Yesterday's post, unfair as it
might have been, lays out how I'm going to approach my National League Manager
of the Year "vote": bottom five teams in sacrifice bunts make the cut, then I
see which manager best deployed his top five hitters and top five relief
The bottom five in the NL, per Baseball-Reference, were Milwaukee, Arizona,
Philadelphia, Florida, and Colorado. Ken Macha was just fired, but that
doesn't mean I won't vote for him. Arizona, though, had two managers, so I'm
tossing them out and adding Pittsburgh to the list. Fredi Gonzalez also got
fired mid-year in Florida, which would leave the Cubs next if Lou Piniella
hadn't retired. Instead, we fall back to Dusty Baker in Cincinnati.
As I did yesterday, here's a chart with each of those five teams' five best
hitters by MLVr, along with their total PAs and where that total ranked them on
For Ken Macha, Edmonds' numbers are deflated by injuries, but he also hit sixth
much of the year, behind Casey McGehee, though only one spot behind. McGehee
falls just below Rickie Weeks in MLVr, so it's not a terrible decision,
especially since Edmonds hit with far more power this season than he had any
right to expect. Macha's offensive player usage, then, looks pretty good.
Weeks, Hart, Braun, and Fielder were basically the top of the order.
Charlie Manuel had Jayson Werth batting fifth all year, not just behind Ryan
Howard, but also behind Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino.
Carlos Ruiz had a fluky year with his batting average, but he has a history of
being a good OBP guy, and even flashed nice pop in 2009. Batting him 7th and
8th all season is inexcusable. Chase Utley got hurt, depressing his total PAs.
Ross Gload only got sporadic starts, but he's 34 years old and had a career
year for power in 138 PAs. Could Charlie have spotted him in for Placido
Polanco at 3B a few more times? Maybe, but Polanco's probably the better play
over the long run of the season, so no points against Manuel for that.
Jim Tracy, as you can see, pretty much had two hitters this season. Spilborghs
could have played more, and when he did start, he probably shouldn't have been
hitting behind guys like Jay Payton (!), Todd Helton, Eric Young, and Dexter
Fowler. Melvin Mora batting fifth and sixth is fine because he's Melvin Mora
and he's 38 years old. Ian Stewart, though, probably shouldn't have been
Where the Rockies had two good hitters, John Russell basically had none. Neil
Walker joined the team after two months and hit second or third the rest of the
way. McCutchen finished the year leading off after hitting second and third
for much of the first half. Pedro Alvarez came up midseason and wound up
hitting fifth most of the way. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one
hand, you're not trying to win now if you're John Russell, so the fact that
your third best hitter was hitting fifth doesn't really matter. On the other
hand, you are trying to develop your young players, so maybe you want to get
Alvarez as many PAs as you possibly can, which might dictate that you hit him
in the top half of the lineup, even as a rookie. He's not, after all,
that young at 23.
Finally, Dusty Baker. Joey Votto and Scott Rolen batted 3-4. In my ideal
world, they'd bat 2-3, but I'll live with 3-4. Ryan Hanigan hit shockingly
well and has had a good OBP in the past, but Ramon Hernandez had a .364 OBP
himself this year, and has a history of having more power. Dusty Baker,
though, apparently believes in "the catcher hits eighth" and damned be the fact
that both guys were better hitters than Brandon Phillips, Orlando Cabrera, Drew
Stubbs, Miguel Cairo, or any number of other players who hit ahead of the
catchers this season. Jay Bruce hit fifth with some frequency, but he hit
sixth, often behind Jonny Gomes, more often.
On to the bullpens. As yesterday, this is SIERA, IP, and gmLI (average
leverage index at the time the manager calls the pitcher into the game).
Chan Ho Park
Milwaukee's bullpen usage looks straight. Macha appears to have adjusted well
after the Hoffman Disaster.
Charlie Manuel only had four pitchers with gmLIs above one -- three of those
are on the chart above, and the other was his lefty specialist, JC Romero.
Philly's starters went deep into games and there weren't that many close
situations for the bullpen, apparently. It looks like most of the ones there
were went, properly, to Madson and Lidge, though Ryan Madson sure didn't pitch
Rafael Betancourt's SIERA is not a typo; nor is Matt Belisle's IP total.
(Rogers's IP total is his IP only as a reliever, excluding his eight starts.)
Perhaps Manny Corpas could have traded a few innings with Huston Street or
The Pirates used a lot of different RPs this year -- this list excludes Chris
Resop and Wil Ledezma for pitching fewer than 20 innings. Pittsburgh also did
not have a lot of high-leverage situations, presumably for different reasons
than the Phillies. That said, Hanrahan's gmLI is far too low, though
his IP total is correctly high.
For the same reasons as the Pirates, Aroldis Chapman's ridiculous SIERA is
excluded -- not enough innings to be meaningful. (This is unfortunate for
Dusty, but I'll give him fudge points because not only did Chapman lead the
team in SIERA, he also led the team in gmLI.) I do want to note that four of
the five guys on that list have IP totals lower than their number of games
pitched. That's probably a sign of over-specialization. Further, there are
three players not in the team's top five in SIERA who had gmLIs of 1.49
and above: Danny Herrera, Enerio Del Rosario, and Francisco Cordero. That's
not good when your best SIERA guy has a below-average gmLI.
Ken Macha, then put his best players in a position to do the most damage on
offense, very rarely used the sacrifice bunt, and deployed his bullpen
reasonably. He got fired for his trouble, but I hope he'll console himself
that I'm giving him my NL Manager of the Year vote. Here's for Ken Macha!
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