Quantifying Ol’ Smokey
Along with their player forecasts and team breakdowns, Baseball Prospectus publishes “stats” on managers long with a lengthy write-up…”Old Smokey remains one of the league’s better skippers…”
Generally, I think that day in/day obsession with the team grants us better insight then whatever stats BP can come up with, though it is difficult to argue with BP’s algorithmic brilliance and their ability to objectively quantify data, and only data. Unfortunately, when it comes to managers, the numbers seem to be little more than obscure trivia answers. With that in mind, I’ve posted some select “manager stats” below. Pythag is the manager’s 2010 pythagorean expectation (a Bill James invention, read about it here or here), Avg. PC is the average pitch count per game, BQS is “blown quality starts,” REL is relievers used, and Rel w Zero R is relief appearances with zero runs allowed.
BP doesn’t list league averages, so I’ll post the rest of the division for comparison’s sake.
|Manager||Pythag||Avg. PC||BQS||REL||REL w Zero R|
Hard to really get much out of that, but interesting fodder none the less.
I do, however, have some more useful figures, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
In 19 years as a manager, JL is 1493 and 1518, for a .496 winning percentage. (Don’t look for him to get to .500 this year.) He’s won one WS (’97 with the Marlins) and 2 pennants. As the manager of the Tigers, he’s fared significantly better, 424-387 for a .523 winning percentage. Sounds pretty good, right? Not when you look at his second half numbers. The numbers below reflect Tigers’ records after the All Star break under Leyland.
’06 – 2 games under
’07 – 4 games under
’08 – 14 games under
’09 – even
’10 – 10 games under
Thus, since 2006, Leyland is an astonishing 30 games under .500 after the AS break, and an even more incredible 67 games over before the summer classic. Looking at one season, maybe two, you can point to player drop-offs or injuries. But five years is hardly a coincidence.
Continuing, I was shocked to see that JL was in the middle of the pack when it comes to using relievers, part of that is due to his willingness to let Verlander throw so many pitches (I’m not necessarily against that). Though I did not post it above, his hit & run frequency was also in the middle of the pack for AL Central managers.
So in the end, I’ll leave it up to you guys. Is Leyland one of the league’s “better skippers?” Or does he simply have everyone fooled but us?