Managers on the Run: Baker, Girardi, Maddon, & Kapler

Early this offseason, I determined that Mike Matheny doesn’t hate stolen bases, but could be a boost to the Royals stolen bases. At the time, I noted to check on Joe Maddon’s tendencies but never got to it. Then, my podcast mate, Rob Silver, basically begged me to run the same analysis for Dusty Baker. After that, one of my other team owners brought up Joe Girardi and Gabe Kapler. I was done talking to people before every manager needs to be analyzed on their stolen base tendencies. The following are the numbers on the four and the results were a little surprising.

To examine the managers’ tendencies, I compared how the baserunner’s tendencies changed with or without the manager in question. There were three groups of hitters to examine

  1. The hitters who were on the manager’s team and then on a different one that same season.
  2. Hitters who were on a different team the season before or after a season on the manager’s team.
  3. The hitters who were on the manager’s team the season before or after his tenure started and ended.

Also, I combined all the values for an overall rate.

To get the values, I compared attempted steals (SB+CS) to “times-on-first” base (1B+HBP+BB) for the time frame with and without the manager. Then I found the median change and a weighted average based on the harmonic mean of the times-on-first. Additionally, I set the stolen base attempt rate to a full season (150 times-on-first). Here there are in order from the most stolen base friendly to least.

 

Joe Maddon’s Stolen Base Tendencies
Grouping Median Diff Full season Weighted Diff Full Season Count
Mid-season 0.00% 0.0 1.47% 2.2 43
Different Teams(season to season) 0.96% 1.4 1.87% 2.8 78
Before and after managing the team -1.54% -2.3 -0.62% -0.9 19
Everyone 0.00% 0.0 1.23% 1.8 140

 

Joe Girardi’s Stolen Base Tendencies
Grouping Median Diff Full season Weighted Diff Full Season Count
Mid-season -1.37% -2.1 -1.14% -1.7 41
Different Teams(season to season) 0.00% 0.0 -0.44% -0.7 76
Before and after managing the team 0.86% 1.3 1.14% 1.7 42
Everyone 0.00% 0.0 0.12% 0.2 159

 

Gabe Kapler’s Stolen Base Tendencies
Grouping Median Diff Full season Weighted Diff Full Season Count
Mid-season 0.00% 0.0 2.05% 3.1 9
Different Teams(season to season) -0.86% -1.3 -1.39% -2.1 10
Before and after managing the team 0.94% 1.4 0.00% 0.0 10
Everyone 0.00% 0.0 -0.49% -0.7 29

 

Dusty Baker’s Stolen Base Tendencies
Grouping Median Diff Full season Weighted Diff Full Season Count
Mid-season team change 0.00% 0.0 -0.89% -1.3 77
Different Team (season-to-season) 0.00% 0.0 -1.25% -1.9 131
Before and after managing the team 0.00% 0.0 0.56% 0.8 82
Everyone 0.00% 0.0 -0.53% -0.8 290

The four 0.000 median values say it all, hitters playing for these four managers will likely not see a change in stolen base attempts. Going to the weighted values, small differences emerge. Maddon is the most extreme of the managers and hitters under him have seen a jump by not even two attempts. This rate was less than Mike Matheny’s expected jump. On the other end of the spectrum, Dusty Baker and Gabe Kapler are nearly tied with each hitter getting dinged by less than one stolen base attempt.

While I know some analysts will fill up your ear with their best guess on what these new managers mean to the running game, ignore it. It can mean a small change for the Angels but instead, spend your time digging into other areas to find inefficiencies.

We hoped you liked reading Managers on the Run: Baker, Girardi, Maddon, & Kapler by Jeff Zimmerman!

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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123jvd
Member
123jvd

What about how a league average manager in SB attempts changes from the previous manager? What if AJ Hinch or Bruce Bochy significantly stifled SBs? Could a change to an “average” manager like Dusty or Gabe Kapler then open up the possibility for more stolen bases? The same is true in the reverse, no?

NoHayBanda
Member
NoHayBanda

I think the idea is that if you examine managers, even ones with extreme reputations, you just don’t find much. No managers significantly stifle SBs.