We took a few different turns on the "manager" thread, and Yachtzee and GAC had some great points about in-game judgment and lineup construction. Some nice responses which I thought warrant a separate thread apart from the current state of managing challenges in the big leagues.
I really believe that one of the reasons we're having a disconnect on this topic is that the managers and coaches look at different things than we talk about here. We scratch the surface sometimes, but we're not nearly as in-depth in our use of subjective judgment as we are in statistical analysis.
And that's pretty understandable. We can all learn all we want to about statistics from written material and intelligent discussions in places like RedsZone.
But it's harder to acquire the same level of understanding of talent evaluation from the scout/coach/player level if you haven't spent hours and hours around the batting cages and talking with the guys who actually teach the motor skills to the most talented athletes.
And I'm not just talking about mechanics or bio-mechanics here. I'm also talking about a players mental approach.
We very often talk about things we observe. We often say things like "he's gassed... he's got nothing left... time to get him out of there" about a pitcher. We make those observations when we see a guy getting lit up. Often our judgments are the result of things we know, such as his pitch count or the obvious results of seeing line drive after line drive. And sometimes, our observations extend to things like "he's fallen out of form....he's missing his spots.... he's taking too long between pitches". So, that's a blend of objective data and subjective analysis, and we all use it to a varying degree in every game.
The same can be said about a player's mental approach. When you see a hitter "locked in" or "in the zone", you generally see a few things in common with other players lucky enough to be riding that mythical wave. You see a balanced, relaxed demeanor at the plate. You see a guy waiting that magical extra nano-second with his hands back before he commits. You see perfect timing, the holy grail of hitters.
The results are judged by the standard of "squaring it up", regardless of whether it results in an out or a hit.
Sometimes your best at-bats result in outs and your worst ones produce hits. To a hitting coach, those outcomes are less relevant than the stroke and the process.
Conversely, sometimes a pitcher makes what he considers a perfect pitch and he get's hammered. Or he gets away with a hanging curve left out over the plate.
The judgments on these things are subjective, and while pitch count and other measurable factors are important to consider, the subjective judgment of the manager or coach must be solid. It's one of the biggest things that separates the good managers and coaches from the bad ones.
So, that's one of the reasons that I don't have a problem with a manager riding a "hot hand" or leaving a pitcher in there when he's hitting his spots and following his game plan, but the hits may be falling in. You judge the players performance first based on your assessment of his approach. The results alone aren't always indicitive of what's happening.