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Saturday, October 08, 2011

MGL: Worst Managing Ever?

Many of you know how much I hate TLR’s in-game managing.  I think he is atrocious and today he did not disappoint.  I said before the game started to my son and someone I know in the Cards front office that Tony would do something dumb just to show how “smart” he is.  It didn’t take long.  Even before the game, he inserted Nick Punto into the lineup in place of John Jay. Now Punto is probably the better defender than Schumaker at second, but Punto has no bat whatsoever.  My sim estimated that that cost the Cards around 1.5% in WE.

Something dumb to show how smart he is.

Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: October 08, 2011 at 05:59 AM | 219 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball geeks, cardinals, phillies, sabermetrics

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   101. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 09, 2011 at 04:54 AM (#3957398)
Well, he's made the playoffs twice, won the division once, and averaged 86 wins/year over the last 5 years in the NL Central with a $100M+ payroll and Albert Pujols/Adam Wainwright on way-below-market value deals.


He didn't actually have access to Adam Wainwright at all this season, of course, since he was injured for the season in spring training. And in 2008, Wainwright missed about 2-1/2 months. And the only other NL Central team to win the division more than the Cards over that time period was the Cubs (2007-08), not the Brewers (2011 over the Wainwright-less Cards), and I'm sure the Cubs spent a LOT more than the Cardinals over the time period.
   102. Something Other Posted: October 09, 2011 at 04:54 AM (#3957399)
At this point until Tony is caught napping or found dead in the dugout I think folks just need to shut the h*ll up.

The man has only won thousands of games. Do folks get that? The word 'thousands'?

Like, that's a LOT.
At this point, until you demonstrate that you've ever actually gotten a hit off of major league pitching or struck a major league hitter out, I fully expect you to shut the #### up about the game and confine yourself to posting on The Sheepbugger's Online Journal.

The fanboy stuff in this thread is remarkable. When a manager known to be crappy yaps about Sparky going 4 for 9 off of Sabathia as the reason he's in the lineup despite a .187/.209/.257 career slash line, it's off with his head! When LaRussa does it, it's symptomatic of his deep, unfathomable genius. Sigh.

Anyone who wants to defend LaRussa getting his pitchers hitting behind Pujols for half of a 20 inning game, feel free. There are holes in Tony's game. What's everyone crapping their pants over?
   103. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: October 09, 2011 at 05:08 AM (#3957420)
He didn't actually have access to Adam Wainwright at all this season, of course, since he was injured for the season in spring training. And in 2008, Wainwright missed about 2-1/2 months. And the only other NL Central team to win the division more than the Cards over that time period was the Cubs (2007-08), not the Brewers (2011 over the Wainwright-less Cards), and I'm sure the Cubs spent a LOT more than the Cardinals over the time period.


Well, the Cubs are the most dysfunctional club in MLB history. And the rest of the NL Central is the NL Central, which is the whole frigging reason it's such an embarrassment not to win it more than once in five years, when you have a good organization behind you, two of the best players in baseball on your team, and a relatively large payroll. It doesn't make sense to counter that "he's no shorter than the other short people" when the argument is that he's no giant. He makes a serious number of avoidable mistakes that cost his teams a lot of ballgames, and that gets increasingly annoying to watch, over the years. Especially since he seems to have learned nothing, year after year.

Good catch on the brewers WC, though.
   104. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 09, 2011 at 05:15 AM (#3957422)
two of the best players in baseball on your team


Except he didn't have Adam Wainwright for all 5 of those seasons and, frankly, calling Adam Wainwright one "of the best players in baseball" over this time period seems like a pretty huge stretch (and/or an extremely liberal number of "the best players").

And as SoSH implied, in the three years before your 5-year time period, LaRussa's Cardinals won 105 games, 100 games, and the World Series.

Geeze, I'm a Cubs fan. I hate LaRussa, I hate his micro-managing, but the Cardinals are easily one of the top 5-10 organizations in MLB and LaRussa's easily one of the top 5 or so managers in MLB.
   105. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 09, 2011 at 05:27 AM (#3957425)
Except he didn't have Adam Wainwright for all 5 of those seasons and, frankly, calling Adam Wainwright one "of the best players in baseball" over this time period seems like a pretty huge stretch (and/or an extremely liberal number of "the best players").

Technically Sleepy made one statement that the Cardinals had Pujols and Wainwright at extremely cheap contracts, and then made a separate statement that the Cardinals had two of the best players in baseball. The latter one might refer to Pujols and Carpenter. Although Carpenter was also missing for 1.8 of those seasons. Or maybe Pujols and Holliday, though Holliday appeared in mid-2009.
   106. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: October 09, 2011 at 05:42 AM (#3957427)
Technically Sleepy made one statement that the Cardinals had Pujols and Wainwright at extremely cheap contracts, and then made another statement that the Cardinals had two of the best players in baseball. The latter one might refer to Pujols and Carpenter. Although Carpenter was also missing for 1.8 of those seasons.


naw, I was talking specifically AP and AW. STL missed the playoffs in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and only made it in 2009 because they overpaid for a slumping Matt Holiday, and then he went crazy in the stretch run.

This year was frustrating, but STl was still a better team than MIL even without AW, minus TLR's idiocy. The ridiculous number of blown saves were COMPLETELY avoidable, but TLR chose to use Franklin/Bautista instead of Motte/Lynn/Boggs/Salas/Sanchez etc. He successfully sacrifice bunted 48 times with position players- costing at least one win, by pythag win expectancy, and in reality, probably closer to 2 or 3, since the team was successful in only about half the attempts (but he JUST KEPT DOING IT). He was instrumental in forcing the trade of a cost controlled CF who was the 4th-best offensive CF in MLB in 2010, and a cost-controlled SS who was (completely predictably) worth almost 2 wins more than the guy they replaced him with.

Pretty much anything you can evaluate a manager on- he failed, this year. Except he made the playoffs, which is awesome, but I think Lance Berkman had a heck of a lot more to do with that than TLR. And Charlie Manuel, putting the screws to ATL in the 11th hour.
   107. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 09, 2011 at 06:09 AM (#3957430)
Pretty much anything you can evaluate a manager on- he failed, this year. Except he made the playoffs, which is awesome, but I think Lance Berkman had a heck of a lot more to do with that than TLR.


How well his players perform under him would seem to be a reasonable way to evaluate a manager. Lance Berkman just had the best OPS+ of his career at age 35. Matt Holliday just put up the best OPS+ of his career at age 31. Maybe the manager (and/or the hitting coach who was hired (somewhat controversially) by the manager) deserves a little bit of the credit for that.
   108. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 09, 2011 at 07:08 AM (#3957444)
Don't be ridiculous! Managers can't possibly have anything to do with how well players perform. Players' emotions can't possibly affect them, either. Baseball players are fully formed and calcified into exactly what they will be forever after from the moment they set foot on a major league field. And mentally speaking, from the moment they set foot on a minor league field, because unless they were utterly impervious to any stimuli, they would never make it to the major leagues in the first place.
   109. Dan Evensen Posted: October 09, 2011 at 08:32 AM (#3957449)
Interesting discussion -- and it's pretty obvious that mgl was owned here.

A few minor points:

MGL is saying you can’t pick pitchers that INCLUDE the data that we are trying to isolate on. (quoted via #78)

It's the imprecise use of language like this that makes reading anything Tango writes a real challenge. That counts his posts at Primer a few years back (it's been quite some time since I've seen him post here) as well as just about anything in The Book. I really enjoy The Book, but have a very hard time reading it due to the various grammatical errors and occasional logical jumps.

Tango's attempt at explaining what he means in #30 (original thread) is incredibly condescending, almost like reading Prospectus:

Take a moment here and try to follow what I’m saying. If you are not following, then ask me to explain it further. Don’t disagree! (At least, don’t disagree until you understand completely, at which point, you won’t disagree anyway.)

He then kind of farts around about how we should rank the best pitchers through the first three times through the order, then look at the fourth (conveniently moving from "9th inning performance" to "4th time through the order," since, as we all know, it's hard to hit a moving target).

Oh -- and #1 in the lulz category has got to be MGN's #43:

What is incredible is how many people there use the result of the plays, the game, and the series to refute my claims.

Damn -- I hate it when people use actual real life performance to contradict my statistical predictions.
   110. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: October 09, 2011 at 09:01 AM (#3957452)
The fanboy stuff in this thread is remarkable. When a manager known to be crappy yaps about Sparky going 4 for 9 off of Sabathia as the reason he's in the lineup despite a .187/.209/.257 career slash line, it's off with his head! When LaRussa does it, it's symptomatic of his deep, unfathomable genius. Sigh.

Anyone who wants to defend LaRussa getting his pitchers hitting behind Pujols for half of a 20 inning game, feel free.


Heh, this made me laugh. TLR relied on a small sample to ake a decision, what a maroon. Here's a small sample to prove my point!

FTR, I think TLR is a good, but not great manager, but that still cracked me up...
   111. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 09, 2011 at 11:14 AM (#3957456)
Mitchel Lichtman has been doing sabermetric research for over 17 years. He is currently the senior analyst for a major league team.


Serious question: What Major League team is that?
   112. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: October 09, 2011 at 01:53 PM (#3957497)
Tango's attempt at explaining what he means in #30 (original thread) is incredibly condescending, almost like reading Prospectus:

Take a moment here and try to follow what I’m saying. If you are not following, then ask me to explain it further. Don’t disagree! (At least, don’t disagree until you understand completely, at which point, you won’t disagree anyway.)

He then kind of farts around about how we should rank the best pitchers through the first three times through the order, then look at the fourth (conveniently moving from "9th inning performance" to "4th time through the order," since, as we all know, it's hard to hit a moving target).


Again, the old adage that if the reader is confused, it is the fault of the writer and not the reader. Tango was responding to me, as I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. At one point I thought mgl and Tango were confused by the original list of pitchers and thought the poster meant that they were the 9th inning stats of the top 10 pitchers by WAR in the 9th inning, and not the top 10 pitchers by WAR, and here are their 9th inning stats.

The tangent that one must separate the 9th inning stats of every pitcher to see who the true aces is an example of something that while theoretically technically correct, is so trivial as to be negligible, confusing, WAY too much work to isolate, and ultimately unhelpful to the conversation. As the saying goes, it's a rounding error. All it did is add a level of frustration to both sides.
   113. BDC Posted: October 09, 2011 at 02:07 PM (#3957503)
Voros, you make a great point in #83. There's always an overwhelmingly good reason why heavy favorites are heavy favorites and longshots longshots: if you obsess over the "why" of it you are going to go nuts. I like your idea that you have to continually re-examine your thought process, not base big changes in tactics on the last result to come in.
   114. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 09, 2011 at 02:30 PM (#3957512)
Steve: just dumb it down enough so that a commercial press will take it, and you'll be rich...rich as nazis!

Though I guess search committees would not be impressed. Do you have a job already?
   115. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 09, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#3957519)
Don't be ridiculous! Managers can't possibly have anything to do with how well players perform. Players' emotions can't possibly affect them, either. Baseball players are fully formed and calcified into exactly what they will be forever after from the moment they set foot on a major league field. And mentally speaking, from the moment they set foot on a minor league field, because unless they were utterly impervious to any stimuli, they would never make it to the major leagues in the first place.


That's not quite true. If a guy we expect to be good struggles instead, then it's clearly the manager's mishandling of him that's responsible. Excellence, of course, is innate and inevitable.
   116. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 02:47 PM (#3957521)
The tangent that one must separate the 9th inning stats of every pitcher to see who the true aces is an example of something that while theoretically technically correct, is so trivial as to be negligible, confusing, WAY too much work to isolate, and ultimately unhelpful to the conversation. As the saying goes, it's a rounding error. All it did is add a level of frustration to both sides.


actually the concept of removing ninth inning stats to determine who the top pitchers are, is totally ####### retarded. It's such a stupid idea that I can't imagine people with a functioning brain thinking it makes sense. You want a list of the pitchers who are considered the best in baseball, the aces. You look at the totality of their careeer/recent seasons etc. There is no reason to actually remove their ninth inning numbers when you are trying to create a list of ten aces. Heck there is no reason to even look at quality numbers to create that list, you could create that list by doing a poll of 100 people, you can create that list in any fashion and you do not have to create extra work just to worry about a 15th decimal point. You can use any criteria you want to create the list of top ten pitchers, it's a fully subjective list. The only thing you shouldn't do is cherry pick your list by looking at the guys with the best numbers in the ninth inning, beyond that how you make the list is up to you. You could use fip over last three years, you could use number of starts over the last 5 seasons, heck you could use win total over the last four years... it doesn't matter what criteria you use to get the initial pool.
   117. BDC Posted: October 09, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3957533)
Oh, and Steve, I would be very interested in your work on Grant. I have a mostly-amateur side interest in Civil War literature, and found Josiah Bunting's and Joan Waugh's recent books to be good examples of the recuperation of Grant's image that's currently under way. It sounds like you're making a strong contribution.

So now you've got at least six readers :)
   118. HowardMegdal Posted: October 09, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#3957557)
I like to think that over at USGrantThinkFactory, a conversation on Grant's presidential term evolved into a discussion about Tony La Russa.
   119. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 09, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3957581)
If a guy we expect to be good struggles instead, then it's clearly the manager's mishandling of him that's responsible. Excellence, of course, is innate and inevitable.


I think the rule of thumb is: Any deviation from a player's projection is the result of pure luck, unless the player underperforms and Dusty Baker is involved. Then it's the manager's fault.
   120. fra paolo Posted: October 09, 2011 at 05:02 PM (#3957602)
For those not following the Book Blog thread, Tango has provided an answer to 'The Wager'.

So, if the choice is between Carpenter or a pretty good reliever, it’s probably a wash.

Ryan Madson has a .301 career wOBA through 2010, so, his quality level would be the slightly preferred choice. Motte had a great 2011, and if you add it to his career through 2010, he’s probably going to be close to Madson’s career wOBA.

My call based on this evidence? A slight preference to bring in Motte over Carpenter. But, there’s definitely enough uncertainty there that allowing Carpenter to pitch in the 9th is a very reasonable choice.

This whole episode has been a storm over nothing, and largely the consequence of mgl's tendency to hyperbole, his related tendency to bluster and his inability to express himself on a complex subject clearly. The fact that he refers to the 'BTF morons' and celebrates his departure from the site in 2008 is indicative that while he likes to dish it out, he can't take it.

All mgl was really saying was that TLR's approach is not based on 'the percentages', and this means he's overrated. The constant drumbeat at the Book Blog is that there is 'true talent' and there are 'observed effects'. The 'evil' that the Book Bloggers fight is that 'observed effects' are weighted more heavily than 'true talent' by the Baseball Establishment.

The essence of the counterargument is that results matter. TLR is the Napoleonic 'lucky general'. Even if he goes against the percentages he gets it right more often than he doesn't.

I don't think there any grounds for compromise here. It's just a clash of two different ways of looking at the world. It's a shame it descended into invective, but the blame for that is largely to be laid at mgl's door. He is intemperate in his writing.
   121. The District Attorney Posted: October 09, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#3957625)
Bill James, 1988 Abstract:
The lifeblood of my work is the attempt to build toward absolute knowledge on specific issues. It has always been my belief that with the very rare exception of a case in which a manager does something just really, really stupid, it is impossible to prove objectively that any game-level decision was correct or incorrect.

A lot of people like to pretend that they have analyzed these decisions and know how to make them, but what they have really done is weighed out very carefully three or four factors influencing the decision, and ignored the other fifteen or twenty factors about which they could not obtain reliable evidence. Statisticians often forget that percentages represent not the complexities of a single at bat, but the probabilities in a large number of at bats, which tend to balance distortions and create a neutral mix. A player who is a .238 hitter overall may be a .310 hitter with four times as much power in a given situation, if he has a number of advantages working for him, such as the platoon edge and a short fence in the ballpark. A hitter who cannot hit a curve ball may improve dramatically if he is facing a pitcher who does not throw a curve ball. He may hit a high pitch much better than a low pitch.

I am not saying that it is not useful to measure and evaluate as many factors of performance as we can. By all means; let us measure. Let us know what each batter hits against right-handed and left-handed pitchers and high-ball and low-ball pitchers. But the interplay among these distortions and non-random factors is incalculable; the real player will always be more complex than the data set which represents him. And for that reason we can never know what the real probabilities in an individual situation are; I don't and you don't and in truth the manager doesn't either. He chooses certain biases by which to make his selection, and then he throws his fate to the wind...

as important as they might be, these decisions are beyond the reach of sabermetrics. As a fan, I think that John McNamara is a dolt. As an analyst, I try to steer clear of talking about game-level decisions.
   122. HowardMegdal Posted: October 09, 2011 at 06:11 PM (#3957630)
121 is a waste of everyone's time. If Bill James really wanted any credibility, he'd have found a way to bet $1000 on what he said.
   123. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 06:43 PM (#3957647)
Reading the rest of the thread, I love the Tango study he posted over there, I still don't get how even after the study, that people can say that they would prefer to go with Motte. It's too close to really call, and the slight advantage is in favor of sticking with the starter and not the reliever. According to Tango, elite starting pitchers have a wOBA of .313 in the situation he is looking at, Motte is .317....yet somehow the conclusion even from Tango is to go with Motte.

Now MGL is arguing that Carpenter is no longer an elite pitcher, that point I can agree with, and maybe shouldn't be included in the pool of elite pitchers. And every time someone tries to argue "Carpenter has pitched well when asked" MGL points out that you can't actually use Carpenters actual performance or numbers in deciding whether or not to pitch Carpenter in that situation, That the only correct argument is to use a group of similar pitchers and run the numbers. It's ridiculous because the numbers as mentioned aren't going to be large enough to get a true talent level, and it doesn't account for all the variables involved(even Tango admits that in his excellent study)

I mean to be realistic study, they would have to include the following things.
1. The expected batters for the phillies next inning split vs a Carpenter style pitcher compared to a Motte style pitcher
2. numbers for pitchers of Carpenter style throwing between 95-105 pitches going into the ninth inning.
3. Motte's and Carpenters relative health
and probably a host of other things.

Either way, no matter how you cut, MGL was wrong on his claim. Using the words not even close, makes him massively wrong. The numbers point go with Carpenter or it's a wash, and yet somehow MGL sees it as go with Motte, and it's not even close. He's wrong, and won't admit it.(he went to the trouble of summarizing that he had five or so points in the thread and that people are focusing on his last comment and finding fault with it....well the last comment said "it's not even close" meaning that TLR was clearly wrong on this decision that it's so obvious that TLR was wrong.)


What I find absolutely hilarious is that he's harping on the walk of Ruiz to face Francisco and doesn't seem to even remotely think it was a good decision that came out bad. The purpose of that decision was to guarantee that Lee doesn't go out an pitch the next inning, the Phillies bullpen is easier to hit than Hamels, getting Hamels out of the game is a big part of the plan to score more runs. A guy who hasn't hit a homerun since May of this year(180? some pa) shouldn't be a guy you worry about. To really evaluate that move, you can't just look at the run expectency of that half inning(.008 vs .033), you need to look at the run expectency difference between another inning out of hammels vs an inning out of whichever reliever is more likely to pitch the pitch the next inning. The fact that the Cardinals scored a run off of the reliever in the next inning has to be taken as at least some evidence that it was a good decision. (quick math using just runs allowed this year, which is giving Worley more credit than I think he deserves--says that Worley is .046 runs worse per inning than Hamels--giving a net positive to the intentional walk decision of .021 runs expectency--and that is assuming that Francisco is an equal hitter to Ruiz...realistically that .008 vs .033 run expectency is based upon average hitters, Ruiz is the better hitter so it's a tad closer than the .025 difference indicates--and of course I was using an outdated run expectency matrix which doesn't include the lower run environment for this season, so it's probably even closer than I stated)
   124. SteveM. Posted: October 09, 2011 at 06:58 PM (#3957655)
Though I guess search committees would not be impressed. Do you have a job already?


Yep. I am on the tenure track at a small college in the Northeast.
And thanks Bob Dernier. I have high hopes with the press I am about to send the prospectus to.
   125. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 09, 2011 at 07:01 PM (#3957657)
the real player will always be more complex than the data set which represents him.


QFT. And then when you consider that there are ten (or more) players involved in every situation, plus a ballpark, benches and weather to consider, well.... You can see why I think the run expectancy tables should be buried in a hole somewhere.
   126. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 07:01 PM (#3957658)
This whole episode has been a storm over nothing,

I do think that MGL's hyperbole was quite wrong but I also think that it could very well not be a wash. I would bet that a SP who faces the 4th time through in the 8th or 9th and has a low pitch count probably has a wOBA around .300 or lower for those PA. Then remember that a SP who faces the batting order the 4th time through is facing the top of the order in those PA while a reliever gets a much more varied set of PA against. Motte gets a .310 or whatever by facing pinch hitters (who get a penalty), #3 hitters, #7 hitters, weak hitting SS and C, and slugging first basemen and right fielders. So not only does one have to look at wOBA of the results but also compare that to the quality of batters faced.
   127. Walt Davis Posted: October 09, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#3957693)
According to Tango, elite starting pitchers have a wOBA of .313 in the situation he is looking at, Motte is .317

Why would we look at elite pitchers as a group but Motte as an individual? OK, he also seems to be saying that the "average career reliever" (for lack of a better term) also has a 317 wOBA in this situation.

The stuff comparing Motte and Madson is simply a red herring. By his own criteria and methodology, it makes no sense to look at Motte's individual numbers.

MGL lost the bet and should fork over $1000.

Everybody's focused on the bet but ...

Over the last 4 seasons, Punto has 2 seasons worth of PAs (1271) and 5 WAR.* For his career, he's got about 5 seasons worth of PA and 8 WAR. He's pretty much an average MLB infielder.

Over the last 4 seasons, in about 3.5 seasons worth of PAs (2109), Schumaker has 4.3 WAR.

Based on those numbers, it's not even close -- Punto should start over Schumaker.

Jay's a little harder to figure because he's got so little ML time. 826 PA and 2.4 WAR is a better rate than Schumaker. His minor league numbers are nothing to get excited about. Jay's probsbly a bit better than Schumaker.

*Note, fangraphs WAR is even more in Punto's corner, giving him 7.6 WAR over the last 4 years as UZR puts him a staggering 31 runs above average. And 13 WAR for his career thanks to 70 runs of defense. MGL really should check his own defensive numbers before dissing somebody.
   128. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 08:00 PM (#3957698)
MGL lost the bet and should fork over $1000.

I think he lost the argument (or should say his point on this issue) but the bet was never really made. Even the guy who first disputed his view and whose numbers were used initially to show MGL was wrong didn't think he was taking MGL up on his offer.
   129. Don Malcolm Posted: October 09, 2011 at 08:06 PM (#3957703)
The good news is that in just a few minutes, there will be another game for TLR to screw up and possibly he'll take pity on MGL (TLR take pity on MGL? LOL...) and do something just incontrovertibly stupid.

All this really has told us is that we need more robust query engines over at bb-ref in order to have this data at our fingertips more quickly, which would serve to shut down these threads more quickly.

Then remember that a SP who faces the batting order the 4th time through is facing the top of the order in those PA while a reliever gets a much more varied set of PA against. Motte gets a .310 or whatever by facing pinch hitters (who get a penalty), #3 hitters, #7 hitters, weak hitting SS and C, and slugging first basemen and right fielders.

That seems to be true about a third of the time, according to the BFP data attaching to the CG data at bb-ref. What's true about 80% of the time is that SPs are facing the top half of the batting order, whereas relievers do so only around half the time.

121 is a waste of everyone's time. If Bill James really wanted any credibility, he'd have found a way to bet $1000 on what he said.

Well, Howard, he wrote that in 1988, before the Internet made it possible to be macho while hidden in your mom's basement.
   130. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 08:15 PM (#3957716)
Why would we look at elite pitchers as a group but Motte as an individual? OK, he also seems to be saying that the "average career reliever" (for lack of a better term) also has a 317 wOBA in this situation.


I forgot to include that second part. I did think about including it, then just forgot to include it, but the reason to look at Motte, is that MGL's original claim was Motte's career average, it wasn't about the general purpose of replacing an elite pitcher with an elite reliever, it was about replacing elite pitcher in the 9th inning with Motte's expected/career average performance. I can't help it if the terms of the original comment was non-sensical for a quality study.

Over the last 4 seasons, Punto has 2 seasons worth of PAs (1271) and 5 WAR.* For his career, he's got about 5 seasons worth of PA and 8 WAR. He's pretty much an average MLB infielder.

Over the last 4 seasons, in about 3.5 seasons worth of PAs (2109), Schumaker has 4.3 WAR.

Based on those numbers, it's not even close -- Punto should start over Schumaker.


And I would have no problem with that claim. MGL for some reason decided to focus on Punto over Jay, and that is an entirely different argument.

MGL Even before the game, he inserted Nick Punto into the lineup in place of John Jay. Now Punto is probably the better defender than Schumaker at second, but Punto has no bat whatsoever. My sim estimated that that cost the Cards around 1.5% in WE.


I've been trying to figure out what the real cost difference was instead of some generic "sim estimate" I see the Punto/Schumaker-cf defense as .027 runs better than a Jay/Schumaker-2b...of course a Jay/Punto defense is worth almost .1rpg better than either. I just don't know how to figure out what the rc would be for Punto's offense against a lefty vs Jay's.

Punto vs Lefties last three years .241/.346/.306/.652
Jay vs Lefties .296/.356/.377/.733
Difference of .055/.01/.071/.081 and most of it is in slugging. Both players have about the same chance of getting on base, Jay has a better chance of doing it by a hit, and has a better chance of getting an extra base hit, but Punto is not costing you outs by having him replace Jay offensively. (Jay's slightly higher dp percentage could possibly be explained away by chances and Punto is a slightly better base runner, not sure how much of that helps to close the gap offensively between the two, add in the more pitches Punto sees when facing a team who you want to get to the bullpen)
   131. Danny Posted: October 09, 2011 at 08:27 PM (#3957748)
only made it in 2009 because they overpaid for a slumping Matt Holiday

You mean the Matt Holliday they didn't overpay for, who was 2.5 months removed from his Arpil slump?
   132. Danny Posted: October 09, 2011 at 08:39 PM (#3957766)
(conveniently moving from "9th inning performance" to "4th time through the order," since, as we all know, it's hard to hit a moving target).

Maybe, I'm missing something, but MGL seemed pretty clear from the start that he was talking about the 4th time through the order. From TFA: "Surely Motte is a better pitcher than Carpenter the 4th time through the order." And then from his first comment (#2): "Do some research on ace pitchers (you can pick 10 of them) and look at their wOBA, ERC, or RA per 9 their 4th time through the order (they would likely be “pitching well” or they wouldn’t be facing the lineup the 4th time - or you can only look at when they have allowed 2 runs or less)."

It seems rather intuitive that:

1) A pinch hitter would likely be better than Carpenter at the plate, and
2) Starters tend to pitch worse as they 1) tire and 2) go through the lineup for the 3rd and 4th time.

It also seems quite likely that:

1) Starting pitchers who make it to the 9th innig are likely facing a below-average offense, and
2) If a SP gets pulled in the 9th inning, he's likely going to be replaced by a better than average reliever (and often a closer). ]

These two assumptions, if true, would make a SP's ERA in the 9th inning look better even if he's not actually pitching better to some extent.
   133. bobm Posted: October 09, 2011 at 08:46 PM (#3957771)
For 2011, BB-REF PI lists 504 starts where the starter pitched at least 24 outs, which I choose so as not to bias the results by looking only at complete games. The 504 starts were distributed among 140 pitchers.

When I add up the game data for these starts, I get the following line:


 W   L  W-L%  ERA  GS  CG SHO     IP    H    ER  HR  BB    SO WHIP
351 82 0.811 1.23 504 169  73 4,189.2 2,532 572 197 678 3,220 0.77


That seems to be a pretty good line to me, and would argue keeping a starter in for the 9th inning who has already gone 8 IP, in the absence of any other data.

(Without going to play-by-play data, the next refinement would be to split starts by home and road, and eliminate 8 IP road starts where the home team won.)
   134. bobm Posted: October 09, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#3957778)
[132]
It also seems quite likely that:

1) Starting pitchers who make it to the 9th innig are likely facing a below-average offense, and
2) If a SP gets pulled in the 9th inning, he's likely going to be replaced by a better than average reliever (and often a closer). ]

These two assumptions, if true, would make a SP's ERA in the 9th inning look better even if he's not actually pitching better to some extent.


Two thoughts:

Re: 1 - If the starter is facing a below-average offense, then it would make sense not to waste an appearance by the closer.
Re: 2 - To avoid the effect of closers on starters' 9th inning ERA, one could compare 9th inning appearances by starters and relievers using OBP against, WHIP against, K/9, etc.
   135. Danny Posted: October 09, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#3957838)
Re: 1 - If the starter is facing a below-average offense, then it would make sense not to waste an appearance by the closer.

Whether or not this is true, it doesn't apply to the STL-PHI game. The Phillies do not have a below average offense.
   136. base ball chick Posted: October 09, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#3957842)
1 - yes berkman had his best OPS+ this year (HARD to believe but correct) but it sure wasn't his best WAR year
- berkman didn't have real too much respect (neither did anyone else on the team) for cecil cooper and guess he figgered that if his owner didn't care enough then enither did he - and yeah, all the leg injuries caught up to him too

2 - as for mgl/stats
thing is that even if the stats show that the top 10 aces have ERA of X the 4th time thru the lineup, SOMEtimes a pitcher is just ON and carp was just ON. you can't insist that what USUALLY happens will ALWAYS happen and status geekicus gots themselves a nasty habit of thinking like that
   137. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 09:35 PM (#3957846)
If I did it right it looks like last year a SP in the NL faced batters in the 9th inning 165 times. Their composite line was:
.189/.218/.289 with 7 doubles, 3 homers, 5 walks, 1 HBP, 28 strikeouts, and DP.
   138. bobm Posted: October 09, 2011 at 09:46 PM (#3957874)
[132]
Maybe, I'm missing something, but MGL seemed pretty clear from the start that he was talking about the 4th time through the order. From TFA: "Surely Motte is a better pitcher than Carpenter the 4th time through the order."


I do not think he was as clear as that.

From TFA:

Top of the 8th, Carpenter gets a hit (should have been pinch hit for anyway, but I won’t even get into that). ...

Now it is the top of the 9th. My guess is that TLR leaves Carp in the game rather than going to his closer. That will be his final mistake unless the game goes into extra innings. Surely Motte is a better pitcher than Carpenter the 4th time through the order. Again, it is not even close. If the Cardinals hold on and win the game, it will be despite LaRussa’s terrible managing and not because of it…


Further, his assertion "surely Motte..." does not appear to be true. Carpenter in 2011 had an OPS against of .583 (in 97 PA) in his 4th+ PA, while Motte in 2011 had an OPS against of .692 in the 9th inning (in 86 PA). Nothing "sure" about that.


Carpenter, 2011:

Split               G  PA AB   R H  2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  TB BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1st PA in G as SP  34 330 309 27 74 11  1  6  0  0 17 74 4.35 .239 .281 .340 .621 105  .297    85 78
2nd PA in G as SP  34 303 280 34 82 13  1  3  1  1 17 59 3.47 .293 .337 .379 .715 106  .361   114 98
3rd PA in G as SP  34 266 245 23 67  6  2  6  0  0 17 46 2.71 .273 .319 .388 .707  95  .314   111 84
4th+ PA in G as SP 22  97  87 10 20  3  0  1  0  0  4 12 3.00 .230 .284 .299 .583  26  .253    75 58


Motte, 2011:

Split        G   IP ER  ERA  PA  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS TB BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
...
9th inning  25 21.1 10 4.22  86  80 12 18 6   2  2  1  0  4 20 5.00 .225 .267 .425 .692 34 .271   146 106
...
Innings 7-9 65 55.0 15 2.45 213 195 23 39 9   2  2  5  1 12 49 4.08 .200 .259 .297 .557 58 .255    99  61

Runs allowed are credited to the pitcher in the game when the run scored. Earned Runs are credited to the pitcher who was pitchng when the scoring player was at bat.
   139. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 09, 2011 at 09:52 PM (#3957899)
Whether or not this is true, it doesn't apply to the STL-PHI game. The Phillies do not have a below average offense.
I think the reading should be "Whether there is a below average offense coming to the plate in the 9th". that could well be the case for a given three batters on the Phils team.
   140. Danny Posted: October 09, 2011 at 09:55 PM (#3957909)
I do not think he was as clear as that.

MGL very clearly stated that his reasoning was based on it being the 4th time through the order in both his original post and his original comment. That the events occurred in the 9th inning does not in any way indicate that he questioned the move because it was in the 9th inning.
Further, his assertion "surely Motte..." does not appear to be true. Carpenter in 2011 had an OPS against of .583 (in 97 PA) in his 4th+ PA, while Motte in 2011 had an OPS against of .692 in the 9th inning (in 86 PA). Nothing "sure" about that.

1) Using single season stats to determine who is better is silly.
2) Using an 87 PA split to determine Carpenter's ability is sillier.
3) Using only Motte's 9th inning stats, while excluding his superior non-9th inning stats, is silliest.
   141. bobm Posted: October 09, 2011 at 09:56 PM (#3957912)
[135] Whether or not this is true, it doesn't apply to the STL-PHI game. The Phillies do not have a below average offense.

Going into the 9th that game, the Phillies had 3 H in 27 AB and no BB. Carpenter had thrown 102 pitches and a strong GB:FB ratio. As noted in [136], sometimes a pitcher is just on.
   142. Danny Posted: October 09, 2011 at 09:58 PM (#3957914)
I think the reading should be "Whether there is a below average offense coming to the plate in the 9th". that could well be the case for a given three batters on the Phils team.

Utley, Pence, Howard.
   143. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 10:03 PM (#3957932)
That the events occurred in the 9th inning does not in any way indicate that he questioned the move because it was in the 9th inning.

Well, he should have because facing the batting order the 4th time through in the 6th or 7th is a helluva lot different than facing them in the 9th which is what Carpenter was going to be doing in that game.
   144. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 10:05 PM (#3957942)
Tango has done some looking at great pitchers and I did some looking at the NL last year and both datasets reveal that starting pitchers that get to the 9th inning pitched a great 9th inning. Which leads me back to something I said over at the book which is that Tony (but now in general) does a pretty good job identifying which starting pitchers should actually pitch the 9th and when they should be pulled for a reliever instead.
   145. bobm Posted: October 09, 2011 at 10:41 PM (#3957972)
[140] - Where is the evidence that Motte is "surely a better pitcher" than Carpenter the 4th time around?

Comparing an average, composite or generic closer to an average, composite, or generic elite starter is interesting and helpful, but LaRussa has to choose between two actual human beings, and not two Platonic ideals. Comparing averages is helpful but does not allow one to assert that specific closer A is "surely a better pitcher" than specific elite starter B; perhaps that is why refuge is being taken in the defense of small sample sizes. IMO it is hardly sufficient evidence to propose this as the "worst managing ever."

Consider, however:
a. Motte's career stats, including the benefit of all the low leverage innings he has pitched; and,
b. Carpenter's career stats only for PA when facing batters for the 4th+ PA as a starter (and including his 1997-2002 seasons in Toronto).
c. Carpenter's Cardinal career stats only for PA when facing batters for the 4th+ PA as a starter (and excluding his 1997-2002 seasons in Toronto).


Motte, career:                            760 PA, 0.642 OPS against, .278 BAbip
Carpenter, 4th+ PA in G as SP, career:    613 PA, 0.682 OPS against, .291 BAbip
Carpenter, 4th+ PA in G as SP, St. Louis: 368 PA, 0.576 OPS against, .266 BAbip


Source: B-R; sums of splits from B-R

Despite the heavy advantages in sampling to Motte, the OPS against advantage in Motte's favor versus Carpenter's entire career is still fairly small, and aided partly by a gap in BAbip. Carpenter as a Cardinal the 4th time around has a significantly lower OPS against than Motte in all PA.
   146. Something Other Posted: October 09, 2011 at 10:44 PM (#3957976)
one thing about TLR

the SOB wins even when you think like no WAY is that team gonna win uncle albert or no uncle albert. and yeah sometimes all that platoon matchup stuff blows up because it is baseball and youneverknow. and yeah sometimes he gets rid of good ballplayers because it is personal

but thing is

that SOB wins and wins a LOT
You know what, though? Taking his career as a whole LaRussa hasn't won a lot--not in the sense that he won a lot more than he should have, or a lot more than a competent manager would have. He's only won a lot in the last decade, and it's only been with the birds that he's won a lot of division titles, more than you'd figure his share should be. What I find fascinating is how remarkably schizophrenic is LaRussa's managerial career. It's almost as if, after two decades as a manager, he finally figured it out, starting in the year 2000. Through 1999 he's something like the Harold Baines of managers. Long career, good player, but no one you think of as an solid, first ballot HOFer.

LaRussa hasn't managed the MFYs, of course, but he's had his share of good franchises, teams and good players to work with (some of which he of course gets credit for), and his overall record, while good, isn't wildly impressive until you get to the past decade. If you look at his body of work dispassionately, as I noted above, it looks like he only really figured out how to manage after two decades in the majors. Until he got to St. Louis LaRussa managed to win one WS in 19 seasons (18 years, if you like). Through 1999, LaRussa had managed to win that same, one WS in 23 seasons. That's not winning a LOT, by any stretch. Through 1999, over twenty two years, or twenty three seasons, Tony had put up a winning percentage with three teams of right around .520. That's better than average but, to continue to use your typography, it's not a LOT better than average. On a seasonal basis, that's 84 wins, 78 losses. That's a litte better than average, not a lot better.

In Chicago, in a seven team division, he won the division once, and that team lost the ALCS. He managed all of one good team from 1979-86, and his specialty was finishing fifth. He was a .500 manager in Chicage. There was nothing, nothing at all, about his first managing gig that belongs on a HOF resume. Nothing that made you think, wow, this guy can squeeze a lot of lemonade out of a very few lemons. His second stint, with the A's, was more notable than it was successful. He managed in Oakland for a full decade, won one World Series, and put together four good teams in those ten years. His results improved over his time in Chicago (how could they not?), but you put those two stints together and we're not looking at the resume of a HOF manager by any means.

Tony goes to St. Louis and puts together four unimpressive seasons. After winning the division in his first season, the team never puts it together, to the point that Tony's a sub-.500 manager over those four years. At that point, if you look at his first 23 seasons, that's again not the resume of a HOF manager. 1 WS in 22 years? That's unexceptional, isn't it? a .522 winning percentage isn't remarkable. He's not picking off division titles left and right. If anything, there's a case to be made that his Oakland A's underachieved.

It's funny how he only became LaRussa!! starting in 2000. Most of his HOF case is due to 2000 through today. This isn't a case of selective endpoints, it's a case of writing an accurate narrative. LaRussa had a good team in 2000, Prince Albert showed up in 2001, and LaRussa is going to sail into the Hall of Fame because of the last third (to date) of his managerial career. How much credit one wants to give Pujols for LaRussa's success is a long discussion, of course, but the simple fact is LaRussa got an entirely different level of results as a manager starting in 2000. Anyone interested in managing, and interested in what separates good from great managers might want to take on that question, since prior to 2000 there wasn't much in LaRussa's results to tell us he was a great manager.
   147. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 10:51 PM (#3957983)
I don't really expect Tony's resume to scream HoF after his first 5 seasons as a manager. Tony as an A's manager was quite good and the quality of the A's in the 90's and the Cardinals in the 90's has a lot more to do with ownership than Tony. The A's shut it down in the 90's and Tony and his crew (along with a very good GM) rebuilt the Cardinals. That isn't going to happen overnight.
   148. Something Other Posted: October 09, 2011 at 11:09 PM (#3958002)
Sure--and I don't mean to nitpick word choices, but "Tony as an A's manager was quite good" also isn't the description of a HOF manager. Too, if we talk about ownership handcuffing LaRussa in some sense in the 90s, how much credit do we give ownership (rather than their manager) for the 2000-2011 Cardinals?

I honestly don't know. I'm not going to presume anything, one way or another, and I have no special insights into how ownership helped or hindered LaRussa over his three managerial stints. BBC mentioned that LaRussa won "a LOT" so I went back and looked at his record. That's when I noticed how striking the difference is between his pre-2000 and 2000-on records are. Before 2000 he didn't win a lot, not in the sense BBC seemed to mean it. Starting in 2000 he did. Something happened. I don't happen to know what that was, and don't presume to know, though I'm happy to be enlightened. There are 500 posters on this site--and I'm sure you're one of them--who know more about LaRussa's career and the teams he managed and the GM and ownership situations he was enmeshed with. I just found the before and after fascinating.
   149. HowardMegdal Posted: October 09, 2011 at 11:29 PM (#3958025)
121 is a waste of everyone's time. If Bill James really wanted any credibility, he'd have found a way to bet $1000 on what he said.

Well, Howard, he wrote that in 1988, before the Internet made it possible to be macho while hidden in your mom's basement.


Sure, but if he'd really wanted to prove he was right, he'd have won a $1000 bet, then used that money to buy a time machine.
   150. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 09, 2011 at 11:33 PM (#3958029)
the real player will always be more complex than the data set which represents him.

The problem with this quote isn't that it's not true (it obviously is true), it's that it is not particularly meaningful. The same can be said about dice rolls, or cards dealt in a poker hand or lotto balls being selected. If no one has any idea how to account for all of those various factors that determine an at bat, then it is functionally not any different than a dice roll when it comes to predicting it. After all, with dice, the altitude, barometric pressure, surface of the table, remaining lifespan of the dice, etc. all have effects on the outcome of a dice roll. There may actually be no such thing as a truly "random" outcome (what I like to call "Calvinist probability theory"). Probability theory is our attempt to model uncertainty, not a model of "random events." It is _our_ lack of knowledge which brings it into play.

Now, this isn't to say the manager doesn't know more than we do by picking up subtle (or not so subtle) cues from his players, but if he truly doesn't have any more _pertinent_ info than we have, probability theory is the only way to fly (James seems to suggest otherwise above). The presence of a series of unknown effects doesn't change that an iota, provided it truly is 'unknown.'
   151. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2011 at 11:36 PM (#3958033)
Quite good for 20+ years is a HoFer.
   152. Don Malcolm Posted: October 09, 2011 at 11:50 PM (#3958047)
Sure, but if he'd really wanted to prove he was right, he'd have won a $1000 bet, then used that money to buy a time machine.

He would have needed the time machine first, Howard, to know that he needed to win the bet. He's Bill James, not Giles Goat-Boy.

he problem with this quote isn't that it's not true (it obviously is true), it's that it is not particularly meaningful. The same can be said about dice rolls, or cards dealt in a poker hand or lotto balls being selected. If no one has any idea how to account for all of those various factors that determine an at bat, then it is functionally not any different than a dice roll when it comes to predicting it. After all, with dice, the altitude, barometric pressure, surface of the table, remaining lifespan of the dice, etc. all have effects on the outcome of a dice roll. There may actually be no such thing as a truly "random" outcome (what I like to call "Calvinist probability theory"). Probability theory is our attempt to model uncertainty, not a model of "random events." It is _our_ lack of knowledge which brings it into play.

Yeah, I think Bill was copping out a bit there, but that's probably because he really didn't (and doesn't) see himself as a hard math geek. He would have needed that time machine to see what was coming down the road, so he could bid a strategic retreat into his wife's mom's basement.

So Voros, should Tango start a "wisdom of the probability theory geek crowd" to create a G(r)eek Chorus over controversial in-game managerial decisions? Wouldn't that be more entertaining (and possibly enlightening) than watching the pro- and anti-MGL forces cross swords?

My guess is that TLR has an old-school bone in him that figures when his ace is three outs away from a shutout, he should at least give him the chance to go for it, despite any/all probabilities that enter into it. What I'd like to know is what the actual probability numbers are for Carpenter getting the first out in the ninth compared with Motte, if someone can calculate them. That would be interesting--certainly more interesting than tip-toeing around the ongoing grenade-lobbing between DaBook and the Shrink Factory.
   153. Something Other Posted: October 09, 2011 at 11:55 PM (#3958050)
Quite good for 20+ years is a HoFer.
Even if you don't account for the possibility of managerial careers that are much longer than any player's career, I don't see how that's true. Harold Baines isn't a HOFer, for instance. Most player who were quite good for the player equivalent of a manager's 20+ years aren't in the Hall. Johnny Damon is unlikely to be a HOFer, and if he becomes one it'll be because he got 3000 hits. There's not an equivalent magic number for managers that would put a quite good manager in the HOF if he was only that, so quite a good manager is even LESS likely than an equivalent player to get into the Hall.
   154. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 12:00 AM (#3958057)
I hadn't realized "quite good" has an exact numerical definition.
   155. Swedish Chef Posted: October 10, 2011 at 12:20 AM (#3958071)
MGL very clearly stated that his reasoning was based on it being the 4th time through the order in both his original post and his original comment. That the events occurred in the 9th inning does not in any way indicate that he questioned the move because it was in the 9th inning.

Being willfully blind to relevant data is not a virtue.
   156. Danny Posted: October 10, 2011 at 12:37 AM (#3958077)
Being willfully blind to relevant data is not a virtue.

The fact that it was the 9th inning is certainly relevant as to whether or not Carp should have been PH for (in the 8th) and whether or not Motte should have been in. The quality of the potential pinch hitter is also relevant.

But neither of these things are relevant to MGL's assertion that "Motte is a better pitcher than Carpenter the 4th time through the order." Nor are they relevant to MGL's proposed bet: "Do some research on ace pitchers (you can pick 10 of them) and look at their wOBA, ERC, or RA per 9 their 4th time through the order (they would likely be 'pitching well' or they wouldn’t be facing the lineup the 4th time - or you can only look at when they have allowed 2 runs or less)."

Showing how ace pitchers perform in the 9th inning is not responsive to these latter claims, and it's not moving the goalposts to say so.
   157. bobm Posted: October 10, 2011 at 12:45 AM (#3958078)
[153]
There's not an equivalent magic number for managers that would put a quite good manager in the HOF if he was only that, so quite a good manager is even LESS likely than an equivalent player to get into the Hall.


According to B-R:

The Hall of Fame includes

3.0% of managers -- 20 out of 672 who ever managed
1.2% of major league players -- 214 (excluding Negro League players) out of 17,538 major leaguers active from 1876-2011

A good manager is apparent not less likely than an equivalently good player to get into the Hall.
   158. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 12:47 AM (#3958080)
It is moving the goalposts but he moved them when hr simply focused on 4th time through and ignored the context of the situation. Again, MGL got up on his soapbox and railed against Tony's decision based on data that wasn't relevant to the situation. It reminds of the old sac bunt debates when people ignored everything that could happen in an attempt and simply looked at run expectancy based on outs and bases.

It being the 9th inning was most certainly relevant to whether or not Carp was as good as Motte even with Carp facing the lineup a 4th time through.
   159. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 10, 2011 at 01:03 AM (#3958083)
So Voros, should Tango start a "wisdom of the probability theory geek crowd" to create a G(r)eek Chorus over controversial in-game managerial decisions? Wouldn't that be more entertaining (and possibly enlightening) than watching the pro- and anti-MGL forces cross swords?

Well the one thing that remains constant from year to year is that the scrutiny on in-game managerial decisions gets magnified X1000 during the playoffs even though those decisions don't affect the game any more than they do the regular season. Where James I think is on target is the limits on the kind of expected returns on micro-managing managing. Sure if the manager consistently does obviously stupid things, there's a lot of ground to be gained on him, but there's very little of that actually going on. If good in-game managing takes you from a 52.6% chance of winning to a 53.4% chance of winning, the meaning of such an advantage is exactly the opposite of when the scrutiny comes: meaningless in the playoffs, meaningful over the course of a long season.

But like you said, it still might be fun.
   160. BDC Posted: October 10, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#3958087)
something other, who would you consider to be a great manager? "Only won one World Series until he won a second one" usually gets any manager into the Hall of Fame conversation. I'm open to persuasion, but some great managers only won one WS (Durocher, Weaver, Herzog, Cox). And if they're also not great managers, then the ranks get very, very slim.
   161. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 02:10 AM (#3958100)
Some interesting stuff from MGL on this.

Elite relievers had a wOBA of .289 in the 9th against hitters that had a .338 wOBA. Elite pitchers (top 10 from each year) had a wOBA of .267 in the 9th inning against hitters that had a .338 as well.
   162. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: October 10, 2011 at 02:16 AM (#3958103)
Some interesting stuff from MGL on this.

Elite relievers had a wOBA of .289 in the 9th against hitters that had a .338 wOBA. Elite pitchers (top 10 from each year) had a wOBA of .267 in the 9th inning against hitters that had a .338 as well.


This is also noteworthy:

Interesting stuff and it appears that I may have been wrong for a long time about taking out a starter who has pitched well and bringing in a reliever.



Looks like the peanut gallery (including a couple of BTF idiots) had a little something to do with getting him to look at this from a different perspective.
   163. bobm Posted: October 10, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#3958108)
[162] Also at: http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/how_do_starters_perform_by_inning/#comments

#1 Tangotiger ... I can’t believe we missed something this big, that we should not only look at times through the order, but inning as well.
   164. cardsfanboy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 02:56 AM (#3958119)
The problem with this quote isn't that it's not true (it obviously is true), it's that it is not particularly meaningful. The same can be said about dice rolls, or cards dealt in a poker hand or lotto balls being selected. If no one has any idea how to account for all of those various factors that determine an at bat, then it is functionally not any different than a dice roll when it comes to predicting it. After all, with dice, the altitude, barometric pressure, surface of the table, remaining lifespan of the dice, etc. all have effects on the outcome of a dice roll. There may actually be no such thing as a truly "random" outcome (what I like to call "Calvinist probability theory"). Probability theory is our attempt to model uncertainty, not a model of "random events." It is _our_ lack of knowledge which brings it into play.

Now, this isn't to say the manager doesn't know more than we do by picking up subtle (or not so subtle) cues from his players, but if he truly doesn't have any more _pertinent_ info than we have, probability theory is the only way to fly (James seems to suggest otherwise above). The presence of a series of unknown effects doesn't change that an iota, provided it truly is 'unknown.'


The problem with the original post that started the thread is that MGL seems to stupidly think that a 1.5% WE which is purely based upon statistical probability which clearly doesn't have all the information is a scientific fact and evidence that TLR is a crappy manager.... we are talking about 1.5% based upon an unlinked study of his, which he doesn't bother to even show any of the information, in which he is wasting his time debating something entirely silly like Jay vs Punto when the real debate was Jay vs Schumaker....I mean we are talking about a guy(MGL) who thinks that walking Ruiz(.754 ops hitter) to face a pinch hitter(.704 hitter)while simultaneously guaranteeing replacing a pitcher who is worth .046 runs for an inning was a bad thing... I mean it's not like MGL actually ####### backs his arguments up with real world examples.... he hates TLR and argues Oh the francisco decision was horrible based upon results, while the Carpenter decision was horrible based upon potential results... he just needs to get a ####### clue, watch a ####### game once in a while, and accept that his limited knowledge isn't 100% accurate.)


he's clearly 100#% wrong on the Carpenter pitching the ninth decision
He's wrong on the Punto over Jay decision(why worry about Jay over Punto that is easily defensible, and instead he should focus on the real issue which was Schumaker over Jay....but he got his little panties tied up in a bunch, made a quick ass, non-fact based decision based upon his hatred of TLR and then pulls out the old based upon my sim study, it's a 1.5% difference...really does your sim study include 1. Punto's offense vs lefties, weighted based upon his most recent numbers against lefties. 2. Jay's higher dp rate, 3.Punto's better running the bases number. 4. the overall positive defense 5. a bonus for the improved defense based upon the fact that Carpenter is a ground ball pitcher.... of course he doesn't, he's basing it entirely(my guess, since his article clearly didn't include a link or actual information to anything) upon the offensive differnce of Jay as a hitter(not as a hitter vs lefty pitching) and Punto as a hitter(he has no realistic split so it doesn't matter) and of course he's claiming it's massive when we are literally talking about a difference in obp of .001...


so basically his complaints about TLR managing the worse game ever is
1. Punto over Jay....and he provides no evidence to support his argument that this is a bad decision, other than "My sim estimated that that cost the Cards around 1.5% in WE."....let me see 1.5%, regardless of his comment is miniscule, and on top of that, I find it hard to belief that a .081 ops difference between two players, in which the 'lesser' player has a defensive advantage, a running advantage, equal obp, and a better gidp advantage is really that big of a deal.

2. Bunting with Carpenter at first base, that results in men on first and second...seriously MGL's evidence of TLR being a crappy manager is the fact that he called for a play that actually worked beyond anyone's wildest belief. Logically speaking the play should have been an out at second or first, and I don't think TLR would have had any problems with any of the possible results. Think about it, it's a 1-0 game your pitcher just somehow got a base hit and you aren't a ####### idiot, so you are going to keep your best chance of preventing the other team from scoring a run(which at this point in time is better than you scoring more runs) in the game. Man on first no out... you bunt because it's a safe play. the potential results are your guy out at second, your guy out at first, error and men on second and first... and in extreme circumstances a double play... from a managerial point of view all three of the first potential options is a positive. If the bunt leads to an out at second you have a good baserunner on first base with one out and your pitcher who you are basing your season on, resting in the dugout. If the bunt works, you have a man on second base with the heart of the lineup coming to bat. If the unthinkable happens and they #### up the play, that is the best of both worlds.... the bunt in this situation is clearly a no-brainer. Only a stat geek who is basing his numbers upon league average hitters or some other stupid ####, is going to think differently. There isn't one person on the planet that understands the game who is going to fault that situation.

3. again, he's arguing for the successful bunt and thinks that is the only result that matters. He's a tree guy who doesn't realize he's in a forest. We have first and second, crappy runner at second, good runner at first, and a great hitter on deck who hits into a ton of double plays along with two other great hitters behind him. What are the possible results again. 1. sacrifice works, man on second and third and pujols is walked to load the bases for the crappy ass hitters (Berkman and Holliday) behind him. 2. sacrifice fails, and you have men on first and second with Pujols up to bat..... seriously how is this a bad call anyway you look at it???Oh wait again a stat geek who doesn't actually watch baseball. Hell to be honest, he should probably complain about the Cardinals not bunting with Berkman. That is arguably a legitimate complaint.

4. then of course the argument that he's so clearly wrong on that he got compltely trashed here, and even by tango, although tango was much nicer about it. but the silly notion that Carpenter pitching the ninth in a game in which he is dominating, is wrong in comparison to letting Motte pitch. Tango along with McCoy and PJF have completly trashed that concept. (the only argument MGL can hold onto is that Carpenter is no longer an elite pitcher---but even then PJF has shown that the next tier is pretty much just as good)


Don't get me wrong, I'm not like others on here, I actually love MGL's work and will cite it endlessly when it's right, but just like a lot of people on this site, MGL has an irrational hatred of TLR that colors his analysis.
   165. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:04 AM (#3958120)
but just like a lot of people on this site, MGL has an irrational hatred of TLR that colors his analysis.


The opposite can be said of you.

BTW, have you seen his new findings? he's done a nearly 100% mea culpa on the starter vs reliever thing. Conflict is frequently a good thing. If the only people who posted on his blog were his fanboys and sycophants praising his work, he never would have taken another look at the data.
   166. Something Other Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:08 AM (#3958123)
I hadn't realized "quite good" has an exact numerical definition.
Ah, and I hadn't realized that phrase means what you want it to mean, no more, and no less.

something other, who would you consider to be a great manager? "Only won one World Series until he won a second one" usually gets any manager into the Hall of Fame conversation. I'm open to persuasion, but some great managers only won one WS (Durocher, Weaver, Herzog, Cox). And if they're also not great managers, then the ranks get very, very slim.
Well, let's start with what I had hoped was clear, that I haven't argued--yet--that LaRussa isn't a HOF manager.

I'm leery of getting into an involved discussion with someone who appears to have so thoroughly misconstrued my meaning. I said nothing like, "Only won one World Series until he won a second one". That's a ludicrous interpretation of my position which, clearly, was that LaRussa seemed not to be particularly close to the borderline if we take ONLY the first 23 seasons of his managerial career into the account. Let me put the ball back into your court for the moment. Do you think I'm way off base, and that LaRussa the mananger, if he'd been hit by a bus in the 1999-2000 offseason, is a clear HOFer?

Second, I was taking specific issue with bbc's assertion, her caps, that LaRussa won a "LOT", and "that one thing about TLR

the SOB wins even when you think like no WAY is that team gonna win uncle albert or no uncle albert." When LaRussa hasn't had Uncle Albert on his team, he hasn't been a Hall of Fame manager, merely a good to very good one. That seems uncontroversial to me.

As for bobm's note, while it's a bit out of context, it helps frame the debate. Should the perecent of managers in the Hall be similar to the percent of players? If yes, then 8 managers should be in, not 20.

QUESTION FOR ANYONE: Does anyone have a link to a year by year list of ML team payroll? I'd like to get a better idea of how much money LaRussa's teams were working with. Not that that tells me whether it was money well or ill spent, but it's a necessary component of the analysis.
   167. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:20 AM (#3958124)
Ah, and I hadn't realized that phrase means what you want it to mean, no more, and no less.

If I say that quite good is good enough to be a HoF'er I'm not sure why you would then say that quite good isn't good enough. Quite clearly we were working off of two different definitions of quite good and also two different standards of what makes a manager good.
   168. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:22 AM (#3958125)
BTW, have you seen his new findings? he's done a nearly 100% mea culpa on the starter vs reliever thing. Conflict is frequently a good thing. If the only people who posted on his blog were his fanboys and sycophants praising his work, he never would have taken another look at the data.

I've only infrequently posted there but it looks like there are a bunch of fanboys and such over there and it very well might be likely that without the brouhaha over here there would have only been one voice arguing against MGL. Who knows if it would have lead to this but the initial conversation was veering off into why one shouldn't use runs to measure this.

Granted that doesn't mean everyone on BTF acted appropiately.

All of this doesn't really matter it is simply going meta for a moment.
   169. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:26 AM (#3958126)
cfb,

I really wasn't talking about the original argument, but more about James' comment that the number of unknown factors that affect things in at bat make evaluating managerial decisions impossible. I think that's wrong, if they truly are unknown.
   170. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:36 AM (#3958128)
I've only infrequently posted there but it looks like there are a bunch of fanboys and such over there and it very well might be likely that without the brouhaha over here there would have only been one voice arguing against MGL. Who knows if it would have lead to this but the initial conversation was veering off into why one shouldn't use runs to measure this.


I've never posted there until yesterday.
   171. Something Other Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:48 AM (#3958131)
To answer my own question, there's a decent site for 1998 to 2011 at

http://www.stevetheump.com/Payrolls.htm#2010payroll

From 2000 through 2011, LaRussa's peak, the Cardinals, by highest to lowest in payroll in the Central Division were:

1
1
2
1
2
1
3
2
2
3
2
2

Tells us something, though hardly everything. One year the Birds were second because they outspent the Astros by four dollars. Another year they came in second to the Cubs by 20 million or so. Of course, none of this tells us how that money was spent. You can make it look worse for LaRussa by noting that during his peak decade+ not only were the Cardinals always in the top half of their division's payrolls, that they were first in $$ four times, second six times, and third twice, but they also had Pujols, the best player in baseball, non-Bonds division, for pocket change during that time.

How would we expect a perfectly cromulent, nothing special manager to perform given those circumstances? Then, how much better or worse did LaRussa perform versus that ordinary manager? If better, was it HOF better?
   172. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:49 AM (#3958133)
When did MGL becomes so annoying?

It might have something to do with his stint in the Cardinals front office.


So basically, he's bitter. It would explain a lot.
   173. bobm Posted: October 10, 2011 at 04:03 AM (#3958141)
[166] Do you think I'm way off base, and that LaRussa the mananger, if he'd been hit by a bus in the 1999-2000 offseason, is a clear HOFer?

Not a clear HOFer, but in the discussion. That's not necessarily a managerial career of elite length.

Here are some numerically similar managers along the typical criteria:

Games:            Jim; Leyland, Ralph Houk, Tom Lasorda
Wins:             Ralph; Houk
W-L%:             Dick; Williams
G >.500:          Clark; Griffith
World Series won: 1 (in similar number of career games as Jim Leyland)
Pennants won:     3; (in similar number of career games as Ralph Houk)


Maybe the 1-inning closer usage puts him over the top, but I doubt it.

LaRussa managed 22 seasons (including the split 1981 season) by that time. 23-year managers, according to B-R, include Alston and Pinella (and Harry Wright). 21-year managers include Lasorda, Williams, and Jimmy Dykes (and Cap Anson.) Alston, Lasorda and Williams won more pennants and World Series, and are the 20th century Hall of Fame managers of the bunch.

Winning only the 1 World Series would hurt his chances, especially given his then to-date career regular season. Sticking around for another 5-10 seasons greatly helps a manager's chances--even if it is a which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg--unless he cannot achieve a good regular season winning percentage or win a World Series (Gene Mauch). It's the difference between 50% and 90% Hall of Fame membership. Excluding LaRussa, the 24-33 year group of managers includes McGraw, Cox, Torre, Bucky Harris, Sparky Anderson, Mauch, Stengel, Bill McKechnie, Joe McCarthy, and Leo Durocher.
   174. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 10, 2011 at 04:09 AM (#3958143)
really does your sim study include 1. Punto's offense vs lefties, weighted based upon his most recent numbers against lefties.

This was about Game 5, right? With Roy Halladay pitching? Was he pulling an Inigo Montoya and nobody noticed?
   175. cardsfanboy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 04:50 AM (#3958150)
This was about Game 5, right? With Roy Halladay pitching? Was he pulling an Inigo Montoya and nobody noticed?


wow...for some reason I kept looking at the Hamels game, you are right, mea culpa.

It still doesn't change the fact that the argument should have been about Schumaker vs Jay and not Punto vs Jay when dealing with a game that everyone is assuming is going to be a low scoring pitchers duel and setting up the best defense for pitchers.
   176. Something Other Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:25 AM (#3958158)
Winning only the 1 World Series would hurt his chances, especially given his then to-date career regular season. Sticking around for another 5-10 seasons greatly helps a manager's chances--even if it is a which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg--unless he cannot achieve a good regular season winning percentage or win a World Series (Gene Mauch). It's the difference between 50% and 90% Hall of Fame membership. Excluding LaRussa, the 24-33 year group of managers includes McGraw, Cox, Torre, Bucky Harris, Sparky Anderson, Mauch, Stengel, Bill McKechnie, Joe McCarthy, and Leo Durocher.
This looks right to me, bob. The additional years are extremely important. It's a loose parallel, but it reminds me of excellent ballplayers who are able to pad their career totals by hanging on as average players from ages 33-34 to 38-39 or so and thereby make the Hall.

I don't know yet how to evaluate LaRussa's career from 2000 to today. Just because we can't be utterly precise doesn't mean we shouldn't adjust for context. LaRussa's late career surge isn't nearly as impressive once you adjust for payroll and Pujols. It works the other way too, but if not for the fluke of his 83 win Cardinals winning the WS in 2006, LaRussa has all of one World Series win in 34 years. It's difficult to see an overwhelming argument for the Hall for a manager who wins less than the average number of World Series.
   177. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:58 AM (#3958163)
It's difficult to see an overwhelming argument for the Hall for a manager who wins less than the average number of World Series.

The pool of managers that are in the hall currently have almost overwhelmingly come from an era of baseball of substantially less teams and less rounds of playoffs. I think Sparky Anderson is the only manager in the hall right now who even managed a season with the current three layers of playoffs.

Dick Williams went to the WS four times. Three times he did it in a 6 teams per division 12 team league and the other time he did it when they only had one round of playoffs.

Whitey went three times and again did it in a 12 team league with only two rounds of playoffs.
   178. Something Other Posted: October 10, 2011 at 08:02 AM (#3958169)
So, how many managers do you think should be in the Hall? As bobm notes, there are currently 20. If the ratio of managers in to managers out was the same as the ratio of players in to players out, we'd have eight managers in the HOF. Eight seems like a small number, but why should there be a higher percentage of managers than players in the Hall?

edit: man, Sparky Anderson didn't win much in Detroit.
   179. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 10, 2011 at 01:09 PM (#3958204)
So, how many managers do you think should be in the Hall? As bobm notes, there are currently 20. If the ratio of managers in to managers out was the same as the ratio of players in to players out, we'd have eight managers in the HOF. Eight seems like a small number, but why should there be a higher percentage of managers than players in the Hall?


That's true in one sense, but it seems like there could be some bias in that direct 17,500-plus number Bob posted. Managers don't get cups of coffee in the same way players do. If you set the baseline at a specific number of seasons (1, or 5 or even the players' requirement of 10 for Hof consideration), how does the ratio change?

edit: man, Sparky Anderson didn't win much in Detroit.


Another guy who hit that 20-year wall.
   180. BDC Posted: October 10, 2011 at 01:48 PM (#3958218)
Sorry if I asked a tendentiously-phrased question, something other. Though I think you're being a little tendentious too. It's possible to pick holes in virtually any long-term manager's record. With some who were consistently successful in the regular season (Weaver, Cox), you can say that they only won one World Series. With some who have boatloads of World Series (Stengel, Torre) you can point to the Yankees' machine and their lack of success elsewhere. With Joe McCarthy ... I dunno, you can point to Denny Galehouse :) LaRussa, overall, has a unique record in terms of managerial tenure in an age when managers are strictly employees; he has five pennants and two World Championships and many other playoff appearances. As to whether he'd be a HOFer if the bus got him in 1999, perhaps not; as bobm says, that leaves him with a greatly shortened career. Three straight pennants, though, puts him as someone they'd have mentioned with the tag "If only he'd have lived" ...

So, who are your HOF managers? It sounds like your pHOF is small on the management side; that's cool. With a current-size Hall for managers, though, LaRussa is clearly overqualified: if Lasorda, Williams, Herzog, then ... well, more than "then."
   181. bobm Posted: October 10, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3958220)
[179]

From B-R:

10+ years as manager: 94 - 22%
5+ years as manager: 216 - 9%
   182. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2011 at 01:55 PM (#3958222)
BTW, have you seen his new findings? he's done a nearly 100% mea culpa on the starter vs reliever thing.
His old findings fit in with his career stats; therefore we can dismiss the mea culpa as merely luck.

Just kidding... It was too easy a shot to take.

MGL has generally been prone to hyperbolic proclamation, but long ago he was pretty good about taking feedback and reconsidering his views. THAT'S the MGL I remember from way back. Kudos to him for doing the same this time. I believe he, and his work, is better off for it.
   183. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 10, 2011 at 01:57 PM (#3958223)
10+ years as manager: 94 - 22%
5+ years as manager: 216 - 9%


That part I could handle. How does that compare to players of similar career lengths?
   184. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 10, 2011 at 02:46 PM (#3958244)
I'm not sure why MGL said "If I take all batters who batted .300 in year X and looked at how they batted in the 9th inning in year X, it is going to be .300. " - without checking, this seems very unlikely (given the use of relievers, etc... - particularly if you limit the sample to close games, where you're likely to be facing good relievers or (good) starters doing well).


It's actually true (or pretty close) - the tradeoffs tend to be in power (more singles, fewer EBH) and walks (more BB). At least it was true when I looked at this a couple of years ago.

-- MWE
   185. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3958250)
It's possible to pick holes in virtually any long-term manager's record. With some who were consistently successful in the regular season (Weaver, Cox), you can say that they only won one World Series. With some who have boatloads of World Series (Stengel, Torre) you can point to the Yankees' machine and their lack of success elsewhere. With Joe McCarthy ... I dunno, you can point to Denny Galehouse :)

Or the fact that he was the beneficiary of being in the service of the two leagues' most prosperous franchises. That shouldn't be held against him, but it didn't exactly make his job any harder. And then it's hard to say that his handling of his pitching staffs in Boston didn't contribute to those two lost pennants.

All of which is to reinforce Bob's point that it's easy to nitpick any manager's record by concentrating on a few weak spots.

So, who are your HOF managers?

Strictly on their managerial careers: McGraw, Mack, Foster, Huggins, McCarthy, McKechnie, Stengel, Durocher, Alston, Williams, Weaver, Anderson, Herzog, Cox, Torre, LaRussa. I'm pretty sure that all of them can survive the nitpicking brigade.
   186. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 10, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#3958263)
if not for the fluke of his 83 win Cardinals winning the WS in 2006


From 2004 - 2006, the Cardinals won the most regular-season games in the majors twice and won one World Series. The postseason flukes have gone in both directions over LaRussa's career.

I think LaRussa through 1999 has a stronger HOF case than most people here seem to be giving him. At that point, he had 6 playoff appearances, 3 pennants, and 1 World Series win. That's a perfect match for Whitey Herzog's Hall-of-Fame career, very close to Earl Weaver's Hall-of-Fame career (6 division titles, 4 pennants, 1 WS win), and essentially a match for Hall-of-Famer Leo Durocher's career from an earlier era (3 pennants, 1 WS win).
   187. The District Attorney Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#3958352)
I definitely think LaRussa felt like a HoF manager after Oakland. He has been Baseball's Resident Genius since forever. (I almost literally cannot think about or see the man without thinking of James' snark that baseball is the only field where "a law degree from Florida godd?mn State makes you a genius"... which was from a mid-1980s Abstract.)

Now, if he had died with one World Series win and a career .520 winning percentage, would the writers have taken a step back and said "even though he felt like a Hall of Famer, the record doesn't hold up"? It's really tough to say. My first inclination is to say that the way the writers think, you are probably better off betting on "feels like" than betting on the stats. But A) that might not be true for managers, and B) in any event, the generalization might not apply to a particular case. So I honestly don't know.
   188. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#3958372)
It's really tough to say. My first inclination is to say that the way the writers think, you are probably better off betting on "feels like" than betting on the stats. But A) that might not be true for managers, and B) in any event, the generalization might not apply to a particular case.


And C) the writers aren't doing the voting (well, for the most part).
   189. The District Attorney Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:59 PM (#3958385)
Yup yup, very true. It would also almost certainly matter if he died, or whether he got fired from Oakland and no one else ever hired him; the former would pretty obviously be better for his chances. I suppose this all essentially re-states the position that he would have been borderline. I mostly just wanted to point out that, IMO, he was being treated as a HOF-type manager at that point in time.
   190. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:02 PM (#3958388)
I mostly just wanted to point out that, IMO, he was being treated as a HOF-type manager at that point in time.


By George Will, at the very least.
   191. asdf1234 Posted: October 10, 2011 at 09:13 PM (#3958482)
I'm torn between distaste for MGL's tone/lack of self-awareness and agreement with his message. My pet peeve has always been TLR's insistence on monkeying with the rotation and making his starters work on short rest in the playoffs--the 1996 and 2000 playoffs will live in infamy to many Cardinal fans.

What's always irked me is that the team--my team--has belonged to TLR from day one in the same way that the Gators used to belong to Spurrier. Regardless of whether we had a record-breaking, larger-than-life player like McGwire or a guy who may retire as the best 1B who ever wore spikes, the players have always taken a back seat in the media to TLR's whimsy, petulance, and this endless debate over his quality as a manager. It would've been nice to have a boring manager like Torre again while Albert was a Cardinal, even if only for a little while.

I came of baseball age in the 80s, when the Cardinals were the Running Redbirds and the Mets and the fans who filled their toilet of a stadium were pond scum. It was an exciting era of baseball--turf burners everywhere, a few legitimately great power hitters, pitchers like Mike Scott and John Tudor and even Bob Tewksbury. It was a good time to be a baseball fan. I know it's not entirely or even mostly his fault, but in the past 25 years TLR has done more than anyone else in the game to destroy the brand of baseball that I loved so much. Long after his in-game lunacy and infatuation with Paquette-ish scrubs are forgotten, TLR's legacy to the game and the STL franchise will be the mind-numbing boredom of endless pitching changes and bullpen specialists and groundball pitchers and station-to-station power hitters. Yes, Tony will occasionally inflict a magnificently stupid hit-and-run double play on fans to make sure we have some sort of emotional investment in the game, but most of the time it seems that he's dedicated his career to destroying its pace and excitement. Even his taste in free agents is dull: in addition to the endless stream of pitching boredom that began with Stottlemyre and that has carried through to Suppan, Pineiro, and now Westbrook, TLR was instrumental in bringing Matt Holliday to the club. For those who have not had the pleasure of watching him play on a daily basis, Matt Holliday may be the most calculatedly boring human being to ever live. Terri Schiavo had more personality.

We've had a few great teams under TLR, a few poor ones, and a bunch of pretty good ones. I'm thankful for that and in particular the 2006 championship, which stands as proof that there is no bad way to win a WS. I'd just like to be able to watch the Cardinals again without feeling obliged to agree with my fellow Primates that TLR and by extension his team--my team--are whiny, irritable, and unremittingly dull.
   192. Something Other Posted: October 10, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#3958601)
Sorry if I asked a tendentiously-phrased question, something other. Though I think you're being a little tendentious too. It's possible to pick holes in virtually any long-term manager's record....
Well, I really AM interested in looking more deeply into LaRussa's (and other manager's) record, and "picking holes", in the sense of fairly perceiving weaknesses is part of the examination, no?

I understand, too, that number of WS wins is not by itself very useful. I'm not of the opinion that the playoffs are a crapshoot, nonetheless any team that makes it to the WS is going to be a pretty fair team, and even when you have a David and Goliath situation, Goliath is going to win a seven game series only 60% of the time, more or less. Still, it's the big enchilada, and noting that without a fluky year in a terribly weak division LaRussa has 1 WS in 31 years is a reasonable note to make. He's may well be a HOF (as it's currently constructed) manager even without that, but for a borderline guy? Maybe not. So, worth a note.

I'm not ducking the question, but I'll save my managerial HOF for late tonight or tomorrow. It's a good question, and I'm simply not sure, especially given some of the good info in this thread. Intuitively, 20 doesn't seem like an outrageously high number, and 8 seems small.

In any case I will aim to minimize my tendency towards tendentiousness.
   193. Something Other Posted: October 10, 2011 at 11:48 PM (#3958664)
According to B-R:

The Hall of Fame includes

3.0% of managers -- 20 out of 672 who ever managed
1.2% of major league players -- 214 (excluding Negro League players) out of 17,538 major leaguers active from 1876-2011

A good manager is apparent not less likely than an equivalently good player to get into the Hall.


[179]

From B-R:

10+ years as manager: 94 - 22%
5+ years as manager: 216 - 9%


So, by subtraction, 456 managers don't make it to the five year mark. The attrition rate is lower than I would have though, when nearly a third of those annointed last five or more years. I suppose there's some not wanting to admit a mistake mixed in there, plus there're a ton of teams no one has expected to do much more than bumble around, so a manager that underperforms by an astronomical five wins goes undetected unless he does blatantly or seemingly stupid things.

So, that managers tend not to get cups of coffee--how should that affect the percent that go to the Hall? Doesn't that suggest a manager who isn't very good at the start gets MORE of a shot to become a HOF guy? LaRussa might actaully be an example of that. If managers were considered rather more fungible, I'm not so sure the White Sox hang with Tony for so many years. The converse is probably true--a terrific manager who never gets a chance with a team with a real shot... So, I don't know what to do with that information. In some sense it's as though there were only a handuful of major league teams. I don't know how that would affect the Hall.

All of which is to reinforce Bob's point that it's easy to nitpick any manager's record by concentrating on a few weak spots.
I still don't follow this reasoning. It's not like someone is pointing out a manager missed his Pythag in 1979 by .2 wins. No one is saying LaRussa hasn't had a long, impressive career. Since when does that give anyone a free pass in these parts? Noting, for instance, that Carlos Delgado wasn't an exceptional fielder is essential to deciding his HOF case. If he'd been +10 every year, there'd be a great case for him going.

if not for the fluke of his 83 win Cardinals winning the WS in 2006

From 2004 - 2006, the Cardinals won the most regular-season games in the majors twice and won one World Series. The postseason flukes have gone in both directions over LaRussa's career.
Yes. I've noted that twice in this thread, that flukes can go the other way. I just don't want to be lumped in with LaRussa bashers.


I think LaRussa through 1999 has a stronger HOF case than most people here seem to be giving him. At that point, he had 6 playoff appearances, 3 pennants, and 1 World Series win. That's a perfect match for Whitey Herzog's Hall-of-Fame career, very close to Earl Weaver's Hall-of-Fame career (6 division titles, 4 pennants, 1 WS win), and essentially a match for Hall-of-Famer Leo Durocher's career from an earlier era (3 pennants, 1 WS win).
Whitey only managed 13 full seasons--two thirds of LaRussa's career to 1999, and packed his first place finishes into those seasons. That comparison clearly favors Whitey, who also finished with a .532 winning percentage. Durocher's career winning percentage is .540. That's a lot better than Tony's .521 through 1999.

I came of baseball age in the 80s, when the Cardinals were the Running Redbirds and the Mets and the fans who filled their toilet of a stadium were pond scum. It was an exciting era of baseball--turf burners everywhere, a few legitimately great power hitters, pitchers like Mike Scott and John Tudor and even Bob Tewksbury. It was a good time to be a baseball fan.
Great post overall, and I couldn't agree with this more. I loathed and admired those Cardinal teams, and shared a house in the mid80s with a fellow Mets fan as well as a real Cardinals fan. Great, great times.
   194. Something Other Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:05 AM (#3958741)
Strictly on their managerial careers: McGraw, Mack, Foster, Huggins, McCarthy, McKechnie, Stengel, Durocher, Alston, Williams, Weaver, Anderson, Herzog, Cox, Torre, LaRussa. I'm pretty sure that all of them can survive the nitpicking brigade.


In a smaller hall Dick Williams is the kind of guy I'd omit. It would have been tough to lose the division with those As teams, and otherwise he didn't do anything of real note. I don't find McKechnie's career overly impressive, either. You have to put McCarthy in, I suppose, but those last 18 seasons--that's the stuff of real pain, as is that decade in the middle of his career. Do you put Tom Brunansky in the Hall if it takes him 30 years to get 600 home runs? Crappy analogy since Bruno would have had to have picked up an MVP or two to better simulate Mack's career.
   195. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:15 AM (#3958778)
So, that managers tend not to get cups of coffee--how should that affect the percent that go to the Hall? Doesn't that suggest a manager who isn't very good at the start gets MORE of a shot to become a HOF guy?


I'm not suggesting it should. I'm merely noting that there may be some issues with a straight comparison of Hall of Famers: anyone who has ever played vs. Hall of Fame managers: anyone who has ever managed. If you change the baseline to Hall of Famer players: anyone who has played a full season vs. Hall of Fame managers: anyone who has managed a full season (or 5 seasons vs. 5 seasons or 10 seasons vs. 10 seasons) these percentages might change dramatically. There's nothing inherently correct about simply using the anyone who has ever played at all standard, particularly since we know that very-short careers (say less than 10 games) may be far more prevalent for one side vs. the other.

Yes. I've noted that twice in this thread, that flukes can go the other way. I just don't want to be lumped in with LaRussa bashers.


You may have noted it, but you keep coming back with stuff like "Still, it's the big enchilada, and noting that without a fluky year in a terribly weak division LaRussa has 1 WS in 31 years is a reasonable note to make." I don't see how that's reasonable at all.

Tony's teams won one fluky WS. On five other occasions his team posted the best record in the sport only to fall short (three times in the WS, twice to decided underdogs in 88 and 90). It's not just that flukes can go the other way. In his case, it's hard to deny he's been more a victim of flukes than a recipient of good fortune.
   196. Something Other Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:25 AM (#3958806)
You may have noted it, but you keep coming back with stuff like "Still, it's the big enchilada, and noting that without a fluky year in a terribly weak division LaRussa has 1 WS in 31 years is a reasonable note to make." I don't see how that's reasonable at all.
Then you're simply averse to hypotheticals and thought experiments. I noted twice that flukes can go the other way. This will be the second time that I've noted twice that flukes can go the other way. I'll note again that pointing out the weaknesses in someone's career is pointing out the weaknesses in someone's career. When you analyze a likely HOFers career, do you merely note the positives? Of course not. When some are carrying on about Reggie Jackson's brilliant postseason play is it fair to note that he was often, in fact, terrible? Of course it's fair.

This is getting tiresome.
   197. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:33 AM (#3958828)
I don't find McKechnie's career overly impressive, either.

You may have to defend this assertion in a cage match with Dag Nabbit.
   198. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:40 AM (#3958862)
Then you're simply averse to hypotheticals and thought experiments.


I'm perfeclty fine with thought experiments and hypotheticals. I simply don't know what you're driving at here.

You've paid lip service to the idea that "flukes can go the other way" but harped only on the fluke that went one way. I'm not really sure why, particularly since it's obvious you're not one of those TLR bashers that make conversations about his record so difficult.

So why do you find the question "if you omit this one thing he did, he doesn't look as good?" to be an interesting line of discussion? Why does it say anything about TLR's Hall of Fame worthiness that looking at the entire body of work doesn't?
   199. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:03 AM (#3958973)
You have to put McCarthy in, I suppose, but those last 18 seasons--that's the stuff of real pain, as is that decade in the middle of his career.

I assume you're talking about Mack. Joe McCarthy never had a W% lower than .525 a season.
   200. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:42 AM (#3959020)
he is generally considered enlightened when it came to... native American interests.


WTF? Some of the most genocidal statements ever written by American military leaders were addressed to President Grant by Gens. Sherman and Sheridan and IIRC Grant's replies were NOT disapproving, nor were his policies which put those statements into practice.

Grant beat the South --> White Southerners hate Grant --> Liberal academics hate White Southerners (with good reason) --> Liberal academics illiberally excuse every moral and actual crime Grant committed as President (and there are MANY) to spite White Southerners. In general, conservatives and libertarians won't properly assess moral hierarchies because they are dishonest (i.e. when Nieporent says all freedoms are equal, he's not being stupid about the differences between, say, positive and negative liberty; he's just fig-leafing a principle over his venality), but liberals won't do it because they are either stupid or too sensitive to feely-feelings. Slavery is evil. But genocide is even worse than slavery. Period. Beyond the personal and tribal animus between liberal academics and white southerners, the moronic hagiographical attitude the former has for Grant stems from the fact that liberal academics are too chickenshit to admit that some evils trump others.

Surprisingly nice to see so much reason here in RE: mgl's jackassery. But then I suspect most of it is personal rather than principled because mgl's Aspie-like statements of absolute certitude mixed with witless sneering is par from the course from Szymborski and (especially) Voros, but when THOSE two do it the replies are uniformly masturbatory back-slappies.
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