Over the winter, I've used this blog to examine the Cleveland Indians including individual players, components of the offense, baserunning, defense, and pitching. As we are now only one day away from Opening Day I wanted to present some information on the manager Manny Acta and share some of the metrics that Bill James tracks in his annual Bill James Handbook which are used to define a managers style more than to suggest a manager as "good" or "bad". That will always be a subject of debate among fans.
In baseball a manager often given too much credit for the success of his teams victories and takes on the brunt of the blame when his team loses. Managing a winner is often about being in the right place at the right time, as much as it is about strategy. Unfortunately, from a managerial perspective, Manny Acta has been in the wrong place at the wrong time twice in his managerial career. In 2007, he took over a struggling Washington Nationals team that finished the 2006 season at 71-91, led them an improved 79-83 record in 2007, a disastrous 2008 record of 59-102, and was fired after a 26-61 start to the 2009 season. Prior to the 2010 season, Acta interviewed with several clubs and received offers from both the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Indians. In his first season as manager, Acta led the Indians to a record of 69-93 which dropped Acta's lifetime winning percentage to .385 ( 277-345).
How much of the success or failure has been solely the responsibility of Manny Acta and how much is it the responsibility of the General Managers in Washington and Cleveland? As of now, I believe its safe to say that Manny Acta has had insufficient talent at either city to effectively judge him as a manager. With that said, let's look into some of the statistics compiled by Bill James and how the numbers relate to managing style.
Bill James offers some statistical analysis of managers in "The Bill James Handbook" which comes out following each season. James admits that the metrics used to evaluate manager are not static and they change over time. He cites the one-time ability to differentiate a manager by whether they used a four of five man rotation, whether they platooned, or whether they used their closers for more than one inning. In Bill James own words, "to measure the difference between managers, then requires constant innovation and constant questioning. We have to keep asking ourselves what it is, in our game, today, that distinguishes managers."
The statistics are broken up in a way that examines lineup utilization, substitution, starting pitching usage, relief pitching usage, tactics, and intentional walk strategy. When approaching each statistic keep in mind that the failure to do x or y isn't indicative of good or bad managing. There are many moving parts involved in each number and they are provided to more or less define the type of manager of a team for a particular season. In the Bill James Handbook managers career statistics are given and patterns do emerge over multiple roster with different styles of play.
So, as the year goes on and arguments break out on blogs, forums, and around the water cooler, let's take a moment to examine some of the metrics that could be used to judge a managers style. Finally, let's take a look at how the Bill James metrics are defined and how Manny Acta and the Indians fared relative to other AL managers over the 2010 season.
Lineups Used (LUp): defined as the number of lineups used. Acta used the second most lineups in 2010 with 142 with the league average being 124. Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox used the most lineups with 143 while Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays used the least lineups with 103. Both Boston and Cleveland may have utilized a greater number of lineups due to injuries and in Cleveland's case trades of Peralta, Branyan, and Kearns.
Platoon Percentage (Pl%): defined as the number of players in the starting lineup that have the platoon advantage. Acta's lineups had a Pl% of 63% with the league average being 60%. Joe Girardi of the New York Yankees led the league at 72% while Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays had the lowest at 42%. The New York Yankees may have such a high number because of the number of switch hitters.
Pinch Hitters Used (PH): Acta used 79 pinch hitters in 2010 with the league average being 87. Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays used the most pinch hitters with 174 while Cito Gaston of the Blue Jays used the fewest at 40.
Pinch Runners Used (PR): Acta used 20 PR in 2010 with the league average being 37. Ron Gardenhire of the Minnesota Twins used the most PR with 55 while Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers used the fewest at 11.
Defensive Substitutes Used (DU): Acta used 39 DU in 2010 with the league average being 24. Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers used the most DU with 47 and Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays used the fewest at 13.
PITCHERS USAGE STARTERS
Bill James defines a Quick Hook and a Slow Hook with a formula called damage score, which is the number of pitches thrown by a starter + 10x runs scored (92 pitches + 1 run = Damage Score of 102). The bottom 25% damage scores of games in each league are defined as Quick Hooks and the top 25% of damage scores in each league are defined as Slow Hooks.
Quick Hook: Acta had a Quick hook 44 times with the league average being 43. Bob Geren of the Oakland A's and Ron Gardenhire of the Minnesota Twins led the AL with 57 and Terry Francona had the fewest at 32.
Slow Hook: Acta had a Slow Hook 49 times with the league average being 43. Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox had the most Slow Hook games with 63 while Ron Gardenhire of the Minnesota Twins had the fewest with 28.
Long Outing (LO): A LO is defined as a game where the starting pitcher throws 110 or more pitches. Acta's Indians had 18 LO with the league average being 27. Terry Francona's Boston Red Sox had the most LO with 49 while Ron Gardenhire's Minnesotal Twins had the fewest with 5.
PITCHERS USAGE RELIEVERS
Relievers Consecutive Days (RCD): Acta used relievers on consecutive days 81 times with the league average being 84. Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays led the league with 135 RCD while Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox had the fewest with 61 RCD.
Long Saves (LS): Saves more than one inning: Acta's Indians had 6 LS with the league average being 4. Ozzie Guillen's White Sox led the league with 8 LS and Mike Scioscia's Anaheim Angels had the fewest with 0 LS.
Relievers Used (REL): Acta used 470 relievers with the league average being 438. Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays used the most REL at 491 and Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox used the fewest at 417.
Stolen Base Attempts (SBA): Acta had the Indians attempt to steal 124 times with the league average being 145. Ozzie Guillen had the Chicago White Sox attempt to steal the most bases with 234 attempts while Cito Gaston had the Toronto Blue Jays attempt to steal the fewest bases with 78.
Sacrifice Bunt Attempts (SacA): Acta had the Indians attempt to bunt 41 times with the league average being 53. Ron Washington had the Texas Rangers attempt the most sacrifice bunts with 68 while Cito Gaston had the Toronto Blue Jays attempt the fewest sacrifice bunts with 22.
Runners Moving with the Pitch (RM): Acta had the Indians RM 140 times with the league average being 154. Mike Socsia's Anaheim Angels led the league in RM with 223 while Cito Gaston's Toronto Blue Jays finished last with 88.
Pitchouts (PO): Acta called for 20 PO with the league average being 19. Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers led the league with 31 PO while Bob Geren of the Oakland A's called the fewest with 11.
Intentional Walks will be discussed in terms of frequency, good results, no good results, and bombs. The following table gives the raw data on each outcome and the percent success/failure rate.
Intentional Walks (IBB): Acta ordered 36 IBB with the league average being 33. Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox called for the most IBB's at 41 while Ron Gardenhire of the Minnesota Twins called the fewest IBB's at 19.
IBB Good Result: An IBB is deemed "good" if it leads to a double play or the team getting out of the inning without another run scoring. Acta had 17 good results with the league average being 20. Unfortunately, Acta had the lowest percentage of good results at 47.22% while the league average being 60.6%. The best percentage of good IBB results belonged to Joe Maddon at 82.35%.
No Good (NGs): An IBB is deemed "no good: if it leads to at least one more run scoring. Acta had 19 NGs with the league average was 13. Unfortunately, the Indians had the highest percentage of NGs at 52.78% with the league average being at 39.39%. Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays had the fewest NGs at 17.65%.
Bombs: An IBB is deemed a "bomb" when it leads to multiple runs scoring. Acta had 10 bombs with the league average being 7. The Indians along with Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox led the league in number of bombs while Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers led the league by not allowing any bombs. Acta's bomb% was 52.63% with the league average being 53.85%. Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox had the largest bomb% at 66.67% while Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers had the lowest at 0%.