The Manager's Record from the Bill James annual

In Commentary And Analysis by dmick8910 Comments

One of the first things I do when I get the Bill James Handbook is look at what's called The Manager's Record. It includes several statistic that the manager controls and it's a good way to compare a manager to what the league average manager did. There are some issues though.

The personnel on the team makes a huge difference in the kind of decisions a manager will make. One category is intentional walks with 4 subcategories: total IBBs, Good, Not Good (NG) and Bomb. We can't really hold the manager responsible for intentional walks that end up poorly. We'd have to analyze this much deeper to know whether or not it was a good call and the results aren't what we'd look at.

Despite the limitations, I think we can get an idea of what kind of manager someone is.

Manager Lup PL% PH PR DS
Dale Sveum 101 0.6 277 23 44
NL Average 123 0.6 263 24 37

LUp: number of different lineups
PL%: percentage of players who had the platoon advantage at the start of the game
PH: pinch hitters used
PR: pinch runners used
DS: double switches

Although the Cubs had a lot of different players on their roster this season, only Davey Johnson (93) used fewer lineups than Dale Sveum. I have no idea if this is good. It worked for the Nationals, but the Cubs were a very bad team and we often saw someone like Starlin Castro batting 5th. Still, Sveum was limited in what he could do with the lineup to some extent. The team's best hitter entering the season was Bryan LaHair and that just about sums up the 2012 season for the Cubs.

Sveum was right at league average in using the platoon advantage to start a game. Bruce Bochy's Giants led the NL at .75 and Dusty Baker's Reds were dead last at .43. Ideally a team would take better advantage of this, but it again depends on the players on the team. Just because you have a lefty hitting 3rd outfielder doesn't mean he's better against righties than another righty would be.

Considering how poor the pitching staff was in 2012 it's no surprise to see that Sveum used more pinch hitters than average, I am kind of surprised that the Cubs didn't use more pinch runners considering they had Tony Campana on the roster.

There's really nothing in this part of the stats that stands out. That's especially true after just one year of managing a very shitty team.

Manager Quick Slow LO RCD LS Rel
Dale Sveum 46 48 8 117 1 493
NL Average 42 43 17 114 3 494

Quick: a damage score is calculated for each pitcher, which is his pitches thrown, plus 10 times his runs allowed. The bottom 25% are determined to be quick hooks.
Slow: the top 25% are slow hooks
LO: long outing, more than 110 pitches in a start
RCD: Relievers used on consecutive days
LS: Long saves
Rel: relievers used

It seems that Sveum was close enough to league average at pulling a pitcher with the exception of long outings. This is, in my opinion, the result of having such a shitty rotation.

Manager SBA SacA RM PO
Dale Sveum 139 61 153 13
NL Average 148 84 146 13

SBA: Stolen Base Attempts
SacA: Sacrifice Bunt Attempts
RM: Runners moving with the pitch
PO: pitchouts ordered

The Cubs didn't have much speed and probably shouldn't have been trying to steal as many bases as they did. Nobody in the NL sac bunted fewer times than the Cubs. This will make Mercurial Outfielder very happy.

Manager # Good NG Bomb
Dale Sveum 36 24 12 8
NL Average 38 24 7 7

I'm not sure this really tells us anything. We can't really penalize Sveum for more IBBs turning out bad than we'd like. It's something that deserves more analysis and for that we'll need more data becuase this just isn't a large enough sample to come to any conclusions.

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  1. Rice Cube

    Nobody in the NL sac bunted fewer times than the Cubs. This will make Mercurial Outfielder very happy.

    Might also be a function of how few times a runner was actually on for the pitcher with less than two out, unless Bill James was talking about non-pitcher bunts in which case I’ll just shut up now.

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  2. Berselius

    The Cubs didn’t have much speed and probably shouldn’t have been trying to steal as many bases as they did. Nobody in the NL sac bunted fewer times than the Cubs. This will make Mercurial Outfielder very happy.

    *bunting tournament joke*

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  3. WaLi

    @ Rice Cube:
    That was my first thought too. The Cubs had the lowest number of PA’s by any team in the leauge and the lowest OBP of any team (tied with Astros @ .302). Any comparison that uses the total and not the % of time it happened isn’t going to be an apples to apples comparison.

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  4. mb21

    @ WaLi:
    There are a number of things you have to account for: runners on 1st base (and 2nd base to some extent), when they’re on base, who is up and so on and so forth.

    FWIW, the Astros had more SacA than league average. It’s not just OBP that’s important. OBP includes home runs and triples and those aren’t possible sac bunt situations. Neither are 2 out baserunners.

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  5. WaLi

    @ mb21:
    Sorry I was also referring to the SBA and RM, but I agree with you. There are a lot of things to account for, especially with SH attempts. I would think it would be simple enough to account for how often a SH would have been possible with regards to how many times it was actually attempted.

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