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Last week, over at Beyond the Boxscore, I unveiled

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by new Junk Stat for measuring a manager’s level of “old-school” thought, using just sacrifice bunts (by position players) and intentional walks. Here are the numbers for the 2010 season, as well as some comparisons to this year.

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!

Rank Team Manager(s) League SH IBB TMI
1 Braves
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Bobby Cox NL 33 63 96
2 Dodgers
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Joe Torre NL 31 65 96
3 Padres
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Bud Black NL 42 51 93
4 Nationals
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Jim Riggleman NL 37 56 91
5 Mets
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Jerry Manuel NL 37 53 90
6 White Sox
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Ozzie Guillen AL 45 41 86
7 Giants
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Bruce Bochy NL 26 58 84
8 Rockies
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Jim Tracy NL 22 54 76
9 Rangers
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Ron Washington AL 47 23 70
10 Angels
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Mike Scioscia AL 37 33 70
11 Rays
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Joe Maddon AL 36 34 70
12 Orioles
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Dave Trembley
Juan Samuel
Buck Showalter
AL 26 44 70
13 Cardinals
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Tony La Russa NL 37 32 69
14 Royals
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Ned Yost AL 40 27 67
15 Tigers
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Jim Leyland AL 37 39 66
16 Athletics
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Bob Geren AL 27 28 65
17 Indians
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Manny Acta AL 30 35 65
18 Astros
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Brad Mills NL 26 39 65
19 Mariners
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Don Wakamatsu
Daren Brown
AL 33 31 64
20 Pirates
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John Russell NL 24 40 64
21 Yankees
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Joe Girardi AL 27 36 61
22 Phillies
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Charlie Manuel NL 16 42 58
23 Reds
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Dusty Baker NL 25 32 57
24 Cubs
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Lou Piniella
Mike Quade
NL 16 41 57
25 Brewers
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Ken Macha NL 16 41 57
26 Marlins
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Fredi Gonzalez
Edwin Rodriguez
NL 11 42 53
27 Diamondbacks
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A.J. Hinch
Kirk Gibson
NL 14 38 52
28 Twins
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Ron Gardenhire AL 32 19 51
29 Red Sox
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Terry Francona AL 21 28 49
30 Blue Jays
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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.

Team Manager(s) League Games SH IBB TMI SH/162 IBB/162 TMI/162
Orioles
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Dave Trembley
Juan Samuel
Buck Showalter
AL 54
51
57
4
13
9
16
18
10
20
31
19
12
41
26
48
57
28
60
98
54
Mariners
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Don Wakamatsu
Daren Brown
AL 112
50
20
13
24
7
44
20
29
42
35
23
64
65
Cubs
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Lou Piniella
Mike Quade
NL 125
37
14
2
32
9
46
11
18
9
41
39
60
48
Marlins
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Fredi Gonzalez
Edwin Rodriguez
NL 70
92
4
7
18
24
22
31
9
12
42
42
51
54
Diamondbacks
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A.J. Hinch
Kirk Gibson
NL 79
83
6
8
19
19
25
27
12
16
39
37
51
53

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.

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