 AM
You are the one who chirped the magic "do the right things" phrase.


Yes, and sometimes, that just involves hitting the baseball solidly for hits, or driving in a run or two with men in scoring position. Doing the right things does not always involve the "small ball" theory that some of you roll out every time that you hear the phrase.

M2
04-30-2007, 09:32 AM
Assuming guys hit in hot and cold cycles, by the time you realize someone has a "hot bat," he's already getting close to the high point in the cycle or else he has already started his decline back towards the mean.

Exactly. You're always chasing your tail with the "hot hand" approach. The idea should be to get ahead of the curve, not behind it.

RANDY IN INDY
04-30-2007, 10:42 AM
Exactly. You're always chasing your tail with the "hot hand" approach. The idea should be to get ahead of the curve, not behind it.

While I agree with you to some degree, it hasn't seemed to hurt the Reds with the way they have used Gonzalez during his "hot" streak. Guys can look great in BP and look awful in the game. I don't know how you can really have the clairvoyance to tell who is going to get hot. There might be some indicators, such as hitting the ball solidly into hard luck outs, but with that said, that is pretty much the same indicator as a guy hitting the ball hard and getting 3 hits in a game. Still behind the curve. Maybe certain players have had past success against certain pitchers. Maybe some players can be used against a string of righthanders or lefthanders. There are just a whole lot of "maybe's" when trying to predict a hot streak.

If a team is getting consistent and solid production out of its regular batting order, I would not advocate moving a lower tier hitter into a higher role, but when you have struggled to score runs like the Reds have so far, I don't really see a problem with changing it up a little and riding the hot hand. As said before, it certainly hasn't hurt the Reds with the way they have rode Gonzalez during his streak.

M2
04-30-2007, 01:59 PM
While I agree with you to some degree, it hasn't seemed to hurt the Reds with the way they have used Gonzalez during his "hot" streak. Guys can look great in BP and look awful in the game. I don't know how you can really have the clairvoyance to tell who is going to get hot.

Essentially you can't. That's why it generally makes more sense to understand your hitter's strengths and weaknesses over the long haul, to understand the matchups that present themselves in that particular game. Attempting to divine the "hot hand" on a consistent basis is a losing strategy, something that will undermine your lineup by causing you to put the wrong people in the wrong place.

As much as Gonzalez in the #5 slot has worked the past two days, I'll go back to what Yachtzee said earlier, does this mean we'll have to endure two weeks of him flailing in that spot before Narron remembers he's a #8 hitter at heart?

Very few managers have the Casey Stengel instinct to abandon something that's working before it peters out.

RANDY IN INDY
04-30-2007, 02:20 PM
As much as Gonzalez in the #5 slot has worked the past two days, I'll go back to what Yachtzee said earlier, does this mean we'll have to endure two weeks of him flailing in that spot before Narron remembers he's a #8 hitter at heart?

I don't have the clairvoyance to know if Jerry will do that or not.;)

GAC
04-30-2007, 09:30 PM
As much as Gonzalez in the #5 slot has worked the past two days, I'll go back to what Yachtzee said earlier, does this mean we'll have to endure two weeks of him flailing in that spot before Narron remembers he's a #8 hitter at heart?

As long as he keeps flailing away and putting up these numbers....led the NL with 13 hits and 26 total bases, while batting .520 (13-for-25) in the past six games. Right now, he's not hitting like a #8 hitter.

RANDY IN INDY
04-30-2007, 09:41 PM
Doesn't matter.;)