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Thread: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    There seems like a growing number of anti-Narron posts on the zone recently (especially in the game threads). If you turn on local sports talk radio, the cry ďfire Narron!Ē seems almost like an anthem lately.

    In my mind, this raises a couple of questions that probably donít get talked about nearly enough. What exactly are the managerís reasonable responsibilities (i.e. if youíd write a job description, what would it say)? How would you reliably evaluate a manager to see if heís actually living up to his responsibilities? Also, how much influence does the managerís actions have on a teams W-L record (5 games? 15 games?)? Answers to these questions donít seem so cut and dry to me when push comes to shove. I suspect that the manager often gets blamed for things that arenít his fault or that are out of his control and often itís assumed he has more power to screw up/turn around a team than is likely true in reality.

    Interestingly, Chris Jaffe recently did a study where he evaluated all managers in mlb over the last several years by comparing the projected record of their team with their teamís actual record at the end of the season. The idea behind his methodology is pretty simple. Preseason projections donít account for the manager so the difference between the projection and the actual record should reflect at least in part, the influence of the manager. This can be a noisy proposition as injuries, player-related things like slumps, and even plain old luck all figure into a W-L record. Also, obviously, the projection systems themselves arenít guaranteed crystal balls. However, Jaffe tries to get around natural variation that could cause the noise by using a huge data set from three different projection systems. While blunt in its approach and providing only rough justice, this is the best attempt at evaluating manager performance that Iíve seen so far.

    Hereís what the study says about some names familiar to Reds fans:

    Results: 2000-2006:
    1. Piniella: +49; (first)
    19. Narron: +1;
    34. Hargrove: -28; (last)
    (B. Boone wasnít scored because there wasnít enough data for him.)

    Hereís what Jaffe had to say about Narron and Boone:

    Jerry Narron:
    I don't know much about him, but I'm pretty impressed with the job he's done in Cincinnati. He's taken a team that hasn't had a winning season since the Clinton administration and gone 126-128 with them. Did you realize the Reds had, adjusted for park, one of the best pitching staffs in the NL last year? Who knew. Let's see, before Narron showed up in mid-2005, the Reds allowed 5.76 runs a game. After he arrived they averaged 5.27 per game. In 2006 it was trimmed still further to 4.94 in one of the best hitters' parks in baseball. Previously, he managed the Rangers, a team hardly known for its good pitching. In 2000, before he got there, they had the worst pitching in the AL, at 6.01 runs a game. Ouch. In early 2001 they averaged 6.86 before he got hired. In his 134 games that season, they held opponents to a slender 5.79 runs per game. Next year it skyrocketed down to 5.44, good for twelfth best in the AL. They dump him for Buck Showlater and balloon back up to 5.98. OK, that's kinda cool. Unlikely as it sounds, a recent manager of the Rangers and Reds has a track record of improving his pitching staffs. He's exceeding projections in three of his four seasons, but was Ė14 in that fourth year, 2002. He's one of the most unsung managers out there right now. I've never even heard anyone talk about this guy. Given what sort of things people usually say when speaking of managers, that's a testament to what he's done. Anyone know anything about this guy?

    Bob Boone:
    No, he didn't manage enough games to qualify, but he comes close. He scores miserably, at Ė21. Not really that surprising, is it?

    Specifically concerning Narron, last season the Reds beat the Pecota projections by 2 games (Pecota: 78-84; actual: 80-82) and this year the Reds are currently on pace to beat the Pecota projections again (projected: 71-91; current pace: 73-89). While this study is blunt to be sure, it raises the question: if Narron is as bad as some think he is, why do teams heís managed seem to consistently beat their projections?

    Also, I wonder how much credit goes to Narron or how much credit does Krivsky deserve?

    Iíd love to hear everyoneís thoughts on these issues (thatís why this thread is in Reds Live!). So in the spirit of community, please letís stay above just simple venting or bashing (a well-formed argument that propels the discussion is much more likely to get pos rep if youíre inclined to care about those things).

    GO REDS!
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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    I will say that Narron sure doesn't help things. He over-manages in every way possible.
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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    Of note, that list has Dusty Baker as 6th best manager (+23) during the 2000's.

    Interesting study, thanks for posting this. I think Narron takes far too much heat here. Every move he makes that doesn't work out is his fault, not the player who failed. Yes, he does make some moves that I question, but he knows these players far, far better than we do- like who is hurt, who is up or down emotionally, etc. There's way more to it than most of us realize.

    Overmanaging, I believe, was Bob Boone's specialty!

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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    i've said it before, i'll say it again:

    Narron's GREAT at managing the club house and personalities.

    Narron's weird in his EdE persecution, but until the last two weeks, EdE hasn't done much to dissuade this.

    Narron is a decent offensive game manager.

    Narron is a HORRIBLE bullpen manager.
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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    I find it very interesting that whenever I talk or discuss Narron outside of Cincinnati, people almost invariably speak highly of him. They say he's gotten a bunch of undertalented players to over-achieve. Hop on RZ's game thread or take a look at Cincinnati.com or Reds.com message boards(NOTE: I do not encourage these last two activities), and you'd think Narron was running the entire organization into the ground. Is it the case that Reds fans know their manager/players far better than unbiased outsiders, or is it that Reds fans simply place all of the blame on Narron for bad play yet give no credit for good play?

    I've quoted it before and I'll quote it again, "Players make the manager, it's never the other way around." -Sparky Anderson

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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenlord View Post
    i've said it before, i'll say it again:

    Narron's GREAT at managing the club house and personalities.

    Narron's weird in his EdE persecution, but until the last two weeks, EdE hasn't done much to dissuade this.

    Narron is a decent offensive game manager.

    Narron is a HORRIBLE bullpen manager.
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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    I actually think Narron's bullpen deployment has improved over last season. He typically brings in either the "strikeout guy" Coffey first (I can hardly blame Narron for the bottom falling out on Coffey's effectiveness) or if he has to go to the pen early, he brings in a guy who can go a few innings presumably (Saarloos, Santos).

    Other than his recent obsession with Stanton, I have next to no problems with Narron's bullpen deployment. I think he's pretty well optimized their usage. The pitchers themselves just suck.

    Now that he has a hardthrower up (Salmon), I'd be interested to see how he works him in with greater regularity (provided he remains effective, of course).

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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    i'll also reiterate, that i don't think there's a better manager around for Josh Hamilton than Jerry Narron.
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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenlord View Post
    i've said it before, i'll say it again:

    Narron's GREAT at managing the club house and personalities.

    Narron's weird in his EdE persecution, but until the last two weeks, EdE hasn't done much to dissuade this.

    Narron is a decent offensive game manager.

    Narron is a HORRIBLE bullpen manager.
    i also agree.

    one question is: why doesn't Krisky get Narron a better bench coach to help with the Xs and Os? why can't the pitching coach help with the bullpen decisions?
    .

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    Actually Coffey has two bad outings where he allowed 7 of his 10 ERs. In the one 3 ER outing Cormier came in with 2 outs and allowed all of Coffeys runs to score. If Cormier had gotten and allowed no runs his ERA would be 4.02.

    Coffey is missing a lot of bats and I don't worry about him other than overuse.

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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Will M View Post
    i also agree.

    one question is: why doesn't Krisky get Narron a better bench coach to help with the Xs and Os? why can't the pitching coach help with the bullpen decisions?
    Interestingly, Piniella tops the list according to the study and alot of that is due to a few years with the Ms. When he was with the Ms, especially during the early 2000's, Pinella essentially turned the whole pitching staff over to pitching coach Bryan Price. I doub't Piniella made very many decisions about the bullpen usage/pitch counts etc during that period. It worked great.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Will M View Post
    one question is: why doesn't Krisky get Narron a better bench coach to help with the Xs and Os? why can't the pitching coach help with the bullpen decisions?
    I've asked that same question Will. When Jerry is about to pull some hairbrained manuver where is Dent or Pole to say, "Uhhh...Jerry. I wouldn't do that because......". Either they don't say it, or he doesn't listen. Either way is a problem.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    I've asked that same question Will. When Jerry is about to pull some hairbrained manuver where is Dent or Pole to say, "Uhhh...Jerry. I wouldn't do that because......". Either they don't say it, or he doesn't listen. Either way is a problem.
    or, just maybe, it's their suggestion in the first place? Those are things that are always going to stay in house.

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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Always Red View Post
    or, just maybe, it's their suggestion in the first place? Those are things that are always going to stay in house.
    That is another option. But I'd hope that (1) the bench coaches would be better than that (2) Jerry would learn to sift through the good and bad advice a little better.

    That said, I agree with FCB that Jerry seems to be doing better this year. His line ups are a little more consistant (maybe not exactly the same night to night, but there doesn't seem to be the wild shifting of last year). And overall I think he's made the right call msot of the time.

    Could that be because Jerry is learning? Or because he has different/better coaches (Pole and Jacoby) giving him advice? Or both? Or neither?
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Re: Evaluating Narron-is he really the problem or actually part of the solution?

    I personally look at the attention to detail any organization displays, listen to what it tells me and then see if that matches the words the organization puts forth.

    I see the same thing from these Reds as I have seen under Boone and Miley. Poor fundamentals, numerous mental mistakes that are often repeated and no trend toward improvement in these areas.

    A manager can't pitch, hit or run for the players but how the players play is squarely on the managers shoulders. All of these guys have talked a good game about playing the right way, hustle etc. I have yet to watch a Reds team since 1999 that I thought was playing to the best of its ability.

    I don't expect anything from Narron but his team to play hard, smart baseball. IMO, they do not.


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