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A.J. Hinch
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levski
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Molina's defense, that pick-off at 1b last night was tremendous - and I think it really fired up Burnett.
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ValueArb
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

levski wrote:
In Molina's defense, that pick-off at 1b last night was tremendous - and I think it really fired up Burnett.


I'm not criticizing that decision as much, because at least the Yankees got better defense and a happier starter in exchange for losing a large amount of offense. It probably was still a mistake, but just not a huge one.

Pedro's splits the last two years look something like this

VS RHB .268/.348/.451/.799
VS LHB .276/.357/.486/.843

NL league average this year was .259/.331/.409/.739, so against Pedro the average right handed batter was around a 108 OPS+, i.e 8% better than average. Left handed batters were around a 114 OPS+. Only two teams in the MLB averaged over a 108 OPS for the year, the Twins at 109, and the Yankees at 119. So Pedro has declined enough that he turns an average hitting team into one of the best hitting teams in the league, esp. hitting from the left side.

Here is the splits of the players against right handed pitching, career for Molina, Posada, and Hairston, 2009 for Swisher.

Molina .224/.264/.307/.570
Posada .268/.378/.474/.852
Hairston Jr. .255/.313/.380/.694
Swisher .250/.357/.509/.866

Career numbers probably over-rate Molina, Posada, and Hairston because they are in their decline ages. They would under-rate Swisher who came up at age 23 and was just an average hitter until he improved substantially at age 25, his 2009 numbers are typical of 3 out of his last 4 years (08 excepted). We'd expect all of these batters to hit better against Pedro in his current decline phase as well, but also expect the good hitters (Posada, Swisher) to take advantage even more than the poor hitters (Molina, Hairston).

While Swisher is about as likely as Hairston to get a hit, he's more likely to get on base and his hits are far more likely to be meaningful, he's worth roughly half a base a game over Hairston, which is a pretty large difference. And most of that difference is slugging which only counts Swishers bases, not the bases of other runners he advanced or who scored because Swisher hit the ball deep.

And we don't know what would have happened if Swisher startered, he might have homered to jump start himself and the team in a rout that saved pitches on Burnett and Rivera's arms. This year Swisher hit one home run every twenty times at the plate against right handed pitching, at that rate in a game he'd hit at least one home run almost 20% of the time, and against Pedro at this stage of his career maybe more. For his career, Hairston is hitting a home run every 80 pate appearances against right handed pitching. He''d hit a home run in a game maybe 5% of the time, given he's getting older, probably not even that often.

So you have a starter who is a well above average hitter who is an excellent defensive player, but has been in a short slump. Tonight he would face an aging pitcher that is a great matchup for him, but instead you replace him with an older player who is not only a bad hitter at a platoon disadvantage, but is also a poor defender and baserunner.

No matter how bad Swishers slump is, you can't think Hairston is a better hitter against this matchup. Even if Swisher's out of whack he's probably a similar batter as Hairston. Given that Swisher is also better at everything else (defense, base-running) than Hairston is, that it's likely more balls will be hit to right field than usual because of the opposing lineup, and that the matchup is so favorable it's a perfect opportunity to get an important player out of a slump, starting Hairston is indefensibly bad managing.

It's harder to quantify the defensive/pitching handling gain starting Molina, but Posada is so much better a hitter he's worth three quarters of an extra base over Molina, again without counting in RBI opportunities and advancing runners. The pickoff was extremely valuable, but you don't know that Molina is going to get one of those every game.
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ValueArb
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing I think was lost in the discussion here about managers is what skills do you expect a good manager to have? I think there are two very important skills you want to measure a manager by.

1) Making optimal matchup/lineup decisions each game day.

2) Team leadership, motivating a team through-out the season.

In case #1, experience isn't necessarily helpful. Certainly it helps being comfortable making the decisions, but that comfort level can come quickly. But the wrong experience can also be hurtful. Most managers today seems to follow a set of general rules they call "the book". They learned these rules from sitting on the bench and watching some other old manager follow them religiously. These rules developed ad-hoc over the last century with contributions from men like Branch Rickey. While Branch Rickey is one of the most brilliant baseball men of all time, one of the first GMs to have a statistical analyst, the two of them didn't have Microsoft Excel, or a computer, or even a calculator, when they made their analysis. And when they formulated their rules of thumb, the relative value of steals, runs, baserunners, etc, were significantly different than in todays game.

Today, studies on managerial decisions and strategy can be simulated with computers through thousand and millions of iterations, and the results published, to be peer reviewed by dozens of other smart analysts to poke holes in their assumptions.

But most of todays managers aren't aware of or don't understand recent research. The book they follow is, frankly, out of date, and they aren't well read enough to even understand this, or how it needs to change in different run scoring environment. So the average MLB manager makes lots of sub-optimal decisions. This is why I was excited by the firing of Bo Mel and hiring of Hinch, because I saw it as the front office actually being proactive to have a manager smart enough to understand modern managerial theory, and work with him to make more optimal on field decisions.

Bo Mel never could understand it. Any manager who relies on small sample sizes for a decision is usually making a mistake. Any manager who relies on a streak continuing, is usually making a mistake. Bo Mel did that stuff constantly. I would not criticize Bo Mel if he had said that Rauch was hurt, or it was a discipline issue that he needed to send a message on, but Bo Mel stepped up and said, no, I'm playing the numbers in a huge admission he didn't understand the significance of the numbers he played every single day.

Same with Girardi. If he said that Swisher's hamstrings were barking and I had to give him a day so he could recover, I'd understand. But Girardi specifically said his reason was because Hairston once upon a time many years ago had a small set of good at bats against Pedro, that's awful. If you don't trust swisher, there were other players (Gardner) who are better choices than Hairston, but instead Girardi got mesmerized by a sample size too small and stale to mean anything. Without Hairston's seeing-eye single, Pedro owns him in that game.

So the skill that most people criticized Hinch for was 2), leadership, and that is skill where experience does help. But again, you can't find a guy with more leadership ability than AJ Hinch, he's essentially been a team leader everywhere through-out his career, including captain of the U.S. Olympic team. So would you not want to start building his MLB managerial experience as quickly as possible, esp. in a season already lost when your best pitcher and 2nd best position player went down? Some have said players need to respect their manager, and that I agree with, not just because those who don't won't be around long. Players play, managers manage, and players who try to blur the line aren't good for any team.

But in the long run, AJ is just the kind of guy who understands how to build respect. He's succeeded at everything he's taken on, with the exception of being as star in the MLB. It's rare for anyone to be drafted three times in the top three rounds, or to be captain of an Olympic team, or to be a three time all american, or to make it to the major leagues, or to get hired right out of retirement to become one of the youngest execs in baseball and to succeed strongly in a role running a team's farm system from the get go. It's unimaginably rare for one person to accomplish all of those things, and to be smart enough succeed at Stanford to boot. I don't worry about AJ's leadership abilities.


Quote:
Admired for his charismatic intellect and leadership since he was valedictorian of his Oklahoma high school, Hinch was seen by baseball insiders during his short major league catching career as a surefire future G.M.; he shared an uncanny resemblance and career path with Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics, particularly when Hinch retired and spent the last three years overseeing the Diamondbacks’ heralded farm system.

...“It does seem surreal that he’s their manager,” said Minnesota Twins pitcher R. A. Dickey, Hinch’s roommate during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. “I always thought of him as a G.M. or assistant G.M. But being a leader? That part makes perfect sense to me. I don’t consider it a freakish experiment because he’s smart, has the qualities to get the best out of his guys and builds great relationships. He’ll just have to learn the X’s and O’s on the fly.”


Quote:
What I knew the first time I spoke to the lad — way back in 1990 when I was a prep writer at The Oklahoman and he was a sophomore dropping sacrifice bunts to help Midwest City team a 5A baseball tournament game — was that Andrew Jay Hinch was something special.

It wasn’t exactly an exclusive. Everyone who talked spent more than a minute with Hinch knew the same thing.

Bright, talented, engaging and mature. The kind of skill set that would lead some to say he could run for office someday, but that would be underachieving.

When I left The Oklahoman in 1993, someone was silly enough to let me write a farewell column and in the midst of saying what I’d remember most about covering high school sports in Oklahoma I wrote “Ex-Midwest City catcher A.J. Hinch, a Stanford star who will make it big in baseball and life.”

Every high school baseball coach in the state loved the way he handled himself behind the plate. Their wives tried to play matchmaker and set A.J. up with their daughter. He spent the summer before his senior year on a whirlwind baseball tour that included personal catching lessons from Gold Glover Bob Boone and playing on a national team. Yet he was the first player in line the morning Midwest City football coaches handed out equipment for two-a-days.

His goals and cap size unchanged.

“I’ve always wanted to be a Midwest City Bomber quarterback,” Hinch said told me that day. “I waited my turn. Now here’s my chance, and I’m ready to jump at it. I’ve received a lot of ‘free advice from people telling me not to play football because I might get hurt and mess up my baseball future. I’ve been playing football since the fifth grade and I’ve never tore up a knee or broken a leg, so why should I stop now? ”

Hinch was a nice quarterback. Mike and Cale Gundy he was not, though in becoming a big-league manager he surpasses OSU football coach Mike Gundy in the sports leadership stratosphere as the most accomplished former Bomber.

It was clear from the start that baseball wanted to ride baseball as far as it would take him. As John Rohde wrote in a terrific 1996 column about Hinch and his late father Dennis: “For his 16th birthday, the son had to choose between a car and a batting cage. He chose the cage.”

A wise choice, which is what everyone has come to expect from A.J. Hinch.

Now its the Diamondbacks who have chosen wisely.


http://blog.newsok.com/openmike/2009/05/08/the-aj-hinch-i-knew-new-diamondbacks-manager-was-destined-for-success/

AJ Hinch - Stanford Legend

Stanford article
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ValueArb
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing about streaks. In 1977 the Yankees had a player in a 4 for 25 slump with no extra base hits during the AL Championship Series and the first three games of the World Series. But Billy Martin stuck with him and the player hit 5 home runs in the next three games to help them become World Champions.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA197710180.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/jacksre01.shtml?redir
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TAP
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baseball Prospectus Q&A with A.J. Hinch
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qudjy1
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TAP wrote:
Baseball Prospectus Q&A with A.J. Hinch


Good Interview. I dont think there is any question AJ is a smart guy. How that translates to the field - time will tell - as he says.
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TAP
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curt Schilling made a statement tonight (not in regard to AJ Hinch, but topical nonetheless) saying, "Great managers manage less the better they get."

Approximately 2,500 years ago, Lao Tzu said, "A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."

Do you think Curt and Lao Tzu are right when it comes to MLB managers? Why or why not?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TAP wrote:
Curt Schilling made a statement tonight (not in regard to AJ Hinch, but topical nonetheless) saying, "Great managers manage less the better they get."

Approximately 2,500 years ago, Lao Tzu said, "A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."

Do you think Curt and Lao Tzu are right when it comes to MLB managers? Why or why not?


If simply being transparent was the key to success, wouldn’t Bo Mel still be here?
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TAP
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warhorse wrote:
If simply being transparent was the key to success, wouldn’t Bo Mel still be here?

If your nickname is "The Mad Scientist" based on your unorthodox on-field decisions, are you really transparent?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neither “The Mad Scientist” nor productivity out of Eric Byrnes has been seen since 2007.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TAP wrote:
Curt Schilling made a statement tonight (not in regard to AJ Hinch, but topical nonetheless) saying, "Great managers manage less the better they get."

Approximately 2,500 years ago, Lao Tzu said, "A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."

Do you think Curt and Lao Tzu are right when it comes to MLB managers? Why or why not?


a leader is only as good as the people under him/her. torre was considered a failure as a manager before he went to MFY... the NY post headline was "clueless joe". if torre went to pitts would he be a HOF manager?

he goes to NY and the yanks dump money into the team and he is a master at his craft Confused
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NJ-DBACKS-FAN wrote:
TAP wrote:
Curt Schilling made a statement tonight (not in regard to AJ Hinch, but topical nonetheless) saying, "Great managers manage less the better they get."

Approximately 2,500 years ago, Lao Tzu said, "A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."

Do you think Curt and Lao Tzu are right when it comes to MLB managers? Why or why not?


a leader is only as good as the people under him/her. torre was considered a failure as a manager before he went to MFY... the NY post headline was "clueless joe". if torre went to pitts would he be a HOF manager?

he goes to NY and the yanks dump money into the team and he is a master at his craft Confused


No doubt... the 2001 team managed itself.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Continuing where we left off last year, here is an article by Ringolsby on Hinch and whether he has credibiity in the dugout yet.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/ringolsby-hinch-eager-for-second-season-with-diamondbacks-022710
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levski
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

YBC-Dog wrote:
Continuing where we left off last year, here is an article by Ringolsby on Hinch and whether he has credibiity in the dugout yet.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/ringolsby-hinch-eager-for-second-season-with-diamondbacks-022710


Can we have an article on Ringolsby and whether he has credibility in the press box yet?
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SI.com today: With 'tornado' gone, Hinch settling in as D-backs' manager
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please fire Hinch. I knew this guy was unqualified when he got the job and he's done nothing over the past year to change my mind. The team has had poor results AND underperformed for more than a year.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Underperformed in respect to what? Their projections or your expectations?
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I miss the 'If you think hiring AJ Hinch is stupid, you might be too' signature ValueArb had. That and the 'In Josh we Trust' signatures... just don't see those anymore. Question
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oden wrote:
Underperformed in respect to what? Their projections or your expectations?


If you don't think the Diamondbacks could do better than we've done, I can't argue with you. Look at how the Padres played in the second half last year and this year. We currently have a worse record than the Nationals or Royals.

To paraphrase Bill James, AJ Hinch has to be given credit for what he has done. It's a simple game; if you lose, you deserve to be blamed for it. When Hinch was hired, he was widely-criticized for not having any coaching experience at any level. Since then, Hinch has managed 181 games and lost 103 of them, for a winning percentage of .431. Hinch has failed to "exceed expectations" in any shape or form.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you were just making a general statement... alrighty then.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oden wrote:
So you were just making a general statement... alrighty then.


What is this comment supposed to convey? Or were you just making a 'general statement?' Confused
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Managers get too much credit and too much blame.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

qudjy1 wrote:
Managers get too much credit and too much blame.


I think Mike D'Antoni would agree with you. Alvin Gentry... meh, he's probably on the fence.

Or if you want baseball, Jim Tracy and Clint Hurdle.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warhorse wrote:
qudjy1 wrote:
Managers get too much credit and too much blame.


I think Mike D'Antoni would agree with you. Alvin Gentry... meh, he's probably on the fench.

Or is you want baseball, Jim Tracy and Clint Hurdle.


Rolling Eyes

Basketball is a team game. Baseball not so much. Yeah - there are a bunch of guys who have to do a job - but its islands of individual performances.

I love how Jim Tracy is a great coach now. Thanks for proving my point.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

qudjy1 wrote:
Warhorse wrote:
qudjy1 wrote:
Managers get too much credit and too much blame.


I think Mike D'Antoni would agree with you. Alvin Gentry... meh, he's probably on the fench.

Or is you want baseball, Jim Tracy and Clint Hurdle.


Rolling Eyes

Basketball is a team game. Baseball not so much. Yeah - there are a bunch of guys who have to do a job - but its islands of individual performances.

I love how Jim Tracy is a great coach now. Thanks for proving my point.


You had a point?

And even more confusing is you think it was confirmed. Confused
Yeah... all righty then...
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