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Sunday, July 31, 2011

STLToday: Van Slyke critical of Rasmus

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“According to what I read, he’s never been happier (being traded) since he’s been a Cardinal,” Van Slyke said. “How can you be happy being traded from the St Louis Cardinals? It’s the most nonsensical thing I could ever imagine.

“I couldn’t have been more upset than when I got traded (to Pittsburgh). It took me a month to get over it.”

...“No wonder he’s never performed the way he should have.

“Then his father says the Cardinals have changed his game. Well, I would hope so,” Van Slyke said.

“He and his father think he’s still playing in high school. He continues to throw the ball to the wrong base and not break up double plays. You can’t do those things at the big-league level.

“It’s up to the Toronto organization to keep him accountable, like Tony (La Russa) and his coaches tried to do.”

Repoz Posted: July 31, 2011 at 11:06 AM | 95 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, cardinals, history

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   1. spike Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3889542)
Andy Van Slyke - Mr. Consistency.
   2. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3889548)
“According to what I read, he’s never been happier (being traded) since he’s been a Cardinal,” Van Slyke said. “How can you be happy being traded from the St Louis Cardinals? It’s the most nonsensical thing I could ever imagine.

The level of happiness is directly proportional to the distnce between oneself and the TLR. Nothing nonsensical about it.

Also, Van Slyke, you're a blowhard.
   3. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3889572)
Joe Buck was also raking Rasmus over the coals during the Cubs/Cards game yesterday. Just another reason why Buck shouldn't be allowed to call the national Saturday games with the Cardinals.
   4. Bob Tufts Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:46 PM (#3889589)
Does Tony LaRussa have incriminating pictures of most members of the St. Louis media?

And per the Bonds debate, how much of Tony's career managerial success is related to steroids?
   5. bobm Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:00 PM (#3889593)
[3]
Just another reason why Buck shouldn't be allowed to call the national Saturday games with the Cardinals.


FTFY
   6. Greg K Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3889596)
Not saying the anti-Rasmus crowd in St. Louis is right...but it would be nice if he got a hit for the Jays at some point. Or had an at bat where he didn't look totally lost.

(Note: I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth, that trade still makes me giddy. But just a bit frustrated at being shut out by the AAA team Texas threw out there Saturday.)
   7. bobm Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3889597)
[4]
And per the Bonds debate, how much of Tony's career managerial success is related to steroids?


Don't forget Joe Torre. And Bobby Cox (indirectly) through the shortening and widening of the strike zone by umpires in part to compensate for steroids' apparent effect of increasing run scoring.
   8. Bob Tufts Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3889600)
TLR was more willfully blind to the illegal PED problem (in 2 locker rooms) than Bud Selig ever could have been.
   9. bjhanke Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3889606)
Bob Tufts, who usually knows what he's talking about, asks, "And per the Bonds debate, how much of Tony's career managerial success is related to steroids?"

I took a quick look at TLR's career. The answer seems to be "approximately none." In particular, Mark McGwire's big years do not coincide with TLR's pennants. He did not win with Mac in 1987, when he set the rookie homer record, nor in 1998. His best teams in Oakland featured weak and injured seasons from Mac. Some of those years were good, but not STEROID years. even if you presume that such things exist. I think you'd really have to stretch to be sure of even one. Surprised me, too.

- Brock Hanke
   10. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:25 PM (#3889610)
Not saying the anti-Rasmus crowd in St. Louis is right...but it would be nice if he got a hit for the Jays at some point. Or had an at bat where he didn't look totally lost.


I haven't seen all his AB's the last couple games, but in his first 9 AB's he took 43 pitches. Hasn't been completely lost. Saw some K's on curve balls a la Snider though.
   11. Greg K Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#3889622)
I guess I should retract a bit. His at-bats themselves haven't been terrible. He's struck out on some bad pitches, but all in all he's worked the count ok. I've seen probably 80% of his at bats so far and he hasn't got good contact on any that I've seen.

Of course I'm sure he'll be fine eventually. Just annoying because I've pumped up Rasmus to my Jays fan friends who don't really know anything about him and are missing Rzep.

Snider on the other hand is getting sad. It's getting to the point where I don't know why anyone would throw him anything other than a curve ball anymore. I guess you can't win them all, and he is still young. But visions of Josh Phelps v.2 are dancing in my head. (As you may or may not have discerned so far I tend to be a fairly pessimistic fan)
   12. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#3889624)
I took a quick look at TLR's career. The answer seems to be "approximately none." In particular, Mark McGwire's big years do not coincide with TLR's pennants.


Why ever would you limit the definition of "managerial success" to pennants only?
   13. Greg K Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:47 PM (#3889628)

Why ever would you limit the definition of "managerial success" to pennants only?

Agree, Cito Gaston has 5 divsion titles, 2 pennants, 2 World Series titles and seemed to bring the most recent Jays out of the doldrums and no one outside of Toronto seems to think he was a successful manager!

(Hyperbole alert, I'm sure many people think of him as a successful manager, I just thought I'd steer the conversation back to the Jays again)
   14. BDC Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:48 PM (#3889629)
frustrated at being shut out by the AAA team Texas

Hey, that's "AL shutout leader Derek Holland" you're talking about :)
   15. Bob Tufts Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:50 PM (#3889631)
Brock - just trying to stir something up and see if anyone supports TLR.

But don't forget about Jose Canseco! (even though it's not a bad idea!)
   16. PreservedFish Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:57 PM (#3889636)
I saw the Blue Jays in an airport when I was about 8 years old, 1989. They were all in a line and entering the plane. I had a ball, and I only had about a minute, so I ran around trying to get the players I recognized to sign it. I got McGriff and Tony Fernandez. For some reason I don't understand, Kelly Gruber was my second favorite baseball player in the world, and I got him to sign it. And then I think I had to settle for someone like Lloyd Moseby or Junior Felix.
   17. Greg K Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3889642)
Weird, I had a friend tell me the other day that Kelly Gruber always used to give out his signature with suggested Bible readings for the young kids attached. Was that the case?

That is ridiculous. ERA+ 104 and FOUR shutouts?
I was more disappointed by the fact that Texas sat their two best hitters, batted someone named Omar Quintanilla 2nd, and the Jays didn't at any point even give a hint of possibly winning that game.

EDIT: Also the reason Kelly Gruber was your 2nd favourite baseball player was that he was ####### awesome in a way someone over 14 couldn't possibly understand.
   18. BDC Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3889648)
someone named Omar Quintanilla

Quintanilla ran for Beltre the other night on the play where Beltre hurt his hamstring. At the concession stands, somebody looked up and said "Kint Vanilla? Quesa Dilla? How do you pronounce that?" A young guy came up and said to them in perfect Spanish, "Quintanilla." Dead silence. I love the ballpark.
   19. Greg K Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:10 PM (#3889650)
Also Mr. Cri,

I noticed Texas has played Napoli at catcher while Torrealba DHs both games of this series so far. Is Napoli the preferred catcher? He's throwing out guys at 36% and still doesn't have a passed ball. Or was this just some kind of fluke two game stretch?

Additionally, I heard Ron Washington lamenting the loss of Frank Francisco...would you like him back for Napoli?
   20. Greg K Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#3889659)
Ha!
As Paul Beeston said "I think it will be many, many years before another Jays number is retired" I distinctly heard someone from the crowd yell, just as I was thinking it, "Halladay!".
   21. The District Attorney Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3889661)
I heard Ron Washington lamenting the loss of Frank Francisco...would you like him back for Napoli?
Hardball Talk says the Jays are pursuing Iannetta.
   22. Good cripple hitter Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3889666)
I saw that, and that makes little sense to me, unless they've really soured on JP.

Then again, when I saw the Frasor for Jackson for Rasmus rumors, I said "that makes no sense", so my MLB Trade sense is probably seriously flawed.
   23. Greg K Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#3889669)
It's especially confusing considering the year Travis D'Arnaud is having. And that the Jays came into this season stacked with catching prospects.

Of course knowing AA this is probably just step one in somehow acquiring Justin Upton by 9pm tonight.
   24. PreservedFish Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:21 PM (#3889726)
Weird, I had a friend tell me the other day that Kelly Gruber always used to give out his signature with suggested Bible readings for the young kids attached. Was that the case?


No. I was basically harassing them on their way into the plane, maybe he would have if there were more time.
   25. asdf1234 Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:23 PM (#3889727)
Then along comes Colby Rasmus, the No. 1 pick in 2005, who portended to be the best of the lot...


One day I'll have to explain to my grandchildren that there were once creatures called "sportswriters" who were paid not insignificant salaries by "newspapers" to write crazy things on a regular basis. I have little doubt they will see these things as absurd fictions, like the 4th Amendment.

If Colby Rasmus or any prospects "portends" to have a better career than JD Drew, I'd love to learn the prognosticator's system. I'd imagine there are a lot of GMs who would pay good money to know which of their prospects will have a 50+ WAR career.
   26. BDC Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3889730)
Greg, sorry, I wandered off – no, I have not been able to make sense of Ron Washington's use of the catchers, or by what complicated arrangement one of them goes to DH and Michael Young somewhere else while Moreland or someone plays the outfield. I think he likes to get people moving around the diamond and enjoying the view from different locations.
   27. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#3889745)
What's with all the La Russa hate? He's better at his job than you are at yours.
   28. Greg K Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:46 PM (#3889748)
Well Rasmus had his nice game. I guess he was just waiting for when it was a packed house on Robbie Alomar day.

EDIT: Thanks for the input. I see Torrealba is now catching with Napoli DHing. Must be a fun team to root for, you never know what you're going to get. Also I guess being in first place might make it fun too.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:51 PM (#3889754)
He continues to throw the ball to the wrong base and not break up double plays.

Clearly the two most key components of baseball success.
   30. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#3889758)
Walt, that description could be used for most cubs players
   31. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3889867)
Gotta hand it to the Cardinals. Whenever they dump a guy with a bit of a following voices around baseball are quick to declare the fella stinks as a player, doesn't wash his hands before dinner and fails to remember his grandmother's birthday.
   32. Bob Tufts Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:50 PM (#3889876)
What's with all the La Russa hate?


Arrogance, style of play, dark sunglasses at night...

He's better at his job than you are at yours.


Considering the vast knowledge of many members of this site, I challenge that assumption.
   33. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:06 PM (#3889883)
Considering the vast knowledge of many members of this site, I challenge that assumption.


Tony LaRussa is probably the best baseball manager since World War II (a determination reached by the one guy around here who's actually taken the time to study this stuff and not silly conclusions based upon his arrogance, style of play and eyewear). Yeah, the idea that TLR is better at his job than most of us are at ours is one of the safer assertions made here.

And I can't stand him either.
   34. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#3889895)
Gotta hand it to the Cardinals. Whenever they dump a guy with a bit of a following voices around baseball are quick to declare the fella stinks as a player, doesn't wash his hands before dinner and fails to remember his grandmother's birthday.

One of the great questions about the Cardinals, La Russa in particular, is whether they believe this clubhouse, chemistry, and other not-in-the-boxscore stuff, or whether it's all just code for "The player isn't that good, but we're not supposed to say that."
   35. Bruce Markusen Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:55 PM (#3889914)
I think LaRussa is a fine manager, but there are a lot of managers since WWII that I would put ahead of him: Sparky Anderson, Bobby Cox, Whitey Herzog, Dick Howser, Billy Martin, Earl Weaver, and Dick Williams. And perhaps Terry Francona and Joe Torre, too.
   36. MM1f Posted: July 31, 2011 at 11:46 PM (#3889929)
Clearly the two most key components of baseball success.

The point is how easy it is to do those things, or at least try to do those things. It doesn't take much skill to do either, so what excuse does Rasmus have for not trying?

Is there ANYTHING a player could do for some posters here to actually condemn them and acknowledge that maybe they deserve to be ran out of town?

Should a team just accept that one guy doesn't want to listen to coaches and can't be bothered to do simple stuff, so lets just live with that?
   37. spike Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:34 AM (#3889950)
Is there ANYTHING a player could do for some posters here to actually condemn them and acknowledge that maybe they deserve to be ran out of town?

Talk as much smack as Andy Van Slyke?
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:55 AM (#3889962)
The point is how easy it is to do those things, or at least try to do those things. It doesn't take much skill to do either, so what excuse does Rasmus have for not trying?

Is there ANYTHING a player could do for some posters here to actually condemn them and acknowledge that maybe they deserve to be ran out of town?

Should a team just accept that one guy doesn't want to listen to coaches and can't be bothered to do simple stuff, so lets just live with that?


First I have no evidence that he's not trying to do those things, but even if he's guilty as charged, a good organization has lots of levers to pull before you trade him for pennies on the $.

Bench him. Send him to the minors. Bring in different instructors to work with him. Get the point across that he has to toe the line.
   39. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:00 AM (#3889963)
Is there ANYTHING a player could do for some posters here to actually condemn them and acknowledge that maybe they deserve to be ran out of town?

Nothing in the clubhouse, no. Because it can't be quantified. Sometimes people decide a player deserves to be run out of town if he beat his wife or killed someone drunk driving or something.
   40. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:10 AM (#3889966)
What if he beat his wife in the clubhouse after a night of drunk driving?
   41. Bob Tufts Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:11 AM (#3889968)
Maybe Rasmus didn't like LaRussa's support of SB - 1070?
   42. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:24 AM (#3889972)
He's better at his job than you are at yours.

I'd be a better manager than he would a molecular biologist
   43. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:36 AM (#3889980)
Maybe Rasmus threw to the wrong base and didn't try to break up double plays because he couldn't stand playing for LaRussa? Maybe if you think there's something wrong with the environment in your clubhouse, you should look at the guy who's in charge of your clubhouse? Now don't get me wrong, I don't know jack about what goes on in the Cardinals' clubhouse or any other teams'. Just had a couple of random thoughts pop into my head while reading this thread is all.
   44. The District Attorney Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:42 AM (#3889982)
Maybe Rasmus didn't like LaRussa's support of SB - 1070?
That probably wasn't it.
   45. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:53 AM (#3889987)
I think an interesting article could be done on managers who 'run guys out of town' and how it correlates with success (itself hard to measure, given that it's more likely to happen when things are going bad). I don't think it's entirely bad that LaRussa does stuff like this - there's probably a positive impact on the performance of the rest of the roster, but I'm not convinced it's a net positive, given some of his recent losses. It's also part of why I don't think he's the best manager of all time / since WW2 - though he certainly is on the short list. Yes, he's also better at his job than I am at mine, though I'm probably more fun in the office.

It seems like when something like this is so public, and the return in trade so relatively low that there had to have been a more productive way of resolving the issue (trading earlier, living with the issue, suspending, etc...) ... maybe it's just that x% of the time, this is the end result of other strategies, I dunno. I do know that when I was reminded of last year's Yunel for AGon trade by another thread, I flashed back to feelings of 'maybe this always had to happen' (issues w/ Yunel being neither new nor secret)/'why did THIS have to happen'? I suspect some of our (sports dork) issues with this sort of thing is that it trades on unknowable territory, away from the stuff we can estimate within much more relative certainty. Accordingly, we trust the stats, not the sources (teams, players, media) who have an incentive to deceive.
   46. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:09 AM (#3889999)
Also the reason Kelly Gruber was your 2nd favourite baseball player was that he was ####### awesome in a way someone over 14 couldn't possibly understand.

Since you obviously still understand it, does that mean that you are mentally still a 12 year old?
   47. MM1f Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:13 AM (#3890000)
Maybe Rasmus threw to the wrong base and didn't try to break up double plays because he couldn't stand playing for LaRussa? Maybe if you think there's something wrong with the environment in your clubhouse, you should look at the guy who's in charge of your clubhouse?

Screwing over your team and teammates, by not doing those things, because you don't like your manager is supposed to be a defense?
Plus, who ever said that the Cardinals have clubhouse environment issue? I haven't heard of any discontent in St Louis besides Rasmus, and I haven't heard any Cardinals come to Rasmus' defense.

I'm not sure how any organization is supposed to work if some people don't have to do what everyone else does. It undermines the whole team if everyone else has to hit the cut-off man, break up double plays and work with the hitting coach but Rasmus can skip those things and just talk to his ol' dad about his swing instead.
   48. spike Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:25 AM (#3890008)
I think the point is that firing an extremely talented worker that you have invested significant money and effort to develop, not to mention opportunity cost to acquire, represents a failure of both management as well as employee.
   49. Mash Wilson Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:27 AM (#3890010)
I'm not sure how any organization is supposed to work if some people don't have to do what everyone else does.


Well, that's not true. Virtually every organization of any size has special people to whom the rules don't apply, which fall into two categories: top performers, and management favorites (usually family members or close friends of high management). Baseball is more of a meritocracy than most of the business world, which is why usually it's category one (stars) that get special treatment (see Sparky Anderson's "turds" speech made infamous in Posnanski's book).

Rasmus's problem, far as I can tell by reading about it from afar (and this is assuming Rasmus in fact has a problem), is he seems to have been demanding superstar treatment (the rules don't apply) before he really delivered superstar performance.

Some guys are like that, you know. Almost every player that even gets a cup of coffee in the major leagues was THE superstar at high school and (if they went there) college. Many of them were superstars all the way through the minors, too. These are mostly guys that grew up in a world that revolved around them. Usually guys can make the adjustment to being role players, as most major league players are. Occasionally you find one that can't.
   50. Lassus Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:29 AM (#3890012)
Van Slyke knows we don't take that kind of crap in the 315.
   51. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:57 AM (#3890036)
The answer to "Is there ANYTHING a player could do for some posters here to actually condemn them and acknowledge that maybe they deserve to be ran out of town?" is now clear. No, because it's always the manager's fault. A guy like Tony LaRussa doesn't contribute anything, just fire him and bring in a random manager. A talented player who everyone hates, now he's irreplaceable.
   52. Frisco Cali Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:15 AM (#3890049)
I'm not sure how any society is supposed to work if some people don't have to do what everyone else does. Like drive sober.
   53. Mash Wilson Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:26 AM (#3890056)
Crispix would know a thing or two about how well random managers work out, folks.
   54. Chicago Joe Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:29 AM (#3890057)
Van Slyke knows we don't take that kind of crap in the 315.

And especially not in the 314.
   55. Walt Davis Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:01 AM (#3890082)
Should a team just accept that one guy doesn't want to listen to coaches and can't be bothered to do simple stuff, so lets just live with that?

Most of the time, probably yeah they should. Whether Rasmus is one of the guys they should put up with is an open question. But he's a league average CF and those don't grow on trees. And his value is hurt not at all by not breaking up DPs -- assuming this is even really a problem as opposed to van Slyke seeing this one time that Van Slyke thinks Rasmus should have tried to break up the DP.

There are no perfect players. Different people are motivated by different things. Different people have different flaws. What matters is overall production and, unless Rasmus is somehow responsible for Pujols' off-year, he ain't the source of the Cards' problems.

Every manager has to deal with these sorts of problems. And if you go with a one size fits all solution, you're a bad manager. Rasmus does some things well and some things poorly. While it would be great if he improved on those things he does poorly, as long as the good greatly outweighs the bad, you generally live with it.

And, sorry, I don't think Van Slyke points these out because they're so easy. He points these out because he can't point to what a bad baseball player Rasmus is. So he points out petty crap.

I will again point to how Phil Jackson handled Pippen after he refused to go in for the last play of a playoff game because the play was called for Kukoc not him (the between Jordan era). Jackson, knowing Pippen was his best player, had him out there starting the next game. There's probably not another coach in any other sport to have the guts to do that.

On the other hand, when a player (I think it was Oakley, maybe Grant) started whining about Jordan Rules, he was shipped out of town.

Rasmus is no Pippen much less Jordan and he is kind of an Oakley. So if his minuses aren't worth it and you've got an adequate replacement, why put up with the headaches? But #### like he makes some mistakes and doens't hustle 100% of the time -- those aren't headaches, they're true of every player.
   56. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:55 AM (#3890095)
I'm both a Rasmus and TLR fan, I think the Cardinals got ripped off in the trade.

but
Most of the time, probably yeah they should. Whether Rasmus is one of the guys they should put up with is an open question. But he's a league average CF and those don't grow on trees. And his value is hurt not at all by not breaking up DPs -- assuming this is even really a problem as opposed to van Slyke seeing this one time that Van Slyke thinks Rasmus should have tried to break up the DP.


Over the past two seasons the Cardinals got better performance out of John Jay at the major league level and didn't have to deal with any of the nonsense of the superstar player. You have one guy who is behaving in the appropriate way, taking practice, doing the fundamentals and outperforming the other guy who is the annoited superstar who, at least from the team's point of view, isn't doing the fundamental drills and practices to improve his game. What does it say to the team if the guy who is performing worse and had the worse attitude is given a bigger leash than the guy who is toeing the line and outperforming but is relegated to the bench because of his theoretical lower potential?

The fact is that Jay has outperformed Colby the last two seasons and hasn't bothered to piss of the bosses. What does he have to do to take over the starting job? Once the Cardinals made the decision that Jay is the starting centerfielder and that Colby will become the fourth outfielder(which on a TLR team still means he gets tons of playing times) it was likely time for Colby to go. He moped last time he got benched(and went to the GM to demand a trade) what is to prevent that attitude from happening again?
   57. Greg K Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:46 AM (#3890098)
Since you obviously still understand it, does that mean that you are mentally still a 12 year old?

Oh I don't understand it, though I once did.

I long ago achieved the mental maturity of a 15 year old, and have resided there happily ever since.
   58. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:22 AM (#3890105)
Tony LaRussa is probably the best baseball manager since World War II


Stengel says hi. Count the ringzz baby. 10 pennants and 7 WS titles. Sparky has 5 pennants and 3 WS titles. Torre has 6 pennants and 4 WS titles. Tito has 2 pennants and WS titles. Walt Alston has 7 pennants and 4 WS titles.

Of course, LaRussa and Lasorda aren't too far off. Tony has 5 pennants and 2 WS titles and Tommy has 4 pennants and 2 WS titles.

Maybe we should change the criteria to since "Desert Storm".

In all seriousness, I don't know what makes someone a good manager or bad manager but what I quoted is a "bold statement" that is super hard to quantify.
   59. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:48 AM (#3890108)
Stengel says hi. Count the ringzz baby. 10 pennants and 7 WS titles. Sparky has 5 pennants and 3 WS titles. Torre has 6 pennants and 4 WS titles. Tito has 2 pennants and WS titles. Walt Alston has 7 pennants and 4 WS titles.

Of course, LaRussa and Lasorda aren't too far off. Tony has 5 pennants and 2 WS titles and Tommy has 4 pennants and 2 WS titles.

Maybe we should change the criteria to since "Desert Storm".

In all seriousness, I don't know what makes someone a good manager or bad manager but what I quoted is a "bold statement" that is super hard to quantify.


You are right, but at least one book, written by a regular around here, backs up the claim of TLR as the best manager since WWII, in a rigid statistical methodology. It's much better than just saying "so and so is better because of wins" his method tries it's damndest to account for all different type of variables.
   60. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 11:30 AM (#3890118)
Tony LaRussa is probably the best baseball manager since World War II


LOL.

Keep drinkin' that Kool-Aid. Or maybe something stronger, if you're a real TLR fan...
   61. BDC Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:12 PM (#3890122)
Walt, I see your point if someone is an established player getting the most out of his talent: you don't try to push a star, or even a journeyman, to be things he can't be. I've never understood why players should be exempt from throwing to the right base or hustling down the line, but with a player who's giving 99% in order not to risk overextending himself on the field, you probably do let him slide (or not slide, as the case may be). There is no point busting Bobby Abreu's chops because the guy won't run into walls.

With a young guy like Rasmus, I'm not so sure. Now, I have no idea whether Rasmus is actually doing any of the bad things that Van Slyke accuses him of. But let's say he is. He's about to turn 25 years old, he's hitting .246, and he's not listening to his managers and coaches. Is this situation going to get better? Is he fixing to turn into Bobby Abreu, or into Ben Grieve? There would seem to be some value in teaching a young player in this situation, in setting an example. Obviously managers can set bad examples and be overly legalistic and arbitrary. We don't know whether that's going on here. But if Rasmus is actually sitting around saying "even hitting .246 and throwing to the wrong base, I'm delivering more value to this club than Ryan F. Theriot, so y'all can kiss my butt," then that's not a promising attitude.
   62. Mash Wilson Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:42 PM (#3890132)
There is no point busting Bobby Abreu's chops because the guy won't run into walls.


I'd hire him to teach my young guys not to run into walls. I prefer having my multimillion dollar investments on the field.

Abreu's unwillingness to run into walls wasn't really what made him a terrible outfielder. It was more the whole "no range" thing. He was just as bad going forward or sideways as he was going backward.
   63. TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:27 PM (#3890203)
Over the past two seasons the Cardinals got better performance out of John Jay at the major league level
Not according to either bWAR or fWAR - both show Rasmus to be more than 2 wins better over the past 2 seasons.

I think the bigger thing here is that LaRussa, for whatever reason, decided he didn't like Rasmus' effort/personality/demeanor**. Because of that, he did 2 things - he played Jay ahead of him (understandable, if you accept the premise), and trashed Rasmus publicly. It's the trashing of Rasmus that definitely caused one problem (trading him for pennies on the dollar), and may have exacerbated the other (the lack of effort/not listening); for that, LaRussa should shoulder the blame.

**I'm making no judgement of the validity of the complaints about Rasmus; to LaRussa they seem valid, and that's what's important.
   64. whoisalhedges Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3890215)
So what, is Van Slyke playing drums for the Shannon brothers now?
   65. SoSH U at work Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3890217)
LOL.

Keep drinkin' that Kool-Aid. Or maybe something stronger, if you're a real TLR fan...


I'm not a TLR fan. In fact, if you ask one Cards fan around here, I'm one of the charter members of the He-Man, TLR-Haters Club.

But whether I like him has nothing to do with what kind of manager I think he is.

And Dag, who has done a hell of a lot more research on the subject than any of us, believes that TLR is probably the best since WWII, and one of the best of all-time. As convincing as the Count the Ringz and LOL arguments that have been offered as a rebuttal, if you want to really challenge that assertion, you can do the legwork Chris has. Until then, I'll stick with TLR.
   66. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3890218)
Tony has been successful working with guys that fit a template. He will make exceptions if the guy is fairly quiet and still performs at a high level (McGwire) but otherwise Tony is going to stick to his plan.

Which is admirable. Folks with plans have a much higher success rate than folks who make ad hoc decisions based on the moment.

It's just disappointing when the JD Drews and Colby Rasmuses of the world have to see their names besmirched as part of the separation process. It would be worlds better if Tony would just say nothing and the front office issue a bland press release versus having folks around the organization declare the fellow in question a sinner and listing all the grievous sins.
   67. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:20 PM (#3890255)
Not according to either bWAR or fWAR - both show Rasmus to be more than 2 wins better over the past 2 seasons.


a lot of that has to do with raw plate appearances and positional adjustments. It's like comparing rbi's for a starter and a bench player.

John Jay .304/.357/.429, ops+ 118, 634 pa.

Rasmus .261/.347/.459 123 ops+

Jay is average defensively in center, Rasmus is below average. War gives Rasmus the advantage because Jay plays all three outfield positions and isn't that good defensively at the corners.
   68. Ron J Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#3890263)
#55 Earl Weaver. He had run ins of various types with Bobby Grich and Jim Palmer (and others). He never backed away from confrontation, or let that confrontation affect how the player was used. Actually scratch that. Eventually Weaver hit a "him or me" situation with Earl Williams. But that's the sole exception I can think of and he did make every effort to work things through with Williams.

Many managers would not take well to Davey Johnson's repeated batting order suggestions. Weaver just thanked Johnson (and ignored him -- he did find it amusing how all of Johnson's suggestions just happened to result in Johnson hitting in a more prominent part of the order -- usually second) The other thing that he did was move his personal favorites when it was the right thing to do. He said the most difficult decision he ever had to make was that Eddie Watt had to go. But Watt was gone as soon as Weaver determined it was time.
   69. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:42 PM (#3890268)
Rasmus is below average.


Is this considered unanimous? I have read reports from scouts that said Rasmus can play CF. My eyes, I'd say Rasmus can hold his own in CF, even if he isn't plus.
   70. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:51 PM (#3890278)
Is this considered unanimous? I have read reports from scouts that said Rasmus can play CF. My eyes, I'd say Rasmus can hold his own in CF, even if he isn't plus.


Rasmus has the talent to be actually good in centerfield. He has a strong arm, good range, below average read on the ball but that is probably the most fixable of problems. Problem is he's very tentative in the outfield, and his arm lacks accuracy. And it's not like he does those impressive Vlad/Parker overthrows where he shows off the strength of his arm, instead he does his imitation of Johnny Damon and throws a four bouncer to second base/homeplate.
   71. SoSH U at work Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#3890294)
And it's not like he does those impressive Vlad/Parker overthrows where he shows off the strength of his arm, instead he does his imitation of Johnny Damon and throws a four bouncer to second base/homeplate.


On the other hand, if you're going to be off the mark with your throws, better they be limping into the infield than sailing over everyone's heads.
   72. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:14 PM (#3890297)
Jay is average defensively in center ... Jay plays all three outfield positions and isn't that good defensively at the corners.

Neat trick.
   73. How Flounder got here, he hasn't a clue. Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3890310)
Neat trick.


Yeah I noticed it too and found it strange. But looking at the defensive stats on bb-ref, CFB is right.

Obvious caveat is that Jay has only played about 135 games worth of innings in his career.

I was/am a huge Rasmus fanboy, but I completely agree with post 70 above.
   74. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:35 PM (#3890317)
Rasmus can play centerfield.

I don't know what's going on in his head, but I have managed 23 year old men/boys in my life and if they think the boss hates them it makes them tentative in everything they do.

A precious few get motivated by a "f*ck you" attitude. But most look to minimize the reasons that the boss can chew their *ss.
   75. The District Attorney Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#3890324)
I dunno. Certainly, everyone needs to try as hard as they can. But TLR seems to be looking for something beyond that, and I'm not sure what it accomplishes. Baseball is not college football or college basketball. I don't see why your baseball team needs to have a "system" that players have to "buy into" or else get out. It seems to create more problems than it solves.
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:50 PM (#3890336)
Obvious caveat is that Jay has only played about 135 games worth of innings in his career.


Right this second, without looking at numbers or anything, Jay is the better defender. Given a large enough sample size his corner numbers might also go up, but I think his routes towards the ball hurts him in the corners more than it does in center. He has a tendency to charge first and that results in errors over his head that in center he doesn't do nearly as often.

I don't know what's going on in his head, but I have managed 23 year old men/boys in my life and if they think the boss hates them it makes them tentative in everything they do.


I think it also has to do with his corner fielders being both relatively elite level players who are senior to him (even if they aren't as good as he is defensively) that he deferred to out of habit. His fielding wasn't this bad last year, this year it's been almost all about his ability to take over the outfield and catch the ball, he's dropped multiple balls that a decent centerfielder would have gotten if he wasn't so tentative.(note, I don't care what the numbers say on this, the fact is he's missed balls he should have gotten to, heck balls that hit his glove but he didn't catch. Last year his issues was his gopher killing arm. He didn't have the defensive miscues that he has had this year, at least not as frequently---if he does start catching the balls his talent allows him to get to, he instantly becomes a plus defender)

I still think Rasmus is going to be an elite level player, I think he'll average 130 ops+ over the next 5 seasons and if healthy 30 homeruns(depending on offensive levels of course)a year and be a plus defender.
   77. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#3890340)
DA:

Tony is not conflict averse which in the majority of cases for someone in a management role is a positive.

As for what he seeks in a player, it's part of what makes him successful and likely worth the tradeoff of some degree of conflict.
   78. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3890343)
I dunno. Certainly, everyone needs to try as hard as they can. But TLR seems to be looking for something beyond that, and I'm not sure what it accomplishes. Baseball is not college football or college basketball. I don't see why your baseball team needs to have a "system" that players have to "buy into" or else get out. It seems to create more problems than it solves.


Ultimately I guess it's results that matter and TLR seems to get those results. As far as system is concerned, I'm not too sure what that means, the guys who have been driven out have been driven out for widely divergent reasons. Rolen because he didn't want to admit he was injured and needed time off. Anthony Reyes because he thought he was a power pitcher who could blow away the opposition. Brendan Ryan because he enjoyed himself and didn't think that he needed to show discipline. Rasmus because he thought as the annoited one he didn't have to prove himself during the season nor listen to the coaches. Ozzie Smith because he thought the position should be handed to him out of deferrence to his history(he's probably right).

This isn't about buying into a system, it's about understanding that you are part of a team and that it's a pyramid with TLR as top dog, and that winning is the ultimate goal. Whether it's good or bad doesn't change that as a general rule TLR led teams win or at least compete(except during the McGwire years)
   79. TDF, situational idiot Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3890370)
a lot of that has to do with raw plate appearances and positional adjustments. It's like comparing rbi's for a starter and a bench player.
I've got no dog in this fight (so I don't really care that much one way or the other), but there's less than 1/2 season in PA difference between them over the past 2 seasons - that's not the difference between a starter and bench player. Considering that we're told it takes 3 years' worth of defensive data to draw any conclusions and neither player approaches that (and even at that, Rasmus has better overall numbers), I don't think it's obvious at all the Cards kept the better player.
   80. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#3890387)
I've got no dog in this fight (so I don't really care that much one way or the other), but there's less than 1/2 season in PA difference between them over the past 2 seasons - that's not the difference between a starter and bench player. Considering that we're told it takes 3 years' worth of defensive data to draw any conclusions and neither player approaches that (and even at that, Rasmus has better overall numbers), I don't think it's obvious at all the Cards kept the better player.


I pointed to two things, it's plate appearances and positional adjustments. Colby hasn't played a lick of anything other than centerfield, Jay has played all three positions and gets penalized by war for playing other positions since replacement level is higher at those positions.

I pointed out their raw numbers, and considering they played for the same team it should have some value.
John Jay .304/.357/.429, ops+ 118, 634 pa.

Rasmus .261/.347/.459 123 ops+; Jay has been better at getting on base, Colby has more power. Roughly speaking they have been the equivalent offensive players over the past two seasons.

and regardless of what the defensive numbers shows, Jay has been the better defender the past two seasons. Going forward that may not be the case, but nobody in St Louis who has watched even 5 games, would argue that Colby has been the better defender. He is tentative, has a shattershot arm, has frequently shown the inability to make the proper call on which base to throw a ball.

Rasmus has been a defensive liability the last two years, not a below average fielder, but an active liability. (again I don't think that's a predictive skill, but it's what has been going on) Jay at worse has been average in center for the Cardinals. Advantage Jay.

Again Colby is the better talent and you would be somewhat foolish to bet on Jay having the better next three seasons than Colby, but as it stands, Jay has been as good if not better than Colby the last couple of years and doesn't have the attitude issues.
   81. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3890432)
Well, I've been referred to a few times here, so I guess I should say something.

Here's the Tony LaRussa excerpt from my book.

He's been great over the decades. His teams generally do as well as anyone can reasonably hope, and often better than anyone seriously expected.

One concern: managers are like everyone else in that they can decline over time. Look at Joe McCarthy, the greatest manager of them all. He was terrific for over 20 years, but by the end was something of an alcoholic wreck with the Red Sox. He may have actually cost them a pennant there.

The concern I have with LaRussa isn't so much his drinking (a ton of great managers had drinking problems when they were effective), but it as many here have noted it seems like he's constantly getting in these wars with his players every year or two. That wasn't hte case in Chicago, I don't remember that happening in Oakland or his early years in St. Louis. I'm sure it happened once in a while. That's fine. Driving an occassional player off to help the system can be beneficial in the long run. (Going back to McCarthy for a second - he drove off Pete Alexander during his rookie season as a skipper, and the team's pitching improved).

But if it's a series of chronic battles with players resulting in someone leaving town, then the cost can outweigh the gains. That might be occurring.

I still think LaRussa is a generally good manager, but time takes its toll. Alomst all great managers ain't so hot at the end -just as the case with players. LaRussa is remarkable because he's been very good for so very long. Second most on the all-time games list. He's only missed about 3 weeks in the last third of a century.
   82. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:47 PM (#3890442)
I think LaRussa is a fine manager, but there are a lot of managers since WWII that I would put ahead of him: Sparky Anderson, Bobby Cox, Whitey Herzog, Dick Howser, Billy Martin, Earl Weaver, and Dick Williams. And perhaps Terry Francona and Joe Torre, too.

Dick Howser? (And Al Lopez don't get no respect, but that's another totally separate point)

Look, those are all good managers. The case for LaRussa as best since WWII rests on the combination of two factors: 1) consistently very good, and 2) career bulk.

He's like a managerial Cy Young or Warren Spahn. You want to argue others were better for a short period? Eh, OK. But LaRussa was among the best for an absurdly long time, giving him the best managerial career.

Look at Earl Weaver. Great manager. Maybe the best career prime by any manager ever. And at 2,541 games, enogh carer heft to make Cooperstown. LaRussa, also great manager - but 5,043 games. By the end of this year he'll have lasted literally over twice as long as Weaver.

Even Bobby Cox, the second longest-lasting post-Connie Mack manager, has only 90% of LaRussa's value. To be sure, no one can touch the Cox/Mazzone success with pitchers, but LaRussa/Duncan are among the best of the rest. And Cox oddly enough has generally seen hitters get a little worse under his watch, while they've improved under LaRussa.

Stengel says hi. Count the ringzz baby. 10 pennants and 7 WS titles. Sparky has 5 pennants and 3 WS titles. Torre has 6 pennants and 4 WS titles. Tito has 2 pennants and WS titles. Walt Alston has 7 pennants and 4 WS titles.

Again, all really good managers. Stengel was terrific in his prime. Like Weaver, a good case can be made he had the best sustained prime by any manager. But he wasn't as consistently good in his career, and his career featured only about 75% as many games as LaRussa.

Stengel was actually a damn good manager with the Dodgers and Braves. It wasn't his fault the teams were losers - he could only play the cards he was dealt. He was, however, a pretty bad manager with the Mets. He's hardly the sole reason the team lost 120 games in 1962. To set a record for most loses in a season, everything has to go wrong. But the manager is part of that everything that must go wrong.

Here's my Casey Stengel excerpt
   83. SoSH U at work Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#3890448)
But if it's a series of chronic battles with players resulting in someone leaving town, then the cost can outweigh the gains. That might be occurring.


I think it's a reasonable worry that as he's aged he's become increasingly unwilling to put up with a personality like Rasmus, and to deleterious effect. But I look at a team that lost its best pitcher before the season started, has suffered an uncharacteristic down season from its best player and is in the hunt for another division title. I have little doubt that the current model TLR is not as good as peak Tony, but he's probably still better at getting the most out of more guys, the occasional Rasmii excepted, than your typical skipper.
   84. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:05 PM (#3890457)
I think it's a reasonable worry that as he's aged he's become increasingly unwilling to put up with a personality like Rasmus, and to deleterious effect.

Yeah, that's what I was getting at.

But I look at a team that lost its best pitcher before the season started, has suffered an uncharacteristic down season from its best player and is in the hunt for another division title. I have little doubt that the current model TLR is not as good as peak Tony, but he's probably still better at getting the most out of more guys, the occasional Rasmii excepted, than your typical skipper.

Concur. This is what his teams almost always do - exceed expecations. Heck, even the 105-win Cards team was only a concensus third-place finish at THT's preseason expectations. I don't want to sound as if THT is the ultimate fountain of wisdom, but it gives you some idea what the conventional sabermetric wisdom was at the time.

It's incredible it's gone on for LaRussa fairly consistently for over 30 years. He's managing in his 33rd consecutive season. By year 33, McGraw was worn out and retired 40 games into the season (with the Giants in last place). Most great managers wear out after 20 years or so.
   85. FrankM Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:11 PM (#3890462)
If Van Slyke didn't like how Rasmus played defense or ran the bases, wait till he sees Corey Patterson for a while.
   86. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#3890469)
If Van Slyke didn't like how Rasmus played defense or ran the bases, wait till he sees Corey Patterson for a while.


I was under the impression that Corey Patterson was pretty good defensively. Or do you mean he goes after the ball like he doesn't care, and when he's on the bases he jogs?
   87. FrankM Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:26 PM (#3890473)
I was under the impression that Corey Patterson was pretty good defensively. Or do you mean he goes after the ball like he doesn't care, and when he's on the bases he jogs?

No, he cares and he doesn't jog. But he has the worst judgement on the bases and on what to do defensively that I've ever seen. He's an airhead, not a non-hustler.
   88. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3890492)
No, he cares and he doesn't jog. But he has the worst judgement on the bases and on what to do defensively that I've ever seen. He's an airhead, not a non-hustler.


Gotcha, one of the complaint about Rasmus fielding is indifference (or tentative is the word I've been using). As far as baserunning goes, I don't get the complaint about him, seems perfectly average runner in attitude, with plus speed. He's not Holliday going down there to take out the second baseman, but for the most part not many players on the team do that except Holliday.
   89. FrankM Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#3890494)
From what little I've seen and heard from Rasmus in the few days since he's been with Toronto, he seems to be a very shy and introverted guy, not the prototypical self-appointed superstar. Maybe his personality just doesn't mesh with what La Russa likes in a player.

And I can't fathom what problem La Russa might have had with Scott Rolen.
   90. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:29 PM (#3890579)
From what little I've seen and heard from Rasmus in the few days since he's been with Toronto, he seems to be a very shy and introverted guy, not the prototypical self-appointed superstar. Maybe his personality just doesn't mesh with what La Russa likes in a player.

And I can't fathom what problem La Russa might have had with Scott Rolen.


Rasmus is a shy introverted person, he's also a superstar who feels more comfortable talking hitting with his dad who wants to teach a philosophy that is probably not optimum for the quality pitching that he'll see in the major leagues. The Cardinals wanted him to learn to spray the ball more, Colby's dad believes in waiting on a fastball and pull everything.


As to problems with Rolen. It was more on Rolen than TLR. Rolen was hurt, Rolen wanted to play through the injury, TLR gave him time off, after a day or two off Rolen would hit the ball well for a week and wear down. TLR wanted to schedule Rolen a day off every few days so he could heal up, Rolen wanted to play through the pain even though it was apparent to everyone watching the games at the time that he was in massive pain and that when he had a day off, he was noticeably healthier (and driving the ball again) for a few days until the pain returned. Rolen chaffed at being benched periodically. That started the attitude and eventually it grew into full blown animosity even after Rolen got healthy.

TLR tried to patch it up multiple times, it was on Rolen, not TLR.
   91. spike Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:58 PM (#3890606)
Dag, I haven't read your book, so a brief insight (if possible) on how you quantify the value of "the cards he was dealt" and measure performance against that would be of great interest, if you have a moment. Does a manager who gets 80 wins with a hunk of junk get more points than a guy with 105 that gets issued a world beater?
   92. cardsfanboy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 11:12 PM (#3890635)
Dag, I haven't read your book, so a brief insight (if possible) on how you quantify the value of "the cards he was dealt" and measure performance against that would be of great interest, if you have a moment. Does a manager who gets 80 wins with a hunk of junk get more points than a guy with 105 that gets issued a world beater?


Not dag, but I have the book in front of me now. Quick method he uses isn't based upon individual teams, but instead based upon individuals and their performance relative to what is expected out of them. Phil Birnbaum created a database that tries to estimate how well a player performed relative to expectations on a yearly basis, Dag applied it to managers by looking at all the players they managed and how they performed relative to expectations and converted it into runs above or below average. (he also looked at pyth record relative to expectations and performances at the team level relative to expectations say runs created formula says the team should have scored 700 runs and the team actually scored 730 runs, then that 30 runs was credited to the manager, and the opposite on component era for pitching.

So you have 5 things working for a manager, ability to get performance above expectations for individual pitchers, individual hitters, to win more games than expected relative to expected w/l record, and how well the team does relative to it's component numbers on both offense and defense. (note there is a lot more than this involved of course, but this is the basics)
   93. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 01, 2011 at 11:13 PM (#3890639)
Spike,

I have two main things I use in my book. One is more descriptive, which I call the Tendencies Database. That's actually the main thing I use in the book, but it's not quite what you're asking for as it describes rather than rates. (Nevertheless, and here's an excerpt describing it).

As for rating. . . .there's no perfect way of doing it, but I found an imperfect way that works tolerably well. I call it the Birnbaum Database after its creator, Phil Birnbaum.

About 6-7 years ago, Phil created a database to designed to figure out how teams over/underachieve in the course of a season. He had five components he looked at, two in particular caught my eye. He designed a pair of algorhythms [sic] to determine how all individual players over/underacheive in a given season. One was for hitters (using Runs Created), and the other was for pitchers (using Component ERA, another James stat that's essentially Runs Created allowed by a pitcher).

Phil's systems were pretty simple, to determine if (to take a random example), Jose Canseco over/underacheived in 1990, look at what he did in terms 1988, 1989, 1991, and 1992, and take a weighted average of his production in those seasons (weighted so that 1989 and 1991 are worth twice as much as 1988 and 1992). Use that to determine how Canseco should've done in 1990, adjust for park and playing time, throw a regression to the mean in there, and that gives you a sense how he over/underachieved in that season.

Now do the same for everyone since MLB first began tracking sacrifice hits until the present day. Do it for pitchers and hitters.

Phil originally termed his creation the Luck Database, but I firmly believed it captures more than just luck. For example, Cox/Mazzone pitchers sure had an amazing tendency to get "lucky" for many years in a row. Earl Weaver terms sure were lucky. Casey Stengel's Yankees terms were incredibly lucky. Conversely, Don Baylor's pitchers were incredibly unlucky.

Seemed to be more than luck to me. But I wanted to run a test so that it's more than my own personal opinion. I divided all games in baseball history (well, since the invention of the SH stat) into four categories, 1) those managed by a guy who lasted longer than 2,000 games in his career, 2) those managed by someone how lasted 1,000-1,999 games, 3) a 500-999 guy, and 4) 499 or fewer, and see how they did.

My contention: if it's really just luck, we'd expect the results to look one way, and if there's any indication of coaching or managerial skill, it should look another way.

If it's luck, the 2000+ guys should be the closest to average. Luck has a tendency to even out the larger sample size, and these guys had huge sample sizes. (Keep in mind, 2,000 was just the minimum - a lot were over 3,000 or 4,000 or more games). If it's skill, the 2,000s should be the best.

If it's luck, the gap between the 2,000s and 1,000 should be smaller than the gap between the 1,000s and the 500s, and the 1000s/500s gap should be smaller than the one between the 500s and 499s. Again, as things even out in the longer run, so the gaps should lessen as they approach that middle luck ground. If it's skill, the 1000s/500s gap should be the smallest. They're the two mediocre manager groups. There's only about 40-50 guys in the 2,000s, and while were lousy managers, a lot of them are Hall of Famers. They should really stand out from teh 1000s. And the 499s should be the opposite: far worse because they suck the most.

Regardless if it's luck or skill, I'd expect the 499s to do the worst. They lasted the shortest time because either they were unlucky or because they were the worst.

Well, this is going on too long, but the short version is the test came out skill, skill, skill, and more skill. So goodie me.

One point I should note: way up top I said Phil had five components, only two were his algorithms. I tested all five, and by and large all five came back skill. Now, the results weren't quite as extreme as it was with the two alogrithms, but the trend was the same. so those other three components were also used in the book.

Two of the components were flip side ones of each other. One measured runs scored by the team vs. what Runs Created said the amount of runs they should've scored over the course of the year based on their cumulative stats line. The other was runs allowed based on a similar logic.

I was surprised those two came back with any indication of managerial skill. I figured it could be a sign of in-game coaching. For example: it's one thing to say a stolen base is worth X-runs, but if a manager has his runners go at slightly more opportune times, it can add up a bit more than expected. Or if he does a superior (or inferior) job filling out his lineup card or putting his relievers in the right roles. Interestly, James Click did a study in Baseball Between the Numbers using a completely different system that showed Dick Williams was one of the best tactical managers, and he came off great by the Birnbaum Database in this manner as well.

The fifth component really surprised me when it indicated any managerial skill: pythag differential. I figured there could be some slight indirect managerial influence. Use of bullpen? Playing for that one run in tight/late situations? Ultimately, looking over the record some managers do have a knack or misfortune to consistently under/overachieve their marks. (Without the info in front of me, I think Harry Wright, Bill McKechnie, Bucky Harris, and Bobby Cox were all one or the other).

Really though, the two algorithm-based metrics were the ones I put a lot of stock in. The other three were largely along for the ride.

But regardless of how you look at Tony LaRussa - all five components or just the big two - he comes off absolutely sensational, the best since Joe McCarthy.

Sorry for going on for so long. (But hey, the book is 180,000+ words).
   94. spike Posted: August 02, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#3891046)
I appreciate it! Most intriguing, and thanks for your time (you too, cfb).
   95. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 02, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3891092)
No problem.

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