Nationals Baseball: Day of distracting Miscellanea

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Day of distracting Miscellanea

Well let that be a lesson to every other manager. While personally I still think something was up (even an "old school" saves-crazy manager brings out Britton after Duensing, and certainly after Jimenez gives up two hits) the fact remains you should never lose a game with your best arm on the bench. Let Dusty pay attention and may this not happen to the Nats.

Mets Giants tonight. Should be a tight low-scoring affair, but then again, everyone thought the Orioles/Jays could be a slugfest.

The next two days we'll spend previewing the series (no surprise - Max is G1, roster not set yet) how about we spend today distracting ourselves with some other stuff?

Can Dusty make the HOF as a manager?

He wants to. Now of course there are African-American managers in the Hall of Fame, but they were elected as players.  You could argue Frank, as the first and a credible one, might have gone in anyway but that's hypothetical. Dusty didn't go in as a player. Could he go in as a manager? The Post focuses on wins but let's look at it 3 ways and see how Dusty stacks up.

1) Titles & Post-Season Performance.  There is a clear line you can cross here to get into the Hall. Win 3 or more titles and you are in (Bochy is only one who isn't and he will be). There's also a clear line you need to cross to have a chance to get in. Win 1 or you're done. Only one post-war manager (we're talking 70 years now) has made it into the Hall without winning a title, Al Lopez. He did make the WS twice, losing both times. That may not seem impressive but here's the rub. From 1949 through 1964 the Yankees made the series 14 out of 16 times. The other two were Lopez, managing two different teams. He would actually finish 2nd to the Yankees NINE times. I'm sure there is a bit of understanding there on why he may not have won more titles

So where's Dusty at? Zero titles. 1 pennant. a .422 post season winning percentage which is on the low side. There's nothing here that would make Dusty a HOFer

2) Winning Percentage. Well what about if he just won a lot. Our new friend Al Lopez had a winning percentage of .584. That's 9th best all time. 8th if you set say... 1000 games as a base for consideration (that's about 6 1/2 old 154 game seasons). Using 1000 games as the limit 13 of the top 12 guys are in. The one guy who isn't is Jim Mutrie a guy who managed his last game in 1891. Matheny is a season away from qualifying. Then it's Davey at .562.

Where is Dusty? Down at .529.  Some active coaches with better percentages over more than a few seasons - Francona, Maddon, Mattingly, Scioscia, Girardi... It's not a bad percentage (78th all time) but it's not great either. Basically it doesn't get him in, but it doesn't disqualify him either.  It can do that you know - like for multiple WS managers  like Cito Gaston's .519 or Tom Kelly's abysmal .478.*

So what does Dusty have going for him? 

3) Wins. Dusty is currently 17th and given another year will likely pass two more to get to 15th. The top 11 in total wins are all in. Most are really good and have winning percentages to go with it. The ones that don't are Connie Mack, who managed an insane amount of games; Bucky Harris, a lifetime baseball guy who managed the Senators to a title as player-manager when he was 27 and broke the Red Sox color line when he took over for Cronin at GM; and Casey Stengel , who did win 7 championships.

But it's dicey in this area. You can understand why Mauch (.483 WP%, no pennants) isn't in, but then you have Piniella (.517, 1 pennant, 1 WS), Leyland (.506, 3, 1), Houk (.514, 3, 2)  who aren't in.  Dusty will have them on wins and winning percentage** but they are winning managers and with no titles can Dusty beat them in the comparison game?

What I think it comes down to is this - Dusty can win a World Series. That would probably be enough given his wins and winning percentage combination. Failing that he can manage three more seasons and get over 2000 wins (ave 78 wins per year would do it) putting him clearly ahead of these others.  

The Nats have MOY, ROY, MVP, and CY Young candidates. How crazy is that?

How crazy is that indeed? I wanted to look at this and I wanted to look at it a specific way. First I was going to cut out MOY from the discussion, to make searching easier. Likely if you have a ROY, MVP, and CY candidates you are going to get some MOY votes. Also these need to be distinct awards, so a team like the 2016 Dodgers where Corey Seager is their ROY and MVP candidate, don't count.

So I went back to 1956 when the Cy Young award started (or else I'd have to pour over every player to decide who might have gotten votes) and I looked for any team that had a top 3 vote getter in each award. On one hand that may be too reductive - a 4th place MVP guy could be a deserving MVP who got jilted. Then again, if you only got 4th place, were you really a candidate? We're not asking about top players, we're asking about potential award winners. It's different. A lot of good players on bad teams won't win the MVP and that's just the way it is.

A few other points the Cy Young wasn't separate until 1967 so the odds were a lot tougher at the start to get a guy in there. Also the voting was just one vote for Cy Young until 1970 and ROY until 1980. That again makes it tougher because you didn't have 2nd or 3rd place guys in obvious years.

OK so what did I find.

1965 Dodgers - Koufax (1st CY), Jim Lefebvre (1st ROY), Maury Willis (3rd MVP) : ROY should have went to Morgan. Koufax actually outpaced Willis for MVP finishing 2nd to Mays

1967 Red Sox - Yaz (1st MVP), Jim Lonborg (1st CY), Reggie Smith (2nd ROY) : Lucky to be here as Carew got 19 of 20 ROY votes.

1971 Oakland - Blue (1st CY), Angel Mangual (3rd ROY), Bando (2nd MVP) : Again the MVP candidate was outpaced by the Cy Young - Blue won MVP.

getting tired of looking...

1973 San Fran - Gary Matthews (1st ROY), Ron Bryant (3rd CY), Bobby Bonds (3rd MVP).

1974 Texas - Hargrove (1st ROY), Jenkins (2nd CY), Jeff Burroughs (1st MVP)

1978 Brewers - Larry Hisle (3rd MVP), Mike Caldwell (2nd CY), Molitor (2nd ROY)

1980 Phillies - Schmidt (1st MVP), Carlton (1st CY), Lonnie Smith (3rd ROY)

more tired...

1983 Baltimore - Ripken, Palmer, Murray &
1983 St Louis - Lonnie Smith, Sutter, McGee

at this point I started going backward thinking maybe with more teams that would make a difference and I wouldn't be seeing one every 3 years or so.

2013 Cardinals - Molina, Wainwright,Shelby Miller

2010 Cardinals - Pujols, Wainwright,  Jaime Garcia 

2006 Twins - Morneau, Santana, Liriano

2005 Yankees - A-Rod, Rivera, Cano

I want to stop but I'm close now - let's fill in the gap

1985 Cardinals - McGee, John Tudor, Coleman &
1985 Dodgers - Pedro Guerrero, Hershiser, Mariano Duncan,

1988 Oakland - Canseco, Eckersley, Weiss &
1988 Dodgers - Gibson, Hershiser, Tim Belcher

1991 Pirates - Bonds/Bonilla, John Smiley, Orlando Merced

1993 White Sox - Thomas, McDowell, Jason Bere &
1993 Braves - Justice, Maddux/Glavine, Greg McMichael

1997 Mariners - Griffey, Randy Johnson, Jose Cruz (traded mid-season to Toronto)

2000 A's - Giambi, Hudson, Terrance Long

2001 Mariners - Boone, Freddy Garcia, Suzuki (also won MVP)

Aaaaaaaaaaaand done. OK so the end result is -  It's not rare at all. I imagine that you get a boost being on a good team and that enough to throw votes your way such that you can finish in the top 3 even if you don't really deserve it.  Like in 2013 - Wainwright was a deserving Top 3 finisher but Molina wasn't and Miller wasn't. They had good seasons sure but there were a handful of better MVP and ROY candidates that these guys should have been more 5-10 ish than Top 3. It was rare that looking at Cy Young and ROY (which have fewer votes choices so smaller lists) that I didn't find at least one team to check on MVP list.

Now - how many worthy candidates (that might not have gotten votes) is another question. Because that's really what the Nats have this year. But I'll leave that to someone with more time.

*Can't be "worst to first" without being worst first!  

**The next guy with as high a winning percentage not in the Hall and not active is Davey. Again I totally think Davey (.562, 1372 wins) should be in too. First in fact. 


Anonymous said...

Evaluating a manager based on winning percentage is flawed. Jim Leyland managed some awful Pittsburgh Pirate teams that would finish far below .500 regardless of who managed it.

Talent is the biggest determinant in winning games. Seems like there should be a stat that combines a winning percentage and overall team WAR. Is there such a stat?

John C. said...

For the 1965 Dodgers, I believe that you meant "Maury Wills" not "Maury Willis." I'm old enough to remember the tail end of Wills's career - he was a fast, fast man. He stole 50 & 42 bases in his age 35 and 36 seasons. Now, that's partially because he ran a lot - over those two seasons he was thrown out 42 times for a 69% success rate. Not great, but workable because of the suppressed run environment of the times - and remarkable for a player entering his late 30's. But in his prime? Yowza. In his MVP season (1962, age 29 season) he stole 104 bases and was only caught 13 times. A smooth 88.9% success rate when everyone knew he was running.

SM said...

Of all those teams with multiple award-worthy talents, only four--'65 and '88 Dodgers; '80 Phillies and '83 Orioles--won the World Series. (All pre-Wild Card, incidentally.)

A number of others made it to the World Series but lost ('67 Red Sox, 2013 Cards, '88 Athletics).

It's a reminder, yet again, of how significantly the regular season results can differ--the unpredictability; the proverbial crap-shoot--from playoff results.

Harper said...

Anon @ 8:49 - YOu could look here - data is from post-2011 I think though, so it misses a couple Dusty years.

It seems though that the stat community threw up their hands at this problem. A lot of what a manager does is intangible or of marginal benefit

JC - I did. For some reaons I always get that wrong. I assume his youth was like a young Vince Coleman, who went 107 and 14 in his 2nd year. The amazing thing there is he only got on base through hit.walk, hbp 201 times and he stole 107 bases! Also went 50 in a row without getting caught from 1988-1989 (which makes you wonder what happened the second half of 1989 where his success rate must have been around 60%)

Harper said...

SM - I'm more curious about the 1974 Rangers that only won 84 games (and Pythag had them at 79!) just a terrible back of the rotation and pen.

SM said...

Texas in 1974: 23-13 in 1-run games.

Texas in 2016: 95-67
Pythagorean: 82-80
1-run games: 36-11

Draw your own conclusions. ;

Ole PBN said...

I tend to agree that a lot of what a manager brings to the table is intangibles - can't be statistically calculated. Take Bobby Valentine, who went to a WS with the Mets, but finished dead last with the Red Sox in 2012. Conversely, Tito had Boston within a division title before an epic collapse down the stretch the year before. And after Valentine got the can, Farrell brought home a ring in 2013. Talent has always been in Boston, depends on who is at the helm sometimes. I think everyone can agree that this is the case for our beloved Nats as well (i.e. Davey/MW/Dusty). Far more important to look at a personality and leadership qualities and see if it fits for your clubhouse - not all about the resume.

Anonymous said...

13 of the top 12 guys!

SM said...

Ole PBN--Francona's is an interesting case. That 2011 chicken-and-beer,"epic collapse" left the Red Sox in third place with 90 wins.

For generations of Red Sox fans, failure had gone to their heads. After 8 years of Tito--Junior, actually; Tito was Terry's daddy--success went to their heads.

Except for his first 4 miserable years in Philadelphia, Francona's teams have never finished under .500.

His overall record is 1389-1209, or .533. Better than Dusty's. Since leaving Philadelphia, Francona's teams are 1096-846, or .564 . . . and 2 World Series championships. Much better than Dusty's.

Epic collapse or not, Francona's (potential) HOF credentials are much more impressive than Dusty's.

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered why the Nats didn't try (or maybe they did) to hire him after the 2011 season.

Richard Parker said...

*you "pore" over every player, not "pour." Unless you're looking for a rainout.

Donald said...

When voting, should the hall take into account a guy's full career in baseball and add weight to managers like Dusty or Davey that were also decent players? Why judge them independently as one or the other? Why not look at their overall impact on the game?

Richard Parker said...

@Donald. Because it's important for a guy like Dusty (who already didn't make it as a player) to be inducted solely as a black manager, which has never been done before. Just another barrier to finally be broken, considering how long it took baseball to finally give blacks a chance to manage major league teams. I don''t know if you remember Al Campanis's infamous remarks to Ted Koppel in 1987, but he said: "No, I don't believe it's prejudice. I truly believe that they may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager." And: "Well, I don't say that all of them, but they certainly are short. How many quarterbacks do you have? How many pitchers do you have that are black?"

Unfortunately, that was way too common of a sentiment until the pat 15 years or so.

Richard Parker said...

So after tonight's game I guess it doesn't really matter when you put your best pitcher in, does it? I love how Harper always says that the manager really means very little for the success of a team but is the first to criticize a manager for how he decides whom to pitch in any given situation.

Nattydread said...

Actually, the intangibles are important. Yes, we agree we can't measure them. On a team full of people making millions of dollars, manny with massive egos, it does take a particular set of skill to keep people focused on the goals and, yes, even in baseball, working together. Its a very long season.

John C. said...

Richard Parker, you are misunderstanding the point. No move guarantees success; neither life nor baseball works that way. What a manager should do is to maximize the chance for success/minimize the chance for failure by having the best pitcher on the mound in the highest leverage situations. Collins did that last night, Showalter failed over and over in that situation the night before.