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Dodgers: Analytics are on the Way Out, According to NY Daily News

New column points to owners usurping GMs in managerial searches

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18: Managers Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs shake hands during player introductions prior to Game 3 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images)

The last few years in baseball has seen an explosion in analytics, and with that the increase of analytics-heavy managers. From Dave Roberts to Joe Maddon to Brad Ausmus, it seemed like almost every team was all-in on the numbers.

It’s something MLB Hall of Famer and analyst Pedro Martinez touched on after the first round exit for Los Angeles.

But the analytics era may be nearing its end, at least according to the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden.

Now, in a column published on Saturday, Madden stated that the eight managerial openings in the MLB are the most since 2002. He noted a “common thread” with at least three of the firings.

“The team owner usurping his analytics-oriented GM by firing the manager and making it clear that he, the owner, will have the final call on the next manager.”

He goes on to list Andy Green, Brad Ausmus, and Gabe Kapler’s exits from the Padres, Angels, and Phillies respectively, and how they were each fired directly by their team’s owner. In each of these cases, the owner is also leading the search for a new manager.

Madden cites this as the reason why proven baseball guys such as Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter, Dusty Baker, and Joe Maddon are the biggest names in this year’s coaching carousel.

Interestingly enough, Joe Maddon is arguably one of the biggest analytics guys in baseball, and one could point to him as a big reason why several teams started shifting towards stat geeks. The difference though is that Joe Maddon has a track record of winning. He took the Rays and the Cubs to the World Series and ended the most infamous curse in sports three years ago.

So does this mark another shift in baseball, or is this the final backlash from the old school against the new school? Either way, this is shaping up to be an interesting winter.

Written by Andres Soto

11 Comments

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  1. I read Madden’s column. He presents a compelling argument. Hopefully it’s a shift back in the direction of human “eyes on” analysis by experienced baseball people. I don’t think analytics will go away though. Defensive shifts are definitely here to stay until and unless hitters make adjustments to them.

    Advanced analytics have too much proven value to disappear, but hopefully some sanity will prevail.

    • It doesn’t take analytics to figure that the defense shifting is a huge message to the batter that you have real big problems. The shift is an amazing thing to watch transpire. They are telling a batter, “You won’t even try to hit it to the open side.” The batter than feels he has to prove them wrong and tries for the home run and strikes out. The shift should be an embarrassment to any batter.

  2. If you go back when the dodgers,Yankees, cleveland were winning w s, and you gave those players little cards to put in their pockets or cap,they would tell what to do with them,and along with no more shifts infielders two players on each side of second base ,feet on the dirt no infielders on out field grass,double Day must be turning over in his grave

  3. Friedman will never give up analytics and the notion that analytics are THE answer to managing and coaching baseball is ridiculous. Therefore, it is likely the Dodgers will continue on their path of calculating their way to an even earlier elimination next year.

    • Skoonj6, you are right on point again, my friend. Sorry to say that we expect different results using the same old tactics. Lets start using a set lineup and work from there. Give the players some certainty as to who starts and who does not and why. Go Blue!!!!

  4. Total bases is all that matters. Not laying down a bunt with the entire left side of the diamond wide open and a 1 run deficit is absolutely insane, and feeble. It’s stupidity like this that costs every team wins on a regular basis. Problem is, this modern ball player has difficulty executing such a simple play. The Dodgers and their arrogance is truly something to behold as they think they are changing the game.

  5. Analytics has cost the dodgers dearly, the fact that they refuse to bunt makes me insane….Bellinger on second twice with no outs, no bunting to third……Dodgers refuse to manufacture runs and that is what is costing them…the only stat in baseball that matters is W’s and how you get them is meaningless as long as you get them….give me hitters who will not strikeout, play defense and have baseball instincts, they will kick your ass every day of the week….Steve Sax, Mickey Hatcher, Mike Scioscia are all on the top 1000 players toughest to strikeout of all time….coincidence they played on title team?

  6. Computers cant hit , throw, catch . It all comes down to basics , the pitcher throws the ball you hit it and run , unless you like striking out all the TIME which goes on way to much in baseball right now . Baseball is a boring sport with the shift , analytics cant win the game , and Dave Roberts process doesn’t work !!!

  7. Analytics is killing the game, certainly not making it better. I hate the defensive shifts. Go back to basics and teach hitters how to hit to all fields, go with the pitch. Teaching launch angle ruins potentially good hitters. Turns everybody until Dave Kingmans. Why is it Ok to hit .220 as long as you hit 30-40 homer?

  8. I don’t think it’s an abandoning of analytics, per se, but a realization that analytics can be VERY deceiving, and numbers need to have some context behind them. Any team relying SOLELY on analytics is doing themselves a major disservice. The “eye test,” “gut feelings,” and moves based upon years of experience are also very beneficial, and very much have a major place in the game.

    I also think the trend of owners butting into the managerial search is a realization that far too many Presidents and/or GM’s are firing VERY GOOD managers solely to save their own rear ends (see: Chicago Cubs…Theo Epstein/Joe Maddon).

    Maddon had no business being fired, but he was sacrificed by St. Theo. Theo got a pass only because of his reputation, but I see this trend of owners making managerial hiring and firing decisions to continue, and I honestly think it’s good….so long as the owner is a baseball guy that pays close attention. Sometimes the problem isn’t the manager, but it’s the upstairs executives.

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