Ned Yost Newsbeat
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Friday, October 10, 2014
Major League Baseball’s division series action proved that big payrolls and star power can be overrated, while leaving plenty of managerial roadkill in its wake. Judging from the always measured and thoughtful public sentiment on Twitter, Brad Ausmus has no clue how to run a bullpen, Don Mattingly’s ability to make bad decisions knows no bounds, and Matt Williams isn’t equipped to run a convenience store, never mind a team with World Series aspirations.
Friday, October 03, 2014
It’s worth talking for a second about Aoki, because he so thoroughly symbolizes this team. As a young man, he was a major star in his home country of Japan, a whirlwind of a hitter a sort of a second Ichiro. At 29 he somewhat inexplicably fell off. He then found himself in Milwaukee, and this past offseason, he came to Kansas City. He was thoroughly disappointing until late September when, for no apparent reason, he briefly proved impossible to get out. He hit .458 the last two weeks of the season as the Royals held on to their first playoff spot in a generation.
But it is in the field that Aoki is a particular joy to watch; I have never seen a player look so confused while making so many good plays. It is like Aoki’s mind is a lost GPS voice repeating, “Still calculating,” but he somehow gets to the ball and catches it anyway. In addition to the backhanded stab over Cain’s glove, he also spun helplessly under a ball he’d lost in the lights, and he chased after one warning track fly ball by way of San Bernardino. But the balls all ended up in his glove, as always happens, and in this, he seems as surprised as everyone else. After catching the ball over Cain, he smiled and shrugged and theatrically tossed the ball into the booing crowd.
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Missed (understandably, I think).that this has been posted. It also seems to have all sorts of audio issues, including eventually becoming totally unsynced. I don’t think even Rany and Joe talk over each other that much. Anyway.
- Unsurprisingly, the two discuss Rany’s team, the Royals. They go over the strange set of circumstances—expanded playoffs, exceptional parity, and second-half swoons—that helped the Royals advance to the postseason with 89 wins. They move on to the squad itself, and its unusual strengths of low-strikeout hitters and a superb defensive outfield.
- Rany describes what it was like to be at the game (at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field) where the Royals clinched the postseason.
- They discuss Ned Yost’s managerial acumen. Rany admits that Yost is a poor tactical manager, and has failed to develop the Royals’ vaunted minor league hitters, but also cites the dismissal of hitting coach Kevin Seitzer as a factor in the latter. Rany thinks that, even despite his tactical mistakes, Yost deserves some credit for the superlative performances of his pitchers. Rany: “Ned Yost clearly, in my mind, has a positive impact on the clubhouse stuff that you and I are in no position to quantify, and may not exist.” Joe is not a Yost fan. He thinks Ron Washington illustrates that we might mistake managing a specific clubhouse well for a more general “good clubhouse guy” skill.
- One manager whom they do both like is Buck Showalter; they express their admiration for winning 96 games with the Orioles’ roster. They also praise Joe Girardi.
- Joe doesn’t think that the Royals’ level of success justifies the high price paid for James Shields. Rany admits that he was previously vocally against the trade and is afraid of being seen as stubborn at this point if he sticks to that. But he praises Shields’ pitching so far, and believes that the Royals’ postseason performance this year also factors into the calculus.
- They do a little playoff discussion and prediction. Both like Kansas City over Los Angeles, and Washington over the wild card. Rany likes Baltimore over Detroit, Dodgers over Cardinals; Joe is opposite.
Ventura in the 6th surprised everybody.
Monday, September 15, 2014
“Ned Yost is the worst manager in baseball, except all the others.”
On Sunday, with the Royals up 4-3 in the sixth inning and starter Jason Vargas on his way out of the game, Yost brought in Aaron Crow with a man out and two on. Crow walked Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases, struck out Allen Craig, then allowed a grand slam to Daniel Nava to blow the lead and then some. Nava is one of the more extreme platoon bats in baseball — a switch-hitter, he’s got a career 125 wRC+ against righties and merely a 60 against lefties — and he even admitted to being surprised after the game that Yost allowed him to face a righty.
Worse, Yost’s postgame comments defy logic. He chose Crow because he wanted strikeouts, but Crow doesn’t really strike people out, with a K% mark tied for 296th of the 311 pitchers with 50 innings. He found it frustrating that the game was lost before he could bring in Kelvin Herrera, but didn’t actually bring in Herrera because “the sixth inning is Crow’s inning,” whatever that means. Crow’s velocity is way down and he’s having the worst season of his career, yet he was still allowed to face a hitter who had the platoon advantage in the biggest spot of the game, apparently because Yost feared Mike Napoli would pinch hit if he made a move….
Back in May, when Yost had to fend off complaints about his refusal to use Holland in tie games on the road, Jonah Keri did some research and came away with this:
Since the start of last year, non-Yost managers have used their closer in the ninth inning of tied road games 19 times out of 307 opportunities, a rate of just 6 percent. Even taking mitigating factors like closer fatigue and closer committees into account, that’s still an astoundingly low number. It’s about half the closer usage rate we’d see if managers simply rolled a die to pick which reliever to throw into the fire.
It takes every manager in baseball making that kind of call to get to a 6 percent usage number. In 2012, Dan Lependorf, then writing for The Hardball Times and now working for the Oakland A’s, attempted to come up with a way to come away with “manager’s WPA” in terms of bullpen decisions. While it’s possible to question the methodology, Yost’s 2012 was ranked as the tenth-best overall. That seems crazy, but maybe it’s not. You can see above that he used three of his four best relievers in the highest-leverage situations, and it’s not at all difficult to find examples of other managers doing the same things that drive Royals fans nuts.
Posted: September 15, 2014 at 11:51 AM | 46 comment(s)
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Ehh, they’re in a pennant race, it’s about time to fire him anyway.
Tuesday night, Royals manager Ned Yost – in the moments after what was perhaps Kansas City’s signature baseball victory in 20 years – decided to unload on Royals fans for not showing up. You can go to the most excellent Sam Mellinger to get a full recap of Yost’s blundering nonsense, but I think the essence can be condensed into his sarcastic, “I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game?” opening shot… Well, every year we’ll get two or three of these blunders from managers or players… First, the statement will be widely discussed – fans lambasting Yost, a few fans will counter that he has a point and Kansas City fans must represent, other fans will lambaste those fans – and before the day’s out we’ll have Yost backtracking from the statement, probably saying he was speaking emotionally, and it was misunderstood and he loves the Kansas City fans and just wants them to be a part of things.
But I’m not sure he will get, even then, why what he said was so insulting and stupid. I didn’t get it for a long time… First, there are the obvious things. One, you can’t win a few games and expect people to just stop their lives for you… A large percentage of tickets sold are season tickets… A large percentage of tickets sold are bought well in advance… Families build their plans around their children’s schedules – and school started this week…
the heart of what’s wrong with blaming fans for anything: The fans are right. I don’t mean they are right in the “customer’s always right” sense, though that’s true too. What I mean is that fans aren’t a PART of spectator sports. Fans are the REASON for spectator sports… If more fans buy one book than any other, it goes to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. If more fans go to a movie than any other, it becomes the No. 1 grossing movie. If more fans buy one song than any other, it shoots to the top of the ITunes list. People can and do complain about the choices of these lists and what they say about society, but what they’re not complaining about the lists themselves. The lists are reflections of the fans wishes. The fans define those lists. They cannot be wrong. A director who moans that more people should have watched his or her movie is not just ludicrous, he’s by definition wrong. Exactly as many fans watched the movie as watched the movie.
When 13,000 or so fans showed up for the Royals game Tuesday night, that was what the Royals had wrought… How many people you draw to a game is not a reflection on the people. It’s a reflection, entirely, on you.
Pretty disappointing crowd, but perhaps this walk-off will wake Kansas City up.
Alex Gordon’s ninth-inning, two-run homer was all the Royals needed in a spectacular 2-1 win over the Twins that preserved a 1.5-game lead in the division. But after the game, Yost took issue with the fact that only 13,847 fans were there to see it. The Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger has the full text of what he calls Yost’s “rant.” Some highlights:
“I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game?”
“It’s really, really important we have our fans behind us at the stadium.”
“We had a great crowd last night, and I was kind of hoping we’d have another great crowd tonight, and we really didn’t.”
“We’ve been working hard to make our fans happy and make our fans proud for a lot of years, and we’d like them out here to enjoy a night like this with us. Because this was a special night. This was a fun night. I just wish there could’ve been more out here to enjoy it with us.”
Thursday, August 14, 2014
And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling managers!
To determine how much each manager has meddled — or, to use a more neutral term, tinkered — I identified 10 areas in which a manager might try to make an in-game impact: changing the lineup; calling for an intentional walk, a pitchout, or a hit-and-run attempt; ordering a sacrifice bunt attempt by a position player (sac bunts by pitchers are par for the course); pinch hitting for a position player; pinch running; inserting defensive subs; challenging a call that’s reviewable by replay; and using a pitcher to face a single batter (which, while often effective, might be the most intrusive and disruptive action of all)....
With the default stats selected, Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons claims the title of most active manager, largely on the strength of his fondness for replacing his starters. Gibbons is conservative when it comes to intentional walks and pitchouts, but he’s very aggressive in challenging umpires and in fiddling with his lineup card during games: The Jays lead the majors in pinch hitting for position players and in inserting defensive subs, as they pursue the handedness advantage at positions where they platoon and try to reduce their exposure to defensive liabilities such as Juan Francisco…
On the opposite end of the spectrum sits Washington’s rookie manager Matt Williams, who’s exhibited a below-average activity level in every area. The average NL manager has called for 15 hit-and-run attempts, using the definition provided here by former Baseball Prospectus author (and current Astros analyst) Mike Fast. Williams has tried only two, tying with the Orioles’ Buck Showalter for the fewest in the majors.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
The last thing this eight-years-in-the-Processing Royals season needs is drama, but here it is anyway. One of the team’s highest-paid and longest-tenured players feels singled out and is going passive-aggressive to make his point and subtly call out a teammate.
Ego and self-interest are on both sides of this, team and player each having legitimate beef. Billy Butler justifiably sees himself as the club’s most established hitter, and wonders why he’s been occasionally benched and now moved down in the lineup for the second time while Eric Hosmer appears to have birthrights to the top of the batting order every day.
The truth is that Hosmer’s spot in the lineup is being evaluated, but for now, the team sees Butler as an underperforming and now overpaid hitter on a roster in desperate need of consistent production, exposing an ego that’s always simmered just beneath the surface.
Ned Yost has final say on the lineup, which is put together with the input of the coaches and front office, including sabermetric specialists. None of them would say it publicly, but moving Butler down in the lineup while keeping Hosmer higher is as clear a sign as the team can give that — track record or not — they have more faith in Hosmer reaching his potential than in Butler regaining his past.
Wait, what? You buried the lede! The Royals have sabermetric specialists????
for his generous support.
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