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BRM
03-06-2008, 11:12 AM
RedsZone will absolutely love this.

Per Fay:



Dusty Baker wants his hitters to hit. He likes aggressive hitters. He was talking about Joey Votto and finished with this:

“I really, really hate the called third strike. I hate that. You're guess and you ain't ready to hit.”

Does the aggressive stuff go for Adam Dunn, too? “Like I said, I don't like called third strikes. Dunn’s not a kid. He's not old, but he ain't a kid. I bet you he gets better. He's from Texas, right. There’s not a cow in Texas if he don’t get better.”

“He wants to get better. Barry Bonds he always told me Dunn would be one of the best around. Comes to hitting, Barry’s got a pretty good idea.”

On Votto: “He needs to swing some more. I talked to him about that. Strikeouts aren't the only criteria. I'd like to see him more aggressive.”

“A lot of this on-base percentage is taking away the aggressiveness of some young kids. Most of the time you’ve got to put handcuffs on a young to keep him from swinging.”

mbgrayson
03-06-2008, 11:14 AM
Dusty on Votto, Dunn and aggressiveness




Dusty Baker wants his hitters to hit. He likes aggressive hitters. He was talking about Joey Votto and finished with this:

“I really, really hate the called third strike. I hate that. You're guess and you ain't ready to hit.”

Does the aggressive stuff go for Adam Dunn, too? “Like I said, I don't like called third strikes. Dunn’s not a kid. He's not old, but he ain't a kid. I bet you he gets better. He's from Texas, right. There’s not a cow in Texas if he don’t get better.”

“He wants to get better. Barry Bonds he always told me Dunn would be one of the best around. Comes to hitting, Barry’s got a pretty good idea.”

On Votto: “He needs to swing some more. I talked to him about that. Strikeouts aren't the only criteria. I'd like to see him more aggressive.”

“A lot of this on-base percentage is taking away the aggressiveness of some young kids. Most of the time you’ve got to put handcuffs on a young to keep him from swinging.”

Dusty is just nuts. There is a clear correlation to between OBP and runs scored. In 2007, the Phils were #1 in OBP and #1 in runs scored. The Reds were 8th in OBP, and 7th in runs scored. The Astros were 10th in OBP, and 13th in runs scored. Arizona was 16th in OBP, and 14th in runs scored. Etc....

Chip R
03-06-2008, 11:18 AM
"There's not a cow in Texas if he don't get better." What in the world does that mean?

redsfan30
03-06-2008, 11:19 AM
Take cover....

:help:

M2
03-06-2008, 11:24 AM
I think what Dusty is trying to say, in clumsy fashion, is don't watch strike three sail by you. I suspect we all agree with that. If you can incorporate that with "don't swing at bad pitches" that's fine. Where you can get into trouble is when a hitter, especially a young guy like Votto, takes that advice as a call to reconstruct himself and he begins swinging at bad pitches.

Team Clark
03-06-2008, 11:29 AM
Dusty is just nuts. There is a clear correlation to between OBP and runs scored. In 2007, the Phils were #1 in OBP and #1 in runs scored. The Reds were 8th in OBP, and 7th in runs scored. The Astros were 10th in OBP, and 13th in runs scored. Arizona was 16th in OBP, and 14th in runs scored. Etc....

Two sides to that. I agree that OBP is extrmely valuable and obviously leads to runs scored. HOWEVER, in Votto's case I don't want him at the plate guessing and taking very hittable pitches just to work a count. Possibly striking out. (Maybe if you are leading off an inning, it's a new pitcher, etc.) If it's a tie game the winning run is on 3rd and there's none or 1 out you need to try and put a good swing on a strike. Especially a hitter like Votto. Castro maybe a different strategy.

Team Clark
03-06-2008, 11:30 AM
"There's not a cow in Texas if he don't get better." What in the world does that mean?

From now on I am just calling those types of quotes from Dusty.... "Dusty Speak". :D

redsmetz
03-06-2008, 11:31 AM
"There's not a cow in Texas if he don't get better." What in the world does that mean?

He's guaranteeing that Dunn will get better. Cows in Texas are a given - he's saying it's a given that Dunn will become an even better hitter. That certainly will be open to debate, but that's what he's saying.

mbgrayson
03-06-2008, 11:38 AM
Two sides to that. I agree that OBP is extrmely valuable and obviously leads to runs scored. HOWEVER, in Votto's case I don't want him at the plate guessing and taking very hittable pitches just to work a count. Possibly striking out. (Maybe if you are leading off an inning, it's a new pitcher, etc.) If it's a tie game the winning run is on 3rd and there's none or 1 out you need to try and put a good swing on a strike. Especially a hitter like Votto. Castro maybe a different strategy.

Quite true. Strategy is indeed situational.

However, Dusty has been critical of OBP way too many times to have been simply misunderstood. His record of batting .300 OBP guys at the top of the order is well established. What he is saying is NOT just situational, but Dusty's Golden Rule 'Thall shalt always swing away and not worry about walks or OBP.'

Blitz Dorsey
03-06-2008, 11:40 AM
I like the "cow in Texas" quote. I would have preferred something like "If Dunner don't get better, there ain't no syringes in Barry Bonds' basement" but it's early in the season. I think Dusty's interesting quotes can and will get even better. He will keep us entertained all year. And I can't wait for the "we're winning in spite of Dusty" threads.

RANDY IN INDY
03-06-2008, 11:42 AM
think what Dusty is trying to say, in clumsy fashion, is don't watch strike three sail by you. I suspect we all agree with that. If you can incorporate that with "don't swing at bad pitches" that's fine. Where you can get into trouble is when a hitter, especially a young guy like Votto, takes that advice as a call to reconstruct himself and he begins swinging at bad pitches.

:beerme:


Two sides to that. I agree that OBP is extrmely valuable and obviously leads to runs scored. HOWEVER, in Votto's case I don't want him at the plate guessing and taking very hittable pitches just to work a count. Possibly striking out. (Maybe if you are leading off an inning, it's a new pitcher, etc.) If it's a tie game the winning run is on 3rd and there's none or 1 out you need to try and put a good swing on a strike. Especially a hitter like Votto. Castro maybe a different strategy.

:beerme:

WMR
03-06-2008, 11:44 AM
What about the "we're losing because of Dusty" threads?

IslandRed
03-06-2008, 11:44 AM
I think what Dusty is trying to say, in clumsy fashion, is don't watch strike three sail by you. I suspect we all agree with that. If you can incorporate that with "don't swing at bad pitches" that's fine. Where you can get into trouble is when a hitter, especially a young guy like Votto, takes that advice as a call to reconstruct himself and he begins swinging at bad pitches.

Yeah... my sense is that he was talking about process and not outcome. Despite all his reactionary comments about OBP, he didn't have a problem with all those walks Barry Bonds drew when he managing the Giants. But clearly, he doesn't like emphasizing the "take" in "take and rake" to the point where hitters are passing up hittable pitches or not protecting the plate with two strikes. Maybe he's right, maybe he isn't, but as long as he's not telling them to swing at junk because walks are bad...

westofyou
03-06-2008, 11:44 AM
I think what Dusty is trying to say, in clumsy fashion, is don't watch strike three sail by you. I suspect we all agree with that. If you can incorporate that with "don't swing at bad pitches" that's fine. Where you can get into trouble is when a hitter, especially a young guy like Votto, takes that advice as a call to reconstruct himself and he begins swinging at bad pitches.

Yep, Dusty was spinning this same stuff in the Giants camp when he first showed up, mostly addressing Willie McGees approach as what he liked, guys that hit the ball more than they miss it.

Well Dusty the batting coach needs to remember that not everyone has the same approach and that not everyone will have success with the approach he espouses.

But being aggressive doesn't mean swinging at out of the zone pitches like Vlad either... Dusty knows THAT.

WMR
03-06-2008, 11:45 AM
I bet Brandon Phillips will give Dusty multiple orgasms this year with his GIDPs.

Chip R
03-06-2008, 11:47 AM
What about the "we're losing because of Dusty" threads?


Those will be the game threads. ;)

RedsManRick
03-06-2008, 11:48 AM
Apparently Dusty still thinks that guys go up there looking to walk. Getting guys to swing at stuff they can & should hit is great. Getting guys to swing at stuff they can't is a recipe for disaster. It's going to be a long season.

Team Clark
03-06-2008, 11:51 AM
I bet Brandon Phillips will give Dusty multiple orgasms this year with his GIDPs.

I was just thinking that today. Phillips is a very good player but he too is young and is still learning his zone. You have to learn what pitches you can handle, drive and take. Brandon swings out of his zone to try and make things happen a lot more than I would like. It is part of the learning process though and I'm not 100% against that for a player who is continuing to show progress. He certainly fits Dusty's mold.

I forsee Dunn leading off the 2nd inning a lot with Phillips or Jr. hitting 3rd.

Team Clark
03-06-2008, 11:55 AM
Apparently Dusty still thinks that guys go up there looking to walk. Getting guys to swing at stuff they can & should hit is great. Getting guys to swing at stuff they can't is a recipe for disaster. It's going to be a long season.

I believe and always will that there are plenty of guys that do go up to the plate looking for a walk. I think Dunn gets into that mold when he's struggling. I'd venture to say almost every Major Leaguer has done that at one time or another. I have yet to hear Dusty say "chase pitches 'cause you never know what is going to happen".

lollipopcurve
03-06-2008, 11:59 AM
Go back and look at Baker's walk rates as a hitter. They're very solid. Some years he walked more than he struck out.

Agree with WOY, though, on the point that not all hitters can work with the same approach. Will be interesting to see how Votto reacts -- it seems Baker has subjected him to some instant tutelage (what with the visit from Billy DeMars), and it strikes me as a little soon.

camisadelgolf
03-06-2008, 12:08 PM
When it comes to Dunn, I think being more aggressive actually would help him.

Kc61
03-06-2008, 12:14 PM
I think Dusty is talking about approach at the plate.

He doesn't want a young hitter so hung up on walks and OBP that he is afraid to swing.

Similarly, a young pitcher shouldn't be so afraid to walk a batter that he grooves too many pitches.

Good OBP should come from solid plate judgment, not from paralysis at the plate.

nate
03-06-2008, 12:17 PM
I think Dusty is talking about approach at the plate.

He doesn't want a young hitter so hung up on walks and OBP that he is afraid to swing.

He doesn't want a young pitcher so afraid to walk a batter that he grooves too many pitches.

Good OBP should come from solid plate judgment, not from paralysis at the plate.

That's pretty much what I got out of it. Not that he hates OBP.

flyer85
03-06-2008, 12:31 PM
He doesn't want a young hitter so hung up on walks and OBP that he is afraid to swing.I haven't seen any young Reds hitter with that problem. The problem is almost always a young guy up there hacking at everything.

RANDY IN INDY
03-06-2008, 12:39 PM
Getting guys to swing at stuff they can't is a recipe for disaster.

Haven't seen too many folks pushing that program on anyone.

M2
03-06-2008, 12:55 PM
Haven't seen too many folks pushing that program on anyone.

Bob Boone, Tom Robson, Dave Miley and Jerry Narron excepted.

RANDY IN INDY
03-06-2008, 12:56 PM
In all my years around baseball, I have never heard anyone tell hitters to swing at bad pitches that they can't handle.

M2
03-06-2008, 01:04 PM
In all my years around baseball, I have never heard anyone tell hitters to swing at bad pitches that they can't handle.

Yet that's what recent Reds management has done. Boone/Robson were the most egregious offenders. Chris Chambliss innoculated against many of the hare-brained tendencies of Miley and Narron, but they still went on record as urging hitters to expand the strike zone, even early in the count.

What's set Baker apart, historically, is that he's alway been pretty good about getting hitters to be aggressive in their zone and to lay off pitches outside of it. I think that's what he's trying to do with Votto and Dunn and, if so, I'm for it.

red-in-la
03-06-2008, 01:08 PM
Take cover....

:help:

:thumbup:

RedsManRick
03-06-2008, 01:16 PM
In all my years around baseball, I have never heard anyone tell hitters to swing at bad pitches that they can't handle.

I'm more worried about what is heard as I am about what is said.

Screwball
03-06-2008, 01:33 PM
Baker's quote reminds me of a mock prediction I read a while back on the Reds' upcoming season, as far as moves Dusty Baker makes. Here are some highlights (keep in mind this is tongue in cheek):



5-20-08 - Dunn ordered to swing at every pitch he sees.

6-16-08 - Dunn strikes out 5 times on 18 pitches, swinging at each one. Has 130 strikeouts on the year.

9-2-08 - Dunn, who has swung at 320 consecutive pitches, hits his 80th home run while striking out for the 250th time in a win against the Pirates.

9-22-08 - In a tight race with the Cubs for the division title, Baker orders Dunn, who has been intentionally walked 30 times this year, to swing at intentional balls as well.

10-1-08 - The Reds play the Cubs at Wrigley in a one-game playoff to determine the sole NL Central representative in the playoffs. After 9 innings, the score is tied at 2, the Reds’ infield is 0-14 with 2 sacrifice bunts. Dunn, playing in game 163, hits his 100th and 101st home runs of the regular season, but strikes out four times on four efforts to intentionally walk him, bringing his strikeout total to 372. In the bottom of the tenth, Aramis Ramirez, noticing that Homer Bailey’s arm appears to be visibily throbbing and glowing a strange orange, smartly bunts a ball back towards Bailey’s right. Bailey grabs it, fires to first, with his arm detaching from its socket. With arm and ball alike traveling towards Hatteberg, Ramirez is able to beat the throw.


http://mvn.com/mlb-cubs/2007/10/14/2008-cincinatti-reds-year-in-review/

George Anderson
03-06-2008, 01:55 PM
Wasn't it Dan O that mandated that every player in farm system take till they got the first strike?

I like Dusty's approach better.

edabbs44
03-06-2008, 02:04 PM
I think everyone is overreacting to what Dusty says. He didn't say OBP is bad and that he'd rather have people make outs than get on base.

I'm sure if the Reds are playing Naughty by Nature at the ballpark someone will swear they heard Dusty saying "Down with OBP".

RANDY IN INDY
03-06-2008, 02:06 PM
I'm more worried about what is heard as I am about what is said.

I think people hear what they want to hear.

VR
03-06-2008, 02:18 PM
Adam improved quite a bit last year when behind in the count, I think that's most of what it boils down to. Take advantage of the hitter's counts, take what you can get in the pitcher's counts.

SunDeck
03-06-2008, 02:47 PM
He's guaranteeing that Dunn will get better. Cows in Texas are a given - he's saying it's a given that Dunn will become an even better hitter. That certainly will be open to debate, but that's what he's saying.

He should have said steers. Wisconsin is the state with all the cows...

I think he did take a swipe at the people who would defend a high strike out, high OPS guy like Dunn. And to that extent, I think he is wrong. It's pretty simple- the more people you put on base, the more runs you will score.

However, watching the third strike pass by as opposed to fouling off that close pitch to make the pitcher throw you another one are two very different things. I can get behind the frustration with a guy who watches third strikes a lot. It's not that I need to see him put the ball in play necessarily; I just don't want him to take a seat because he didn't protect the plate and make the pitcher work for that last strike.

KronoRed
03-06-2008, 02:57 PM
I bet Brandon Phillips will give Dusty multiple orgasms this year with his GIDPs.

You assume those darn base cloggers will be on base in front of Brandon ;)

redsmetz
03-06-2008, 03:00 PM
He should have said steers. Wisconsin is the state with all the cows...

You forget, Dusty's a California guy - cows, steers, whatever, dude.

Team Clark
03-06-2008, 03:16 PM
I think people hear what they want to hear.

I can imagine that a simple game of "telephone" played out on Redszone would be abysmal. :D

westofyou
03-06-2008, 03:23 PM
You forget, Dusty's a California guy - cows, steers, whatever, dude.

Dusty's from Sacramento, they have more cows in the central valley then all of Ohio and Indiana.
He's seen em trust me... you can't drive down I5 without smelling em.

redsmetz
03-06-2008, 03:26 PM
Dusty's from Sacramento, they have more cows in the central valley then all of Ohio and Indiana.
He's seen em trust me... you can't drive down I5 without smelling em.

LOL - point taken.

VR
03-06-2008, 03:44 PM
Dusty's from Sacramento, they have more cows in the central valley then all of Ohio and Indiana.
He's seen em trust me... you can't drive down I5 without smelling em.


mmmm Harris Ranch

Highlifeman21
03-06-2008, 05:25 PM
"There's not a cow in Texas if he don't get better." What in the world does that mean?

I think it means there are plenty of cows in Texas, so Dunn should get better.

I'm not 100% up to speed on my Dusty-speak quite yet.

RedsManRick
03-06-2008, 05:29 PM
"There's not a cow in Texas if he don't get better." What in the world does that mean?

Statement: B (There's not a cow in Texas) if not A (Dunn improves).

Known: Not B (There are cows in Texas)

Conclusion: Therefore A (Dunn improves)

It's a really backwards way of saying, "Dunn will improve. It's a fact."

redsmetz
03-06-2008, 05:49 PM
Statement: B (There's not a cow in Texas) if not A (Dunn improves).

Known: Not B (There are cows in Texas)

Conclusion: Therefore A (Dunn improves)

It's a really backwards way of saying, "Dunn will improve. It's a fact."

Oh my goodness, I've landed back in a Logic class from college!

lollipopcurve
03-06-2008, 05:54 PM
"There's not a cow in Texas if he don't get better."

Cool. Quotable.


"Dunn will improve. It's a fact."

10-4.

mbgrayson
03-06-2008, 06:41 PM
I think everyone is overreacting to what Dusty says. He didn't say OBP is bad and that he'd rather have people make outs than get on base"


On Votto: “He needs to swing some more. I talked to him about that. Strikeouts aren't the only criteria. I'd like to see him more aggressive.....A lot of this on-base percentage is taking away the aggressiveness of some young kids. Most of the time you’ve got to put handcuffs on a young to keep him from swinging.”

This can be added to old Dusty stuff from the Cubs days:


Baker's philosphy on walks/OBP from a 2004 Cubs Chronicle blog posting (http://www.cubschronicle.com/wp/posts/2004/03/10/dusty-baker-on-walks/):

Quote:
Dusty Baker on Walks
Filed under: Coaching Staff— steffens @ 10:24 pm Edit This
There’s nothing to be surprised about, but here’s Dusty Baker ruminating about why the Cubs haven’t taken many bases on balls yet this spring, as quoted by MLB.com:


“No. 1, I’ve let most guys hit 3-0 (in the count). That’s one reason. . . . I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and can’t run, most of the time he’s clogging up the bases for somebody who can run.”

Are singles then overrated unless you can run?

More Baker:

“Who have been the champions the last seven, eight years? Have you ever heard the Yankees talk about on-base percentage and walks? . . . Walks help. They do help. But you aren’t going to walk across the plate, you’re going to hit across the plate. That’s the school I come from.”

Mr. Baker, meet Google, which turns up this AP article from 2002, which quotes Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman as saying: “It’s just practical. If you want to score runs, you need to get guys on base. The best way to measure that is on-base percentage, because batting average can be very deceiving.”

There’s also this small fact: Over the last eight years, the Yankees have finished 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 1st, and 2nd in OBP% in the American League.

It’s one thing to say that’s not the school you came from. It’s another to say that’s not the school anyone else came from either.

And finally:

“Everybody can’t hit with two strikes, everybody can’t walk,” Baker said. “You’re taking away some of the aggressiveness of a kid if you’re telling him to go up there and try to work for a walk. . . . It’s like when I see kids in Little League and they make the small kids go up there and try to get a walk. That’s not any fun. . . . Do you ever see the top 10 walking (rankings)? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk, but the name of the game is to hit.”
Or this one from the Nov. 2006 from the Chicago Sun-Times (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/is_20061109/ai_n16850256):

Quote:
On-base percentage had been overlooked by the Cubs during the Dusty Baker era, but it should become a key weapon under new hitting coach Gerald Perry........The Cubs had a .319 on-base percentage last season, putting them last in the National League and ahead of only the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (.314) in the majors.
No one is claiming that Dusty would rather see an out than a walk, but he clearly doesn't get the correlation between team OBP and scoring runs....

gm
03-06-2008, 06:44 PM
Dusty's from Sacramento, they have more cows in the central valley then all of Ohio and Indiana.
He's seen em trust me... you can't drive down I5 without smelling em.

What do they do? Breed cattle and send the cows to WI and the steers to TX?

RichRed
03-06-2008, 06:59 PM
This can be added to old Dusty stuff from the Cubs days:


No one is claiming that Dusty would rather see an out than a walk, but he clearly doesn't get the correlation between team OBP and scoring runs....

Right. And from the quotes I've seen from Dusty, some of which you've listed here, it seems that he thinks OBP = walks. I don't think he understands what OBP truly measures - that a single counts toward OBP too, for example.

WMR
03-06-2008, 07:12 PM
I bet Dusty and Joe Morgan would have a helluva time slapping each other on the back telling the other how right they are.

edabbs44
03-06-2008, 07:15 PM
No one is claiming that Dusty would rather see an out than a walk, but he clearly doesn't get the correlation between team OBP and scoring runs....

I was just responding to what he said in that exact quote.

The previous quote was from 2004...maybe he's learned something in the last 4 years?

westofyou
03-06-2008, 07:22 PM
Dusty said this about Willie McGee in 1993, "I don't care if he walks a lot, that's not Willies game, let his batting be the thing that feeds his on base percentage."

edabbs44
03-06-2008, 07:30 PM
Dusty said this about Willie McGee in 1993, "I don't care if he walks a lot, that's not Willies game, let his batting be the thing that feeds his on base percentage."

Maybe he's learned something in 15 years?

RedsManRick
03-06-2008, 07:34 PM
Maybe he's learned something in 15 years?

Maybe he has. But most of the quotes we've seen from Dusty recently would suggest otherwise.

edabbs44
03-06-2008, 07:34 PM
This was a nice quote.


There’s also this small fact: Over the last eight years, the Yankees have finished 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 1st, and 2nd in OBP% in the American League.

But I could make this statement as well.


There’s also this small fact: Over the last eight years, the Yankees have finished 1, 3, 4, 2, 4, 2, 7, 6 in SLG% in the American League.

edabbs44
03-06-2008, 07:36 PM
Maybe he has. But most of the quotes we've seen from Dusty recently would suggest otherwise.

Until he benches someone for walking too much and not making enough outs, I think everyone is overreacting a bit. He wants some of these guys to swing a little more? I'm in. Just swing at more strikes and everyone will be ok.

WMR
03-06-2008, 07:36 PM
Maybe he has. But most of the quotes we've seen from Dusty recently would suggest otherwise.

Someone show me a quote that demonstrates he's learned a single damn thing...

Chip R
03-06-2008, 08:00 PM
I was just responding to what he said in that exact quote.

The previous quote was from 2004...maybe he's learned something in the last 4 years?


Usually people learn from failure. A basketball player misses a jump shot. He failed at that and he has to ask himself why he didn't make that shot. Maybe he didn't follow through or maybe he was hurried or maybe he didn't jump high enough. Next time out he corrects that flaw and if e makes the shot, he should now realize what he needs to do to be successful. But he admitted to himself that he failed and took the appropriate action(s) to rectify that failure.

You could say Dusty failed in CHI. If you look at his final season there, you could certainly make a case for that. But if you read his quotes he doesn't believe he failed there. He claims bad luck and injuries and other problems led to the Cubs finishing in the cellar that year. Maybe he's right because they certainly rebounded last year. But if he doesn't believe he failed there, I don't know why he would change his philosophy.

jojo
03-06-2008, 08:07 PM
Usually people learn from failure. A basketball player misses a jump shot. He failed at that and he has to ask himself why he didn't make that shot. Maybe he didn't follow through or maybe he was hurried or maybe he didn't jump high enough. Next time out he corrects that flaw and if e makes the shot, he should now realize what he needs to do to be successful. But he admitted to himself that he failed and took the appropriate action(s) to rectify that failure.

You could say Dusty failed in CHI. If you look at his final season there, you could certainly make a case for that. But if you read his quotes he doesn't believe he failed there. He claims bad luck and injuries and other problems led to the Cubs finishing in the cellar that year. Maybe he's right because they certainly rebounded last year. But if he doesn't believe he failed there, I don't know why he would change his philosophy.

So is Dusty Dennis Rodman or Ben Wallace?

IslandRed
03-06-2008, 08:17 PM
When he was hired, we were kicking this subject around and I went and did some before and after comparisons from when he was hired in San Francisco and Chicago. However much his words and lineup constructions don't value OBP, I didn't see a pattern of changing hitters into hackers. Guys generally kept walking about the same amount they did before, and overall productivity didn't decline. The one big exception was Sammy Sosa, but that guy had plenty of issues with or without Dusty.

M2
03-06-2008, 08:26 PM
When he was hired, we were kicking this subject around and I went and did some before and after comparisons from when he was hired in San Francisco and Chicago. However much his words and lineup constructions don't value OBP, I didn't see a pattern of changing hitters into hackers. Guys generally kept walking about the same amount they did before, and overall productivity didn't decline. The one big exception was Sammy Sosa, but that guy had plenty of issues with or without Dusty.

Why the next thing you're going to tell me is you made a list of hitters who've thrived under Dusty Baker and the a list of hitters that have failed under Dusty Baker that the first list would dwarf the second.

Raisor
03-06-2008, 08:35 PM
“Everybody can’t hit with two strikes, everybody can’t walk,” Baker said. “You’re taking away some of the aggressiveness of a kid if you’re telling him to go up there and try to work for a walk. . . . It’s like when I see kids in Little League and they make the small kids go up there and try to get a walk. That’s not any fun. . . . Do you ever see the top 10 walking (rankings)? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk, but the name of the game is to hit.”

-The American Dream Dusty Baker

lollipopcurve
03-06-2008, 08:39 PM
It's been said a lot, but it bears repeating. Baker's track record as a manager is very good.

jojo
03-06-2008, 08:39 PM
“Everybody can’t hit with two strikes, everybody can’t walk,” Baker said. “You’re taking away some of the aggressiveness of a kid if you’re telling him to go up there and try to work for a walk. . . . It’s like when I see kids in Little League and they make the small kids go up there and try to get a walk. That’s not any fun. . . . Do you ever see the top 10 walking (rankings)? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk, but the name of the game is to hit.”

-The American Dream Dusty Baker

I thought "ball" was a big part of the name of the game...."base" is too.... :cool:

Dusty will win with a good team and lose with a bad one. Maybe his name will improve the ambience at GABP for some. His quotes will make others wonder if he's past his prime.

Chip R
03-06-2008, 08:46 PM
“Everybody can’t hit with two strikes, everybody can’t walk,” Baker said. “You’re taking away some of the aggressiveness of a kid if you’re telling him to go up there and try to work for a walk. . . . It’s like when I see kids in Little League and they make the small kids go up there and try to get a walk. That’s not any fun. . . . Do you ever see the top 10 walking (rankings)? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk, but the name of the game is to hit.”

-The American Dream Dusty Baker


I think there are some players who are predispositioned to be super aggressive at the plate. Sometimes it works for them and while you'd like for them to maybe take a few more walks, it's possible it might hurt their ability to hit as well as they do. Some players, as they gain experience, will take more walks. But those players are few and far between and they are usually reserve players.

I believe the opposite may be true too. If you tell a naturally patient hitter to expand his strike zone his hitting may suffer.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference. On one end of the scale you have a Vlad Guerrero and on the other end you have a Barry Bonds. As a coach you have to figure out where the players you are coaching fall on that scale. I hope that Dusty doesn't want to turn everyone into a hitter closer to the Vlad Guerrero side. It may work with someone like Brandon Phillips but it may not with an Adam Dunn or a Joey Votto.

Vada Pinson Fan
03-06-2008, 09:25 PM
Is Dusty disdaining the strike zone in favor of having Dunn and Votto becoming more aggressive, thereby creating Baker's acre at the plate for these two? :yikes: ;)

RedsManRick
03-06-2008, 11:00 PM
It's been said a lot, but it bears repeating. Baker's track record as a manager is very good.

He didn't win a whole bunch of games because guys like Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, Sammy Sosa, and Derrek Lee were being "aggressive".

OnBaseMachine
03-06-2008, 11:58 PM
Dunn wants to be more aggressive at plate

By Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

Thursday, March 06, 2008

SARASOTA, Fla. — Dusty Baker looked up from a stack of papers on his desk and asked, "Adam Dunn is from Texas, isn't he?"

Told that Dunn is the epitome of the long, tall Texan who loves trucks, fishing, country music and hook 'em 'Horns, Baker smiled and said, "Then there is not a cow in Texas if Dunn doesn't get better."

What Baker meant is that he feels Dunn is going to eliminate taking too many called third strikes.

"We've played good, real good," said the Cincinnati Reds manager. "But I really hate to see called third strikes. It means you are guessing or you are not ready.

"Dunn is not a kid and he can do better. And I'd like to see all our players be more aggressive."

Right on cue, Dunn punched a 1-and-1 bases loaded run-scoring single to left field against the New York Yankees and pitcher Chien-Ming Wang during a six-run inning of the Reds' 12-8 win on Thursday, March 6.

Just two days ago Baker said Edwin Encarnacion was, "My pick to click this year," and on Thursday Encarnacion drove in six runs with a grand slam and a two-run single.

Dunn agrees with Baker's assessment, although he said Baker hasn't addressed the situation with him.

"Yeah, Dusty acts like he doesn't know I'm from Texas," he said with a laugh. "He hasn't said anything to me about hitting. But I like his line about not being a cow in Texas if I don't get better. That's good and he is absolutely right."

Of the called third strikes, Dunn said, "Yeah, I know, and I say it every year, but I really am going to try to be more aggressive early in the count.

"That's where I get in trouble. I let too many good pitches go early in the count and get myself in a hole," he said. "You can't hit that way."

Somebody asked Dunn what his ideal year would be and he said .400, with 75 (homers) and 210 (RBIs), "That would be ideal."

Then he added, "Realistically? I don't want to put numbers on it, but it is significantly better than what I've done."

Dunn has done good, other than his batting averages, the last four seasons — 166 homers, 401 RBIs, 412 runs, 425 walks.

While amassing those bright offense numbers, Dunn has hit .266, .247, 234 and .264 — this after hitting .343 at Class AA Chattanooga and .329 at Class AAA Louisville.

"It's going to come together, sooner or later. Preferably sooner," he said. "What kills me is the batting averages, because it isn't like it's that much different up here. It's just more consistent and I don't know what went wrong."

Dunn said he felt something click the second half of last year, "When I felt a lot better. And I've felt a lot better this spring."

Even Dunn was stunned in a game this year when he banged a base hit over the third base bag. And his run-scoring single Thursday was to left field.

"Maybe something clicked in," he said. "We'll see. I'm hitting the ball more up the middle and in the gaps and I haven't hit a ball down the third base line my entire life. I don't know how I did it."

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2008/03/06/DDN030608redsweb.html

SteelSD
03-07-2008, 12:48 AM
Of the called third strikes, Dunn said, "Yeah, I know, and I say it every year, but I really am going to try to be more aggressive early in the count.

"That's where I get in trouble. I let too many good pitches go early in the count and get myself in a hole," he said. "You can't hit that way."

Oh God. No. Please, Adam. Your improvement in the second half of 2007 was due to your increase in BB rate:

1st Half 2007: 6.8 AB per BB
2nd Half 2007: 3.86 AB per BB

That was exactly what Adam Dunn needed to do. He saw almost exactly as many pitches as he did (4.17 versus 4.18) when he hit .234 in 2006. What the guy actually did is improve his pitch selection and discipline in the second half of 2007. The result was a suppression of his AB totals, resulting in a BA improvement driven by a major improvement in his AB per HR rates versus the first half of 2007:

AB/HR First half: 23.54 AB per HR
AB/HR Second half: 15.43 AB per HR

If there's a player on the team that doesn't need Dusty Baker's advice, it's Adam Dunn (well, also Joey Votto). Dunn knows what he needs to do, but swinging earlier in the count isnt' it. That's never been "it". What he needs to continue to do is act like Adam Dunn. That guy was always good enough without the tutoring from coaches who have no idea about what Adam Dunn actually needs to do to hit well.

Like every other Manager or coach before him, Baker just needs to leave the guy alone. And for gosh sakes, Dunn needs to not listen to Baker.

Patrick Bateman
03-07-2008, 01:12 AM
Well I don't think it's a poor idea to swing at 'good pitches' in the strike zone like Dunn suggested in that quote. Dunn's second half success was largely dependent on him being able to seperate balls from strikes successfully. Swinging at strikes wont change that, and really couldn't hurt if the alternative is getting behind in the count.

Now I do worry that a more aggressive Dunn in the strike zone could easily lead to a more aggressive zone outside the strikezone. That's where the big time regression potential is. Being an awful hitter on pitches outside the strikezone, it is of the upmost importance that Dunn does not expand the strikezone. When he does that he's completely ineffective. If Dunn can keep a selective enough approach that he can put more balls in play on strike pitches without having a noticable change in his outside the zone swings, then Dunn will improve.

But if he could truly do that, then I'm guessing he would have showed that ability by now.

remdog
03-07-2008, 01:49 AM
Well I don't think it's a poor idea to swing at 'good pitches' in the strike zone like Dunn suggested in that quote. Dunn's second half success was largely dependent on him being able to seperate balls from strikes successfully. Swinging at strikes wont change that, and really couldn't hurt if the alternative is getting behind in the count.

Now I do worry that a more aggressive Dunn in the strike zone could easily lead to a more aggressive zone outside the strikezone. That's where the big time regression potential is. Being an awful hitter on pitches outside the strikezone, it is of the upmost importance that Dunn does not expand the strikezone. When he does that he's completely ineffective. If Dunn can keep a selective enough approach that he can put more balls in play on strike pitches without having a noticable change in his outside the zone swings, then Dunn will improve.

But if he could truly do that, then I'm guessing he would have showed that ability by now.

A very good post. One that I would agree with except the last sentance. Personally, I think AD is still growing and improving as a hitter and I think he will still improve his ability to recognize a pitch that he can successfully attack.

Rem

Patrick Bateman
03-07-2008, 02:13 AM
A very good post. One that I would agree with except the last sentance. Personally, I think AD is still growing and improving as a hitter and I think he will still improve his ability to recognize a pitch that he can successfully attack.


You know I was kind of rethinking that last line, and after thinking more I believe it to be erroneous. Regarding pitch recognition, I do agree that Dunn, like any player should only get better with experience.

The question is whether Dunn is planning to swing more because of advanced pitch recognition skills, rather than swinging more in an ill advised attempt to turn walks into hits. From the quote provided I think it does sound more like the latter and I think that's what Steel alluded to. An aggressive approach will only work if he's swinging at pitches in the strike zone.

I think Dunn's approach is fine as is... he does not need to be more aggresive. What we're discussing here is whether Dunn can improve his pitch recognition skills. If he can do that, ya, swinging at pitches you can handle is clearly a beneficial idea. But those skills need to be acquired first. Being more aggressive with his current skill set would hinder him IMO. That's what leads to swing and misses on pitches out of the zone.

RedsManRick
03-07-2008, 02:20 AM
Dusty is suggesting one of two things:

1.) Dunn is choosing to not swing at certain pitches, even though he knows he can hit them well
2.) Dunn sometimes can't tell that a good pitch is a good pitch

If it's #1, then by all means, swing Dunner. If there are legitimately good pitches (not just strikes, but pitches that Dunn can drive) which Dunn recognizes as such and chooses to pass on, then that's just dumb. But something tells me that Dunn just doesn't like to swing unless he's pretty confident he can hit it. Perhaps that's because he's not a great contact hitter, so he doesn't make adjustments well midswing if he's misjudged the pitch. Swinging more will not help that.

When you look at guys who don't strike out much, a large part of the reason for that is not just "aggressiveness", but a very high contact rate which comes out of good bat control. You know, guys like oh... Dusty Baker the player. Dunn simply doesn't have that particular skill in spades. Swinging at balls he's less confident in just will not help anything. I think it's another one of Dusty's philosophies borne a little too directly out of his own personal experience.

Aggressive is fine. By all means, Dunn should swing at any pitch he think he can drive. But I think that Dusty doesn't appreciate Dunn's contact ability relative to that of other players. Unless he's got 2 already, just because it's a strike doesn't mean it's a pitch Dunn should be swinging at. He simply cannot make good contact on the same range of balls as a guy like Keppinger can. Like many managers, Dusty seems to show particular, disproporionate affinity for those skills which he possessed as a player.

camisadelgolf
03-07-2008, 05:05 AM
Wait . . . so he's saying that if Dunn doesn't improve, a mad-cow disease outbreak will infest and kill all the cows in Texas? Or will Dusty personally kill the cows?

TeamBoone
03-07-2008, 03:19 PM
I may be all alone here, but one thing that was not addressed is the numerous bad strike calls that he gets when the pitch is clearly below his "high" knees. It's been commented on numerous times throughout various game threads.

When he clearly knows it's a ball but the umpire doesn't, well, I consider it to be a factor. IMHO, it happens often enough that it should have been addressed in the article.

lollipopcurve
03-07-2008, 04:36 PM
He didn't win a whole bunch of games because guys like Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, Sammy Sosa, and Derrek Lee were being "aggressive".

Oh, that's right. His teams won because they all had an excellent player or two who had a high walk rate. The other 23-24 guys were just along for the ride.

RANDY IN INDY
03-07-2008, 04:50 PM
I may be all alone here, but one thing that was not addressed is the numerous bad strike calls that he gets when the pitch is clearly below his "high" knees. It's been commented on numerous times throughout various game threads.

When he clearly knows it's a ball but the umpire doesn't, well, I consider it to be a factor. IMHO, it happens often enough that it should have been addressed in the article.

Maybe he should get the pants up and show a little sock to give the umpires a better look.

M2
03-07-2008, 04:53 PM
Dunn wants to be more aggressive at plate

In his mind's eye, Adam Dunn wants to be Tony Gwynn. That's nothing new.


By Hal McCoy

And I think you can extrapolate where the verbeage of the article was headed from there. Hal don't speak Moneyball.

IslandRed
03-07-2008, 04:59 PM
Well I don't think it's a poor idea to swing at 'good pitches' in the strike zone like Dunn suggested in that quote. Dunn's second half success was largely dependent on him being able to seperate balls from strikes successfully. Swinging at strikes wont change that, and really couldn't hurt if the alternative is getting behind in the count.

Now I do worry that a more aggressive Dunn in the strike zone could easily lead to a more aggressive zone outside the strikezone. That's where the big time regression potential is. Being an awful hitter on pitches outside the strikezone, it is of the upmost importance that Dunn does not expand the strikezone. When he does that he's completely ineffective. If Dunn can keep a selective enough approach that he can put more balls in play on strike pitches without having a noticable change in his outside the zone swings, then Dunn will improve.

That's a good point. We mentioned this last year -- Dunn has a fairly small hitting zone. He shouldn't swing at stuff outside the zone, ever. Unless there are two strikes, there's stuff inside the zone he shouldn't swing at. Selectivity is key for him.

At the same time, he has no special abilities to hit late in the count; his numbers when behind in the count or with two strikes are as bad as you'd expect anyone else's to be.

So. He is what he is. Right? Well, in a strictly analytical sense, there are two avenues for improvement for such a hitter:

* Every strike-three-looking was an opportunity to do something other than make an out. The backward K is perfectly defensible when it's a 3-2 count and he thinks the pitch is ball four. Otherwise, it's a failure either of strike-zone recognition or trigger-pulling.

* If only a limited selection of pitches he sees are truly hittable, each one of them he lets go past without swinging is a missed opportunity. (Again, we can think of an exception -- the 3-0 count -- where not swinging can be justified.) This goes double if it puts him behind in the count, because his history shows that he derives no benefit from it.

It kind of falls under the heading of "easier said than done," though. Sure, if he could tune in better and never let a meatball go by without affecting his decision process on non-meatball pitches, or if he could cover the plate better with two strikes without swinging at stuff outside the zone more often, he'd be a more productive hitter. But there's always the chance that adjusting his mindset to do a more productive thing will have an equally-or-more unproductive side effect. And that's what I think people are concerned about.

VR
03-07-2008, 06:38 PM
I may be all alone here, but one thing that was not addressed is the numerous bad strike calls that he gets when the pitch is clearly below his "high" knees. It's been commented on numerous times throughout various game threads.

When he clearly knows it's a ball but the umpire doesn't, well, I consider it to be a factor. IMHO, it happens often enough that it should have been addressed in the article.

Now that the Reds are a 'credible' franchise w/ a big name manager, I wonder if Dusty's influence will help the umps better understand they've been giving Dunn the largest strike zone in the majors the last 4 years. It's a great point....and this is the kind of thing a manager like Dusty can influence.

gm
03-07-2008, 06:39 PM
If Dunn's rep is that he rarely swings at the first pitch, the opposing pitchers will pound him with get-ahead fastballs. I want Adam swinging at those meatballs in RBI situations, at least until the opposing pitchers adjust and start nibbling from pitch #1

VR
03-07-2008, 06:48 PM
The result was a suppression of his AB totals, resulting in a BA improvement driven by a major improvement in his AB per HR rates versus the first half of 2007:

AB/HR First half: 23.54 AB per HR
AB/HR Second half: 15.43 AB per HR



maybe I'm looking at the wrong #'s?.....but I'm seeing Dunn w/
306/ 351/ 24 for pre-allstar ab's/ PA's/ HRs (12.75ab per HR)
216/262/16 for post- allstar ab's/ PA's/ HRs (13.5ab per HR)

it's Friday, so I may just be missing something.

SteelSD
03-07-2008, 11:02 PM
maybe I'm looking at the wrong #'s?.....but I'm seeing Dunn w/
306/ 351/ 24 for pre-allstar ab's/ PA's/ HRs (12.75ab per HR)
216/262/16 for post- allstar ab's/ PA's/ HRs (13.5ab per HR)

it's Friday, so I may just be missing something.

Nope. You're right and I thank you for pointing that out. I was wrong (I actually got his AB per 2B rate by mistake) and that would mean that Dunn's BA improved almost solely to AB suppression due to his improved BB rates; which happens when you turn Outs into Walks.

Raisor
03-07-2008, 11:11 PM
Nope. I was wrong

WRONGWRONGWRONGWRONGWRONG

You couldn't have been more wrong!

:thumbup:

TeamBoone
03-07-2008, 11:57 PM
Maybe he should get the pants up and show a little sock to give the umpires a better look.

People said that a lot, but I disagree. He shouldn't have to alter his dress to get the right call.

The umpires are professionals. It's their job to know where each player's knees are when said player assumes his batting stance. All they have to do is look and take note. I can't believe it's that difficult.

Instead, they prefer to make the lower edge of the strike zone the same for each batter by assuming some sort of imaginary line X number of inches vertical to the plate.

Cedric
03-08-2008, 12:54 AM
People said that a lot, but I disagree. He shouldn't have to alter his dress to get the right call.

The umpires are professionals. It's their job to know where each player's knees are when said player assumes his batting stance. All they have to do is look and take note. I can't believe it's that difficult.

Instead, they prefer to make the lower edge of the strike zone the same for each batter by assuming some sort of imaginary line X number of inches vertical to the plate.


Dunn doesn't have absurd strikeout rates because of the umpires. He is an extremely tall power hitter with a very long swing. It happens. Throughout the history of the game players with his skill set strikeout a ton. I'd say even with a robotic umpire Dunn would lead the league in strikeouts.

For comparison youtube the swing of Jay Bruce and you will be amazed. Jay is smaller and has a different skill set. He has an extremely short swing and you can just see why he is going to be a great hitter.

GAC
03-08-2008, 01:52 AM
“I really, really hate the called third strike. I hate that.

So much being made from one simple statement that we all agree with.

Now all of a sudden, Baker is teaching/wanting his players to be up there hacking wildly away at pitches out of the strikezone trying to make contact?

I don't see him saying that at all. I hate called 3rd strikes. Especially when you have runners in scoring position and less then two outs, and the guy is looking at pitches being thrown right down the pike, not out of the strikezone.


“A lot of this on-base percentage is taking away the aggressiveness of some young kids.


Dusty is just nuts. There is a clear correlation to between OBP and runs scored.

Where, in Dusty's above statement, did he deny, or even make reference to, that correlation? I think Dusty knows that.

People react scared whenever the term "aggressiveness" is used in a conversation about hitting. They immediately interpret it to solely mean hacking wildly away, trying to make contact. It can. But that, IMO, is not what Dusty means, and he says so. He's using the term in reference to called 3rd strikes.

If one can be guilty of being too aggressive at the plate, which is seen as a bad thing.... then can the same be said of being too passive?

RANDY IN INDY
03-08-2008, 09:30 AM
People said that a lot, but I disagree. He shouldn't have to alter his dress to get the right call.

The umpires are professionals. It's their job to know where each player's knees are when said player assumes his batting stance. All they have to do is look and take note. I can't believe it's that difficult.

Instead, they prefer to make the lower edge of the strike zone the same for each batter by assuming some sort of imaginary line X number of inches vertical to the plate.

I've never heard that theory, and I honestly haven't really noticed the strike zone being the same for every hitter. All umpires have a bad night from time to time, but in all honesty, I think that they do a real good job. It is not an easy job.

RANDY IN INDY
03-08-2008, 09:33 AM
I hate called 3rd strikes. Especially when you have runners in scoring position and less then two outs, and the guy is looking at pitches being thrown right down the pike, not out of the strikezone.

Now get ready, GAC, because I know that you are going to be told that is a figment of your imagination and you are not really seeing what you think you are seeing.;)

By the way, good post!

jojo
03-08-2008, 10:34 AM
I bet if Dusty made Dunn run a lap around the field every time he took a third strike, the issue would go away pretty quickly...

Here's some data from Bill James:

In '07, Dunn took 57% of the pitches he saw. Of those 1478 he took, 28% were for a strike and 72% were called a ball. I have no idea how this compares to the league average. However, here is Bonds' '07- he took 64% and of those, 26% were taken for a strike. Arod (the most valuable bat in the world relative to his position during '07 according to VORP) looked identical to Dunn in this regard (took 57% and of those 28% were taken for strikes). By contrast, Nick Punto (metaphorical offensive flatulence) took 58% of all pitches he saw and of those 36% were in the strike zone.

Here's a difference though. When looking at the pitches each player swung at, here is the percentage each put into play: Dunn: 32%, AROD: 42%, Bonds: 46%; and Punto: 44%.

What does any of this mean? Well-keeping in mind it's superficial and anecdotal-it would suggest that Dunn's Achilles heel isn't the ones he takes, it's the ones he misses.

And there we go-Dunn strikes out too much (but maybe not because he takes too many strikes)!

I guess I see the wisdom in letting a contact-deficient hitter with plus OBP skills to, well, not be forced to swing more.

RBA
03-08-2008, 10:46 AM
Dusty has mad cow disease.

blumj
03-08-2008, 11:19 AM
I think that, if it was possible to make hitters too passive by placing too much emphasis on OBP, the Red Sox would be a lot more likely to do that than the Reds. And I don't see any passivity in their young hitters at all.

Chip R
03-08-2008, 11:33 AM
Excellent post, jojo.

TeamBoone
03-08-2008, 02:40 PM
Dunn doesn't have absurd strikeout rates because of the umpires. He is an extremely tall power hitter with a very long swing. It happens. Throughout the history of the game players with his skill set strikeout a ton. I'd say even with a robotic umpire Dunn would lead the league in strikeouts.

I don't believe I said the umpires were the reason, but rather a factor as several of his SO's can be attributed to bad calls regarding the strike zone.

membengal
03-08-2008, 03:02 PM
Thom and Marty picked up on this and hammered Votto and Dunn with it early in the broadcast today. Marty's comment (roughly):


I am glad the Reds finally have a manager willing to say that you need to be a hitter.

KronoRed
03-08-2008, 03:33 PM
Good ole Marty, you know it's baseball season now :)

BoydsOfSummer
03-08-2008, 06:40 PM
What is so hard about the concept of making as few outs as possible while collecting as many bases as possible? Really.

Team Clark
03-08-2008, 06:45 PM
I bet if Dusty made Dunn run a lap around the field every time he took a third strike, the issue would go away pretty quickly...

Here's some data from Bill James:

In '07, Dunn took 57% of the pitches he saw. Of those 1478 he took, 28% were for a strike and 72% were called a ball. I have no idea how this compares to the league average. However, here is Bonds' '07- he took 64% and of those, 26% were taken for a strike. Arod (the most valuable bat in the world relative to his position during '07 according to VORP) looked identical to Dunn in this regard (took 57% and of those 28% were taken for strikes). By contrast, Nick Punto (metaphorical offensive flatulence) took 58% of all pitches he saw and of those 36% were in the strike zone.

Here's a difference though. When looking at the pitches each player swung at, here is the percentage each put into play: Dunn: 32%, AROD: 42%, Bonds: 46%; and Punto: 44%.

What does any of this mean? Well-keeping in mind it's superficial and anecdotal-it would suggest that Dunn's Achilles heel isn't the ones he takes, it's the ones he misses.

And there we go-Dunn strikes out too much (but maybe not because he takes too many strikes)!

I guess I see the wisdom in letting a contact-deficient hitter with plus OBP skills to, well, not be forced to swing more.

Good post. Really good info. I imagine that the argument of putting a quality swing on a quality pitch would not be worth much to those who think you should go to the plate looking for walks. :D

cincrazy
03-08-2008, 07:04 PM
Dusty Baker managed one of the greatest, and one of the most patient, hitters for almost a decade. I hardly think he's going to turn Adam Dunn into Vlad Guerrero, where he's swinging at pitches at his toes.

I normally try and stay away from Dusty threads, because everything he says gets blown WAY out of proportion.

blumj
03-08-2008, 08:04 PM
Dusty Baker managed one of the greatest, and one of the most patient, hitters for almost a decade. I hardly think he's going to turn Adam Dunn into Vlad Guerrero, where he's swinging at pitches at his toes.

I would imagine that, if there is an AngelsZone out there, they might have huge arguments over Vlad swinging at pitches that are neck high or bounce a foot in front of the plate when he's in a slump.

cincrazy
03-08-2008, 08:29 PM
I would imagine that, if there is an AngelsZone out there, they might have huge arguments over Vlad swinging at pitches that are neck high or bounce a foot in front of the plate when he's in a slump.

No question about it my friend

RANDY IN INDY
03-08-2008, 08:33 PM
Good post. Really good info. I imagine that the argument of putting a quality swing on a quality pitch would not be worth much to those who think you should go to the plate looking for walks. :D

That sounds too much like baseball. That would never work.:D

vaticanplum
03-08-2008, 08:33 PM
Dusty Baker managed one of the greatest, and one of the most patient, hitters for almost a decade. I hardly think he's going to turn Adam Dunn into Vlad Guerrero, where he's swinging at pitches at his toes.

I normally try and stay away from Dusty threads, because everything he says gets blown WAY out of proportion.

I also think Dusty's handling of hitters is a bit overplayed. I think his understanding of OBP and resultant scoring is limited compared with some managers -- but not all, by a long shot. That said, he seems to be flexible enough, he's handled some good hitters well and in varying fashion according to their styles, and I'll be curious to see what he and Jacoby pull off.

I do not feel the same way about his handling of pitchers. His handling of pitchers genuinely worries me far more than his handling of hitters, and this is only compounded by the fact that the hitters on this team as it currently stands will suffer a lot less from mishandling than the pitching staff will.

Team Clark
03-08-2008, 10:15 PM
That sounds too much like baseball. That would never work.:D

Hush my mouth! Just crazy talk! :laugh:

membengal
03-09-2008, 10:39 AM
Daugherty's column today is more cringe-inducing that usual. And that's saying something.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080309/COL03/803090373/1062/SPT

He's still holding onto the wins canard for judging pitchers. And his lines on OBP and Dunn are why I dropped the link in this thread. 4000th post, and it is on Daugherty. Unfortunate.

Chip R
03-09-2008, 11:16 AM
Daugherty's column today is more cringe-inducing that usual. And that's saying something.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080309/COL03/803090373/1062/SPT

He's still holding onto the wins canard for judging pitchers. And his lines on OBP and Dunn are why I dropped the link in this thread. 4000th post, and it is on Daugherty. Unfortunate.


I read that - and the other stuff which had very good statistical analysis there - before I came here. That's a raw meat column for this board. :eek:

OnBaseMachine
03-09-2008, 11:35 AM
It's amazing to me that wimps like Paul Daugherty can get a job writing about baseball. It's amazing because the guy doesn't have a clue about the sport. Daughterty and Fay make the Enquirer nearly unreadable.

membengal
03-09-2008, 11:43 AM
Check out Erardi's stuff today. It is a little bit of a tonic.

OnBaseMachine
03-09-2008, 11:46 AM
Check out Erardi's stuff today. It is a little bit of a tonic.

I love reading Erardi's stuff. He's great, I wish he wrote more often than he does. Did you read his Jay Bruce column a few weeks back? I'll give ya a link in case you missed it.

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65369&highlight=John+Erardi

jojo
03-09-2008, 12:32 PM
Daugherty's column today is more cringe-inducing that usual. And that's saying something.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080309/COL03/803090373/1062/SPT

He's still holding onto the wins canard for judging pitchers. And his lines on OBP and Dunn are why I dropped the link in this thread. 4000th post, and it is on Daugherty. Unfortunate.

Thanks for the link.

Daugherty's description of Baker's style is interesting. On one hand, he lauds Baker for being "old school" yet he praises Baker for being unconventional.

This statement seems to sum up what I sense is Daugherty's confusion:


By-the-book managing is for men who aren't confident in their ability to read players and situations. It's for managers who don't know their players' personalities. It's what you do so you can say later, after it backfires: "Don't blame me. I went by the book."

Lets excuse the suggestion that statheads are socially dysfunctional and paralyzed by self-doubt (really has there ever been a group of people who could be more wrongly characterized by the suggestion that they aren't confident in their opinions? :cool: ). Rather than slavishly adhering to what a slide rule says, sabermetrics has largely challenged "the book" and in many cases provided data to suggest parts of it should be rewritten. Assuming he's not simply trying to be demeaning (which I'm not so sure is safe to assume), framing the issue like Daugherty has demonstrates a lack of understanding rather than a true insight IMHO. Daugherty's piece isn't a battle of old school versus new school because his opinions neither reflect old school nor accurately depict new school. I think really he's simply paying homage at the altar of Dusty. In other words, someone has a big man crush.

Then there are other statements where Daugherty's "philosophy" seems to war with itself. For instance:


Numbers are fun to look at but dangerous to dwell on. Baker understands this. If Dunn walks 30 fewer times this year, he'll drive in 15 more runs. His on-base percentage will dip. Oh, no.

Numbers should be ignored. Yet he uses them to support his argument for why they should be ignored. Actually, Daugherty is simply trying to avoid plainly articulating what his argument really is by throwing numbers out there much like gypsies use smoke bombs to divert attention as they dart unseen from the stage during a carnival performance. Basically here's Daugherty's argument-Dusty has become intimately familiar with Dunn's personality during their time together in spring training so Dunn's contact issues can be solved by making him swing more. In essence, because Dusty "gets" Dunn, Dunn should be more productive. That's not old school, that's voodoo. You have to travel to Haiti to find that written in any book.

All snark aside, its Dunn's contact rate that informs this issue. He swings as much as the next guy. He just doesn't put as many in play as the next guy. If Dunn had Pujol's swing, there wouldn't be a need to put an asterisk behind Bonds' name. The reality is that Baker's comments aren't likely to permeate into Dunn's approach so these arguments are mostly about gaining insight into philosophy. Wow though.

Then there are other jewels sprinkled throughout:


Anyone with a laptop can locate the Web site baseball- reference.com and sound like an expert. Anyone with a library card can pick up one of James' mind-numbing baseball "abstracts," in which the author makes the game sound like a first cousin to biomechanical engineering.

And to think statheads are often called close-minded. :)

Bill James' abstracts from the 80's are classics, in part because they do form the foundation for sabermetrics, but also in large part because James is an extremely talented writer and those abstracts represent him at his peak in that regard. One could ignore the stats in those annuals and get immense pleasure from reading them.

Of course the above is purely subjective opinion but I have to wonder if Daugherty has actually read the Abstracts. Certainly he suggests that he has. One has to wonder if Daugherty is more troubled by numbers or thinking in general (or perhaps more fairly, having deeply held beliefs challenged with numbers). I think everyone gets that ballplayers are people and most are even humans with feelings. I'm just wondering how one tells the difference between a signal to keep your starter in another inning and the after effects of a ball park frank.

At least we know the secret to successful managing now. That said, since it doesn't require thinking, it's surprising more people can't manage well. I certainly reject the premise that those who are "old school" don't think.

edabbs44
03-09-2008, 12:36 PM
Daugherty definitely reads this board.


Baseball's cerebral side involves numbers. While I believe in baseball-card wisdom - you are who the back of your card says you are - it's just a little piece of the whole. When some of us (OK, me mostly) advocated dealing, say, Votto and Homer Bailey for Oakland pitcher Joe Blanton, the Statboys came out flame-throwing numbers:

Blanton's a creation of his spacious home ballpark! Look at his ERA, home and away! Blanton's a flyball pitcher! Check out his ratio of groundballs to flies!

If you shot back that Blanton has won 42 times in the last three years - and that he went 7-5 at home last year and 7-5 on the road - if you suggested that no number matters but Games Won, you were dismissed as an illiterate.

Raisor
03-09-2008, 12:52 PM
if you suggested that no number matters but Games Won, you were dismissed as an illiterate.

Does anyone remember how Daugherty felt about Jimmah!?

KronoRed
03-09-2008, 03:37 PM
Daugherty definitely reads this board.

Shame he doesn't pick anything up from it.

RedsManRick
03-09-2008, 03:49 PM
Jojo, I absolutely love the swing/take percentage analysis. This is the kind of thing that I think Dusty (and Dusty supporters) could actually get.

Dunn swings plenty, he just doesn't make enough contact. Swinging more isn't going to help that.

This is essentially the "old player skills" argument. There are no behavioral changes that Dunn can undertake to really improve his performance. His current approach already maxes out performance based on his skill set. And further, the nature of his skill set is that it isn't going to improve over time. That is, he's not going to become a better contact hitter and his current approach maximizes his attempts to put bat on ball and get value when he's not swinging.

Sure, you can tweak it here and there, but large changes in approach only do harm at this point.

RedsManRick
03-09-2008, 07:10 PM
FJM just did a great response...

http://www.firejoemorgan.com/

Raisor
03-09-2008, 07:16 PM
FJM just did a great response...

http://www.firejoemorgan.com/




:luvu::luvu::luvu::luvu:

BoydsOfSummer
03-09-2008, 07:24 PM
Somebody send the link to Dock. Nah...I'm convinced he's a devoted reader of Redszone. He'll see it.

jojo
03-09-2008, 07:27 PM
FJM just did a great response...

http://www.firejoemorgan.com/

There are more quotable lines in the piece than I can count but maybe this one is my favorite:


You want these guys to brain-swing. You want them to think-swipe. You don't want your 3-6-hole hitters to engage in torque ignorance. You want them to cognitive-swivel.

RedsManRick
03-09-2008, 07:29 PM
I prefer


The best thing about Baker is that from all accounts, it's important to him to know his players individually: what jazzes them, what scares them, the situations that best suit their talents and temperaments. Contrary to the notions of the seamheads and stat freaks, players are not numbers.

What you are calling "by the book managing" is often completely thoughtless, ignorance-steeped tradition. 2-1 count with a guy on first? Hit and run. Leadoff guy gets on? Bunt him over. That's by-the-book managing, and it's dumb. What people like Bill James, and Rob Neyer, and BP, and Billy Beane advocate is: research, analysis, thought, science. But [] that. Let's read some tea leaves.

and



It always amuses when fans defend heart-of-the-order hitters by pointing to their on-base percentage. Wow, look at all those walks.

Yes. And then look at the corresponding runs that those walks create. And then look at the wins created by those runs! We are watching successful baseball! This is fun!

Five of the top six teams in walks last year were playoff teams.

edabbs44
03-09-2008, 07:53 PM
I think this FJM guy needs to chill. But anyone can play his game. As so:


It always amuses when fans defend heart-of-the-order hitters by pointing to their on-base percentage. Wow, look at all those walks.

Yes. And then look at the corresponding runs that those walks create. And then look at the wins created by those runs! We are watching successful baseball! This is fun!

Five of the top six teams in walks last year were playoff teams.

The worst team to finish in the top 10 in BA last year was the Dodgers, who were 2 games over .500. Next was the Braves, at 6 games over. Maybe BA does count for something?

Better yet: walk more, make the playoffs! Pitching doesn't matter! 5 of the top 6 teams in BBs made the playoffs!


If Dunn walks 30 fewer times, he'll drive in 15 more runs. This is thanks to the scientifically proven formula: RBI = (this is nonsense) (I made it all up).

That equation's close relative is this famous one: (double with no one on in 9th inning, down by 10 runs) = (double with bases loaded and down 2 runs in 9th). Same runs created.


Baseball's cerebral side involves numbers. While I believe in baseball-card wisdom - you are who the back of your card says you are - it's just a little piece of the whole. When some of us (OK, me mostly) advocated dealing, say, Votto and Homer Bailey for Oakland pitcher Joe Blanton, the Statboys came out flame-throwing numbers:

Homer Bailey: 21, awesome in the minors. Walks too many guys but gave up 6.55 H/9IP at AAA. Votto: potential stud at 1st for years. Blanton: pretty good 27 year-old pitcher, maybe hitting his stride. Also arb-eligible for the next 3 years, and will get very expensive. Chances that Bailey outpitches him in 2009 for 1/20 the price? Decent. This would be a trade you make at the deadline if you are one starter away from the World Series, not if you're Cincy and you have to basically start from the ground-up. Also, if you want to trade Bailey and Votto, you can do a whole lot better than Joe Blanton, I think.

Paging Castellini. Mr. Bob Castellini. In case you didn't realize, this guy who knows everything (so it seems) just said this team has zero chance this year and that "you have to basically start from the ground up", which means not a very good chance in the short-term. Your GM just broke the record for most money spent ever on a closer. Something isn't making sense.

:)

Always Red
03-09-2008, 07:59 PM
Look, really all that anyone needs to know about Doc is that he loves beer. I do too. I really do love beer, and I admire that in a guy, to be honest with you all.

BUT Doc thinks Keystone (which is bottom of the barrel Coors, the same way Milwaukee's Best Light -the Beast- is bottom of the barrel Miller light) beer is the best. :eek: :barf:

OK, now we have a problem. It's not the 1970's anymore, when the big bad nationals (Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors) forced all the little guys out of the market, and all we knew was watered down pilsners. We didn't just know it, it's basically ALL WE HAD TO DRINK!!

No, thank God, it is now 2008, and this is, arguably, the very best time in the entire history of North America, to be a beer drinker in this land. :clap::notworthy:notworthy The craft beer business is booming, there is far more variety and FRESHER beers (Ales, Pale Ales, IPA's, stouts, porters, hefeweizens, bocks, and lo the many seasonals until my fingers grow weary from typing... :D:):beerme:) available than ever before, and yet Paul Daugherty writes (constantly) about Keystone Light as the best beer ever made. Now, I know he does this in an attempt to identify himself with the masses, but hey, I'm one of the masses. There is no such thing as a beer snob.

Ben Franklin (my very favorite Founding Father) said this (and you can go look it up if you do not believe me): "Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy."

Now, Keystone Light is a fine beer to enjoy after cutting the grass, while playing golf, or while tuned into the Redlegs in the blazing hot sun, while listening to Marty and Joe (God rest his soul). But that's about it. Otherwise, it is purely and totally swill. And it must be drunk while icy cold, because it tastes like crap,if it is not.

Doc is basically a very superficial guy, is what I'm getting at, at least in his beer-drinking, and sadly, in his profession, too.

He likes Dusty only because Dusty is different. Dusty still wears wristbands and batting gloves. Doc would probably like it if his manager played 1B, batted 2nd, and was from Saylor Park, as well. Now, I'd rather Dusty had a computer on the bench (with print-outs in his back pocket) to tell him who hit better against LH pitching (which isn't even sabermetrics but just freaking common sense at this point), but no matter. Dusty is a character, and that's why Paul likes him. It's very simple.

Yes, Doc reads here ; he may even respond to this?? Naaahhhh...

Dusty makes me laugh; this year will be fun, at least. Doc makes me laugh sometimes, too, which is why I still bother to read him, though I disagree with him about 75% of the time.

Here's what I say to Doc (and Dusty): as to Dunner- hands off, Dusty!! In 7 short seasons, Adam Dunn has surpassed you (Dusty Baker) as a ballplayer. Adam Dunn has earned the right to play the game as he thinks it should be played. I know you are his manager, but he deserves respect, only behind the respect you might give to Junior on this team. In my opinion you cannot make him a better player. As shown above, Dunner had learned to lay off strikes that he cannot hit. Dunn's selectivity make him a better hitter, precisely because he is not that good of a ball striker. Even a freakin' idiot part-timer baseball lover like me can see that!!

As to Joey Votto- have at it, Dusty. He's a rookie, basically, and you are his manager. Mold him into the best player you can, but remember that like children, all ballplayers are different. I expect that you will start him on March 31, but by mid-April, Scott Hatteburg, a great guy but pedestrian player, will be our everyday 1Bman. But I hope not. By then, I hope Scott Hatteburg is the best LH PH in the NL.

Dusty, I'm with you all the way, because I love our Redlegs, and you are our manager.

Doc, I read you everyday because I love sports, I live in Cincinnati, and you happen to be here.

And because you love beer, too. Even if it is Keystone. Remember, life is too short to drink cheap beer!! (with apologies to Warsteiner...)

dougdirt
03-09-2008, 08:01 PM
Best quote from FJM.....


And so on. Here's a stat: Wins as manager: Dusty Baker, 1,162; Bill James, 0.

This...this is the dumbest thing I have ever read.

Here's a stat: U.S. Presidents: All Americans Besides Paul Daugherty: 43. Paul Daugherty: 0. Suck on that, Paul Daugherty! You've never won the Presidency.

blumj
03-09-2008, 08:43 PM
Hey, can't believe he missed the obvious: Bill James has TWICE as many World Series rings as Dusty Baker.

dougdirt
03-09-2008, 09:08 PM
Hey, can't believe he missed the obvious: Bill James has TWICE as many World Series rings as Dusty Baker.

Never let facts get in the way of a good argument.

Team Clark
03-09-2008, 09:14 PM
Hey, can't believe he missed the obvious: Bill James has TWICE as many World Series rings as Dusty Baker.

Well, at least I have one more than Dusty! :D

vaticanplum
03-09-2008, 09:27 PM
I think this FJM guy needs to chill. But anyone can play his game.

This FJM guy is "Ken Tremendous", and he's a writer for the TV show The Office. Your points are good ones, but it's important to remember that the original piece is written with a great deal of tongue in cheek.

*BaseClogger*
03-09-2008, 10:56 PM
Dusty Baker can literally smell whether a guy has a couple hits in his bat. And if his bones ache while a starter is warming up, that means 6 2/3, 4H, 1R. Welcome to the age of divining rods and augurs, Cincinnati.

Raisor
03-09-2008, 11:07 PM
http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66028


Finally, someone making sense...


Only in the sense that it doesn't make any sense at all.

reds44
03-09-2008, 11:11 PM
I don't understand why everything has to be an extreme. Daughtery makes it sound like you are either a "stat head" (his term, not mind) or you just go by what you are feeling and nothing else.

Games aren't played in computers, they are played inside television sets (to steal a Kenny Mayne phrase). If they were played inside computers, a season like the Diamondbacks last year where they had the best record in the NL, while being outscored for the season. I agree there is a part of baseball where you just have to go by you gut feeling.

However, there is also a place for stats. Is it Adam Dunn's fault that a big part of his game is walking? If you don't think a "middle of the order" guy should walk as much as Dunn does, change your lineup don't change the hitter. Bat Dunn 2nd where he can get on base for your "run producers" and he can still slug his 40 homers a year. Bat Phillips 3rd, Griffey 4th, and Edwin 5th. Having Dunn expand his strike zone is only going to have him making less contact.

Dusty Baker has a proven track record of success. He took the Giants to the World Series (granted he may have blow it by taking Ortiz out after 86 pitches, but he still got them there) and he took the Cubs to the NLCS (granted they blew a 3-1, but I am not sure how much his fault). He is a three time manager of the year, and has a record above .500 making him a "winner." Does that mean he doesn't have his faults?

What part of having your CF hit leadoff every game is "good old managing done by the seat of your pants, using good, old-fashioned, pre-sabermetric logic." Where does the feeling that batting Corey Patterson leadoff (.298 OBP where you need guys getting on base dude) is using your head?

And excuse me Paul, but you want to trade 2 of your 4 top prospects for a pitcher who went 14-10 (because apparently that is the only "stat" that is okay) last year? That's just stupidity.



The NFL does the same thing, in a different fashion. To convince you that pro football is actually a 17-week MENSA convention, The League whips out its 800-page playbooks and offers up oh-so-serious coaches who work 20 hours a day and act as if their jobs involve brain surgery and a red telephone.

Possibly, it's less complex. Block. Tackle. Win.


Then what is the point of coaches? Every Sunday came 1 p.m just roll the ball out there and have them go play. All you have to do is block and tackle to win, right?

*BaseClogger*
03-09-2008, 11:11 PM
http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66028



Only in the sense that it doesn't make any sense at all.

When did Wheelhouse's name pick up the asterisks?

Raisor
03-09-2008, 11:13 PM
When did Wheelhouse's name pick up the asterisks?

When he was caught juicing after that record breaking homerun.

*BaseClogger*
03-09-2008, 11:21 PM
When he was caught juicing after that record breaking homerun.

Is that how I got the asterisks too? :D

Raisor
03-09-2008, 11:24 PM
Is that how I got the asterisks too? :D

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b78/stormymarie/misc/cat01.jpg

Reds Nd2
03-09-2008, 11:40 PM
If Baker manages by a book, it's one inside his head, not one written by Bill James.

Unfortunately, the book inside Dusty's head is "Lightning" by Dean R. Koontz. This will not help him.


- if you suggested that no number matters but Games Won, you were dismissed as an illiterate.

Not an illiterate. I believe you can read. But maybe an ignoramus? Yes, let's go with ignoramus.

But probably my favorite...


(Actually, maybe Blanton won as many on the road as at home, even with a much higher road ERA, because Oakland's hitters worked under the same conditions as their pitcher. Allow more runs, score more runs. And factually, flyball man Blanton gave up only 16 home runs in 230 innings last year. But never mind.)

First of all, if he actually is worse on the road, it would be a dumb idea to make him pitch 16 times a year in Cincinnati, where the RF fence is 115 feet from the plate. However, Blanton did have a very good year in 2007. He may be entering his prime. His HR rate and BB both dipped last year. Good work using numbers to show that.


Numbers are fun to look at but dangerous to dwell on.


But...didn't...you...just...

Superdude
03-10-2008, 12:08 AM
Baker understands this. If Dunn walks 30 fewer times this year, he'll drive in 15 more runs. His on-base percentage will dip. Oh, no.

If Dunn walks 30 fewer times, he'll drive in 15 more runs. This is thanks to the scientifically proven formula: RBI = (this is nonsense) (I made it all up).

That's just hilarious. Dougherty arbitrarily divides walks by two to come up with justification for his argument. I'm starting to understand Dougherty's opinions a little more now. From what I can gather, statistics are okay, but only if you create them using some whimsical, on-the-spot formula you just made up. Any actual research, or even logic for that matter, makes the statistic irrelevant.

Superdude
03-10-2008, 12:15 AM
Holy crap! Ken Tremendous is Mose Schrute! I love this man.

top6
03-10-2008, 12:18 AM
FJM is probably my favorite blog right now. I hope he picks on Dusty and Doc - and all the sportswriters who love Dusty - all year.

Actually, now we have all the more reason to hope the Reds somehow make the playoffs. That will bring Dusty's act to the national scene, and provide more hilarious fodder for the FJM crew.

BuckeyeRedleg
03-10-2008, 12:26 AM
Daugherty definitely reads this board.

Good. If so, I hope he reads this.

YOU ARE AN IDIOT, Paul Daugherty.

We are all more stupid now for reading your garbage and may God have mercy on your ignorant soul.

*BaseClogger*
03-10-2008, 12:31 AM
FJM is probably my favorite blog right now. I hope he picks on Dusty and Doc - and all the sportswriters who love Dusty - all year.

Actually, now we have all the more reason to hope the Reds somehow make the playoffs. That will bring Dusty's act to the national scene, and provide more hilarious fodder for the FJM crew.

I just got really excited!!! :)

KronoRed
03-10-2008, 01:43 AM
Good. If so, I hope he reads this.

YOU ARE AN IDIOT, Paul Daugherty.

We are all more stupid now for reading your garbage and may God have mercy on your ignorant soul.:laugh::laugh::laugh:

edabbs44
03-10-2008, 09:18 AM
FJM is probably my favorite blog right now. I hope he picks on Dusty and Doc - and all the sportswriters who love Dusty - all year.

Actually, now we have all the more reason to hope the Reds somehow make the playoffs. That will bring Dusty's act to the national scene, and provide more hilarious fodder for the FJM crew.

If this team somehow got to the postseason, I think Dusty would deserve an insane amount praise rather than ridicule.

*BaseClogger*
03-10-2008, 10:20 AM
If this team somehow got to the postseason, I think Dusty would deserve an insane amount praise rather than ridicule.

Kinda like how people praised Ozzie Guillen after the White Sox won the 2005 World Series? :rolleyes: That team won DESPITE the crazy antics Ozzie Guillen tried, not because of them...

lollipopcurve
03-10-2008, 10:23 AM
Kinda like how people praised Ozzie Guillen after the White Sox won the 2005 World Series? That team won DESPITE the crazy antics Ozzie Guillen tried, not because of them...

How can you distinguish between a team winning because of their manager and a team winning in spite of their manager?

edabbs44
03-10-2008, 10:37 AM
How can you distinguish between a team winning because of their manager and a team winning in spite of their manager?

Good point, but I would have went this route:

That White Sox team has a 3.61 team ERA. The 2007 Reds had a 4.94 team ERA and have many of the same faces back, so an ERA in the same vicinity could be expected.

If they make the playoffs this year, it most likely will not be in spite of Baker. The team isn't good enough to say that. That Chicago team was a legit playoff team.

*BaseClogger*
03-10-2008, 10:45 AM
How can you distinguish between a team winning because of their manager and a team winning in spite of their manager?


Good point, but I would have went this route:

That White Sox team has a 3.61 team ERA. The 2007 Reds had a 4.94 team ERA and have many of the same faces back, so an ERA in the same vicinity could be expected.

If they make the playoffs this year, it most likely will not be in spite of Baker. The team isn't good enough to say that. That Chicago team was a legit playoff team.

Yes, edabbs44 is correct. The 2004 Chicago White Sox had a team ERA of 4.91 with pretty much the exact same cast of characters returning for 2005. So what changed? Well, young pitchers made strides and the bullpen was revamped (sound familiar?). Therefore, the 2005 White Sox won the World Series because they had great pitching, not because Kenny Williams picked up Scott Podsednik and Ozzie Guillen had started a smallball revolution. On the contrary, the 2005 White Sox won the World Series DESPITE all of Ozzie Guillen's sacrifce bunts and hit-and-runs in the AMERICAN LEAGUE!
If the Reds make the playoffs this year, it will be because the young players make a big splash, which will, in fact, be in SPITE of Dusty "don't clog my bases" Baker...

lollipopcurve
03-10-2008, 10:49 AM
On the contrary, the 2005 White Sox won the World Series DESPITE all of Ozzie Guillen's sacrifce bunts and hit-and-runs in the AMERICAN LEAGUE!

So, the manager's influence is confined to sacrifice bunts and hit and runs? All other decisions are inconsequential?

edabbs44
03-10-2008, 10:52 AM
Yes, edabbs44 is correct. The 2004 Chicago White Sox had a team ERA of 4.91 with pretty much the exact same cast of characters returning for 2005. So what changed? Well, young pitchers made strides and the bullpen was revamped (sound familiar?). Therefore, the 2005 White Sox won the World Series because they had great pitching, not because Kenny Williams picked up Scott Podsednik and Ozzie Guillen had started a smallball revolution. On the contrary, the 2005 White Sox won the World Series DESPITE all of Ozzie Guillen's sacrifce bunts and hit-and-runs in the AMERICAN LEAGUE!
If the Reds make the playoffs this year, it will be because the young players make a big splash, which will, in fact, be in SPITE of Dusty "don't clog my bases" Baker...

Why wouldn't Ozzie get any credit with how that pitching staff performed? If they sucked, I'm sure he would have been blamed for it.

Right now, I have very limited expectations for this team in 2008. For the most part, I believe that the FO did another atrocious job at preparing the roster for this year. If they make the playoffs this year, I will give Dusty a boatload of credit. I won't care if he has everyone bunt everytime up because he thinks that is 1912. I won't care if he has people try to steal home because he thought they looked like Jackie Robinson or Ty Cobb.

I won't care if the sabermetricians "claim" that Dusty alone cost the team 100 runs.

If they win and make the playoffs, he will have done his job.

This all goes out the window, however, if he starts to have Harang throw 185 pitches per game or he benches Dunn for Hopper because his psychic told him so. :)

*BaseClogger*
03-10-2008, 10:56 AM
So, the manager's influence is confined to sacrifice bunts and hit and runs? All other decisions are inconsequential?

Well, I'm still searching for things Ozzie Guillen does well... Certainly, handling the media is not his strength...

*BaseClogger*
03-10-2008, 11:00 AM
Why wouldn't Ozzie get any credit with how that pitching staff performed? If they sucked, I'm sure he would have been blamed for it.

Right now, I have very limited expectations for this team in 2008. For the most part, I believe that the FO did another atrocious job at preparing the roster for this year. If they make the playoffs this year, I will give Dusty a boatload of credit. I won't care if he has everyone bunt everytime up because he thinks that is 1912. I won't care if he has people try to steal home because he thought they looked like Jackie Robinson or Ty Cobb.

I won't care if the sabermetricians "claim" that Dusty alone cost the team 100 runs.

If they win and make the playoffs, he will have done his job.

This all goes out the window, however, if he starts to have Harang throw 185 pitches per game or he benches Dunn for Hopper because his psychic told him so. :)

I don't see what effect Ozzie Guillen could have had on starting pitchers. Perhaps someone else can explain to me what an American League manager can do to help out his starting pitchers.

As for the Reds, your assertion gets back to "making a bad decision, then having it work out, means it was a good decision." If I were a parent with young, cute children, and I hire a creepy convicted child molester to babysit my kids, and it turns out when I get home that he did a great job getting my kids to do their homework and go to bed early, does that mean it was a good decision to hire him?

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 11:01 AM
People are going to see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. The first regular season game has yet to be played and some here at Redszone are already totally entrenched against Dusty Baker and would much rather have Bill James in the dugout. I'm willing to give Dusty a chance. If his decisions in the dugout are terrible, then the complaints will be valid. He, at the very least, deserves a chance to prove himself. After that, his decisions and style are open game.

flyer85
03-10-2008, 11:05 AM
Oh God. No. Please, Adam. Your improvement in the second half of 2007 was due to your increase in BB rate:

1st Half 2007: 6.8 AB per BB
2nd Half 2007: 3.86 AB per BB

That was exactly what Adam Dunn needed to do. He saw almost exactly as many pitches as he did (4.17 versus 4.18) when he hit .234 in 2006. What the guy actually did is improve his pitch selection and discipline in the second half of 2007. The result was a suppression of his AB totals, resulting in a BA improvement driven by a major improvement in his AB per HR rates versus the first half of 2007:

AB/HR First half: 23.54 AB per HR
AB/HR Second half: 15.43 AB per HR

If there's a player on the team that doesn't need Dusty Baker's advice, it's Adam Dunn (well, also Joey Votto). Dunn knows what he needs to do, but swinging earlier in the count isnt' it. That's never been "it". What he needs to continue to do is act like Adam Dunn. That guy was always good enough without the tutoring from coaches who have no idea about what Adam Dunn actually needs to do to hit well.

Like every other Manager or coach before him, Baker just needs to leave the guy alone. And for gosh sakes, Dunn needs to not listen to Baker.I honestly don't think being more aggressive early or when ahead in the count is a problem. Dunn has some of the most amazing splits based on the outcome of the first pitch. As long as Dunn is not expanding the strike zone by being more aggressive it shouldn't be a problem.

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 11:06 AM
I honestly don't think being more aggressive early or when ahead in the count is a problem. Dunn has some of the most amazing splits based on the outcome of the first pitch. As long as Dunn is not expanding the strike zone by being more aggressive it shouldn't be a problem.

A voice of reason.

*BaseClogger*
03-10-2008, 11:11 AM
People are going to see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. The first regular season game has yet to be played and some here at Redszone are already totally entrenched against Dusty Baker and would much rather have Bill James in the dugout. I'm willing to give Dusty a chance. If his decisions in the dugout are terrible, then the complaints will be valid. He, at the very least, deserves a chance to prove himself. After that, his decisions and style are open game.

My passion against the Dusty Baker hiring is what lead me to this site...

lollipopcurve
03-10-2008, 11:12 AM
Well, I'm still searching for things Ozzie Guillen does well... Certainly, handling the media is not his strength...

No biggie -- point being that the manager's influence is very difficult to quantify. Most attempts put it at no more than a handful of wins/losses a year. For my part, I'll stick to extremes -- if a team wins the World Series, like the White Sox did, I'm going to give the manager some credit. If a team dumps 100 games, it makes sense to consider a managerial change, if for no other reason than sometimes change for change's sake can be good. Beyond the extremes, it's pretty difficult to make a judgment -- managing requires tremendous people skills -- in the clubhouse/dugout and within an organization -- and the evidence on that front is pretty scant to outsiders. Ozzie's an easy target because he's outspoken, and many have noted that outspokenness does not wear well with players over time. May be true... but I will always maintain you have to give a manager his due when his team wins a Series.

flyer85
03-10-2008, 11:14 AM
Maybe I am overly optimistic but I think Dunn can still improve as hitter. He started making more contact in the 2nd half of last season. At the same time he improved his BB rate and basically held his HR rate constant.

jojo
03-10-2008, 11:15 AM
The first regular season game has yet to be played and some here at Redszone are already totally entrenched against Dusty Baker and would much rather have Bill James in the dugout.

I haven't heard a single person seriously make that suggestion.

edabbs44
03-10-2008, 11:15 AM
I don't see what effect Ozzie Guillen could have had on starting pitchers. Perhaps someone else can explain to me what an American League manager can do to help out his starting pitchers.

Taking them out at the right time? Not abusing the staff?

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 11:16 AM
Good point Flyer. But it raises the question, what is Dunn doing now that he would change? Do we think (or has he admitted to) that Dunn is watching quality pitches go purposefully early in the count, in hopes of getting a better pitcher later?

My concern is that Dunn is already swinging when he sees a good one -- at least as much as anybody else does. The big problem he has is that he misses a lot. And when you miss a lot when you have two strikes on you, thats called a strikeout.

What I'd like to see more of, and what we saw from Dunn in the second half last year was a bit more of a contact swing when he does choose to swing with two strikes -- not swinging more to avoid the count altogether. He cut his K and really ratcheted up his BB in the 2nd half -- I think those were related as he started keeping himself alive a bit longer. I wonder if the P/PA data bears that out. Though he did cut his K/BB ratio in half, a pretty impressive change.

1st half: .126 BB/PA, .294 K/PA -- 2.33 K/BB
2nd half: .204 BB/PA, .218 K/PA -- 1.07 K/BB

*BaseClogger*
03-10-2008, 11:17 AM
Taking them out at the right time? Not abusing the staff?

gee whiz... good thing I'm not comparing him the Cincinnati Reds manager... :D

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 11:18 AM
I haven't heard a single person seriously make that suggestion.

Sorry, that statement was probably a little enhanced, but I wouldn't mind seeing a pole on that one.;)

Truth is, I don't think you can argue with the notion that there are a lot of folks who are entrenched against Baker.

flyer85
03-10-2008, 11:18 AM
BTW, my fear with Dusty has to do with playing the wrong people rather than issues with changing the approach of the likes of Dunn and Votto. I am fearful wat too many ABs are going to gvien to on Patterson/Hopper/Freel/Gonzalez?Hatteberg at the expense of Bruce, Votto and Keppinger.

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 11:27 AM
Good point Flyer. But it raises the question, what is Dunn doing now that he would change? Do we think (or has he admitted to) that Dunn is watching quality pitches go purposefully early in the count, it hopes of getting a better pitcher later?

My concern is that Dunn is already swinging when he sees a good one -- at least as much as anybody else does. The big problem he has is that he misses a lot. Throw in pitcher's nibbling due to their fear of his power and you have a recipe for a lot of deep counts.

What I'd like to see more of, and what we saw from Dunn in the second half last year was a bit more of a contact swing when he does choose to swing with two strikes. He cut his K and really ratcheted up his BB in the 2nd half -- I think those were related as he started keeping himself alive a bit longer. I wonder if the P/PA data bears that out?

I think he gets in ruts where he takes a lot of first pitches that he could really drive a long way. I think that is the difference in Dunn and a guy like Barry Bonds. Bonds recognizes and hits "mistakes" on a much more regular basis than Dunn. Pitchers and pitching coaches work on trends, and I think they use this at certain times during the season to be able to get ahead of Dunn. There is no question that hitters gain the advantage when ahead in the count, and vice versa. There is a lot to like about Dunn, but I think this is an area that could help his production. Nobody wants him to swing at bad pitches early, but even he has recognized that he lets a lot of "hitters pitches" go by early in the count. Those are some of the times that he gets down and ends up swinging at a pitch out of the strike zone after two strikes. At that point, you are extending the strike zone by swinging at a bad pitch, out of the zone. I would much rather see him swing at a good pitch early in the count as opposed to that curve ball or slider, out of the strike zone, late in the count.

edabbs44
03-10-2008, 11:32 AM
I haven't heard a single person seriously make that suggestion.

I think it was an exaggeration, but the point is somewhat valid.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 11:33 AM
Sorry, that statement was probably a little enhanced, but I wouldn't mind seeing a pole on that one.;)

Truth is, I don't think you can argue with the notion that there are a lot of folks who are entrenched against Baker.

I think you can argue. "Entrenched against Baker" is the wrong phrase, implying some personal affront or unmerited bias. It's not a permanent position against the man himself. Rather it's an opposition to willful ignorance when it comes to analysis. It's a frustration that he's openly hostile to some very simple concepts which really can't be refuted on their merits.

If he were to change his tune on just a few things, a lot of us would come around. I'd love to be as big a fan of my manager as I am of my team. I think Dusty seems like a really nice guy and I'd probably enjoy him as a person. I'm even willing to bet he's a pretty good coach given his ability to motivate and get his players to listen. I'd love to have him as a bench coach. But as a strategic decision maker, a manager, yikes.

As for waiting for the regular season, when the regular season comes along, do we really think that he's suddenly going to consider an OBP guy like Votto for leadoff and put Phillips lower in the order versus righties? I'd be thrilled if he did, but all the evidence suggests otherwise. I guess we'll know in a few weeks.

jojo
03-10-2008, 11:52 AM
Sorry, that statement was probably a little enhanced, but I wouldn't mind seeing a pole on that one.;)

Truth is, I don't think you can argue with the notion that there are a lot of folks who are entrenched against Baker.

To be fair though, he's made alot of comments that have tweaked people and I think some of the reaction we're seeing speaks to the quotes more than they reflect a sentiment that Baker should be run out of town before the season even starts.

Or maybe this is a better way to put it, Dusty's ST comments have done nothing to persuade his detractors to quit worrying.

westofyou
03-10-2008, 11:54 AM
Or maybe this is a better way to put it, Dusty's ST comments have done nothing to persuade his detractors to quit worrying.
Sparky Anderson used to pepper spring with all sorts of crap that was... well... crap.

flyer85
03-10-2008, 12:03 PM
Good point Flyer. But it raises the question, what is Dunn doing now that he would change? Do we think (or has he admitted to) that Dunn is watching quality pitches go purposefully early in the count, it hopes of getting a better pitcher later?

My concern is that Dunn is already swinging when he sees a good one -- at least as much as anybody else does. The big problem he has is that he misses a lot. And when you miss a lot when you have two strikes on you, thats called a strikeout.

What I'd like to see more of, and what we saw from Dunn in the second half last year was a bit more of a contact swing when he does choose to swing with two strikes -- not swinging more to avoid the count altogether. He cut his K and really ratcheted up his BB in the 2nd half -- I think those were related as he started keeping himself alive a bit longer. I wonder if the P/PA data bears that out. Though he did cut his K/BB ratio in half, a pretty impressive change.

1st half: .126 BB/PA, .294 K/PA -- 2.33 K/BB
2nd half: .204 BB/PA, .218 K/PA -- 1.07 K/BBShandler tracks contact % by half. IIRC Dunn went from 66% to 72%

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 12:16 PM
Shandler tracks contact % by half. IIRC Dunn went from 66% to 72%

How does that track historically for Dunn? Any hint on whether we're seeing a sample size variation or a suggestion of real improvement?

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 12:28 PM
I think you can argue. "Entrenched against Baker" is the wrong phrase, implying some personal affront or unmerited bias. It's not a permanent position against the man himself. Rather it's an opposition to willful ignorance when it comes to analysis. It's a frustration that he's openly hostile to some very simple concepts which really can't be refuted on their merits.

If he were to change his tune on just a few things, a lot of us would come around. I'd love to be as big a fan of my manager as I am of my team. I think Dusty seems like a really nice guy and I'd probably enjoy him as a person. I'm even willing to bet he's a pretty good coach given his ability to motivate and get his players to listen. I'd love to have him as a bench coach. But as a strategic decision maker, a manager, yikes.

As for waiting for the regular season, when the regular season comes along, do we really think that he's suddenly going to consider an OBP guy like Votto for leadoff and put Phillips lower in the order versus righties? I'd be thrilled if he did, but all the evidence suggests otherwise. I guess we'll know in a few weeks.

Personally, I don't think it is the wrong phrase at all. Baker "is" what he believes. Nobody on this forum has sat down with Dusty Baker to discuss his views or theories on playing the game of baseball or his style of managing. I don't know that you can say that he is totally hostile toward all the things that you hold so dear about the game and believe as the gospel truth. Is there only one way to play this game? Are the people that may have a different view than you, totally wrong or ignorant? Baker has had some success in the game. I think he deserves a chance to prove himself in Cincinnati before he is labeled as the next coming of the baseball plague.

Will I agree with all of Baker's decisions. Heck no. That is the nature of the game, but I simply do not believe that there is one way to play this game. If a person doesn't agree with me, is he somehow ignorant? No way.

Is he a nice person? I don't know. The closest encounter I ever had with Dusty Baker was at the Waterfront night club when he was playing with the Giants. Don Robinson was a friend of mine and he took us out with him after a game. Baker shook my hand and was very cordial. I don't know that being a nice guy is going to help him in the dugout, so I don't really know what that has to do with anything. Obviously, he has had enough success as a manager/coach to warrant a few managers jobs so he has to be doing some things right.

On a personal level, I have had success in baseball with a particular coaching style. I have seen many guys that employed a completely different coaching style than mine, have success. Is one style better than the other? They both produced wins and success. Baseball managers and coaches are probably the biggest thieves in the world. They steal and borrow little things from just about everyone that they meet. Keep the things you can use and throw away the things that you can't. There are very few "originals," yet almost everyone has a style that they go to war with. You are ultimately judged on the Wins and Losses. That's how I am going to judge Dusty Baker.

blumj
03-10-2008, 12:29 PM
Sparky Anderson used to pepper spring with all sorts of crap that was... well... crap.
Is there a purpose behind Dusty's "crap"? Is he just thinking out loud? Is he trying to reassure someone that the Reds haven't been overtaken by those scary, modern stats monsters? I mean, what scary, modern stats monsters? Is he trying to justify some decisions he might make later that he thinks might be unpopular? Or, is he just incapable of keeping his thoughts to himself about things we really don't need to know? Does he need to tell the world what kind of advice he wants to give individual players? He can easily tell the players anything he wants without us ever knowing about it. Why not just do that?

flyer85
03-10-2008, 12:39 PM
How does that track historically for Dunn? Any hint on whether we're seeing a sample size variation or a suggestion of real improvement?dunn has been rather consistent in the 65-68 range throughout his career.

westofyou
03-10-2008, 12:40 PM
Why not just do that

Some folks just act as though they swallowed the blarney stone whenever they see a microphone or one of those little notebooks.

That's Dusty

He's also a complete creation of the systems he came up in and the way the game was played.

As a Brave in his time only Darrell Evans was a low average walking machine and as a Dodger only Wynn and Smith topped 100 walks in a season and the only other Dodgers to ever walk a LOT were Cey and Lopes. The Dodgers were a lot like the Angels are now, so I see a mess of Dusty's approach in the Angels game (but with less chatter from the manager about his approach) Also as a former hitting coach Dusty tends to be an authority on batting approaches, he talks about it WAY more than any other aspect of the game and WAY more than any other skipper I can think of.

His commentary is akin to a story being told by Grandpa Simpson at times and as seeped in logic as a Nomar at bat.

Still beats the Miley's and the Narron's of the world.

westofyou
03-10-2008, 12:53 PM
http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/


There are two arguments that amuse me when it comes to the anti-baseball stat crowd. The first argument is one you will often hear around awards time or Hall of Fame time — and it might go a little something like this:

“You can’t judge Derek Jeter by his stats. He does so many things that don’t show up in the box score. I mean, look, the guy’s a lifetime .317 hitter!”

Or: “It’s ridiculous to look at Andre Dawson’s low on-base percentage. Stats don’t tell the story about a player like Dawson. In his career he hit 300 homers and stole 300 bases!”

Or: “Some people say that Jimmy Rollins should not have been MVP because he only had a 118 OPS+ (whatever the hell that is). That’s the problem with the statheads. They don’t watch the game. Rollins had 38 doubles, 20 triples and 30 home runs!”

You get the point — some will rip the whole idea of stats by bringing up … other stats. It happens every fall.

The second argument is one I want to write a little bit about today — it’s a little bit more involved. There are a few people out there who hate — HATE — the idea of new statistics because we did not grow up with them. In that world, baseball is a game of batting average, home runs, RBIs, wins, ERA, maybe saves, a few runs, a sprinkle of stolen bases and maybe — MAYBE — an advanced metric like strikeout to walks ratio. Everything else is Communism.

Funny thing is, I don’t think this is so much a revolt against new statistics as it is an aversion to change; in my father’s day old men complained about how the younger players couldn’t get down a bunt. In our day, old men complain about on-base percentage and WHIP (never mind Eqa or neutral wins or Win Shares or other works of the devil).

Now, I fully understand this point of view having grown up in that 1970s era when everything was simpler — you could tell all you needed to know about a about a player by three numbers placed in a special order, like so:

.302, 22, 102
19-14, 2.98
.228, 6, 48
11-14, 4.29

And so on. To a large degree, I would say, many baseball fans still build their appreciation of the game around those core numbers. And I think that’s cool. Everything great should be enjoyed on its own level. Some people enjoy watching movies for the plot, some for the music, some for the lighting (Royals pitcher and everyone’s favorite guy Brian Bannister was going on and on about the lighting of some movie the other day). Baseball’s good that way, it has that Tom Boswell, time-begins-on-Opening-Day quality to it, and I think to a large degree it’s great and romantic to watch baseball your whole life the way you watch it when you are 12 years old. You don’t have to study baseball to enjoy it; you don’t have to strive for a deeper understanding to appreciate the game. Baseball is supposed to be fun, and while some of us have that fun working out a spreadsheet on 2007 starting pitchers (more on that coming up), more I suspect would prefer having a few beers, reminiscing about a three-hit game in high school and booing the cleanup hitter for walking with ducks on the pond. Enjoy at your own pace.

But now we’re getting to my point. The second argument against newer stats is that they are too complicated, too contrived, they don’t have anything to do with BASEBALL, the game, sweat, spit, dirt, jocks, beanballs, you know, the GAME of baseball, hitting .300, winning 20 games, driving in 100 ribbies and all. These new numbers are just accounting tricks. They muddle the games, bury it in a sea of digits. And so on.

Look, I’m not here to defend all baseball statistics. I like some, I don’t like some, I understand some, I don’t understand some*, I think some open up the game, I think some obscure the human nature of the sport, it’s like anything else. There’s art I like, music I like, movies I like, books I like, but I don’t say that because I cannot stand the song “Low” that all songs recorded after 1987 suck. It’s a big world out there.


But here’s why this whole “It’s so confusing” argument amuses me so much: People will tell you that the new stats are too convoluted or manufactured … and yet there are NO stats more convoluted and manufactured than the basic statistics that baseball has been built around for more than 100 years.

Some of this should be obvious. Batting average? It’s ridiculous. Preposterous. Imagine that no one had ever come up with batting average before … and then someone on a blog came up with with this idea:

Blogger: I have come up with a new statistic. It involves balls put in play. I call it batting average.
Establishment: Great! How’s it work?
B: See, what we’ll do is, we’ll take the number of hits that the batter has and divide it by the number of at-bats that he has in order to determine how often he gets a hit.
E: That sounds like on-base percentage. What’s the difference?
B: Well, it’s all in what you call “at-bats” For one thing, we don’t count walks.
E: What do you mean you don’t count walks?
B: They don’t count. We take plate appearances and subtract walks. They never happened.
E: How can a walk never happen?
B: It just doesn’t.
E: Aren’t walks good things? Like in Little League, we always say “Walk’s as good as a hit.”
B: I hate walks. They’re gone. So let’s say a guy comes to the plate 12 times, and he gets four hits and walks twice …
E: Right … that’s a .500 on-base percentage.
B: Exactly, but if you just subtract the walks, you will see that he has a .400 batting average.
E: Um, OK.
B: But there are other things. If you hit a fly ball, and someone tags up and scores a run, that does not count as an at-bat.
E: Why not?
B: Because you are sacrificing yourself for the betterment of the team? I call it a sacrifice fly. Get it?
E: Well, what are you sacrificing if it doesn’t even count against your stats?
B: You just are, OK?
E: What if you hit a ground ball and the runner scores.
B: How’s that?
E: Let’s say the infield’s back and a guy hits a ground ball to get the run in. How do you score that?
B: No, that’s not a sacrifice fly.
E Why not? Doesn’t that accomplish the same thing?
B: It just isn’t. Come on, pay attention. What’s it called. Sacrifice FLY? Hello! He didn’t hit a fly ball.
E: It just seems to me …
B: Sacrifice bunts also do not count as at-bats. And when you get hit by a pitch … doesn’t count.
E You don’t get any statistical notice for getting hit by a pitch?
B: Like it never happened.
E: I’m afraid to ask this: What happens if you reach on an error.
B: That’s the beauty of this system. According to my new batting average, you’re out.
E: But you’re not really out.
B: I know. Isn’t it great?
E: Why does this have to be so complicated?
B: It’s batting average! It will take over the world!

You can do this with pretty much every core baseball stat. ERA? Have you ever considered how convoluted and absurd ERA really is? First of all, there’s the whole inane concept of what constitutes an “earned run” vs. an “unearned run,” which I cannot go into now or this projected 3,500 word blog might be closer to 40,000. Let’s just say this: The unearned run? A ridiculous part of baseball. Maybe it had a purpose at one time. Not now. I mean, what, you’re not going to count a run against a pitcher because someone (maybe even the pitcher himself) made an error. What? I mean, there are so many things wrong with this … well, just take one second and look at the OTHER side or the unearned run scenario: Nobody keeps track of “saved runs” when a centerfielder makes a ridiculous diving catch or third baseman dives and takes a away a down-the-line double throws out a runner from foul ground. That play might save the pitcher three runs. Maybe we should start charging the pitcher those three runs on his “IRA” — Imagined Run Average.

Yes, I despise the unearned run.

Second, ERA was developed in a time when pitchers, generally, finished innings. Bill James has talked about this. Now, with pitchers routinely leaving the game in the middle of innings and with runners on base — or coming in to face one or two batters — we have the whole elaborate mess of trying to figure out who should be charged with the run. ERA deals with this mess by ignoring it, by slapping the run on whoever happened to put the runner on base. So if starting pitcher walks a batter with two outs in the eighth, gets taken out, and the reliever gives up a triple, then the starter gets charged with the run. The reliever gets nothing. Who thinks this is a good idea? Who thinks the starter was MORE responsible for that run than the reliever, much less ENTIRELY responsible for the run?

And so on.

You can keep going — point out the absurd flaws when discussing RBIs (without considering the number of runners that were on base) or stolen bases (without considering how many times they were thrown out) or any number of other things. Sometimes, the anti-stathead crowd doesn’t realize something that’s worth realizing: The reason so many people keep working on new statistics is because the stats we grew up with are STUPID. And plenty confusing too.*

*It’s easy to forget that when you grow up with something, yes, it seems simpler, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is simpler. I see this all the time with my daughter, Elizabeth. She is 6 now and is obviously growing up in the computer age. At one point — I may have mentioned this — she asked me what computer games I played when I was little. I said we did not have a computer and she asked, “Were you poor?”

My point is that the concepts that may seem tricky and confusing for people of our generation — the stuff we have to LEARN — she just understands instinctively. It’s as natural as anything for her to use a computer mouse, to look up something on a search engine, to click here and then there to get to the page she wants and whatever else. I know (for the most part) how to do these things, but it’s not the same thing. I know it because I learned it. She knows it because she has never known anything else. It’s like the old cliche about parents who can’t program their VCR. They never learned. We did not have to learn it — VCR programming was just something we had always done.

This all leads me to my thought about pitcher’s wins and losses. We are talking here about how one of the great arguments of the anti-stathead crowd is that these new stats make things WAY too complicated. They will say that the only way to measure pitchers is by WINS and LOSSES. That’s it. What was his record? Don’t bore me with the other stuff. Wins and losses, baby.

Believe it or not, I think there’s some merit to this way of thinking. Not a lot. But some. I do think that it is possible to cut up the game and its numbers into so many tiny pieces that, finally, you might lose the big picture (I also think that’s part of the fun, but that’s another story). I think that one very good way of measuring the general effectiveness of a pitcher is by his wins and losses. Let’s keep it simple. Great.

Ah, but here’s the problem — a pitcher’s won-loss record, the way the anti-statheads want us to view it, is not simple at all. It’s not even CLOSE to simple. It has only a passing relationship with actual wins and losses. It’s worth saying one last time: It’s absolutely remarkable how confusing these “simple” statistics really are.

To win a game, a starter must:

1. Pitch at least five innings.
2. Leave the game with the lead.
3. Have his team win without ever relinquishing the lead.

Seems simple enough. But when you throw in the many quirks of baseball statistics, it really makes very little sense at all. Here are a few fun scenarios:

A. Dontrelle Willis throws seven shutout innings and leaves the game up 4-0. His relievers give up four runs in the eighth to tie the score. Detroit scores a run in the bottom of the eighth and end up winning 5-4. Does Dontrelle get a victory?

B. Brian Bannister throws 8 2/3 shutout innings. Royals are up 1-0. He walks a batter, gets taken out, a reliever comes in and gives up a two-run homer to make it 2-1. In the bottom of the ninth, the Royals’ Billy Butler hits a grand slam to make the final 5-2. Does Banny get the W?

C. Johan Santana throws four shutout innings in Shea and then rain pours down — a two hour rain delay. They return and Santana is not out there. The Mets are up 8-0, a reliever throws one inning and then rain returns. The call the game. Who gets the victory?

D. Jake Peavy throws 7 2/3 shutout innings and is up 2-0. He gives up a double, is ordered to intentionally walk the next batter and is taken out. the reliever comes in, gives up a two-run double. In the bottom of the inning, the Padres score 18 runs and go on to win. Who gets the victory?

Everyone here is smart enough to know that:

A. Dontrelle does not get the victory. Once the score is tied, according to the official rules of baseball, “the games become a new contest insofar as the winning pitcher is concerned.” One of those relievers would get the victory.

B. Bannister does not get the victory. By baseball’s crazy rules the run out there was his, so while he may have THOUGHT he left the game with the lead, the relief pitcher made sure that he did not.

C. I threw this one is as a fun little trick — Santana does get the win here. According to the rules, a starter can throw only four innings in a five-inning rain-shortened game and still get the victory. If Santana had only thrown 3 2/3 innings when the first rain came, though, no W.

D. Peavy does not get the victory for the same reasons Bannister did not — those two runs that scored after he left are considered his runs. I put this up a second time to point out how stupid it is.

OK, so what’s the point? The point is that pitcher wins and losses — like batting average, like ERA, like almost all the other stats — are not at all uncomplicated, not especially revealing and not at all the blunt and plain “do they win games or don’t they” stat that so many want to make it out to be.

And so … I have a suggestion. Let’s make this stat blunt and plain. I am proposing a way to look at starting pitcher’s wins and losses; and I’m hoping that it will really appeal to the anti-statheads. I’m proposing a stat that does not involve any slide rules. No scientific buttons on the calculator. I am, in fact, proposing the single simplest statistic in the history of professional baseball.

I call it “Wins and Losses.” Catchy, huh?

And it goes like so. You figure the record of the team when a pitcher started the game.

That’s it. There are no caveats. No no-decisions. None of that crazy adding or dividing or whatever they call that stuff. It doesn’t matter if the game goes 5 innings or 55. It doesn’t matter if you threw a shutout, scattered 12 hits or gave up 10 in 1/3 of an inning. It’s a one-question stat: That game you started: Did your team win or lose? End of discussion.*

*I want to point out that I got these statistics from the Bill James Website. I would also like to take a moment to say something about my friend Bill, something that he probably would not want me to say. But every couple of weeks, it seems I will see yet another person throw Bill out there as the essence of statistical evils and pajama-wearing baseball geekdom. It makes makes me pretty ill. True, part if it is because we are friends, but a much larger part is that if you read Bill’s work at all, if you look at his theories with anything resembling an open mind, if you consider at all what he’s getting at … you realize that the man LOVES baseball. I mean loves baseball, loves the game, loves the stories, loves the characters, loves the ins and outs of strategy, loves the moments, loves trying to figure out why things happen, and why so many people buy into stuff that is probably nonsense. I don’t mind people saying that Bill is full of crap — hell, we ALL have to deal with that (and Bill is never shy about saying that someone else is full of crap, including me). But the people who try to make it sound like Bill’s love and understanding of baseball are wrapped up in obscure mathematics and unworkable thoughts and cold data just don’t get it at all.

Anyway, by this simple stat, here were the pitchers with the most true wins in 2007:

1. Aaron Harang, Reds. 24-10
2. Brad Penny, Dodgers, 23-10
(tie) John Lackey, Angels 23-10
4. Jake Peavy, Padres, 23-11
(tie) C.C. Sabathia, Indians, 23-11
6. Kelvim Escobar, Angels, 22-8
7. Justin Verlander, Tigers, 22-10
(tie) Fausto Carmona, Indians, 22-10
9. Tim Hudson, Braves, 22-12
(tie) Jeff Francis, Rockies, 22-12
(tie) Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks, 22-12
12. Felix Hernandez, Mariners, 21-9
(tie) Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees, 21-9
(tie) Josh Beckett, Red Sox, 21-9
15. Andy Pettitte, Yankees, 21-13
16. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays, 20-11
17. John Maine, Mets, 20-12
18. Jason Marquis, Cubs, 20-13
(tie) Doug Davis, Diamondbacks, 20-13
20. Erik Bedard, Orioles, 19-9
(tie) Cole Hamels, Philles, 19-9

There are all sorts of flaws with this way of judging wins too — BUT I still think it’s a better way. I think it’s much more useful to know that the that the Mariners won 21 of 30 games that King Felix started than it is to know that his “record” was 14-7. No decisions tell us nothing and spreading those victories and losses among relievers is pretty pointless. I would love to see the TRUE wins and losses of every pitcher — I think that would be a lot more telling.

A couple more points to make about this and then I want to take this one more level up. Anti-Statheads might want to jump off here, assuming they didn’t jump off about 1,800 words ago.

1. Aaron Harang has a pitcher’s record of 57-42 since coming to the A’s in the Jose Guillen trade*. That’s really good. But he has a true record of 79-59, which is quite amazing when you consider that the Reds have had a losing record every single one of those years.

*Forget that trade — how about the perennially dying-for-pitching Rangers trading a 22-year-old Harang to Oakland for a 38-year-old Randy Velarde. Randy Freaking Velarde. I mean, this is meant as no offense at all to Velarde, who had a fine career, more than 1,100 Major League hits, played every position but centerfield and catcher … but RANDY FREAKING VELARDE. I mean you don’t trade for 38-year-old Velardes, you pick them up on waivers. You sign them as low-level free agents to bring a little “professionalism” to your clubhouse. If you DO have this desperate urge to trade for Randy Velarde — say it’s late in the season and you want a clubhouse presence — you deal a player to be named later.

Randy Freaking Velarde.

But no, there’s more. The Rangers did not just trade Aaron Harang for Randy Velarde. They also traded a minor leaguer named Ryan Cullen. He has not made it, but that’s not the point. No, the point is that the A’s got Aaron Harang for Randy Freaking Velarde, and Billy Beane said, “No, that’s not enough, you need to throw someone else in there for us to make this deal.” If Billy Beane was in your fantasy league, you would know him as “The jerk who keeps screwing Bob, the computer tech who doesn’t know anything about baseball.”

2. The Boston Red Sox had eight pitchers make more than one start — and they had winning records with seven of them on the mound. Only Julian Tavarez (a not awful 10-13) had a losing record. Conversely, the Kansas City Royals had 11 pitchers make more than one start, and all but two (Brian Bannister at 15-12, Leo Nunez at 4-2) had losing records. This says something very important, something that I feel confident saying: The Red Sox were better than the Royals in 2007.

So if Aaron Harang is the great overachiever as far as helping a team win, who is the great underachiever? Well, sadly, the second-biggest underachiever in 2007 was a guy I like very much, Milwaukee’s Chris Capuano — the Brewers went 7-18 with him on the mound. Awful. I want to believe it was a fluke — in 2005, when the Brewers first showed signs of life — Capuano’s true record was 22-13, one of the best in baseball.

The No. 1 underachiever, as you already knew, was Kip Wells.

I figured this underachieving thing with a formula based on formulas I’ve seen before. I don’t know who first did this, but take credit if you like. I just matched up a guys record with his expected record. Take Greg Maddux. The Padres were 19-15 (a .559 winning percentage) when he was on the mound. They were 70-59 when he was not on the mound (a .542 winning percentage). So you can see the team was jut a touch better with him on the mound than with him not on the mound

And the formula, in fact, has him +1 wins. You take the team’s winning percentage with him not on the mound, multiply it by the number of stars — that .542 * 34 = 18.4.

He actually won 19 games, so there’s .6 difference which rounds up to +1 win.

Here were the pitchers who won much more than expected:

1. Harang, +11
2. Bedard, +9
3. Penny, +8
4. Scott Kazmir, +7
5. King Felix +6
(tie) Verlander +6
(tie) Roy Oswalt, +6
(tie) Escobar +6
(tie) Peavy +6
(tie) Hudson +6

And here are the pitchers who lost much more than expected

1. Kip Wells, -8
2. Chris Capuano, -7
(tie) Nate Robertson, -7
4. Matt Cain, -6
(tie) Jason Jennings, -6
(tie) Edwin Jackson, -6
7. Joe Kennedy, -5
(tie) Ervin Santana, -5
Aaron Cook, Julian Tavarez, Justin Germano, Jeremy Sowers, Bronson Arroyo, John Lieber and Matt Albers are all -4.

Now, what does all of this mean? You already know the answer to that: Nothing. It’s not supposed to mean anything. I’m not the first, the 10th or the 100,000th person to point out that pitchers wins are flawed, and the figuring I’ve done above has been done better by countless people. I’m only trying to say that people statheads are not always trying to make things more confusing. Often enough, believe it or not, they’re actually trying to make things less confusing.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 12:54 PM
Personally, I don't think it is the wrong phrase at all. Baker "is" what he believes. Nobody on this forum has sat down with Dusty Baker to discuss his views or theories on playing the game of baseball or his style of managing. I don't know that you can say that he is totally hostile toward all the things that you hold so dear about the game and believe as the gospel truth. Is there only one way to play this game? Are the people that may have a different view than you, totally wrong or ignorant? Baker has had some success in the game. I think he deserves a chance to prove himself in Cincinnati before he is labeled as the next coming of the baseball plague.

The mechanics of baseball aren't opinion. Sure, there are different ways it can be played. Perhaps I choose to field every ball backhanded. Perhaps I choose to bunt every at bat. Perhaps I choose to try and steal a base every time I have the opportunity I suppose in some sense that doesn't make them "wrong". But copious evidence suggest they are less effective ways to win. Some realities such as "teams who get on base more often tend to score more runs" and "speedy low OBP guys score less often than low high BP guys" aren't just my opinion. They are facts which Dusty does not seem to appreciate.



Will I agree with all of Baker's decisions. Heck no. That is the nature of the game, but I simply do not believe that there is one way to play this game. If a person doesn't agree with me, is he somehow ignorant? No way.

I'm not calling him ignorant because he disagrees with me. I'm calling him ignorant because he doesn't seem willing to consider evidence which contracts him. I'm calling him ignorant because he's made statements which suggest he disagrees with some proven facts, such as those cited above. If you'd like to argue that maybe fast, low OBP guys DO score more runs, I'm happy to have that discussion. Unfortunately Dusty isn't. That's my problem with him.



Is he a nice person? I don't know. The closest encounter I ever had with Dusty Baker was at the Waterfront night club when he was playing with the Giants. Don Robinson was a friend of mine and he took us out with him after a game. Baker shook my hand and was very cordial. I don't know that being a nice guy is going to help him in the dugout, so I don't really know what that has to do with anything. Obviously, he has had enough success as a manager/coach to warrant a few managers jobs so he has to be doing some things right.

And George Bush became the president despite running multiple businesses in to the ground. There are many things which make managers effective. Dusty is by all accounts a great motivator and communicator. That doesn't him a good strategizer. That he has managed teams with one of the, if not the, best player of all time has something to do with his record. I'm not begrudging him his winning record, but let's not overstate his case. As frustrating as it must be, wins and losses are a pretty crappy way to judge the effectiveness of a manager. There's simply way too many other causes.



On a personal level, I have had success in baseball with a particular coaching style. I have seen many guys that employed a completely different coaching style than mine, have success. Is one style better than the other? They both produced wins and success. Baseball managers and coaches are probably the biggest thieves in the world. They steal and borrow little things from just about everyone that they meet. Keep the things you can use and throw away the things that you can't. There are very few "originals," yet almost everyone has a style that they go to war with. You are ultimately judged on the Wins and Losses. That's how I am going to judge Dusty Baker.

Let's not confuse style with content. How you motivate your players, how you run drills, how you communicate, etc. Those are things which are very personality driven, personnel dependent, and which very little evidence exists to suggest a right way and wrong way to do them. When it comes to giving playing time, making out a lineup card, and calling plays (for lack of a better term), there is a ton of evidence on what works and what doesn't. The mechanics of baseball don't change based on the personalities involved. OBP is as important for Dusty as it is for you. How you get that performance out of your players is what makes a manager skillful and unique. But let's not equate that with the type of performance he's trying to get.

I don't have a problem with how Dusty does what he does. I have a problem that he espouses types of performance and strategy that are known to lead to fewer runs. You can be the fastest sprinter in the world, but if you aren't aimed squarely at the finish line, it hardly matters.

blumj
03-10-2008, 12:56 PM
Some folks just act as though they swallowed the blarney stone whenever they see a microphone or one of those little notebooks.

That's Dusty

He's also a complete creation of the systems he came up in and the way the game was played.

As a Brave in his time only Darrell Evans was a low average walking machine and as a Dodger only Wynn and Smith topped 100 walks in a season and the only other Dodgers to ever walk a LOT were Cey and Lopes. The Dodgers were a lot like the Angels are now, so I see a mess of Dusty's approach in the Angels game (but with less chatter from the manager about his approach) Also as a former hitting coach Dusty tends to be an authority on batting approaches, he talks about it WAY more than any other aspect of the game and WAY more than any other skipper I can think of.

His commentary is akin to a story being told by Grandpa Simpson at times and as seeped in logic as a Nomar at bat.

Still beats the Miley's and the Narron's of the world.
The thing is, I really admire the Angels. I don't agree that their style is "the best" style, but they're committed to it from the top down, so it is one of the things that works for them, the commitment itself probably more than the style. If Dusty had a little more Scioscia in him, if he gave off the air of commitment and thoughtfulness that Scioscia does, I think a lot more people would give him the benefit of the doubt, regardless of style.

VR
03-10-2008, 01:05 PM
But no, there’s more. The Rangers did not just trade Aaron Harang for Randy Velarde. They also traded a minor leaguer named Ryan Cullen. He has not made it, but that’s not the point. No, the point is that the A’s got Aaron Harang for Randy Freaking Velarde, and Billy Beane said, “No, that’s not enough, you need to throw someone else in there for us to make this deal.” If Billy Beane was in your fantasy league, you would know him as “The jerk who keeps screwing Bob, the computer tech who doesn’t know anything about baseball.”

Funny how it doesn't talk about Harang being traded away from the A's?

Screwball
03-10-2008, 01:09 PM
There are two arguments that amuse me when it comes to the anti-baseball stat crowd. The first argument is one you will often hear around awards time or Hall of Fame time — and it might go a little something like this:

“You can’t judge Derek Jeter by his stats. He does so many things that don’t show up in the box score. I mean, look, the guy’s a lifetime .317 hitter!”

Or: “It’s ridiculous to look at Andre Dawson’s low on-base percentage. Stats don’t tell the story about a player like Dawson. In his career he hit 300 homers and stole 300 bases!”

Or: “Some people say that Jimmy Rollins should not have been MVP because he only had a 118 OPS+ (whatever the hell that is). That’s the problem with the statheads. They don’t watch the game. Rollins had 38 doubles, 20 triples and 30 home runs!”

You get the point — some will rip the whole idea of stats by bringing up … other stats. It happens every fall.


This was a running theme in Daugherty's laugher of an article yesterday. In fact, I think Poz might've written this in direct response to what Doc threw out there.

SteelSD
03-10-2008, 01:19 PM
I honestly don't think being more aggressive early or when ahead in the count is a problem. Dunn has some of the most amazing splits based on the outcome of the first pitch. As long as Dunn is not expanding the strike zone by being more aggressive it shouldn't be a problem.

I took a look at the top 20 NL OBP hitters from 2007. The average number of AB finished in the first two pitches for that group was 30%. Dunn finished 26.4% of his AB in the first two pitches. That's a higher rate than Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Todd Helton, Chase Utley, Kelly Johnson, and Pat Burrell. Dunn finished a higher percentage of his AB on the first pitch than did Pujols, Utley, Johnson, Helton, Howard, Orlando Hudson, and Prince Fielder.

Especially considering the idea that Dunn makes less contact on pitches he swings at than the norm, Dunn isn't out there just watching a bunch of fat pitches go by early in the count. He never has done that.

Certainly, Dunn has a super OPS (1.344) when ending his AB on the first pitch. But then, a higher OPS on the first pitch than normal is actually the norm. Even knowing that, why don't we look at Dunn's performance and conclude that he's actually already doing a really good job of recognizing solid pitches early in the count and driving them?

top6
03-10-2008, 01:31 PM
Just for the record, I am entrenched against Dusty Baker. I watched hundreds of games he managed in Chicago, and I find his comments about on base percentage and the like infuriatingly ignorant. I will also say - with no sarcasm - that I would rather have Bill James as the manager. At least it would be something different, and who knows it could turn out brilliantly.

All that said, I don't think Dusty's impact on the team will be that great. Maybe he will convince some veterans to sign here or stay here, which in and of itself would probably undo the harm he causes with his inability to grasp simple statistics and his overworking of pitchers. Managers in baseball are pretty overrated generally (which is why it seems insane to me for a small market team to spend millions of dollars on one).

RedsBaron
03-10-2008, 01:33 PM
This was a running theme in Daugherty's laugher of an article yesterday. In fact, I think Poz might've written this in direct response to what Doc threw out there.

I just read Daughety's article. It is amazing that he gets paid to write that junk.

M2
03-10-2008, 01:40 PM
Nifty article by Posanski, but bid demerits for him not liking "Low". I'm not sure I can take any of his baseball musings seriously in light of the revelation.

flyer85
03-10-2008, 02:00 PM
I took a look at the top 20 NL OBP hitters from 2007. The average number of AB finished in the first two pitches for that group was 30%. Dunn finished 26.4% of his AB in the first two pitches. That's a higher rate than Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Todd Helton, Chase Utley, Kelly Johnson, and Pat Burrell. Dunn finished a higher percentage of his AB on the first pitch than did Pujols, Utley, Johnson, Helton, Howard, Orlando Hudson, and Prince Fielder.

Especially considering the idea that Dunn makes less contact on pitches he swings at than the norm, Dunn isn't out there just watching a bunch of fat pitches go by early in the count. He never has done that.

Certainly, Dunn has a super OPS (1.344) when ending his AB on the first pitch. But then, a higher OPS on the first pitch than normal is actually the norm. Even knowing that, why don't we look at Dunn's performance and conclude that he's actually already doing a really good job of recognizing solid pitches early in the count and driving them?One of DUnns real issues is that he is bad once he gets behind after the first pitch.

Player 0-1 1-0
Dunn .673 1.137
Pujols .880 1.033
Utley .881 1.077
Howard .720 1.152
Burrell .859 .874

When you have such a huge split between results depending on the outcome of the first pitch I think it is safe to say there is room for improvement if you don't let the pitcher have a freebie to start the AB. If you're Pat Burrell, it doesn't matter much.

Maybe Dunn is maximized where he is at the moment but I think he has room to make a decent jump.

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 02:00 PM
wins and losses are a pretty crappy way to judge the effectiveness of a manager

Really?

westofyou
03-10-2008, 02:02 PM
The thing is, I really admire the Angels. I don't agree that their style is "the best" style, but they're committed to it from the top down, so it is one of the things that works for them, the commitment itself probably more than the style. If Dusty had a little more Scioscia in him, if he gave off the air of commitment and thoughtfulness that Scioscia does, I think a lot more people would give him the benefit of the doubt, regardless of style.

"That's a false stat."
--Mickey Hatcher, Angels' hitting coach, on drawing walks.


"If they're throwing strikes, we'll hit them. If they're not, we'll walk. But we don't have a lot of home-run threats. When you look at Detroit's lineup, they'll have a lot more walks, because they're a lot more dangerous."
--Hatcher; the Tigers drew less walks than the Angels last year. (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)

jojo
03-10-2008, 02:18 PM
Funny how it doesn't talk about Harang being traded away from the A's?

His very first sentence on the subject implied the Harang for Guillen deal was an absolute win for Cincy. He essentially argues that Harang has been much better as a Red than many might appreciate.

jojo
03-10-2008, 02:18 PM
Really?

Yes. Lou Pinella had a record of 91-71 in '00, a record of 116-46 in '01 and a record of 93-69 in '02. Did he really manage 15 games better in '01 than '00 and then 13 games worse in '02?

What about '03? Was he really 30 games worse in '03 than '02?

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 02:24 PM
Yes.

Glad you are so sure. I'd like to argue more with you guys but I have a baseball practice to plan. Enjoy!

jojo
03-10-2008, 02:28 PM
Glad you are so sure. I'd like to argue more with you guys but I have a baseball practice to plan. Enjoy!

The thing I'm not sure about it how such wide variation in a metric wouldn't be looked upon skeptically as a true indice of ability. :cool:

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 02:32 PM
Yes. Lou Pinella had a record of 91-71 in '00, a record of 116-46 in '01 and a record of 93-69 in '02. Did he really manage 15 games better in '01 than '00 and then 13 games worse in '02?

What about '03? Was he really 30 games worse in '03 than '02?

You play with the hand you are dealt. The cream will rise to the top. They all have winning and losing seasons and most of them go about things in different ways but the one constant in being a winning manager is the talent on the field. There is no theory or plan that will substitute for that.

M2
03-10-2008, 02:33 PM
I'd say that W-L in any single season aren't that important. I'd even go as far as saying you can't necessarily judge a manager based on a few years at one port of call (e.g. Terry Francona in Philly). Yet if you've made a career of managing successful teams, I think you deserve credit for that. Dusty Baker did a bang-up job in San Francisco. He's well past the point where you can call his success a fluke. Now maybe the Reds won't be the right fit for him to repeat or build on that success. I can buy that, but Baker's track record is such that I think it would be highly myopic to pretend he doesn't bring a tested set of managerial strengths to the table.

jojo
03-10-2008, 02:34 PM
You play with the hand you are dealt. The cream will rise to the top. They all have winning and losing seasons and most of them go about things in different ways but the one constant in being a winning manager is the talent on the field. There is no theory or plan that will substitute for that.

But doesn't that philosophy argue that wins really aren't a good metric by which to evaluate a manager (it seems to be a better argument for a GM)?

jojo
03-10-2008, 02:39 PM
I'd say that W-L in any single season aren't that important. I'd even go as far as saying you can't necessarily judge a manager based on a few years at one port of call (e.g. Terry Francona in Philly). Yet if you've made a career of managing successful teams, I think you deserve credit for that. Dusty Baker did a bang-up job in San Francisco. He's well past the point where you can call his success a fluke. Now maybe the Reds won't be the right fit for him to repeat or build on that success. I can buy that, but Baker's track record is such that I think it would be highly myopic to pretend he doesn't bring a tested set of managerial strengths to the table.

I think Dusty's record suggests that he'll win with good teams and lose with teams that are deficient. If given 90 win talent, it's unlikely his team will win only 77 barring injuries. If given 77 win talent, he's probably not going to take them to the playoffs simply by the things he does.

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 02:42 PM
I'd say that W-L in any single season aren't that important. I'd even go as far as saying you can't necessarily judge a manager based on a few years at one port of call (e.g. Terry Francona in Philly). Yet if you've made a career of managing successful teams, I think you deserve credit for that. Dusty Baker did a bang-up job in San Francisco. He's well past the point where you can call his success a fluke. Now maybe the Reds won't be the right fit for him to repeat or build on that success. I can buy that, but Baker's track record is such that I think it would be highly myopic to pretend he doesn't bring a tested set of managerial strengths to the table.

Exactly.

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 02:44 PM
Who is going to take 77 win talent to the playoffs?

jojo
03-10-2008, 02:51 PM
Who is going to take 77 win talent to the playoffs?

But isn't that kind of the point concerning the use of wins to evaluate a manager or to put it another way, why wins shouldn't be used to evaluate a manager?

VR
03-10-2008, 02:57 PM
His very first sentence on the subject implied the Harang for Guillen deal was an absolute win for Cincy. He essentially argues that Harang has been much better as a Red than many might appreciate.


I'm just not seeing that? All I'm seeing is Billy Beane being praised for acquiring a guy that overachieved after he was dealt (w/ other prospects) to the Reds?

jojo
03-10-2008, 03:06 PM
I'm just not seeing that? All I'm seeing is Billy Beane being praised for acquiring a guy that overachieved after he was dealt (w/ other prospects) to the Reds?

Maybe it's the typo that's buggin' you?


1. Aaron Harang has a pitcher’s record of 57-42 since coming to the A’s in the Jose Guillen trade*. That’s really good. But he has a true record of 79-59, which is quite amazing when you consider that the Reds have had a losing record every single one of those years.

It should read "since coming to the Reds in the Jose Guillen trade".

True the author goes on to talk about how the As acquired Harang from the Rangers, but in my mind the author is essentially saying "given how great the Guillen deal was for the Reds wrap your brain around the deal the As swung to originally get Harang".

Also, lets not forget that the As got what they wanted in the Harang deal as it's debatable whether the As make the playoffs that year without Guillen.

M2
03-10-2008, 03:12 PM
I think Dusty's record suggests that he'll win with good teams and lose with teams that are deficient. If given 90 win talent, it's unlikely his team will win only 77 barring injuries. If given 77 win talent, he's probably not going to take them to the playoffs simply by the things he does.

That's true of pretty much every manager, but what Baker's demonstrated is a knack for assembling 90-win talent ballclubs. Once a team gets established, like in Baker's tenure in SF, the GM really is working with the manager to plug the needed talents into the existing framework of the team.

Manager's still mostly decide what's working or going to work on the field and a team isn't going to have a good decade without a manager, or managers, that do that job well.

lollipopcurve
03-10-2008, 03:17 PM
But isn't that kind of the point concerning the use of wins to evaluate a manager or to put it another way, why wins shouldn't be used to evaluate a manager?

Yeah, far better to grade him by his quotes in the newspaper, delivered by beat writers.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 03:29 PM
Really?

Yes. They are. Great managers can't make poor talent or injured talent win games. Sure, they have an impact on the margins. But give a great manager a handful of bad teams and that's a W/L differential not of his fault from which he may never recover.

By all accounts Joe Girardi overachieved with his Marlins squad. Yet he finished under .500. The same can be said about Manny Acta. Good manager? Bad manager? Aggregate 10 seasons like that and the W/L tells you virtually nothing about how good a job he did in each of those seasons, or collectively. Is Joe Torre one of the best managers of all time? What role does the fact that he had twice the payroll of anybody else play? But he won with a reasonable payroll, right? But he wasn't responsible for building those teams? Pretty much impossible to say without context. And still pretty difficult to tease out manager impact even when you do have context.

You said Jojo was "sure". That's really the whole point. We have no idea the impact of a "good" manager on a W/L record relative to a "bad" one and we cannot extricate the generic quality of the team from the quality of the manager in W/L terms. Just answer the question: how many wins does a good manager add? Then back that up with something besides your gut. If you are happy with having just your gut as supporting evidence, to each his own. I'm not.

Given that, when judging a manger, I'm going to lean on information against which I actually can believe was a result of his decisions. I know that higher OBP leads to more runs. If my manager plays low OBP guys over high OBP guys, I'm going to blame the manager, in part, for the failure of my team to score runs. Sure, I'll give him credit for the extra stolen bases and better defense too, but I'm going to actively link his decisions to the performance and compare that to the performance I could have expected without him. Just as I wouldn't judge a player by the outcome of his team, I wouldn't do the same for a manager.

Just because a manager was given a large payroll or given the best player in the world, I'm not going to call him a good manager for his team winning 90 games. Perhaps they won those in spite of him. You have to look a whole lot closer than W/L to get any sense of that at all.

M2 brought up SF and said he did a bang up job because he did it so long. Maybe he just had better teams than average over that decade. Did he win 90 games with 75 win talent? Did he coach Bonds or Jason Schmidt to their level of excellence? Is that suggesting that Joe Average Manager would have won fewer games given the same team(s)? If so, I'd love to understand how one comes to that conclusion.

VR
03-10-2008, 03:30 PM
Maybe it's the typo that's buggin' you?



It should read "since coming to the Reds in the Jose Guillen trade".

True the author goes on to talk about how the As acquired Harang from the Rangers, but in my mind the author is essentially saying "given how great the Guillen deal was for the Reds wrap your brain around the deal the As swung to originally get Harang".

Also, lets not forget that the As got what they wanted in the Harang deal as it's debatable whether the As make the playoffs that year without Guillen.

3 things.
1. agree w/ your comments

2. It drives me crazy to see people taking credit for Harang trades....when there was little or nothing to show that he was anything other than back of the rotation fodder. He was a 'flyer' that no one ever predicted to turn into a top of the rotation horse.

3. The Beane comments are akin to Josh Hamilton going on to win several MVP's.... and the media giving all the praise to Krivsky for acquiring him as a Rule V.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 03:47 PM
That's true of pretty much every manager, but what Baker's demonstrated is a knack for assembling 90-win talent ballclubs.

Once a team gets established, like in Baker's tenure in SF, the GM really is working with the manager to plug the needed talents into the existing framework of the team.

Manager's still mostly decide what's working or going to work on the field and a team isn't going to have a good decade without a manager, or managers, that do that job well.

My take on SF is as following. Start with Barry Bonds (not Dusty's doing). Add an average team around him (not Dusty's doing either). Make the playoffs more often than not. That's the formula and I don't see how you credit Baker with that -- other than perhaps his off the field management of a very bristly personality.

Bottom line is that W/L record isn't nearly granular enough to attribute it to any one person. And when we do drill down to the specific decisions and actions of which we can trace observed results, Dusty doesn't look so hot. Maybe we need to be better about examining the more qualitative, morale type influences on performance. Maybe that's where Dusty's greatness really shows through. But it certainly isn't in playing time distribution, lineup construction, or pitcher management. So where/how exactly does Dusty's managerial influence lead to more games won?

jojo
03-10-2008, 03:50 PM
Yeah, far better to grade him by his quotes in the newspaper, delivered by beat writers.

At least his quotes (assuming they are accurately reported) generally speak to his philosophy which is something a manager's W-L record can't.

westofyou
03-10-2008, 03:50 PM
My take on SF is as following. Start with Barry Bonds (not Dusty's doing). Add an average team around him (not Dusty's doing either). Make the playoffs more often than not. That's the formula and I don't see how you credit Baker with that -- other than perhaps his off the field management of a very bristly personality.


Yep he was just there.

And they loved him, fans and the team... go figure.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 03:55 PM
Yeah, far better to grade him by his quotes in the newspaper, delivered by beat writers.

As if there weren't tons of evidence in his actual body of work? Or do we need to recount the sub .300 OBP leadoff hitters and abused pitchers all over again?

If there wasn't a large body of supporting evidence to lend credibility to his quotes, the reaction wouldn't be nearly as loud. But they corroborate that his past actions were not a great plan go awry, but the manifestation of his beliefs.

To paraphrase Denny Green, he is who we feared he is.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 03:58 PM
Yep he was just there.

And they loved him, fans and the team... go figure.

Fans to tend to love everybody when the team wins. Funny how he wasn't loved so much in Chicago after Sosa fell off a cliff and Lee and Ramirez got hurt...

If that's the end of the conversation, then put Torre or Bobby Cox or who-have-you on the Royals. If the don't win 85 games, then those guys must have just lost their respective managerial skill.

I don't deny that managers can and do have influence on W/L record. Just that we can't hope to tease it out with any reliability and should look to other things to get a sense of his influence.

pedro
03-10-2008, 04:01 PM
As if there weren't tons of evidence in his actual body of work? Or do we need to recount the sub .300 OBP leadoff hitters and abused pitchers all over again?

If there wasn't a large body of supporting evidence to lend credibility to his quotes, the reaction wouldn't be nearly as loud. But they corroborate that his past actions were not a great plan go awry, but the manifestation of his beliefs.

To paraphrase Denny Green, he is who we feared he is.

You act as if the sum total of his managerial career should be defined by his final two years in Chicago.

westofyou
03-10-2008, 04:04 PM
I don't deny that managers can and do have influence on W/L record.

Sure you do, you just wrote off Dusty's whole stay in San Francisco.

Talent is the key, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out, but there is a world of difference between the managers who end up with more than 15 years managing than the Less Moss's, Vern Rapps, and Terry Bevington's of the world.

Like I said before, it's going to be more interesting than frustrating as far as I'm concerned, and probably way more entertaining.

lollipopcurve
03-10-2008, 04:06 PM
I don't deny that managers can and do have influence on W/L record. Just that we can't hope to tease it out with any reliability and should look to other things to get a sense of his influence.

Influence on what?

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 04:07 PM
You act as if the sum total of his managerial career should be defined by his final two years in Chicago.

Not at all. Just to point out that W/L record and the opinion of the manager seem to go closely hand in hand. And that's a very obvious case where no amount of great managing could've carried that Cubs team to the playoffs. The entirety of the point is that team W/L record, be it in a given season or aggregated over the course of a career, tells you jack squat about the quality of the manager.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 04:08 PM
Influence on what?

The number of games the team wins and loses. If we are judging a a manager by his career Won/Loss record, then I assume we have some sense about what we're comparing him to -- presumably what the Won/Loss would have been in his absense?

pedro
03-10-2008, 04:11 PM
Not at all. Just to point out that W/L record and the opinion of the manager seem to go closely hand in hand. And that's a very obvious case where no amount of great managing could've carried that Cubs team to the playoffs. The entirety of the point is that team W/L record, be it in a given season or aggregated over the course of a career, tells you jack squat about the quality of the manager.

You're just backtracking now. You've made it very clear that you only value the statistical evaluation side of a managers job and have no respect or concern for any aspect of a managers job that doesn't involve the batting lineup or pitch counts.

M2
03-10-2008, 04:35 PM
My take on SF is as following. Start with Barry Bonds (not Dusty's doing). Add an average team around him (not Dusty's doing either). Make the playoffs more often than not. That's the formula and I don't see how you credit Baker with that -- other than perhaps his off the field management of a very bristly personality.

Wow. Talk about a shallow dismissal of a guy's career. The notion that Baker had no hand in the construction of the team he managed for a decade is just patently silly. Managers don't just show up in mid-February, fill out lineup cards, make pitching changes and then leave with fishing rod in hand come the fall. Believe it or not, they actually play an integral role in the shaping of their teams, from identifying the key players to determining the team's most pressing needs.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 04:35 PM
You're just backtracking now. You've made it very clear that you only value the statistical evaluation side of a managers job and have no respect or concern for any aspect of a managers job that doesn't involve the batting lineup or pitch counts.

Perhaps I haven't articulated my point of view well, but I'm not backtracking. I'm saying that W/L is not granular enough to judge the effectiveness of any single person. We should judge individuals, be they managers, players, etc. by events & actions which they control or result from their specfic performance.

The problem with evaluating managers is that it's more difficult to tie their decisions directly to run creation and prevention -- and then indirectly to wins and losses. If we can find a way to tie in their ability to motivate, measure how it effects performance, I'm game.

I just don't want to base my evaluation of them primarily on a complex system of which they are only a small piece. I'm comfortable saying that by and large, I have very little idea of how good/bad managers are. However, in those areas where I can see tangible links between managers and game outcomes, Dusty doesn't look so good. If somebody else can show me the link between other things he, or anybody else, does and good outcomes (e.g. Russ Ortiz pitched well because Dusty made him laugh), then I'm all ears.

Ltlabner
03-10-2008, 04:37 PM
If somebody else can show me the link between other things he, or anybody else, does and good outcomes (e.g. Russ Ortiz pitched well because Dusty made him laugh), then I'm all ears.

Because we all know that if it can't be measured on a spread-sheet, it doesn't exist.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 04:38 PM
Wow. Talk about a shallow dismissal of a guy's career. The notion that Baker had no hand in the construction of the team he managed for a decade is just patently silly. Managers don't just show up in mid-February, fill out lineup cards, make pitching changes and then leave with fishing rod in hand come the fall. Believe it or not, they actually play an integral role in the shaping of their teams.

Again, the problem is that even if you give him some measure of credit for the construction of those teams, in comparison to what? If Dusty was replaced by an average manager, how would have things been different? How many more/fewer win would the Giants have. How in the world can we measure that? I'm willing to say he was part of the organization and that everybody in the organization gets some credit. But anything beyond that supposes we have some system for appropriating credit, formally or informally, which we simply don't have.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 04:41 PM
Because we all know that if it can't be measured on a spread-sheet, it doesn't exist.

I never said it doesn't exist. I just said we can't measure it well, if at all. If you want to make the assertion that he's a good manager, I simply want evidence -- it doesn't have to be quantitative, but it does have to be logical. The lack of quantitative information isn't an excuse for a lack of evidence. If the evidence suggesting he's a good manager is that his teams tend to win and that people like him, I say that there are so many other things going on that that is not even remotely sufficient. It's like saying that because you live in the neighborhood where there's a lot of crime that you're probably a criminal.

I'm fine saying he's managed good teams -- more good teams than bad. I'm also willing to say that managers have some influence on the performance of their teams. But as soon as you take those two things and conclude that he's the reason that those teams were good, we're making some calculation, be it in our guts or on our computers. Pardon me for asking people to show their work in a bit more detail.

The "good team" = "anybody associated with the team must be good too" calculus just doesn't fly with me. Sorry. Luis Sojo won a number of World Series with the Yankees, but that doesn't make him a great player. We'll have to agree to disagree that that level of inference is acceptable.

M2
03-10-2008, 04:41 PM
We should judge individuals, be they managers, players, etc. by events & actions which they control or result from their specfic performance.

You mean like spending a decade at the helm of a team that posted a .540 winning percentage? That's a large sample event that occured under his direct control.

BRM
03-10-2008, 04:43 PM
Because we all know that if it can't be measured on a spread-sheet, it doesn't exist.

Can you send me the spreadsheet that shows me where to get the best pizza?

Ltlabner
03-10-2008, 04:44 PM
Can you send me the spreadsheet that shows me where to get the best pizza?

Sure...if you can get me the phone number of the girl in your avitar. :p:

flyer85
03-10-2008, 04:44 PM
Because we all know that if it can't be measured on a spread-sheet, it doesn't exist.spreadsheet? I'd say ruler.:p:

BRM
03-10-2008, 04:45 PM
Sure...if you can get me the phone number of the girl in your avitar. :p:

Sorry. I can't share a woman who dresses like that AND brings beer.

flyer85
03-10-2008, 04:45 PM
Sure...if you can get me the phone number of the girl in your avitar. :p:i'll settle for the e-mail address of the two boobs.

Ltlabner
03-10-2008, 04:45 PM
Sorry. I can't share a woman who dresses like that AND brings beer.

I don't want to share here...just borrow her for a bit. ;)

westofyou
03-10-2008, 04:47 PM
i'll settle for the e-mail address of the two boobs.

Marty&jeff@wlw.com

BRM
03-10-2008, 04:48 PM
Marty&jeff@wlw.com

:thumbup:

I was waiting for that one.

pedro
03-10-2008, 04:48 PM
Perhaps I haven't articulated my point of view well, but I'm not backtracking. I'm saying that W/L is not granular enough to judge the effectiveness of any single person. We should judge individuals, be they managers, players, etc. by events & actions which they control or result from their specfic performance.

The problem with evaluating managers is that it's more difficult to tie their decisions directly to run creation and prevention -- and then indirectly to wins and losses. If we can find a way to tie in their ability to motivate, measure how it effects performance, I'm game.

I just don't want to base my evaluation of them primarily on a complex system of which they are only a small piece. I'm comfortable saying that by and large, I have very little idea of how good/bad managers are. However, in those areas where I can see tangible links between managers and game outcomes, Dusty doesn't look so good. If somebody else can show me the link between other things he, or anybody else, does and good outcomes (e.g. Russ Ortiz pitched well because Dusty made him laugh), then I'm all ears.

What doesn't come through in your analysis is an appreciation for the fact that a baseball team is a workplace, the players are employees, and the manager is the boss. It's not a simple act of pulling the right levers based on statistical analysis. I'm sure, like anyone else, you've had good and bad bosses before and can appreciate the positive aspects of a workplace that employees feel good about.

My feeling is that a manager who can't run a clubhouse, connect with his players, or command respect will do more to negatively effect a team than the most statistically inclined manager could do to positively effect a team. Dusty surely isn't going to fit the bill as most statistically inclined, but I think he fits the bill in other important ways.

M2
03-10-2008, 04:49 PM
Again, the problem is that even if you give him some measure of credit for the construction of those teams, in comparison to what? If Dusty was replaced by an average manager, how would have things been different? How many more/fewer win would the Giants have. How in the world can we measure that? I'm willing to say he was part of the organization and that everybody in the organization gets some credit. But anything beyond that supposes we have some system for appropriating credit, formally or informally, which we simply don't have.

I'm trying to think of a more meaningless argument against a man's success than this. Because you don't know how to quantify it means you don't have to recognize it? I'm sorry, but that's painfully illogical. It happened. There is no disputing that it happened and that he played a major role in the construction of that club. It doesn't make necessarily make him a svengali, but it also demonstrates that he's far better than some knuckle-dragging troglodyte (e.g. Dave Miley).

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 04:50 PM
You mean like spending a decade at the helm of a team that posted a .540 winning percentage? That's a large sample event that occured under his direct control.

You talk like "his control" resulted in those runs scored and prevented, in the acquisition of players, in the spending of money on payroll.

Just tell me how much of that +.040 he was responsible for. Because I bet I could find a clubbie, beer vendor, etc. who was there the whole time too. Or maybe an all-time great player who was worth an extra 5.5 wins per season over an average team...

Divy up that .040. We can't begin to do that, so we can't really say what Dusty's influence was. Maybe the Giants should've been a .560 team and Dusty pulled them down a bit...

jojo
03-10-2008, 04:52 PM
That's true of pretty much every manager, but what Baker's demonstrated is a knack for assembling 90-win talent ballclubs. Once a team gets established, like in Baker's tenure in SF, the GM really is working with the manager to plug the needed talents into the existing framework of the team.

Manager's still mostly decide what's working or going to work on the field and a team isn't going to have a good decade without a manager, or managers, that do that job well.

Concerning position players, here's the constants during the Giants' 6 year winning streak between 1997-2002: 1b: Snow, 2b: Kent, SS: Aurilia, 3b Mueller, LF: Bonds. CF/RF/C were filled by whatever FA/veteran Sabean could sign or trade for (aka Burkes, Santiago etc). While I agree there is something to be said about a manager having some kind of tangible influence on the roster during a period of constancy, that as a core lineup certainly could make a manager look smart. It's important to note that Bonds, Kent, and Snow where Sabean deals (it's difficult to argue that Dusty called up Sabean and said deal "Williams for Kent" especially since payroll was a big factor in Sabean's motivation and really, does Baker get credit for Sabean signing Bonds to perhaps the greatest contract in history?). The pitching staffs were significantly shaped by Sabean trades (Kirk Rueter, Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez, Jason Schmidt, Rob Nen, Jose Mesa) and by home grown efforts and while Dusty may have said, "I need pitching", he probably wasn't instrumental in any of those decisions.

The manager's input is sought out by GMs and it's fair to suggest that given Dusty's long tenure, he had an influence on shaping the roster. That said, how much influence he actually had is a very murky issue that is impossible to clarify. Also, the "Giants" MO during that period centered upon trading away young prospects for veterans. Sabean's MO in the post Dusty years would suggest that Baker wasn't the one pulling him in this direction.

In sum: Dusty almost certainly deserves some credit with regard to this issue but how much credit he deserves is an open question and I lean toward the "lesser influence" pole of the spectrum.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 04:54 PM
I'm trying to think of a more meaningless argument against a man's success than this. Because you don't know how to quantify it means you don't have to recognize it? I'm sorry, but that's painfully illogical. It happened. There is no disputing that it happened and that he played a major role in the construction of that club. It doesn't make necessarily make him a svengali, but it also demonstrates that he's far better than some knuckle-dragging troglodyte (e.g. Dave Miley).

It's not a man's success. It's an organization's success of which he was just a piece. I refuse to just assume every person in that organization is a great. Does every good company have above average VP's in every job? Is every producer of every good movie really better than average at their job?

Dave Miley didn't have Barry Bonds and an $100M payroll. Dusty might have been a real boon to the Giants. Or he might have been just what any other manager would have been able to do. Or maybe they succeed in spite of his presence. W/L record doesn't, and can't, tell us that.

Ltlabner
03-10-2008, 04:56 PM
I never said it doesn't exist. I just said we can't measure it well, if at all. If you want to make the assertion that he's a good manager, I simply want evidence -- it doesn't have to be quantitative, but it does have to be logical. The lack of quantitative information isn't an excuse for a lack of evidence. If the evidence suggesting he's a good manager is that his teams tend to win and that people like him, I say that there are so many other things going on that that is not even remotely sufficient. It's like saying that because you live in the neighborhood where there's a lot of crime that you're probably a criminal.

The problem is exactly how you describe it. A baseball team being successfull is such a large and complex organism that you can't possibly neatly boil it down into a tidy little formula to say Manager X produced exactly Y percent of the successfull team.

I'm not a Dusty Baker fan at all. However, he has been associated with many successfull teams dispite his insistance on OBP challenged hitters at the top of the line-up, CF = leadoff and 140+ innings are A-OK for pitchers arms.

Maybe he had something to do with those successfull teams, maybe he didn't. Or maybe his positives outweighed his negatives and produced an overall good result?

Or maybe not everything can be summed up in a neat mathmatical formula?

RFS62
03-10-2008, 04:56 PM
I'd say that W-L in any single season aren't that important. I'd even go as far as saying you can't necessarily judge a manager based on a few years at one port of call (e.g. Terry Francona in Philly). Yet if you've made a career of managing successful teams, I think you deserve credit for that. Dusty Baker did a bang-up job in San Francisco. He's well past the point where you can call his success a fluke. Now maybe the Reds won't be the right fit for him to repeat or build on that success. I can buy that, but Baker's track record is such that I think it would be highly myopic to pretend he doesn't bring a tested set of managerial strengths to the table.



Well said.

I've always believed that sometimes a managers best job is done on teams which aren't winners.

Really, the only measure I can think of that works across the board is "did the manager get the most out of his players?"

It's sometimes almost like the physicians credo "first, do no harm". Does a manager put his players in a position to maximize their talent, regardless of winning or losing?

Is a team winning because of a managers system, or winning in spite of the system?

Those questions need more than numbers to answer. They need expert opinions from participants and observers who are there to be completely answered.

lollipopcurve
03-10-2008, 04:57 PM
If we are judging a a manager by his career Won/Loss record, then I assume we have some sense about what we're comparing him to -- presumably what the Won/Loss would have been in his absense?

The performance of other managers who are managing major league ballclubs. The talent is spread fairly evenly across teams, after all.

I said it earlier and I'll say it again -- outside of "extreme" seasons -- playoff/series appearances (of which Baker has several) and 60-win seasons (of which Baker has, what?, one?) -- and extreme behavior (who was that guy in Toronto who lied about his experience?), I don't see any reliable objective criteria available to outsiders like us that we can use to issue any kind of "final grade" to a manager.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 04:58 PM
What doesn't come through in your analysis is an appreciation for the fact that a baseball team is a workplace, the players are employees, and the manager is the boss. It's not a simple act of pulling the right levers based on statistical analysis. I'm sure, like anyone else, you've had good and bad bosses before and can appreciate the positive aspects of a workplace that employees feel good about.

My feeling is that a manager who can't run a clubhouse, connect with his players, or command respect will do more to negatively effect a team than the most statistically inclined manager could do to positively effect a team. Dusty surely isn't going to fit the bill as most statistically inclined, but I think he fits the bill in other important ways.

Pedro, I agree with this 100%. It's why I've stepped back from the ledge I was on 4 months ago. I'm just very concerned that the balance is different than as you see it. I don't feel like we should be sacrificing sound strategic decisions for good morale and work environment. There's no need to give ourselves a handicap.

It very well may be true and may happen that his positive qualities in personnel management outweigh his "statistical" issues. But I don't think his career W/L is proof of that and I don't see why we should be happy about starting behind the proverbial 8-ball. And while I know people won't believe it when I say it, if we had a manager who made the perfect lineup and right strategic decisions, but whose players' quit on him and revolted (and that showed up in their performance), I'd say the exact same thing.

lollipopcurve
03-10-2008, 04:59 PM
Also, the "Giants" MO during that period centered upon trading away young prospects for veterans. Sabean's MO in the post Dusty years would suggest that Baker wasn't the one pulling him in this direction.

Yet he is routinely lambasted for being vet-biased.

Ltlabner
03-10-2008, 05:01 PM
I don't feel like we should be sacrificing sound strategic decisions for good morale and work environment.

THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 05:01 PM
The performance of other managers who are managing major league ballclubs. The talent is spread fairly evenly across teams, after all.

I said it earlier and I'll say it again -- outside of "extreme" seasons -- playoff/series appearances (of which Baker has several) and 60-win seasons (of which Baker has, what?, one?) -- and extreme behavior (who was that guy in Toronto who lied about his experience?), I don't see any reliable objective criteria available to outsiders like us that we can use to issue any kind of "final grade" to a manager.

Agreed. There is no silver bullet. We can find clues all over to get a sense of the big picture and there are clues in many different places for Dusty. The final calculus comes down to how much influence you think each of those things have.

Sorry for causing such a ruckus. I'll stop now.

flyer85
03-10-2008, 05:03 PM
Marty&jeff@wlw.com
that is quite a pair

:notworthy

M2
03-10-2008, 05:04 PM
You talk like "his control" resulted in those runs scored and prevented, in the acquisition of players, in the spending of money on payroll.

Just tell me how much of that +.040 he was responsible for. Because I bet I could find a clubbie, beer vendor, etc. who was there the whole time too. Or maybe an all-time great player who was worth an extra 5.5 wins per season over an average team...

Divy up that .040. We can't begin to do that, so we can't really say what Dusty's influence was. Maybe the Giants should've been a .560 team and Dusty pulled them down a bit...

Yeah, the beer guy determined that Marvin Benard would make a solid CF/leadoff hitter and the clubbie milked Kirk Reuter for all he was worth. Of course his control resulted in runs scored and prevented. He set the lineups, he made the substitutions. He controlled who played and when. Of course he helped determine who got acquired and how the money got spent. You think Brian Sabean just handed Kenny Lofton to Baker in 2002 and Baker said, "Whoa, excellent idea! Thanks for thinking of that, dude."

That you can't tie it to a specific number is your hang up, but acting like manager's have nothing to do with the running of a ballclub is obtuse.

Ltlabner
03-10-2008, 05:07 PM
I don't feel like we should be sacrificing sound strategic decisions for good morale and work environment.

This is a complete tangent, but I am always amused by this sort of attitude. As if we just made the right "strategic decisions" that employes will show up, punch the clock and be overjoyed. Or that the two are mutually exclusive.

Managers who can't marry the two (good strategy and good morale) will be forever mystified as to why they are hated.

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2008, 05:11 PM
Some really great posts in there, M2, pedro.:thumbup::beerme:

M2
03-10-2008, 05:12 PM
Concerning position players, here's the constants during the Giants' 6 year winning streak between 1997-2002: 1b: Snow, 2b: Kent, SS: Aurilia, 3b Mueller, LF: Bonds. CF/RF/C were filled by whatever FA/veteran Sabean could sign or trade for (aka Burkes, Santiago etc). While I agree there is something to be said about a manager having some kind of tangible influence on the roster during a period of constancy, that as a core lineup certainly could make a manager look smart.

That's a core of Baker's construction as much as Sabean's. I find it impossible to reach any sensible conclusion other than the two worked together effectively (and Bob Quinn too, he was the GM who landed a lot of that core, most notably Bonds).

Acting like the manager has no input into who formed the core and what players filled in around that core is simply blind to how baseball teams function.

pedro
03-10-2008, 05:13 PM
I don't feel like we should be sacrificing sound strategic decisions for good morale and work environment. There's no need to give ourselves a handicap.

I do. Especially considering that the likelihood of finding a candidate that fits both is highly unlikely considering the actual pool of candidates from which a major league team has to choose.

M2
03-10-2008, 05:16 PM
It's not a man's success. It's an organization's success of which he was just a piece.

A piece? He was one of three most important executives in the organization (GM and owner being the other two) and the one with the greatest responsibility for the on-field performance. That you've tried to conflate him with the concessions staff speaks volumes for how far off you are on the actual job responsibilities of a major league manager.

Simply put, if Dusty Baker wasn't a capable manager, the Giants don't go on that run. Period, no exceptions.

jojo
03-10-2008, 05:17 PM
That's a core of Baker's construction as much as Sabean's. I find it impossible to reach any sensible conclusion other than the two worked together effectively (and Bob Quinn too, he was the GM who landed a lot of that core, most notably Bonds).

Acting like the manager has no input into who formed the core and what players filled in around that core is simply blind to how baseball teams function.

I don't think anyone is acting as you suggest. The question is how much input.

M2
03-10-2008, 05:25 PM
I don't think anyone is acting as you suggest. The question is how much input.

I'm fine with wanting to pin down how much, but even without knowing the specific amount the only reasonable conclusion for someone with that much control for that long a period of time has to be a lot.

It's this business of trying to use the how much gray area as justification for equating the manager with the peanut vendor that I've got no use for.

Dusty Baker did a lot of right things for a long time in a managerial role and if that doesn't fit into someone's caricature of the man then that's a deficiency of the caricature rather than the man.

RedsManRick
03-10-2008, 05:45 PM
This is a complete tangent, but I am always amused by this sort of attitude. As if we just made the right "strategic decisions" that employes will show up, punch the clock and be overjoyed. Or that the two are mutually exclusive.

Managers who can't marry the two (good strategy and good morale) will be forever mystified as to why they are hated.

I agree. I don't think I've insinuated that either is a substitute for the other. We can argue all day over the relative weights and get nowhere. There's just no reasonable way to do the math. M2 and others estimate that on balance he's been good. I personally estimate that on balance he's been neutral at best.

The bottom line is that good managers do both. And because we really can't measure the relative impacts of "morale" and "strategy", I'd rather two unknown positive amounts of both, than an unknown positive amount of one ("morale") and an unknown negative amount of the other ("strategy"). My frustration lies in that by hiring Dusty, we've put ourselves in a situation where we have to try and make the case that "good morale" not offsets, but grossly outweighs "good strategy". That's simply a calculation we can't make. As I said earlier, I feel like we're starting behind the 8-ball, and it's frustrating.

jojo
03-10-2008, 07:18 PM
Marty&jeff@wlw.com

:D

That comment was "buy you a beer" worthy.

cincrazy
03-10-2008, 07:54 PM
A piece? He was one of three most important executives in the organization (GM and owner being the other two) and the one with the greatest responsibility for the on-field performance. That you've tried to conflate him with the concessions staff speaks volumes for how far off you are on the actual job responsibilities of a major league manager.

Simply put, if Dusty Baker wasn't a capable manager, the Giants don't go on that run. Period, no exceptions.

:thumbup: