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Thursday, August 14, 2014

SOE: La Russa’s New Learning Curve

Well, it certainly ain’t the Beane curve.

La Russa’s thought on sabermetrics are along the lines of separation between church and state. He believes statistics have their place in player evaluation and game preparation but not so much in determining in-game strategy.

“When I started managing in the major leagues with the White Sox in 1979, I’d had a half a season managing in Double-A, a half-season managing in a Triple-A and a season of winter ball, so I was studying my butt off in order to narrow the gap on all those great managers in the American League,” La Russa said. “I did a lot of preparation and I’m devoted to information.

“There is a lot of emphasis on metrics and analytics and I’m convinced that have a very important place in the game but that place ends when the game starts. There is a lot of push in some organizations to dictate to the manager and the coaches who should play, how the pitchers should be used and things like that.

“I firmly believe leadership is so important for a major league manager,” La Russa continued. “The way you earn respect is by making the decisions about who plays and how they play. You respect the information process but once the game starts the manager and coaches have to be in charge because the game can change so much from inning to inning.”

Repoz Posted: August 14, 2014 at 08:26 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: d-backs, sabermetrics

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   1. donlock Posted: August 14, 2014 at 08:53 AM (#4770825)
I assume he has all the information before the game starts and uses it accordingly. When he gets a favorable matchup, he already knows what he is going to do, based on the analysis. Are there organizations that call the manager mid-game to say change pitchers or use this guy to pinch hit now, based on the in-game metrics?

My guess is that there are owners, like George Steinbrenner, who would do exactly that and a strong manager resists the interference. George was acting like that pre-sabermetrics. I suppose that Torre and others worked out a way to deal with the suggestions, mostly ignore them and stay employed.
   2. boteman Posted: August 14, 2014 at 09:46 AM (#4770856)
La Russa’s thought on sabermetrics...

He has only one thought???
   3. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 14, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4770868)
I assume he has all the information before the game starts and uses it accordingly. When he gets a favorable matchup, he already knows what he is going to do, based on the analysis. Are there organizations that call the manager mid-game to say change pitchers or use this guy to pinch hit now, based on the in-game metrics?

My guess is that there are owners, like George Steinbrenner, who would do exactly that and a strong manager resists the interference. George was acting like that pre-sabermetrics. I suppose that Torre and others worked out a way to deal with the suggestions, mostly ignore them and stay employed.


Just wait until Ray takes over the Red Sox. Stiffs like Torre or Farrell wouldn't make it through the first month.
   4. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4770986)
There is a lot of emphasis on metrics and analytics and I’m convinced that have a very important place in the game but that place ends when the game starts


Buzz Bissinger should never have written that book.

You know, the one where LaRussa obsessed over matchup stats to guide in game decisions?
   5. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: August 14, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4771064)
As long as he can keep track of various state BAC limits, he's golden.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4771340)
He has only one thought???

Of course. He's Tony LaRussa. That one thought is "I'm Tony LaRussa therefore I'm right."

But I tend to agree with him here. For an in-game decision you either go real-micro (batter-pitcher-base/out, etc.) in which case your sample size is much too small to be useful; or you have some sort of league-averaged table which is not going to include all of that context-specific information you want.

That lack of useful information is OK though ... in-game baseball decisions are rarely hard. For any given decision, you've got no more than 2-3 alternatives (small choice set) and there's usually either one obvious choice or it's pretty clear the options are pretty much all equal. And even if you make the right call, all you've done is move your probability of winning from .545 to .557.
   7. shoewizard Posted: August 15, 2014 at 01:25 AM (#4771579)
This is the only new information in the article

some in the Diamondbacks' front office believe Kendrick gets too involved in the baseball end of the operation.

Two sources --- one currently in the organization and one now working for another club --- confirmed that it was Kendrick who told Towers to sign outfielder Cody Ross and right-hander Brandon McCarthy as free agents during the 2012-13 offseason against the objections of the baseball operations department.

Ross is in the second year of a three-year, $26 million contract and has hit just .264 with 10 home runs and a .694 OPS in 160 games with the Diamondbacks. McCarthy was also a disappointment after being signed to a two-year, $15.5 million contract as he went 8-21 with a 4.75 ERA in 40 starts before being traded to the New York Yankees on July 6.

There is also the question of exactly what kind of organization Kendrick wants. When he fired general manager Josh Brynes and manger A.J. Hinch midway through the 2010 season, Kendrick said he felt the Diamondbacks relied too much on analytics in their decision-making process and not enough on scouting acumen and baseball sense. Before hiring La Russa, Kendrick switched gears earlier this season and said he wanted the Diamondbacks to start using more statistical analysis in making player moves.
   8. JE (Jason) Posted: August 15, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4771599)
There is also the question of exactly what kind of organization Kendrick wants. When he fired general manager Josh Brynes and manger A.J. Hinch midway through the 2010 season, Kendrick said he felt the Diamondbacks relied too much on analytics in their decision-making process and not enough on scouting acumen and baseball sense. Before hiring La Russa, Kendrick switched gears earlier this season and said he wanted the Diamondbacks to start using more statistical analysis in making player moves.

To be sure, this paragraph's info was already public knowledge.
   9. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 15, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4771914)
Those saber guys Byrnes and Dipoto left Towers with nothing.

Just Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, Gerardo Parra, Stephen Drew, Adam Eaton, Chris Owings, AJ Pollock, Chris Young, Collin Cowgill, and of course Mark Reynolds.

Oh, and Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Tyler Skaggs, Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook, Wade Miley, Josh Collmentor, Patrick Corbin, Joe Saunders, Bryan Shaw, and now Chase Anderson.

It's a good thing Towers turned the #3 pick they left him into Trevor Bauer into Didi Laborious.

Especially since so many starters regressed/got hurt pitching for Mr. "you owe me 100 pitches no matter what" Gibson.
   10. shoewizard Posted: August 15, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4772182)
To be sure, this paragraph's info was already public knowledge.


Yeah, thats true. The first part about ross and mccarthy is what is new, the second part not new, but still notable.

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