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— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game
Monday, November 19, 2001
Baseball Primer’s 2001 Managers of the Year
The NL Manager of the Year (voted by baseballprimer.com)
The broadcasting manager, Larry Dierker, picked up our award and picked up
a pink slip after the playoffs.? His firing was due to a lack of success in
the playoffs (by that logic how is Bobby Cox still around), not a lack of wins
during the regular season.? He piloted a team that has an excellent outfield,
right side of the infield and some intriguing young pitchers.?
What did Dierker do?? He took a team with a good offense and some good pitchers and put them in the playoffs.? That doesn?t count against you when it comes time to vote on the manager of the year, but it doesn?t cinch the deal.? Dierker?s a safe choice (he didn?t win by amassing a lot of first place votes), he snuck in because there were so many interesting managers in the NL this year that there wasn?t a unifying choice.
The AL? Manager of the Year (voted by baseballprimer.com)
of a baseball manager is difficult to quantify.? Bill James wrote an entire
book on the subject, Total Baseball rates managers on the ability to over perform
expected winning percentages, but most talk seems to centre around whether or
not a manager is good (winning) or bad (losing).? I see managing as two tasks:
With that in mind, at the end of the season it is pretty easy to evaluate the first task.? However, game managing, like a catcher?s ability to call a game, is difficult to track.? It basically boils down to who got lucky this year ? should we reward that?? I?m not sure.?
The only manager to be named on every ballot was Lou Pinella.? Pinella skippered the best, and most surprising team, of the year.? The Mariners won 116 games.? That would be a great total for a team with Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Junior and Alex Rodriguez ? it?s an astounding total for a team that lost those players.?
Was Pinella a good long term manager?? I would say yes.? He was working with (surprisingly) the oldest team in the American League ? and managed to get them through the season without too many injuries.? He had a very stable rotation, a successful bullpen, a good bench and he coerced (or was lucky enough to get) Bret Boone?s best season ever.
Was Pinella a good game manager? Again, I would say yes.? Two easy indicators are his team?s performance in one run games and their performance against their Pythagorean record.? The Mariners were 26-12 in one run games, which is excellent.? They beat their Pythagorean record by 7 games, which is also excellent.
Does Pinella deserve the award? Yes.? He won 116 games, with a team that wasn?t even a consensus pick to win the division.? I don?t think that the Mariners were the most surprising team: that would be the Twins.? For that reason I voted for Tom Kelly, but Pinella probably the right pick ? How often does a team win 116 games?
A final thought:
It seems to me that we have far more tools at our disposal to evaluate General Managers than we do Field Managers.? So much of the Field Manager?s job is dictated by what the GM gives him.? Why isn?t there more publicity for the GM of the year?? The one who makes the best trades, deals with his budget the best, promotes the best minor leaguers, avoids bad free agents, etc.
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