From a Baseball Prospectus chat last August with Braves Director of Baseball Administration John Coppolella:
stydings (NJ): “What are your thoughts on the Heyward/Constanza playing time situation?”
John Coppolella: “I don’t think that’s my place to comment. Fredi Gonzalez and his staff have done an outstanding job and, like every Braves fan, their goal is to win as many games as possible.”
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but notice Coppolella did not try to rationalize the decision with “Heyward’s been hurt and it’s good to give him rest” or “Constanza is playing well and we need to get him in the lineup.” He just said he didn’t think it wasn’t his place to comment.
I have to think the front office is looking for a way out at this point, right?
It’s one thing to sit Heyward. But the reason Fredi gives is that it’s to basically try out Francisco? Not because he needs a day off or they want to rest him. To try out another player who is obviously inferior?
Then down one-run late, Fredi goes with Livan? Does Medlen need two days rest? Could he not go one inning before turning it over to the Big Three? Where was Christian Martinez?
He’s a horrible horrible manager that wasn’t vetted at all. There was a reason the Marlins fired him. He needs to get smart fast because throwing these games away is not cool. His job isn’t hard. Just put players in the right position. I want one game that I can just blame only the players.
You make some good points Walker, but I can’t agree when you say “His job isn’t hard.” I’ve never been an MLB manager (and I’m guessing you haven’t either) but I think it would be a pretty difficult task. It’s the kind of thing that looks easy from the armchair, but coaching comes with a lot of pressure and stress.
But, yeah, his use of Durbin and Livan is all wrong. Plus it’s ridiculous that Constanza has 3 ABs while David Ross is yet to swing a bat. Yes, Ross is our only backup catcher, but I think it would be a good gamble to give him a shot at some of the clutch pinch-hitting opportunities.
What is Fredi going to do if we are in a close game? He hasn’t used Venters or O’Flaherty much nor Kimbrel at all. Can we expect them to be sharp if they are used? I think Fredi has gone too much in the opposite direction to ease the critics from last year.
George, I was thinking about this last night. It seems Fredi has no sort of baseball sense to realize what to do without deferring to either tradition or criticism.
In the majors a manager should just know how to make the best decisions simply because they are the optimal decision, in terms of winning baseball games. Forget conventional wisdom and forget criticism. Your job is to win.
Unfortunately in baseball, with the press “second guessing” possibility, I don’t know of any manager that does “manage to the save rule”.
Even if the best situation to use your “strike out” pitcher who also happens to be your “closer” is in the 7th inning when you have a two run lead, no one out and men on first and second, managers won’t use their “closer” (i.e. best pitcher) because if the guy they might use afterward in the ninth inning blows the save, they will get questions about it and articles will be written and talk radio will blow up and…
If there was no “save” stat, it might now be this way…
But with it, you have to “designate a closer” and tell the media who it is, why you didn’t use them in the last “save situation”, etc….
If you don’t like Wren, with our budget, maybe we should look into bringing Billy Beane to Atlanta (most likely won’t happen since he is a minority owner in Oakland)… He is used to getting by on a small payroll…
How would you feel about having Terry Francona replace Fredi?
Or do you think there needs to be a “Valentine effect” manager to shake the place up?
Everybody is talking about firing Fredi, but not about replacing him…
Let’s hear some ideas… And “anybody but Fredi” doesn’t count…
As to the “save stat”, I think the players association would fight removing it… useful in contract negoations….
Along that line, RBI is somewhat of a joke when it comes to determining effectiveness of a player… it depends on too many other players… i.e. if there was a fundimentally sound OF w/ a good arm in the field, if there was a speedy guy vs. a slow guy at third when you hit your fly ball with less than two outs, all can contribute as to whether or not you get an RBI w/o an AB or if you just lower your batting average and hit into another double-play…
The team that finished in the “Sept collapse” is the same one that started decently the first five days:
On April 5, their record was 3-2
Over the next five days, they won 1, lost 4 and fell to 4-6
During the next five days, they were 1-2 putting them at 5-8
By April 20, they were 8-11
By May 1, their winning pct for the season was .483.
Then, it started to improve:
May 2 to June 1 – .607 winning pct. (.544 overall)
June 2 to July 1 – .567 winning pct. (.552 overall)
July 2 to Aug 1 – .652 winning pct. (.573 overall)
Aug 2 to Sept 1 – .692 winning pct. (.596 overall)
Then came September…
So please excuse me if I am not “glooming and dooming” the season yet. They were better in the second half of Spring Training than they were in the first half…
They were mediocre starting the season last year, then they picked it up after April…
I don’t expect Uggla to have as poor a first half as he did last year…
I am willing to give Heyward a little time…
I don’t expect JJ and Hanson to go down again this year…
I expect Huddy to be a little more rested late in the year since he is starting later…
We don’t have “anchor Lowe” dragging down the rotation…
Yep. Don’t look at RBI for individual hitters, saves or pitcher wins. Those are the big three that are commonly used but baseball would be better off ignoring. Pitcher wins and RBI because they are greatly influenced by opportunities. Saves because pitchers often face more important situations earlier than the last inning and even mediocre major league pitchers can get three outs before a team scores 2-3 runs most of the time.
Also, weigh OBP higher than batting average. OBP measure how often a hitter gets on versus makes an out, essentially. Batting average is just hits in at-bats (non-walk, non-sac plate appearances). Obviously measuring out avoidance is much more important.
And look at slugging in conjunction with OBP and batting average. It does no good to treat a single or a walk the same as a double or a homerun.
Going back to saves, there is no reason teams should save their best reliever in hopes that a save might happen if a situation calls for him to pitch earlier in the game when the game is tied and his team desperately needs to prevent a run or the game’s over.
Just a little manifesto of the way I look at the game that will show up in my blog posts.
I’d take Francona in a heartbeat. I’ve been saying this since last year: I don’t trust Fredi’s baseball smarts. His handling of Heyward is the perfect example. Or his use of Constanza this year (let alone last year). Or his bullpen management. Or his crazy lineups last year (Agon in the 2 hole, anyone?).
Was just on a Phillies board, and somebody was claiming Charlie Manuel’s in-game managing was the worst in baseball. The immediate response from another Phillies poster: Do you really think he’s worse than Fredi Gonzalez?