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Last week, over at Beyond the Boxscore, I unveiled
The Traditional Managing Index, or TMI, is very simple. Take the number of sac bunts by position players on a team and add it to the number of intentional walks by pitchers. Then just subtract out any plays that have a positive WPA (other than sac bunts that only have a positive WPA because of an error or fielder’s choice). The result is a manager’s TMI. The higher the score, the more traditional the manager’s in-game style.
I found that overall, there seemed to be little difference between the TMIs in each league, at least so far in the 2011 season. The main difference was in the component scores. NL managers were more likely to call for intentional walks (presumably because of the added likelihood of having a pitcher on-deck), while AL managers were more likely to call for sac bunts by position players (perhaps because they have 9 position players and no pitchers in the lineup).
This year, the top 3 TMIs belong to Tony La Russa of the Cardinals, Fredi Gonzalez of the Braves, and Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox. The bottom 3 are Terry Francona of the Red Sox, Manny Acta of the Indians, and Kirk Gibson of the Diamondbacks.
What are the results from last year? To the data table!
|6||White Sox||Ozzie Guillen||AL||45||41||86|
|13||Cardinals||Tony La Russa||NL||37||32||69|
|29||Red Sox||Terry Francona||AL||21||28||49|
|30||Blue Jays||Cito Gaston||AL||12||34||46|
The top 2 guys, the now-retired Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, are not much of a surprise. Both had reputations for being old-school managers. The other two major retirees, Lou Piniella of the Cubs and Cito Gaston of the Blue Jays, came in toward the bottom of the list, with Gaston actually having the lowest TMI in baseball.
Here are the averages for 2010 in each league:
- MLB: 69 TMI (29 SH and 40 IBB)
- NL: 73 TMI (26 SH and 47 IBB)
- AL: 65 TMI (33 SH and 32 IBB)
Compare those numbers to the figures for 2011, through 6/4. These are the figures for this season extrapolated out to a full, 162-game season:
- MLB: 71 TMI (33 SH and 38 IBB)
- NL: 73 TMI (29 SH and 44 IBB)
- AL: 69 TMI (37 SH and 32 IBB).
All of this year’s increase can be attributed to more sac bunting from AL managers. We’ll see if that keeps up for a full season.
The biggest discrepancies between the 2010 list and this year’s is that the top 2 TMIs of 2011 belong to Tony La Russa and Fredi Gonzalez. In 2010, though, La Russa ranked only slightly above average, which seems counter to his over-managing philosophy. And Gonzalez’s Marlins actually ranked near the bottom of the list in 2010.
Let’s break down the individual performances of each of the managers who only controlled his team for part of 2010, to get a better idea of just how traditional Gonzalez and the others were last year. In this table, I’ve included columns that indicate the amount that each manager would have accrued over the course of a full 162-game season, at the same pace.
The Orioles split their managing duties fairly evenly among Trembley, Samuel, and Showalter, and the results were drastically different for each. Samuel was perhaps the most traditional manager in baseball last year, racking up a TMI/162 that was higher than Cox’s and Torre’s league-leading figure. Trembley and Showalter both had slightly below-average TMIs, but Trembley liked to walk hitters more, while Showalter preferred the sac bunt (relatively speaking).
The Mariners’ two managers came out as equally traditional, though Brown seemed to prefer bunting while Wakamatsu preferred intentional walks. For the Cubs, Mike Quade was unsurprisingly a bit less traditional than his mentor, Piniella. For the Marlins, Gonzalez and Rodriguez came out almost exactly the same: with a below-average TMI. The same can be said for both Diamondbacks managers, Hinch and Gibson.
In 70 games for the Marlins last year, Fredi Gonzalez called for only 4 sac bunts (way below average) and 18 intentional walks (roughly average). So far for the Braves in 2011, in 59 games, Fredi has already far surpassed those marks. He’s called for 14 sac bunts and 24 intentional walks. His TMI/162 this season is 104, which is twice as high as it was last year. Either Fredi has changed his managerial style to suit his new personnel or he is being influenced by the culture of his new team, which as you can see from Bobby Cox’s 2010 ranking, is very traditional.
Since Gonzalez is the only manager to change teams from 2010 to 2011, he’s our only data point on the relative influence of “personal style” vs. “organizational style,” but once I crunch the data for earlier years, we’ll have a better idea about this relationship.
I’ll have more on TMI in the future, here and probably on Beyond the Boxscore as well.
Tagged with: Bobby Cox Cito Gaston Fredi Gonzalez Joe Torre Lou Piniella managers Ozzie Guillen Tony La Russa Traditional Managing Index
This blog is devoted to the invention and use of unusual baseball statistics. These Junk Stats are designed to reveal the not-so-meaningful quirks that make baseball so fascinating.
JunkStats is written by Jacob Peterson, who also writes for the Braves blog Talking ChopBeyond the Boxscore
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