Managing the Direction

Yesterday both manager of the year awards were handed out. Coincidently I was reading BP's Between the Numbers book just before the news broke, specifically the chapter written by James Click about evaluating Joe Torre's career. BP attempted to judge managers using the things they had control over; bullpen usage, playing time, and in-game strategy such as intentional bases on balls, sacrifice hits, and stolen base attempts. This sparked my idea on how to judge managers.

Before I begin explaining the method and give the results I want to strongly disclaim these statistics are hardly perfect (in fact the entire thing is quite flawed) however I'm presenting this is a "general idea" rather than a "definite" or "near definite". There are other aspects of managing that I'm clearly ignoring, and you will have to fill those blanks in, unless I go through each team and study the situations and playing time intently. The aspect I will focus on is the last part, IBBs, SHs, ect.

After collecting the mass numbers I ran linear weights on them, with one exception; turning the IBB value into a negative, because remember I'm not weighing team B walking team A's hitters, but rather team A's manager walking team B's hitters. That leaves us with the following formula:

(SBs*0.193)+(CS*-0.282)+(SH*-0.09)+(IBB*-0.176) = Managerial runs created.

 

TEAM SB CS SH IBB lwSBA lwSH lwIBB LWTS Wins
Boston 120 35 28 17 13.29 -2.52 -2.992 7.778 0.7778
Tampa Bay 142 50 23 29 13.306 -2.07 -5.104 6.132 0.6132
LA Angels 129 48 32 32 11.361 -2.88 -5.632 2.849 0.2849
NYA 118 39 31 37 11.776 -2.79 -6.512 2.474 0.2474
Philadelphia 136 25 71 64 19.198 -6.39 -11.264 1.544 0.1544
NY Mets 138 36 73 53 16.482 -6.57 -9.328 0.584 0.0584
Oakland 88 21 30 45 11.062 -2.7 -7.92 0.442 0.0442
Colorado 141 37 90 49 16.779 -8.1 -8.624 0.055 0.0055
Milwaukee 108 38 54 32 10.128 -4.86 -5.632 -0.364 -0.0364
Kansas City 79 38 32 15 4.531 -2.88 -2.64 -0.989 -0.0989
Seattle 90 32 36 37 8.346 -3.24 -6.512 -1.406 -0.1406
Cleveland 77 29 43 28 6.683 -3.87 -4.928 -2.115 -0.2115
Texas 81 25 37 44 8.583 -3.33 -7.744 -2.491 -0.2491
Minnesota 102 42 52 38 7.842 -4.68 -6.688 -3.526 -0.3526
LA Dodgers 126 43 64 58 12.192 -5.76 -10.208 -3.776 -0.3776
Toronto 80 27 48 42 7.826 -4.32 -7.392 -3.886 -0.3886
Baltimore 81 37 27 44 5.199 -2.43 -7.744 -4.975 -0.4975
St. Louis 73 32 71 21 5.065 -6.39 -3.696 -5.021 -0.5021
Pittsburgh 57 19 66 31 5.643 -5.94 -5.456 -5.753 -0.5753
ChicagoN 87 34 65 45 7.203 -5.85 -7.92 -6.567 -0.6567
ChicagoA 67 34 28 42 3.343 -2.52 -7.392 -6.569 -0.6569
Houston 114 52 57 53 7.338 -5.13 -9.328 -7.12 -0.712
San Fran 108 46 57 59 7.872 -5.13 -10.384 -7.642 -0.7642
Arizona 58 23 68 41 4.708 -6.12 -7.216 -8.628 -0.8628
Florida 76 28 49 66 6.772 -4.41 -11.616 -9.254 -0.9254
Washington 81 43 64 44 3.507 -5.76 -7.744 -9.997 -0.9997
Cincinnati 85 47 72 40 3.151 -6.48 -7.04 -10.369 -1.0369
Detroit 63 31 30 63 3.417 -2.7 -11.088 -10.371 -1.0371
Atlanta 58 27 69 61 3.58 -6.21 -10.736 -13.366 -1.3366
San Diego 36 17 59 61 2.154 -5.31 -10.736 -13.892 -1.3892

After I accumulated the data, I talked with Peter and Sky about actually using it. My biggest concern (as well as theirs) was the lack of context in these numbers. The abundance of negative numbers is to be expected, after all the only way managers can "gain points" in this measurement is by having a successful stealing team, and even that is part luck. After some more discussion, I arrived at this "solution": using Baseball-Reference's "high leverage" splits for pitching and offense to compile the numbers. I did so, and let me just inform everyone I now know every team B-Ref's tag, fun!

Here are the numbers in high leverage situations:

 

TEAM SB CS SH IBB lwSBA lwSH lwIBB LWTS Wins
Boston 32 6 14 9 4.484 -1.26 -1.584 1.64 0.164
NYA 38 8 16 19 5.078 -1.44 -3.344 0.294 0.0294
Seattle 29 7 16 12 3.623 -1.44 -2.112 0.071 0.0071
Philadelphia 42 6 30 22 6.414 -2.7 -3.872 -0.158 -0.0158
NY Mets 42 4 34 25 6.978 -3.06 -4.4 -0.482 -0.0482
ChicagoA 21 8 13 8 1.797 -1.17 -1.408 -0.781 -0.0781
Minnesota 23 10 8 11 1.619 -0.72 -1.936 -1.037 -0.1037
Tampa Bay 44 21 9 16 2.57 -0.81 -2.816 -1.056 -0.1056
Houston 35 13 26 14 3.089 -2.34 -2.464 -1.715 -0.1715
Milwaukee 29 9 30 13 3.059 -2.7 -2.288 -1.929 -0.1929
LA Dodgers 35 10 21 26 3.935 -1.89 -4.576 -2.531 -0.2531
St. Louis 18 10 16 10 0.654 -1.44 -1.76 -2.546 -0.2546
Baltimore 26 10 12 21 2.198 -1.08 -3.696 -2.578 -0.2578
LA Angels 34 13 28 17 2.896 -2.52 -2.992 -2.616 -0.2616
Pittsburgh 25 4 39 16 3.697 -3.51 -2.816 -2.629 -0.2629
Arizona 18 5 34 10 2.064 -3.06 -1.76 -2.756 -0.2756
Cincinnati 31 12 32 15 2.599 -2.88 -2.64 -2.921 -0.2921
Kansas City 17 10 24 7 0.461 -2.16 -1.232 -2.931 -0.2931
Cleveland 18 7 29 11 1.5 -2.61 -1.936 -3.046 -0.3046
Oakland 24 8 20 23 2.376 -1.8 -4.048 -3.472 -0.3472
Florida 21 6 24 22 2.361 -2.16 -3.872 -3.671 -0.3671
Colorado 37 16 43 14 2.629 -3.87 -2.464 -3.705 -0.3705
Toronto 21 4 30 23 2.925 -2.7 -4.048 -3.823 -0.3823
San Fran 45 18 32 26 3.609 -2.88 -4.576 -3.847 -0.3847
Texas 23 10 21 22 1.619 -1.89 -3.872 -4.143 -0.4143
ChicagoN 31 11 31 29 2.881 -2.79 -5.104 -5.013 -0.5013
Atlanta 17 7 28 23 1.307 -2.52 -4.048 -5.261 -0.5261
San Diego 14 7 28 20 0.728 -2.52 -3.52 -5.312 -0.5312
Detroit 11 9 22 23 -0.415 -1.98 -4.048 -6.443 -0.6443
Washington 22 15 32 25 0.016 -2.88 -4.4 -7.264 -0.7264


Boston again rates at the top. Many broadcasters talk Terry Francona up as a great manager, but for all the wrong reasons. I am sure he is a nice person, and the players like him, yet the guy is a pretty good strategist if you believe these numbers. It doesn't hurt having great personnel and an outstanding front office either. Joe Girardi's high leverage non-personnel tactics are absolutely fine. Amusingly, so were the combination of John McLaren and Jim Riggleman. That's one of those situations where the personnel is the issue. Atlanta, San Diego, Detroit, and Washington again rank low, perhaps Bobby Cox's best is behind him?

Interestingly both of the World Series teams finish within the top 10 on both scales, but Joe Maddon becomes far worse in high leverage situations, unfortunately his worst habits seemed to follow him into the World Series, as MGL covered nicely here. Even still Maddon's regular season methods fell secondary to Francona's in both instances, although his team did win more games, but you know how processes are more important than results in the long-term.

Here's a look at the averages:

 

Team NonLvg Lvg Avg
San Diego 30 28 29
Detroit 28 29 28.5
Atlanta 29 27 28
Washington 26 30 28
San Fran 23 24 23.5
Florida 25 21 23
ChicagoN 20 26 23
Cincinnati 27 17 22
Arizona 24 16 20
Toronto 16 23 19.5
Texas 13 25 19
Pittsburgh 19 15 17
Houston 22 9 15.5
Cleveland 12 19 15.5
St. Louis 18 12 15
Baltimore 17 13 15
Colorado 8 22 15
Kansas City 10 18 14
ChicagoA 21 6 13.5
Oakland 7 20 13.5
LA Dodgers 15 11 13
Minnesota 14 7 10.5
Milwaukee 9 10 9.5
LA Angels 3 14 8.5
Seattle 11 3 7
NY Mets 6 5 5.5
Tampa Bay 2 8 5
Philadelphia 5 4 4.5
NYA 4 2 3
Boston 1 1 1

It's tricky using these as is, but only a single seasons worth of data likely isn't worth much either. That's why I'm disclaiming the heck out of this and hoping people take it with a grain of salt, it's only a part of what managers do, and it's a rough attempt at quantifying that part.

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