I was asked to give a scathing report about the way the new wave of “Analytical” managers are ruining the game. How new age guys like Gabe Kapler and Aaron Boone are making questionable decisions simply playing to the numbers.
The use of statistics or analytics in baseball has grown exponentially since the “Money Ball” A’s days of the early 2000’s. Now every front office has a plan that they want their managers to follow and if you can’t keep up you will be replaced. The use of analytics, sabermetrics, and playing based on percentages has been the leading cause of debate over the past several years. As the more traditionally “Old School” type of manager with your gut style has seemed to have been pushed out of the game. And the “New School” manage by the number style has taken over.
This new front office controlled mentality has brought us, Gabe Kapler and Aaron Boone. Both of these hirings were met with snickering and scoffing as neither man had any previous Major League managerial experience. Kapler did spend some time managing in the Red Sox minor league system, however that stint was not viewed as successful. Boone, on the other hand, had no managerial experience at any level. In fact, he stepped out of the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball booth and into the Yankee dugout.
After the first weekend in the 2018 Major League Baseball season, many fans of both the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees fan bases are up in arms about decisions that were made. Decisions that turned out to have unsuccessful baseball results. I, however, am not one of these fans. The baseball season is a marathon, and every team will have its ups and downs. And not every decision a manager (no matter how seasoned he may be) will make an unsuccessful decision based on the results.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 29, 2018
Now that is not to say that every decision made is supported. Following baseball the way I do I understand fully that the more often a lineup sees a pitcher the better that team will hit that pitcher. However, Aaron Nola was firmly in charge of the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day and had only thrown 68 pitches when Kap decided to pull Nola in place of Hoby Milner to face off against two left-handed batters. Milner was unsuccessful in his results as he served up a home run to Braves First Baseman Freddie Freeman. Nola had scattered three hits over his 5.1 innings of work. This was just the first sign of things to come as Kapler failed to have Milner warming up and brought him in cold during Saturday night’s contest. Home Plate umpire Jerry Layne allowed Milner to warm up as to not have the pitcher potentially injure himself. Braves manager Brian Snitker was ejected for arguing this. (MLB backed Layne in his decision and reprimanded the Phillies).
Sources: MLB will send warning to #Phillies that in the future they won't be given the leeway ump Jerry Layne gave last night when Gabe Kapler waved for a pitcher who hadn't warmed up
Layne was told he did the right thing under the circumstances. @Buster_ESPN was first to report
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 1, 2018
Aaron Boone had his own set of adventures up in Toronto this past weekend.
Aaron Boone had his own share of bullpen issues this weekend, none greater than leaving Dellin Betances in for a second inning of work on Saturday’s game. Using a reliever for a second innings of work has to be done with the right person. The mentality necessary for that type of usage has not been something that Dellin has possessed since his arbitration case two years ago.
Now, of course, the fiasco that Saturday’s game broke down into cannot be solely blamed on Aaron. However, Betances is coming off a shaky ending to his 2017 season, to put it mildly. So building back up his confidence is key. Dellin’s initial inning on Saturday was good, it was clean. It would have served him well in building him back up. But Betances was left in and the Blue Jays did their best Hulk Hogan impression and ran wild. Including a series in which Kevin Pillar, after singling to right, stole second, then third and then stole home (staring down Betances as he did it).
So with the first weekend of the 2018 season in the books, there are some growing pains already being worked out. Both the Yankees and Phillies fan bases that have been in an uproar but it is important to remember that it has been just the first few games and there are still many more games to go. Though it may difficult we as fans must hold off on our judgment to see just how things play out this season. Both teams have General Manager that are very intelligent men and have surrounded themselves with really good baseball people. We must trust that they have a plan and a process. Though some days will result in feelings that we would rather not be forced to confront.
But if we trust the process we can see that the end goal will bring about change and potentially a future World Series crown. So Be Bold and Trust the Process.