Joe Maddon Newsbeat
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Swing Away Cologne, by Joe Maddon. Available at Macy*s.
Is all the additional time players spend on BP and working in the cage as beneficial as it is expected to be? Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, who led the way in utilizing defensive shifts, said no.
“What we’re doing differently is we’re not taking as much of [BP],” Maddon said of his Rays. “I’m not a big believer in it. I think it’s very overrated. Because No. 1, I think too many guys go out there just trying to hit homers. No. 2, they swing way too much in the day.
“I think there’s a point of diminishing returns that sets in, arm-weariness-wise, by hitting too much. I think it’s an overrated concept. I’m not saying it’s unnecessary, and it’s good like 70 percent of the time, maybe 75 percent of the time. But the other 25 percent is not necessary. It’s a ritual.”
Maddon also said the advances in video, metrics and defensive analysis mostly favor the pitcher and work against the hitter. He said batters need to keep their minds clear and their eyes open, which allows them to react more quickly to the ball. He said visualization techniques, such as spotting the numbers written on a tennis ball thrown at 90 to 100 mph, are more important than practice swings.
“You don’t even have to swing at it,” Maddon said. “Just look at it to train your eye to see it and pick it up sooner. To me, that’s not trained enough while the swing is trained way too much. Just seeing the ball can be as important as swinging at it.
“You can have all most wonderful theory, the most erudite, simplistic theory thrown at you, and it’s not going to help you a bit unless you feel it as a hitter.”
Maddon, in fact, suggested aroma therapy—say, wearing his father’s favorite cologne—can be just as helpful for a batter.
“That, to me, can be much more beneficial than 25 extra swings,” he said.
Molitor, now a coach with the Twins, agreed too much information can sometimes be overwhelming for a hitter.
“We can try to prepare guys and help them gain confidence through practice,” he said. “But when they get out there, it’s a whole different dynamic. The mental side is as important or more important than the mechanics.”
Davis recommends that hitters, particularly those who don’t play every day, stand in during pitchers’ bullpen sessions. They won’t swing the bat. They don’t need a bat. But they need to see the ball thrown in a game-like situation.
“The key is to see what’s coming at you and make that decision to swing or not swing,” he said. “Go down to a bullpen when you’ve got three or four guys throwing, and track the pitches. If you close your eyes, you’re not seeing it. If you’re not seeing it, you’re not going to hit it. Because there are too many pitches. Sinkers, cutters, changeups, curves, sliders, splitters—you’ve got to track the ball. You’ve got to read the ball as quickly as possible to react.”
McClendon began his pro playing career in 1980. He, too, thinks there is a little excess of BP these days.
“When I played, we didn’t have soft toss,” he said. “We looked at film, we took batting practice and we played the game. Today’s players, it can almost be a crutch, all the cage work. It can sometimes be overkill. It’s like anything else in life—you can overdo it. Sometimes, you just need to take a step back. I get all the technology stuff. But what I tell my players is Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron didn’t have all that stuff. They took good old-fashioned BP and went out and played the game.”
Posted: September 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM | 4 comment(s)
Monday, August 25, 2014
I also thought the graph of “league wide WPA on sac bunts” was extremely interesting.
Since he began leading the Rays in 2006, Joe Maddon has been known as one of the more progressive MLB managers… He’s even spoke out publicly against sac bunting in the past… [yet] The Tampa Bay Rays have attempted 58 non-pitcher sacrifice bunts this season, by far the highest mark in the major leagues. No other team has even 50… Just 35 of those 58 attempts have turned into “successful” sacrifice bunts… 35-of-58 yields a 60% success rate. That’s bad. The league average success rate for a sacrifice bunt is 71%. Only five teams have lower success rates on bunts than the Rays this year…
the Rays, despite having attempted more sac bunts than anyone, have not executed more sac bunts than anyone. Instead, that title goes to Terry Francona’s Indians, with a league-leading 38 successful sacrifice bunts. The Indians, like the Rays, are known as one of the most progressive organizations in baseball and Francona has a reputation as a progressive manager from his time with the Theo Epstein-led Red Sox who didn’t bunt at all… both the Indians (104 wRC+) and Rays (102 wRC+) have top-1o offenses in baseball this season… The Indians have at least bunted well, which is more than the Rays can say, with an 82% success rate that is topped only by the Rangers’ 86%...
To be honest, I really can’t think of a good explanation as to why Maddon and Francona have fallen in love with the sacrifice bunt this year. Both have proven to be anti-bunt in the past and have strong lineups, yet rely on the bunt more than any other manager in baseball seemingly to a fault.
Just for fun, since we’re talking about the Rays and the Indians, what do the bunting habits of the Moneyball A’s look like? Fewest in the league, with just 12. Part of that is due in part to their league-worst 44% success rate, but they’ve also attempted just 24, the sixth-fewest in the MLB.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
With a 5-0 shutout win over the Yankees tonight, the Rays at long last returned to .500 at 61-61. As the Rays’ Twitter notes, they have become the fourth team in baseball history to reach .500 after falling at least 18 games below .500, joining the 1899 Louisville Colonels, the 2004 Devil Rays, and the 2006 Marlins.
I guess I’m not sure what to make of this not happening for 105 years and then happening three times since. And all with the no budget Florida teams. Maybe playing around with prospect service times is a factor?
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Chelsea’s knuckleball is real. She hit Longo in the back. I loved it. With that pitch & her composure she can compete
Not bad at all. Joe Maddon seems like fun.
for his generous support.
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