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KT: I think it just depends on the makeup of your club. If you’ve got an offense like Texas, you can live with an Elvis Andrus who doesn’t hit for power, or even a huge average, but has ability to get on base. He can obviously play quality defense, For a club that lacks offense in your outfield, or your corners, then maybe it becomes a little more difficult.
But then the rumors all winter have been that KT wants to trade Justin Upton for Andrus, so maybe he's trying to talk the value of Elvis down or something like that.
If it is the mid-90s, and Kevin Towers was unaware of park effects and their impact on statistics, then what does that mean for, say, the 1970s and player evaluation? Were people looking at the Astrodome vs., say, Fenway, and routinely comparing them apples-to-apples?
DL: Do park factors play a role in your personnel decisions?
KT: Yes. That’s something that was brought to me by Theo Epstein, years ago, when we were in San Diego. I never used to look at park factors. Back in the mid-90s, when I looked at the Atlanta Braves short-season-A club, they all had ERAs under 2.00. I remember Theo saying, “Don’t get deceived by that; that’s one of the best pitchers’ parks in baseball.” The parks they pitched in made those prospects look even better. That weighs heavily with position players as well.
Kevin Towers is smarter than the so-called experts. That isn’t meant sarcastically. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ GM knows what he’s doing, and has both the background and track record to prove it. Skeptics panning his recent moves don’t have his 16 years of experience as a big-league general manager, nor have they been a minor-league pitching coach or scouting director.
Kevin Towers became an ML general manager in 1995 at age 34 out of a scouting (and playing!) background, and he's telling us he wasn't aware of park factors until a 22- or 23-year-old Theo Epstein, who at that point had no more than a year or two of baseball ops experience, mentioned it to him. Awesome.
He is saying no such thing. He is saying that he didn't know that a particular short-season park, in somebody else's system, was an extreme outlier. The Theo anecdote is merely an anecdote showing that, as time passed, he gained understanding - as intelligent beings tend to do.
It's possible that he was aware of park factors but simply chose not to consider them, but that seems like a much bigger sin than not being aware of the concept in the first place.
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