I didn’t even know this was a thing, but I’m now excited about it

Hardball Times has the break down. As the article points out, quantifying managers is the final frontier in sabermetrics. In my opinion, a baseball manager is an odd creature. Consider that teaching is a big part of his job (in conjunction with his hitting coaches/pitching coaches, which might be the final final frontier). In the NFL, by the time you get there, the idea is that you kind of already know what you’re doing. The question is never “could he be even better than in his college days;” it’s “can he translate that skill to the NFL?” College is already the minors for football.

One important commonality is personnel management, and this is more important in MLB. Yeah, in the NFL, you spend a lot of time together, but it’s 16 weeks: as long as you get to the stadium on time for practice and work hard, you generally don’t need to associate with your teammates much. Consider the much longer period you’re together in MLB, and the fact you have to room with other players 4 or 5 days a week. That’s far more difficult, in my opinion. Baseball players are also younger, on the whole, when they enter the league (especially if they’re awesome), because they can be drafted right out of high school.

In-game strategy is far less valuable than it would seem, because unless you do something really bizarre (like make the DH pitch) there just isn’t much a manager can do to keep a great team from winning or a bad team from losing. No team will go 162-0 or 0-162. They do control playing time, which is one way they could make a positive or negative impact, but again, it’s rare that they go against received wisdom.

That is what makes challenges so intriguing: maybe we’ll finally find out who’s good and who isn’t.


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