Originally Posted by D-Man
Yep, Law's article is far from "exceptional."
Just to drive home M2's point re: walks. For the bad rap that Dusty has received regarding his statement on walks, here is where his team actually ranked in BBs: 6th, 9th, 7th, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 14th, 14, 16th, and 16th. On average, that puts his teams pretty much in the middle of the pack in BBs.
I'd much prefer to take the objective evidence than some out-of-context quote.
And even though Dusty had the BB beast in the middle of his lineup in SF, one must recall that the Giants finished third in walks in 1999, the year when Bonds only played in 102 games. Warrants mentioning.
Good point, however captaining a team that finished high in BB rate doesn't necessarily mean that the Manager understands the importance of high OBP.
From his years with the Cubs, Baker didn't seem to understand the importance of high OBP early in the lineup. Randomly, Todd Walker received a team-high 32 games in the #2 slot in 2006. That's good. Well, there's Walker again in 2005 with 61 games in the 2-slot. But we also see Neifi Perez with 65 starts there (26 at leadoff) and Corey Patterson with 18 games in that slot (29 at leadoff). 2005 leadoff? Hairston, Patterson, and Neifi-freakin'-Perez grabbed 131 games there. Corey Patterson gobbled up 55 games at leadoff in 2004 and 47 games in the 2-slot while Derrick Lee was hitting 6th.
Coupled with Baker's admissions as to his understanding (or lack thereof) of how baseball offenses work, I'm highly skeptical that Baker can optimize a lineup. While lineup construction may not be THE key concern with a new Manager, I certainly think that it demonstrates a Manager preference for certain skill sets. Baker has used both Grudz and Todd Walker in either the leadoff or two slots, but not enough to ensure a commitment to starting off with high OBP players considering the number of PA he's offered to poor-OBP players there.
From what I've seen, if there's a faster guy Baker trusts (key word there), he'll position him early in the lineup every time versus a higher OBP slower option. Baker's recent handling of the 2-slot in the lineup has been pretty awful and I'd suggest that he uses an all-too-traditional "speed/contact" first two hitters. That's not at all rare, but it's also not at all good.