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There were 33 of them this season - three have already been replaced (Price, Matheny, Banister), two of them with interim place-holders. We know the Blue Jays and Rangers will definitely be looking for someone new for next year. The Reds probably will as well (interim skipper Jim Riggelman is described as a candidate for next year, but he's also 65 years old.)  Maybe the Angels and Royals will make a change. Probably the Orioles. Maybe the Mets.

The Blue Jays have hired 11 managers in franchise history (two of them they hired twice), and nine of those men had never managed in the major leagues before getting the Toronto job. Only two of the nine would get a managerial job with another organization when they were finished in Toronto (Jimy Williams and John Farrell.)  And the two guys the Jays hired who did have major league managerial experience didn't exactly have distinguished resumes. Bobby Cox had managed in Atlanta for four years, and finished above .500 once. Barely (81-80). Jim Fregosi had been taken on by three different teams as a mid-season replacement, and managed for parts of thirteen seasons. Just three of those thirteen teams posted a winning record.

But I was mostly curious about what this year's 33 had been in the bloom of youth, when they were  players. Were they scrappy middle infielders? (the ten managers with the most wins all-time includes eight former infielders) Or were they old catchers? (Connie Mack was a catcher, and he won more games than anyone. Of course, he owned the team.)

In 2018 they were probably old catchers, especially if they worked in the American League. No less than nine of the sixteen men who managed in the AL this year were catchers in their playing days. All but one of those nine was a career backup. The exception, of course, was Mike Scioscia who spent  ten years as a regular and played in two All-Star games. But Cash, Gibbons, Yost, Melvin, Hinch, Servais, Banister, and Wakamatsu have exactly one 100 game season between them (Hinch.) 

The other seven AL managers were all infielders. Paul Molitor, the most distinguished player of the current crop of active managers, played all over the diamond. When he was an everyday defensive player he was mostly a third baseman. So was Aaron Boone, who played in one All-Star Game. Terry Francona was a first-baseman/outfielder (just like his father.)  Buck Showalter never played in the majors - he was a minor league first-baseman. Three AL managers were backup middle infielders - Rick Renteria was mainly a second-baseman.  Alex Cora and Ron Gardenhire played both short and second, but both played more often at shortstop.

Molitor, of course, is in the Hall of Fame as a player, which makes him unique among today's managers. It used to be common for Hall of Fame players to try their hand at managing. Not any more - I think the last before Molitor to give it a shot was Ryne Sandberg. Before Sandberg, I think we have to go all the way back to Frank Robinson. (Alan Trammell's in the Hall now, but he wasn't when he was managing the Tigers.)

Things were much more interesting in the National League, where only four former catchers had managerial jobs to start the season, and one of them didn't make it through to the end. That would be Mike Matheny, who actually won a pair of Gold Gloves in his time as a good-field no-hit backstop. Bruce Bochy was a career backup, Joe Maddon and Brian Snitker never made it to the majors.

The NL had five former infielders working as managers, including a former MVP. That was the old Yankee first baseman, Don Mattingly. Jim Riggelman was a minor league third baseman who never made it to the majors. Craig Counsell had a long, long career playing mostly second base; Torey Lovullo and Andy Green were also second baseman who didn't do much to distinguish themselves as major league players.

The NL opened the season with four former outfielders and three former pitchers managing teams. The AL didn't have any of either. Of the four former outfielders, Dave Martinez had the best playing career, although Dave Roberts had the most memorable moment. Gabe Kapler and Clint Hurdle both had memorable magazine covers, if not a whole lot else. (Well, that's a little unfair to Kapler who played in 12 seasons and was a regular for a few of them.)

Bud Black had by far the best career of the former pitchers now managing - Black won 121 games in his long career, 2 of them for 1990 Blue Jays. Mets manager Mickey Callaway went 4-11 in bits and pieces of five AL seasons, and Bryan Price never made it to the majors. Nor did he last very long in Cincinnati this season.

Terry Francona is definitely going to the Hall of Fame for his managerial accomplishments and it's going to be hard to keep Bruce Bochy out even though the last two troubled years in San Francisco have dropped his career record below .500. If Bochy returns for his 25th season in the dugout, he'll probably become just the 11th man to manage 2000 victories. Plus he's got three WS titles and every manager with three WS titles (you know, as many as Earl Weaver, Bobby Cox, and Leo Durocher combined) is in the Hall.

Let's add it up:

Catcher (13) - Scioscia, Melvin, Hinch, Cash, Gibbons, Servais, Banister, Wakamatsu, Matheny, Bochy, Maddon, Snitker
First Base (3) - Mattingly, Francona, Showalter
Second Base (4) - Counsell, Lovullo, Renteria, Green
Third Base (3) - Molitor, Boone, Riggelman
Shortstop (2) - Cora, Gardenhire
Left Field (0) - Left fielders do not normally become managers, Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella notwithstanding. Left fielders are usually thinking about their next time at bat.
Centre Field (3) - Martinez, Roberts, Kapler
Right Field (1) - Hurdle
Pitcher (3) - Black, Callaway, Price

That's 32 of the 33 men who managed in the majors this season. The last guy is Mike Shildt of the Cardinals. Shildt never played professional ball. Shildt wasn't good enough to play regularly at the college level. He spent three years as a backup infielder at UNC-Asheville. He says he managed to hit some foul balls.

Of the eleven Blue Jays managers, Buck Martinez had a very long career as a major league catcher (17 seasons) and John Gibbons had a very short one (18 games.) Jim Fregosi, who was easily the best player of any Jays manager, and Bobby Mattick were shortstops, Roy Hartsfield, Tim Johnson, and Jimy Williams were utility infielders. Bobby Cox was a third baseman, with bad knees even then. Cito Gaston was a centre fielder, John Farrell was a pitcher. Carlos Tosca never played pro ball. He played first base and pitched in high school and college.
The 2018 Managers | 41 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
uglyone - Wednesday, September 26 2018 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#366340) #
God bless, Gibby.

You gave us a touch of class.
hypobole - Wednesday, September 26 2018 @ 11:46 PM EDT (#366343) #
Rarely you see a parting that seems this amicable. The presser (at least the part I watched) seemed more like a retirement than a manager being relieved with term still on his contract.
dan gordon - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 02:56 AM EDT (#366345) #
One of the key jobs for the new manager over the next 2-3 years will be sorting through the large number of players vying for playing time at various positions. Some managers the Jays have had in the past have seemed to make strange decisions in this aspect of team management. I'm sure that's something that's true for many other teams as well. There are very few positions on the Jays that seem to be spoken for, and a wealth of candidates of somewhat questionable talents. Some of this logjam will be alleviated at the GM level with players traded, released, bought out, lost in the Rule 5, non-tendered, etc., but much will depend on the manager's judgement of who he thinks can/should play. Hoping they get a guy who is a good judge of talent.
Petey Baseball - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#366347) #
If you read the tea leaves, I think Shapiro's absence at Gibbons' farewell press conference is telling. From his public comments, it appears to me at least that Atkins was quite fond of the skipper and would have been fine with him going forward.
AWeb - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 08:49 AM EDT (#366348) #
Are any of the minor league managers the Jays have worth considering for the big job? I follow the minor leaguers somewhat, but the coaches and managers are unknown to me.
ayjackson - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#366349) #
Maybe the tea leaves indicate that Shapiro is on his way out next week and it's time for Atkins to be the lone face of Jays management.
PeterG - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#366350) #
Maybe the tea leaves mean nothing at all. There is no reason for the President to be at Gibbons news conference.
Cracka - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#366351) #
Are any of the minor league managers the Jays have worth considering for the big job?

John Schneider, without a doubt. Has managed league champions the past two seasons (New Hampshire, Dunedin) and in Vancouver in 2011. He's been with the big league club since New Hampshire's season ended.

Ken Huckaby is also a strong candidate with more MLB experience (but less managerial experience) than Schneider.

Casey Candaele's name has been suggested as a future MLB manager - he was a 1B coach with the Mariners before taking the manager job in Dunedin.

Eric Wedge has over 1600 games as MLB manager and interviewed for the Yankees job last year. He is certainly trusted by the FO.

I suspect each of these guys will be considered and maybe even interviewed for the job along with a bunch of outside candidates, hopefully including Stubby Clapp who has been AAA manager of the year the past two seasons with the Cardinals (including two league titles).
hypobole - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#366352) #
Any guesses as to whether any of the coaching staff is retained? I imagine the one guy fans would love to see gone is Rivera.

Fans always want to see their 3rd base coaches gone, unless they are wizards at other things a la Butterfield.
PeterG - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#366353) #
I would be surprised if many of the coaches are back, Walker being the most realistic possibility.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#366354) #
Isn't being comfortable, maybe even fluent, speaking Spanish a requirement?
hypobole - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#366355) #
Isn't being comfortable, maybe even fluent, speaking Spanish a requirement?

I would hope so.
Magpie - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#366356) #
Fans always want to see their 3rd base coaches gone, unless they are wizards at other things a la Butterfield.

Word. The only part of the job that we actually see is when the guy is waving runners around, but the vast majority of his time is spent doing other stuff.

That said, the 2018 Blue Jays do not seem to have been particularly good at running the bases. No AL team has made more outs on the bases, and it's not like the Jays were leading the league in getting people on base in the first place. And they certainly weren't aggressively taking lots of extra bases. They were the AL team least likely to take an extra base on a single or double. No AL team was less likely to score a runner from first on a double, only one team (Seattle) was less likely to have the runner go first to third on a single, only three teams (Chicago, KC, Boston) were less likely to score the man from second on a single.
uglyone - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#366358) #
fluency in corporate babble is also a plus.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#366359) #
John Gibbons wasn't even fluent in English and he is viewed favourably...
uglyone - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#366360) #
Magpie - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#366361) #
So now I'm looking into the nuts and bolts of Toronto's baserunning in 2018, and while it was a long, long way from being the team's biggest problem... it was a problem.

The average AL team went 1st to 3rd on a single 29.7% of the time, with Minnesota the most successful at 33.3% (89 times in 267 opportunities.) As noted, Toronto was the least likely team to do this, managing it just 26.5% of the time (63 times in 238 opportunities - both the least times achieved, and the second worst success rate.) Four Blue Jays were pretty good - Teoscar Hernandez, Kevin Pillar, Devon Travis, and Russell Martin. Justin Smoak, as you might expect, was dreadful - but so were Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz. Kendrys Morales was more likely to go first to third to any of those guys.

The average AL team scored the runner from first on a double 41.0% of the time. Once again the Twins did it more often than anyone else and with an excellent success rate (51 times in 103 opportunities, 49.5%). Only the Royals had a better success rate (39 for 78.) The Jays were dead last in both categories. They scored just 24 runners from first in 98 chances, and 24.5% is also the worst success rate. The sample sizes for individuals are pretty small, but Pillar and Hernandez still look pretty good.

The average AL team scored the runner from second base on a single 58.3% of the time. Once again the Twins did it more often than anyone else and again they had the best success rate (105 times in 163 opportunities, 64.4%.) Only one team (Chicago) scored the runner from second less often than Toronto, who cashed the man 79 times in 142 chances, 55.6%; just three teams had a worse success rate (Chicago, Kansas City, Boston.) Two Jays were good at scoring in this situation, and yup, it was Pillar and Hernandez. Two Jays were pretty close to league average, Devon Travis and... Justin Smoak? Smoak? Really? Sample size warnings apply to just about everyone else - Martin and Solarte were pretty bad. Grichuk, Diaz, Maile were pretty good.
hypobole - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#366363) #
I know hit-and-run stats are kept, never seen them publicly available, but we seemed to have a lot of runners thrown out this year in those situations.
Chuck - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#366364) #
Going from 1st to 3rd isn't as easy it looks. You have to make sure you don't trip over the mound.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#366365) #
Who are the Jays' best runners?
Kevin Pillar and Randal Grichuk are it.
Who are the Jays, slowest runners?
Almost everyone else, although some runners the bases well enough. Jays in last place here? Oh yeah.
PeterG - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#366367) #
Teoscar Hernandez is also a fast and proficient baserunner though people only seem to want to dump on him. I don't know if we can count Davis and Alford as they are not current regulars. Gurriel and Urena seem to have above average speed from 1st to 3rd but neither are base stealers. I would agree that this is an area of improvement that needs to be addressed.
Magpie - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#366368) #
Good baserunning is one part legs and equally big part brains - knowing how fast you are, knowing how fast the fielder can get the ball to the target base, and the likelihood that he'll get it there accurately. Russell Martin wasn't taking extra bases with his legs. I remember one year Jose Bautista was better going first to third than anyone else on the team - a team which included Jose Reyes, who was much, much faster.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#366369) #
In order to complete the baserunning picture, you need to count the number of outs made while advancing as well as the number of bases advanced.  You also need to know where the singles went, with expected advancement rates quite different on singles to right and left field.

Here is the Statcast Blue Jay sprint speed leaderboard.  Teoscar Hernandez still leads.  I am surprised to see that Reese McGuire is at almost league average.  He looks slower than Maile or Martin to me.
Magpie - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#366370) #
I suspect that Diaz' problem on the bases this season (no one made more outs) were a combination of a) not being quite as fast as he thought he was, especially after the ankle sprain in May, and b) being new to the league.
snowman - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#366371) #
Magpie, those are interesting (and distressing) baserunning stats. An area where improvement might be easy to make. But I wonder how much of the inability to take extra bases could be explained by how fast the ball moves on the turf. Do stats like that have home / road splits?
Magpie - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#366372) #
I'm not aware of H/R splits for this. I think the Jays may been running the bases somewhat conservatively this year - they had a whole bunch of people playing their first full year in the AL (Grichuk, Diaz, Solarte, Hernandez) who maybe weren't sure what they could and couldn't do.

Luis Rivera may have been a little over-aggressive with some of his slow guys. Smoak and Martin made 11 outs on the bases between them, and 8 of them (4 apiece) were at home plate.

And Billy McKinney's already made more outs on the bases than anyone on the team except Diaz and Smoak? Yup.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#366373) #
I don't remember all of McKinney's outs on the bases, but one of them was on a play he beat by a mile and perhaps came off the bag slightly , was called safe and then out on replay.  He'll learn that one soon enough- he didn't need to go in as hard as he did- and with the replay, there's a downside to it. 
Magpie - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#366374) #
I kind of suspect that if you have a player who makes most of his outs on the bases at home, that's something you might hang on the third base coach. I doubt if Smoak and Martin were running through Rivera's stop sign too often.

Just for fun, I went back and looked at the 1993 team. Which I remember as having four guys who were really good on the bases (Alomar, White, Molitor, Carter) and a bunch of other guys who proceeded with extreme caution. And... yeah, that's about right. The team didn't make many outs, and they took the extra base more than average. Those four led the way on the bases, along with Fernandez (who did make more outs than he should - always an issue with Tony) and Alfredo Griffin. Alfredo, of course, was the most daring and aggressive baserunner in the history of baseball. Even when he was 35 years old.
Magpie - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#366375) #
Remember when Alfredo came back in 1993 for his final season? Second game of the year in Seattle. Leiter pitches 7 shutout innings, the Jays go ahead 1-0 in the 8th. In the ninth, Olerud makes it to second with one out and Alfredo comes off the bench to run. Seattle walks Ward to set up the DP and Sprague hits a grounder to third. They don't turn the DP and Alfredo scores from second base on the infield out. 35 years old! No one like him.
hypobole - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#366376) #
If you are the third base coach and there are 2 outs, sending the runner with only a 1 in 3 chance of scoring is still the right play.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#366377) #
If you are the third base coach and there are 2 outs, sending the runner with only a 1 in 3 chance of scoring is still the right play.

Obviously, it's dependent on the game situation.  With 2 outs and a runner on 2nd in the ninth and down by 2 runs, it's a bad play.  In fact, I would guess that in most situations, 1-3 is too low to make it a good percentage play. 

Win expectancy does not normally boil down to the chance of one run scoring.  If it did, there would be a lot more bunting in the game.
Jevant - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#366378) #
I legit LOL'd at this.
hypobole - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#366379) #
You're right Mike, in some situations like late and multiple runs needed it's definitely a bad play.

But the chances of scoring any runs with a man on third and 2 out used to be under 27%. I'm guessing even less now as scoring keeps dropping. So around 1 in 3 is a general break even point. And in a walkoff situation, around 1 in 4 is probably the break even.
dan gordon - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#366380) #
Many years ago, I copied a small chart from one of Bill James' Abstracts showing the average number of runs that score for a given combination of outs and base runners. I forget which year's Abstract it was, so I'm not sure how similar the numbers are to what they would be now, although I doubt there is a huge difference. The average number of runs that score with just a runner at 3rd and 2 outs was 0.382. That would indicate a break even point for gambling on the runner scoring of about 40%. Of course, it's different if there are other runners on base, because you have a better chance of scoring multiple runs. If, for example, you have runners at 1st and 2nd, and the batter hits a single, if you play it safe and hold the runner at 3rd, you now have bases loaded with 2 out, and the average number of runs scoring in that scenario was 0.798, so you would need about an 80% chance of success in order to justify waving the runner home. If you are looking at a 2nd and 3rd and 2 out scenario, the average number of runs scored is 0.661, so you would want a 2/3 chance of success, and if it is 1st and 3rd, 2 outs, 0.494, so a 50% chance would be needed. Of course you also have to consider things like who the next batter is, who is pitching, who might come in from the bullpen. You've got a lot of factors you have to consider when you're coaching 3rd. I coach 3rd a fair bit in slo-pitch, when I'm not coming up soon in the batting order, and it requires some thinking ahead if you really want to do it well.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#366381) #
I ran the math using Greg Stoll's win expectancy charts for the top of the 1st, no score, two outs,  runner on 2nd.  The break-even point is 49.3% success rate.  It would obviously be significantly higher with runners on first and second.

In top of the fifth ,tie game,  two outs, runner on second, the break-even point is 21.9%.  In the top of the fifth, visitors down 1 with runners on first and second and two out, the break-even point on the play at the plate is 66.7%. 
scottt - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#366382) #
That would still depends on who the next hitter is, but maybe not that much.
It's so much more satisfying to score 1 run before the 9th hitter come to the plate than to let the 9th hitter make the last out so the next inning starts from the top.

Do we have stats on scoring from third with less than 2 outs?

Also, if the Twins and the Royals are the best at something, that might not be the most important thing out there. They have lots of young guys who can run but are not great baseball players.

Magpie - Thursday, September 27 2018 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#366384) #
Also, if the Twins and the Royals are the best at something, that might not be the most important thing out there.

No kidding. Meanwhile the Red Sox amble peacefully from station to station...
scottt - Friday, September 28 2018 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#366388) #
The Red Sox. Sure. The Jays currently have speedy outfielders, not as good as Boston's obviously. Does it matter if J. D. Martinez runs the bases better than Morales? That's seems like a moot point. Same with first base. I don't think it matters much if Mitch Moreland runs the bases better than Smoak.
 Catchers? I'll take Jansen and McGuire over Leon and Vasquez, even if the later is probably the fastest of the bunch. Ultimately, things will look a lot better once Bichette take over short and the veterans that are left are gone, although I think Biggio is fairly pedestrian.
Mike Green - Friday, September 28 2018 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#366395) #
Fangraphs rolls in base-stealling and baserunning into one statistic-BsR.  The Blue Jays are by far the worst team in baseball by this metric, at -27.7 runs.  It's hard to lose 3 wins in a season with baserunning alone, but the Blue Jays have done that- the best club in baseball, Cleveland, is at +15.3 runs or just under +1.5 wins, and the worst club other than the Jays, the Marlins is at -13.9 runs. Last year, the Jays were second worst in the league at -15.5 runs. 

For what it's worth, the prime contributors to the Jay record are Solarte (-7.7), Smoak (-7.3), Morales (-5.4), and Martin (-4.5).
hypobole - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#366602) #
This is one guy our FO should definitely consider
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 02 2018 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#366606) #
Josh Bard?  Good name, good initials, good approach, good experience! 
The 2018 Managers | 41 comments | Create New Account
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