Posted at 12:50 PM on February 26, 2008
by Chris Dall
It's only fitting in this "Moneyball" era, where Bill James has been elevated to the status of a deity, that statisticians would find a way to apply statistical methods to analyze managers. The man behind this is one Steve Wang of Swarthmore College, who's devised a new way to figure out just how much the manager of [insert team name here] sucks.
Well, not exactly. But his method might be a useful tool for teams to use when they're trying to figure out what manager would best suit the players they have. What Wang did was create 23 different categories, like the number of different lineups used, the number of pinch hitters used, and the number of relief pitchers used, and then rank managers in each category based on six years of raw data. (One of the things he found is that Ron Gardenhire used twice as many pich hitters as former Texas Rangers manager Buck Showalter, for whatever that's worth). Of course, as Wang points out, a lot of what managers do depends on the type of players they have, so it's hard to link a manager's preferences to their won-lost record. Wang says his next step is to figure out how manager's can be grouped into types.
And in other stat-head news, statisticians have also come up with a better way to measure defensive ability. Among the findings is that Derek Jeter ranks among the top 10 worst shortstops, a claim that has long been made by those who dare to criticize Captain Intangibles.