The Oakland A’s, AL West division winners the last two seasons, have been using Moneyball analytics for some time, Seattle hasn’t. They have been a slow to embrace the new age of baseball, but they have been developing a statistical analytics department they want to implement.
Lloyd McClendon, Seattle’s new manger, is old school, but willing to use numbers. He told Shannon Drayer on ESPN Seattle, “I think you would be a fool to not look at the numbers as part of your process to make decisions. But you also have to know your personnel, know what you are capable of doing, and also have to trust your gut a little, too. I think it is a combo of all those things.”
One of the reasons he was hired, according to Mariner GM, Jack Zduriencik, is the willingness to use analytic numbers. But reading McClendon’s quote it does sound he will use them in concert with other factors.
Analytics are good to an extent, but following them exclusively truly makes a push button manager, managing by the numbers. What I loath and detest is when a manger pulls a starting pitcher when he is throwing a 2-hitter in the 7th or 8th and he is right hander and a left handed bat is up. It doesn’t matter he has been pitching with precision, it doesn’t matter he has gotten the batter out twice, the left handed pitcher comes in; as if all of a sudden his pitcher can not get a batter out. This is over managing. My God, he has thrown 90 pitches, his arm is going to fall off.
So Lloyd is right, numbers are helpful, but sometimes the situation says the heck with the numbers.
One thing McClendon plans on doing is impressive. He is going to fly to every players home, meeting them in person to discuss the upcoming season. This is a good idea as every player will have met him, gotten to know him a little, and learn what to expect before camp begins. It should make for an easier transition.