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General Managers and Advanced Metrics - Is it Totally Lost to Some?

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  • General Managers and Advanced Metrics - Is it Totally Lost to Some?

    Ever since he was promoted to GM following Pat Gillick's retirement from the Phillies after the 2008 World Series, I've often been highly critical of Ruben Amaro Jr. Even though he was under Ed Wade's wing (who I believe may have been a SABR member - or at least know of such) and Gillick, his personality and aggressiveness on obtaining players has shown more of a caveman mentality than that of a savvy GM.

    Going back to November of 2011, after the Phillies won 102 games on the backs of their rotation, Ruben stated emphatically that the offense needs to take a better approach at the plate moving forwards. He didn't like the hacking and swinging and wanted a more patient approach. I saw nothing wrong with this idea at all, but it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Most of the hitters on the team were veterans and are set in their ways. So, it'd pretty much take newer and younger players to achieve this concept.

    Fast-forward to 2013. Ruben made two offseason FA signings to "upgrade" the offense in Michael & Delmon Young. Considering his rants and finger-pointing about being more patient and getting good pitches to hit, these two signings have to be at least questionable.

    When, during a press conference, a reporter asked Ruben if he was concerned with Delmon's lack of walks last season, Amaro simply stated:

    "I don’t care about walks, I care about production."

    What?

    If I recall, scoring runs wins games. Getting on base - no matter how - is better than making an out. Walking gets you on base and therefor can be productive. I go into some of these issues here in the Phillies Forum.

    But how do walks match up with grounding into double plays? Which is better? Apparently, to Ruben, they're basically the same. Between both Youngs, they proceeded to have 39 non-intentional walks last year while hitting into 36 DPs. Tell me... is that production?

    The Phillies are one of the very few teams left that only use scouts when analyzing players. They use no advanced calculations although there are plenty available. And while having scouts is still important, their current issues with the offense, as well as a somewhat dearth in minor league bats that project well is a sad testament to what can happen when you're not willing to use tools that are avaliable.

    Considering this team won 100+ only two years ago, and could be looked at to near 90 wins this year if all goes right, I believe this could be Amaro's last year as GM should the Phillies miss the postseason again. And he only has himself to blame.

    I guess the reason I posted in this thread is to ask... Are there any other GMs in baseball with the same archaic approach as Amaro? And if so, have they been successful? Also, of those that only use advanced metrics - are they in the same boat for different reasons?

    What i'm seeking is whether or not one side heavy is better or worse than the other. Going only with spreadsheets or only with eyeballs. Is an even mix the best way to go, and what teams could be using that? First glance to me might be somebody like the Cardinals as they seem to sustain at both the ML level as well as their system without simply throwing money at the highest-priced free agents.
    "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

  • #2
    It seems some GMs' just look at RBI's. I'm sure some GM's see that Delmon Young has had a 112 RBI season (in 2010) so Young gets labeled as a "run producer". It doesn't matter that Young is an awful defensive player, can't draw any walks, is a poor baserunner, makes tons of outs, and has a poor attitude, but gosh darnit, Young is a "run producer". In 2010 Young had 613 PA and had 28 walks, five walks which were IBB's. I'm sorry but for a major league hitter, that is pitiful. Here's an interesting fangraphs article about Delmon Young and how he was viewed as a prospect. He was a lights out prospect. But once Young reached the majors he stopped developing, he stopped improving. Right now at age 27, Young is essentially the same player he was at age 20.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...mon-young-was/

    This part really hits home.

    Young’s filled out, and one would hope that the corresponding decline in his athletic skills would be offset by an improvement in his hitting skills. No such improvement has been seen, and Young’s never even hit for real power outside of a now-anomalous 2010. The team that signs Delmon Young as a free agent will entertain some hopes that Young will finally put everything together. Players with talent have before put it all together seemingly out of nowhere, and you can’t ignore Young’s prospect pedigree. But many of the things that made him a top prospect — they aren’t there anymore. Not like they were, and age is no longer on Young’s side. We can’t say that his plate discipline will get better with experience, because he’s had a lot of experience — and a lot of it negative — and last year he walked 20 times. Delmon Young, last year, more often grounded into double plays than drew unintentional walks.
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 01-31-2013, 12:40 PM.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the link HWR! I'll check it out as soon as I get home tonight.
      "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

      Comment


      • #4
        Another interesting article about Delmon Young.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...g-out-looking/
        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

        Comment


        • #5
          It shouldn't take sabermetrics to know better than to sign Delmon Young. : : : :
          "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
            It shouldn't take sabermetrics to know better than to sign Delmon Young. : : : :
            I guess the question is why do GM's like Ruben Amaro Jr. continue to sign ballplayers like Delmon Young? What is their thought process on such decisions?
            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
              I guess the question is why do GM's like Ruben Amaro Jr. continue to sign ballplayers like Delmon Young? What is their thought process on such decisions?
              Signing DYoung for 1 year and $750,000 isn't a bad move.

              Making him the everyday RFer is.

              Comment


              • #8
                the giants also have a lot of hackers and don't walk a lot but they won 2 world series since 2010. I'm not sure but I think their GM is pretty stubborn and old School.

                can some of the giants fans confirm or deny this?
                I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dominik View Post
                  the giants also have a lot of hackers and don't walk a lot but they won 2 world series since 2010. I'm not sure but I think their GM is pretty stubborn and old School.

                  can some of the giants fans confirm or deny this?
                  I'm commented on Brian Sabean many times before. The 2010 and 2012 Giants were driven by their pitching, not their hitting. In 2009 the team scored just 657 runs with the NL average being 718 runs. In 2010 they scored 697 runs with the NL average being 701 runs. The Giants had a +114 run differential in 2010. In 2011 the hitting collapsed with the Giants scoring just 570 runs which was dead last in the NL. . The NL average was 668 runs. They had a -8 run differential in 2011. In 2012 the Giants recovered and actually had a slightly above average offense scoring 718 runs with the NL average being 683 runs. As a team the Giants do not walk that much which partially explains their rather mundane scoring over the past few years.

                  It is well known that Sabean liked Bengie Molina because Bengie was a "run producer" and this delayed Buster Posey's becoming the Giants starting catcher in 2010 but over a month. Sabean is infamous for his cliche press conferences after signing an aging declining FA ballplayer. Sabean uses phrases below. I've added translations.

                  Professional hitter- a hitter who hits .275-.300 but doesn't draw walks or hit for power. They usually have an OBP under .340 and a slugging percentage about .400. Freddy Sanchez is the quintessential "professional hitter".

                  Proven Veteran- a ballplayer that has been in the majors for years but has never been a productive regular.

                  A Winner- A "Proven Veteran" who has played on many playoff teams but was never a major contributor to those playoff teams.

                  Clubhouse Leader- A vocal rah-rah type "Proven Veteran".

                  The Gamer!- a ballplayer who hustles and gets his uniform dirty but can't hit, field, or run particularly well. Think Eric Byrnes.
                  Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 02-05-2013, 03:18 PM.
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                    I'm commented on Brian Sabean many times before. The 2010 and 2012 Giants were driven by their pitching, not their hitting. In 2009 the team scored just 657 runs with the NL average being 718 runs. In 2010 they scored 697 runs with the NL average being 701 runs. The Giants had a +114 run differential in 2010. In 2011 the hitting collapsed with the Giants scoring just 570 runs which was dead last in the NL. . The NL average was 668 runs. They had a -8 run differential in 2011. In 2012 the Giants recovered and actually had a slightly above average offense scoring 718 runs with the NL average being 683 runs. As a team the Giants do not walk that much which partially explains their rather mundane scoring over the past few years.

                    It is well known that Sabean liked Bengie Molina because Bengie was a "run producer" and this delayed Buster Posey's becoming the Giants starting catcher in 2010 but over a month. Sabean is infamous for his cliche press conferences after signing an aging declining FA ballplayer. Sabean uses phrases below. I've added translations.

                    Professional hitter- a hitter who hits .275-.300 but doesn't draw walks or hit for power. They usually have an OBP under .340 and a slugging percentage about .400. Freddy Sanchez is the quintessential "professional hitter".

                    Proven Veteran- a ballplayer that has been in the majors for years but has never been a productive regular.

                    A Winner- A "Proven Veteran" who has played on many playoff teams but was never a major contributor to those playoff teams.

                    Clubhouse Leader- A vocal rah-rah type "Proven Veteran".

                    The Gamer!- a ballplayer who hustles and gets his uniform dirty but can't hit, field, or run particularly well. Think Eric Byrnes.
                    yes, but he gave you 2 WS titles. you have no right to complain about him for the next decade
                    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dominik View Post
                      yes, but he gave you 2 WS titles. you have no right to complain about him for the next decade
                      Actually, the players gave us Giants fans two World Series titles. Around 2005, Sabean gave up primary responsibility of running player development. After that the Giants drafted Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt, I do give Sabean credit for finding diamonds in the rough like Brian Wilson (24th round draft pick in 2003) and Sergio Romo (28th round draft pick in 2005) and Pablo Sandoval (2003, signed as amateur FA). And sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. He traded for Marco Scutaro in 2012 and Scutaro went nuts as a Giant after sucking with the Rockies for 95 games.

                      Scutaro 2012
                      Rockies: 271/.324/.361, 73 OPS+, -0.2 WAR (415 PA)
                      Giants: .362/ .385/.473 145 OPS+, 2.1 WAR (268 PA)

                      How the heck does a ballplayer go from being useless in Coors Field then turns into Charlie Gehringer?

                      My issues with Sabean is not really about his lack of sabermetics knowledge but his very poor drafting record. He took over as Giants GM in 1996. In 2012 Sandoval and Posey were selected to the NL All-Star team. They were the first Giants position players that were drafted/signed and developed by the Giants minor league system to make an NL All-Star under Brian Sabean. Previously Matt Williams was the last position player to be drafted and developed by the Giants to make an NL All-Star team,
                      Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 02-08-2013, 01:00 PM.
                      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This was the PotD back in September 2009.

                        Originally posted by digglahhh View Post
                        Billy Beane is bad for baseball... He attempts to make decisions on the basis of empirical evidence and make use of modern tools that make research, data collection and prediction easier. He privileges this view above the divine wisdom derived from the chewing tobacco stained "guts" of "baseball men." He treats baseball like the billion dollar business it is, not like astrology. This of course, is counterintuitive to the anti-intellectual, alpha male culture of the game. While this post may read as satirical, to large extent, I believe most of it to be true.

                        Beane is an iconoclast; those in his camp are a threat to the Luddites who dominate the industry. He must be maligned; it's survival. Dusty Baker and Joe Morgan MUST rail against the Beane-style paradigm. Were it to be accepted, it would mean the obsolescence of a lot of currently powerful, and highly paid individuals in the industry.
                        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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