Give Me A Break

It’s been an incredible 1st half for the Atlanta Braves. 6.5 games up in a division that, before Opening Day, was projected to be one of the tightest in baseball. The offense has been amazing, and while the defense hasn’t been what it was last season, it’s still been better than the rest of the division. With the rest of the division seemingly imploding, it would stand to reason that there shouldn’t be much to complain about. So why am I disturbed? Brian Snitker.

I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now, but with one quote, Snitker has made me reevaluate my thoughts on his longevity with the team. If you haven’t seen or heard the quote, here it is. I don’t want this to sound hyperbolic, but I’ve yet to come across another quote this year more asinine than that. Just take a look at the difference from the first half numbers and the 2nd half numbers. Pay particular attention to Ozzie, Markakis, and Freddie. All 3 had monster 1st halves, and all 3 had substantially worse second halves. Looking at the games played, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened.

Of all playoff teams in 2018, only 1 team had more players play in 150 games: the Oakland Athletics. Among the rest of the teams, only the Rockies had as many players play 150+ games. All told, there were 7 players in 2018 who played 162 games. 2 of those were on the Braves. There’s a reason playoff teams don’t play everyone 150+ games. It’s a long season. Injuries accumulate, and guys legs get tired. Baseball’s hard enough when you’re fresh. Trying to play when you’re jelly legged? Damn near impossible.

There’s a reason the best teams in baseball operate in much the same way. Sports, like all things, are built on emulating what works. Analytics have proven that players need regular rest. Cal Ripken’s streak is one of the greatest accomplishments in baseball history but the game is different today. We have the data that shows it. So why, then, is Brian Snitker so oblivious to this concept?

I don’t know if it’s pure stubborness, loyalty, or something else, but it isn’t in the best interests of the team. We literally saw last season what happens when you refuse to give guys rest. Last year there was some excuse. Charlie had a great season off the bench, but that was really it. The Braves didn’t have effective depth on the bench, and it really showed come playoff time. That’s why AA went out and acquired Josh Donaldson this past offseason. Adding Donaldson, in addition to acquiring a former MVP on a 1 year deal, was meant to allow everyone to stay fresh. Camargo’s, in addition to Culberson’s, positional versatility would allow everyone to stay fresh, preventing the collapse Atlanta experienced at the end of last season. So why hasn’t that happened?

Snitker sees himself as a “traditional” manager. A guy who relies more on loyalty and gut instinct than numbers and metrics. While I find this to be maddeningly short-sighted, I can at least understand it. What I can’t understand, however, is willfully ignoring the points that are staring you in the face. Like refusing to bat Acuna leadoff for over a month, just because he has home run power. Or more recently, refusing to sit Nick Markakis against left handed pitchers despite horrendous numbers. It’s absolutely maddening. I’m not asking him to be Joe Maddon or A.J. Hinch. All I’m asking is for him to stop being stubborn and start thinking about what’s good for Atlanta. If a blogger like me can find these numbers with the click of a mouse, there’s no excuse for Snitker not to have them as well.

I know this piece comes across as very anti-Snitker. I truly don’t mean it to be. Brian Snitker does a lot of things very well. His leadership and ability to inspire is irreplaceable. His guys absolutely love him, and it shows in the way they play. Never giving up on a game, coming back late in games time and time again. They’ve continuously outplayed his mistakes, and it’s something you can’t discount. If you need proof, just look at the Washington Nationals or the Philadelphia Phillies. I want nothing more than for Brian Snitker to become the best manager in baseball. He absolutely deserves it. But bear in mind the career of Dusty Baker. It should be a cautionary tale for Snit.

You may have noticed Camargo suddenly getting 3 starts in a row after Snitker’s horrendous quote. I think it’s fair to say a certain GM had a very pointed conversation with a certain manager. I hope it sticks; really and truly I do. I want nothing more than for Snitker to stick around Atlanta until he’s ready to call it a day. But should he slip back into old ways, Atlanta will suffer the same 2nd half fall they did a season ago. Only this time, there won’t be any excuses about bench depth to fall back on. Should that happen, I encourage all of you to closely examine the career of Dusty Baker. In a few years we could be using Brian Snitker’s name in his place.

105 thoughts on “Give Me A Break”

  1. Do you guys really think that Snitker is going about things in ways that are completely contrary to what the GM wants? And the GM allows this to happen? If so, the blame doesn’t lie on Snitker…

  2. yes, I think he was. All you have to do is look at what Alex said after the JD signing, look at his hires, and look at Camargo getting 3 straight starts post Snit quote.

  3. I do love a good internet outrage machine. Bang those keyboards, boys! Bang ’em real good!

  4. In general, the GM is completely responsible for the 25 guys in the clubhouse, but the field manager is completely responsible for penciling them in the lineup.

    I think it’s totally fair to criticize Snitker for not doing a good enough job of resting his guys through the muggy summer. It’s clear that they love him and would run through a brick wall for him — it’s his job to prevent them from doing so.

    That said, he won the division last year and he’s probably going to win the division this year. And judging by Camargo’s recent playing time increase, it sounds like he’s capable of mending his ways. So I think he is a) a very effective field manager, judged by the exceptional performance of his charges, and b) a learning animal, despite all his folksy good-ole-boy demeanor and remarkably southern-sounding accent for a guy who was born in the Decatur that’s in Illinois.

    So I’m still a very happy camper with him, as long as our guys remain mostly healthy. I don’t mind as much if he runs Kakes into the ground, because Camargo, Inciarte, and Duvall are basically our fourth, fifth, and sixth outfielders. And clearly the catcher platoon is working. And honestly, I’m not at all convinced that changing the lineup around faster than he has is a good idea — players often hate tinkerer managers like Jimy Williams who trot out a new lineup every two days. It’s clear to me that his handling of Acuna is working quite well.

    But between Freeman, Albies, Swanson, Donaldson, Riley, Acuna, Freeman, and Kakes, Camargo should be getting around 3 starts a week. (I think Culberson and Joyce are being used appropriately.) Clearly, Snitker’s public comments are meant to buck his guys up — his starters are 100% starters and not platoon players, and that’s a big ego boost. But it’s a long, brutal summer, and they should still get a day off every now and again.

  5. like I said, I very much want Snitker to become the best manager in baseball. He’s an amazing guy, and it isn’t hard to see why his guys love him so much. But the same can be said of Dusty Baker. As it stands on July 1st, the playing time is a significant worry, especially as we saw this place out just last year. But there’s still plenty of time for it to change, and i’m crossing my fingers it does.

  6. I guess I don’t believe for one second that the GM gives his manager complete free-reign to utilize the 25-man. AA tells Snitker what to do. Or, at least, he should. They may have to meet in the middle on some issues, but Snitker does not have carte blanche here. If Markakis plays in 156 games this year, that’s on AA.

  7. I think AA generally leaves the running of the on field product to Snit, unless he and his FO people specifically see something that needs to change. And if Markakis plays 156 this year without some injury causing it, we riot

  8. @9, agreed that AA bears responsibility if Snitker screws up. I still don’t think micromanagement is a good idea.

    I think it’s perfectly fine for AA to give an order — protect Kakes’ back and legs because he’s old and has an injury history. But after he gives Snitker an order, he should get out of Snitker’s hair and let him follow it. If Snit doesn’t follow it, then AA should take him to the woodshed, but he shouldn’t undercut his authority by filling out his lineup for him.

  9. I’ve had my fingers crossed that there’s some plan or scheme that is going to give significant amounts of rest to the starters and regular playing time for Camargo in the second half. I would love to get everyone in a groove going through September and hit the playoffs with what amounts to one of the more rested squads in baseball.

    But then everything has been flying to the contrary up till now, so…

  10. @12 perfectly put. Couldn’t agree more. The best possible thing is happening: the players want to win for Snit. AA will advise when he sees necessary but he will generally let Snit write the lineup card. And we have no reason to believe that Snit wouldn’t listen to AA. From all we know, those two are working well together.

  11. Geez, krussell, haven’t you seen Moneyball? The manager does what he wants, and the only way to stop him is by trading away the player. /sarcasm

    His lack of maneuvering with Camargo has been my main (only?) criticism of Snit. And for me, that’s a pretty big complaint considering the impact on multiple players. It doesn’t just effect, say, Kakes; it could positively effect Donaldson, Dansby, Ozzie, etc. Shoot, even getting Camargo ABs at 1B could help Freddie.

    As for the lineup, I’m a young whippersnapper and all, but I still can’t quite get my mind around Acuna hitting leadoff. I think the leadoff home runs are neat, but I still want him hitting behind, say, Kakes, Dansby, and Freddie and not 7-8-9. At one point, Acuna was hitting behind Ender, Flowers, and the pitcher, as an example. So I don’t hold it against Snit that he didn’t put Acuna in the leadoff spot.

  12. Also, keep in mind that it’s quite possible that the “needs more rest” narrative is complete bunk. It’s just one of the many things that might be (or might not be) correlated to Neck and Ozzie having bad 2nd halves. I doubt anything is ever that simple. Still, resting our guys once a week just makes sense – keeps the bench bats fresh.

  13. I think that’s the point; it might help the starters, but playing time will help the bench bats. TBF, it’s hard to argue with Culberson’s use when he has a 1.000 OPS. It’s not like anyone thinks he would keep this production if he played more.

  14. Andruw Jones used to sweat out 20 or 30 pounds playing under the Atlanta sun, but since he was quite possibly the greatest center fielder who ever lived, I don’t blame Bobby for writing in his name with a Sharpie. No one over the age of 30 should play 160 games in a Braves uniform.

  15. I would tell you to look at the games played for the top notch teams in baseball. Boston, Houston, New York, Chicago, and Cleveland all share that in common. Bellinger and Machado are the only Dodgers that they didn’t follow that protocol with, and we saw how bad Bellinger was.

  16. @12 I 1000% agree!

    I have zero issues with Anthopolous giving Snit a directive; but it can’t be done in a none way where it undermines Snitker’s authority. The manager should be allowed to manage. GMs shouldn’t be filling out lineup cards. If they’re going to micromanage to that extent, you marginalize the manager to the point where you might as well run promotions where fans get to “manage” for a day.

  17. which part was internet outrage and not factually correct?

    Hmmm. Where to start?

    That’s why AA went out and acquired Josh Donaldson this past offseason. Adding Donaldson, in addition to acquiring a former MVP on a 1 year deal, was meant to allow everyone to stay fresh.

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    Snitker sees himself as a “traditional” manager.

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    A guy who relies more on loyalty and gut instinct than numbers and metrics.

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    refusing to bat Acuna leadoff for over a month, just because he has home run power.

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    I’m asking is for him to stop being stubborn and start thinking about what’s good for Atlanta.

    Not only is as blindly assumptive as the previous points, but painfully stupid as well. The idea that Brian Snitker, who has spent decades toiling away in the meat grinder of the Atlanta Braves organization’s minor leagues, who is just now, decades into his career, tasting the fruits of that loyalty and work ethic at the major league level, is not “thinking about what’s good for Atlanta…” That is so blindingly, presumptuously, insipidly, insultingly stupid as to beggar belief for the entire piece.

    If a blogger like me can find these numbers with the click of a mouse,

    Then so can everyone in the Braves organization, including the men being paid millions of dollars to put the best team on the field all year long. Instead of assuming you’re the smartest guy in the internet and the folks in the depths of the organization are just idiots, perhaps consider that they have the same information you have from clicking a free public website, PLUS MORE INFORMATION THAT YOU DON’T HAVE!

    I know this piece comes across as very anti-Snitker.

    Because that’s how you wrote it, yes.

    But bear in mind the career of Dusty Baker.

    You mean the guy that managed the Giants to multiple 90-win seasons, division and league championships, and WS appearances?

    Who managed the Reds to multiple 90+ win seasons but was run out of town by self-righteous internet-stat ideologues to wrapped up in their own presumed brilliance to notice the winning? From which the organization has still not recovered?

    Who managed the Nationals to multiple 90+ win seasons but was run out of town by self-righteous internet-stat ideologues to wrapped up in their own presumed brilliance to notice the winning? From which the organization has still not recovered?

    Yes. By all means. Let us ALL bear in mind the career of Dusty Baker, brother.

    You may have noticed Camargo suddenly getting 3 starts in a row after Snitker’s horrendous quote.


    I think it’s fair to say a certain GM had a very pointed conversation with a certain manager.

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but assumes facts not in evidence.

  18. If Snit keeps putting Neck in the lineup every day then you have to step in and tell the manager what the deal is. That’s not micro-managing. Nobody here would let Snit have *complete* control of game lineups and strategy. When he does dumb shit, you’d sit him down and have a little talk. A private talk, that doesn’t undermine anything.

  19. I think it’s perfectly fine for AA to give an order — protect Kakes’ back and legs because he’s old and has an injury history. But after he gives Snitker an order, he should get out of Snitker’s hair and let him follow it. If Snit doesn’t follow it, then AA should take him to the woodshed, but he shouldn’t undercut his authority by filling out his lineup for him.

    Thirding, or fourthing, or whatever the +1 number we’re up to now, for AAR’s post here. I’ll note that while all of us here on the interwebs can look up Neck’s stats over the last few weeks, and know he crashed down the stretch last year, none of us know precisely how badly Johan Camargo’s swing was broken to start the year(1), nor how healthy Charlie Culberson has been on a day to day basis this season(2).

    On (1), we know he was struggling mightily at the plate and was sent down to AAA to work on it. There’s a lot of assumptions about playing time as to why he suddenly lost his groove, but the people in the clubhouse and cages with him know more than we do.

    On (2), it’s worth noting that Charlie Culberson’s 2018 was a bit of an out of nowhere “WTF” season, and that expecting him to magically repeat that newly established plateau of production is… not statistically correct.

  20. Sam,
    I don’t have to speak for Dylan, but I’m going to anyway. Have you watched Snitker’s post-game or pre-game interviews? Your first 3 points can be found coming from Snitker’s or AA’s mouth, damn near verbatim.

    But yes…do your worst and assume Dylan is assuming fact, it’s laughably hypocritical.

  21. Apropo to this discussion, they were talking about Brodie Van Wagenen micromanaging Mickey Calloway on pitching changes on MLB Network, and good ole John Hart was on the tube talking about it. He said something to the effect of “I’ve done it and I’ve regretted it, but you really shouldn’t be micromanaging the manager.”

    Dude, you were a 68-year old GM after having been a GM for almost 30 years, and you chewed out a 2nd-year manager in front of players for putting AJ Minter, a rookie, into a game where there were no other relievers available. Yeah, no sh*t you’ve done it and you regret it. I bet you did it for 30 years. And now you’re on television saying that you shouldn’t do it. The concession that he has done it, to me, is irrelevant.

    Dylan, of all of the leadership figures of this century — managers, unit coaches, GMs, presidents — John Hart is by far my least favorite. He’s a turtleneck-wearing snake and sanctimonious prick.

    Go Braves!

  22. Guys playing a lot + poor 2nd halves for a few guys does not = they were tired and would have played better with more rest. That’s the classic logical fallacy of confusing causation and correlation. It’s just as possible that the league adjusted to Albies, Freeman just happened to have a weaker 2nd half than 1st, and Markakis was playing over his head for three months.

    With that said, I do think we have an improved bench this season and could be making better use of it. Markakis does seem to be sitting some against LHP which is a good start. Freeman… I dunno… dude plays 1st base. I get giving him a day off every so often, but does he really need to sit for 10% of the season to stay fresh?

  23. Feel free to throw some citations out there, Ryan. Otherwise I will continue to point out that people assuming mental states for people they have never once in their lives met are, in fact, assuming facts not in evidence.

    Dylan asked where his facts were wrong. I pointed out the glaring cases of where his arguments were to assumption and devoid of factual citation whatsoever.

    Because I’m always the bad guy.

  24. To answer your question; no. I do my level best to turn off the sound or change the channel – assuming I didn’t have it muted already – during any pre- or post-game “coverage.” I find the entire babble-brook of it to be mind numbing.

  25. But yes…do your worst and assume Dylan is assuming fact

    This is not how argumentation works, bruh.

  26. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that AA walk into the clubhouse and make a show of ripping the lineup down off the dugout wall and stomping all over it and then putting up a new one of his liking while shocked players are watching. That’s not necessary at all. He and Snit probably talk 10 times a day – during these private talks I’m sure all things playing-time and roster-makeup are discussed. What you see out there day to day is the result of their discussions. If Neck plays every day, it’s because AA allows it.

  27. @Sam
    I’m not a secretary to anyone but my wife, so I’m not going to chase down the internet to show you where your assumptions on Dylan’s “assumptions” are wrong because Snit and/or AA actually said as much, but it happened.

    Josh Donaldson quote.
    Traditional manager quote.
    Going with gut quote.
    Acuña batting 4th because of power potential at beginning of season quote.

    All 4 happened. 3 from Snitker. 1 from AA.

  28. Also worth noting that in a perfect world Ozzie Albies would develop enough OBP to sit at leadoff and Acuna would bat 2nd or 3rd, which is generally where you want your best player to be. Giving him a month to see if he could handle it to start the season isn’t some mad old school stupidity by any means.

  29. “He and Snit probably talk 10 times a day – during these private talks I’m sure all things playing-time and roster-makeup are discussed. What you see out there day to day is the result of their discussions. If Neck plays every day, it’s because AA allows it.”

    A good GM is not going to micromanage his field leadership like that. And again, Johan Camargo actively played himself out of at bats to start the year. He was demoted for a reason.

  30. Sam, I would highly suggest that before attempting to disparage my work, you do the requisite research. You can look it up all by yourself like everyone else.

    As for your “assuming facts not in evidence” thing: I’m assuming, since you’re wanting to use courtroom jargon, that you’re aware of something called inference? That actions performed tell a tale of what a person’s mindset is?

  31. I think you make some fair points about Snitker. To me another strength is that he’s managed the bullpen well. I know he’s overused Jackson at times, but overall I think he’s used what he’s got about as well as possible. That includes situational usage and 1.1 or 1.2 inning stints. I know some disagree, but for the most part I think he’s done well.

  32. Shelby Miller DFA’ed. Not sure where his velocity and stuff is, and I don’t normally hop on the “let’s bring that guy who used to be good for us back when he’s bad” train, but Shelby seems like an Atlanta reclaim guy.

  33. I think McDowell effectively ruined Shelby. If he would take an MILB deal with an opt out I’d be willing, but nothing guaranteed

  34. Tyler Skaggs, a 27-year old lefty for LAA, passed away today. Dang.

    There are so few player deaths while active that it’s just shocking every time it happens. Very sad.

  35. No cause of death, for which the cynic in me always assumes some sort of nefariousness.

  36. @42 There are so very few player deaths that I still occasionally think about Darryl Kile who passed away in 2002. He was on my fantasy team when he passed.

  37. “Inference” is all find and good, Dylan. But inference is not fact. And you quite explicitly asked what *facts* were left wanting. So I told you.

  38. He provided you facts, of which you didn’t believe because…well, I’m not going to assume as to why you thought he made them up because that would be foolish of me.

  39. You believe that if it helps you sleep at night, buddy. But no. In reality, the original post here does not present very many actual facts at all.

  40. Sam- your inability to research before typing is none of my concern. You said yourself that you mute or change during the pre and post game coverage. Knowing this, one should safely assume that you aren’t an impeachable source on what was said, and what wasn’t. With a known hole in your information, one would normally seek to rectify said hole before making an ass of himself. Enough about that though. I dont feel like continuing a barbed diatribe with you.

  41. I don’t think daily talks with your most important direct-report is micro-managing. It’s just doing your job. My guess is that there’s give and take and AA doesn’t always win. Just like any relationship that’s healthy.

  42. Guys, I think it’s time to take this down a notch.

    Please remember that what team employees say in public statements is frequently demonstrably false — indeed, it is a mixture of cliche and strategic misdirection in which they are about as likely to make a truthful statement as to divulge a trade secret.

    If you want to know what the team is thinking, what frames of analysis they use, how they value players, or the strategy that they pursue, you cannot trust what they say about any of these things. They have every incentive to lie and no incentive to tell the truth.

    Actions speak louder than words. Listen to their words accordingly.

  43. I just want my boy Camargo to get some ABs. I wanted my very own Marwin Gonzalez.

  44. Dylan, as a writer, it is incumbent upon you to make your arguments and cite your evidence accordingly. Rhetoric and persuasion 101, really. Responding to getting called out for not doing so with an attempt to shift the burden of research from the author to the audience, while rolling full out into the side-eye snark, is lazy writing.

    I get the desire to bang out an emo piece out of frustration with some mote in their eye here or there. I really do. But when you do that, own it. And accept that that is what you’re doing, right? Otherwise, you’re pretending a rationality and analytic stance that simply is not present in the piece.

  45. I told you I’m done with the insults. You came here claiming quotes in the piece werent said. You were wrong. When confronted upon being wrong, you did nothing but deflect. You admitted to not listening to post game interviews. When told where to find the quotes, you respond with saying it’s my responsibility to lead you by the hand. You continue to deflect. Simply put: you’re wrong. You know it. I know it. Tone down the narcissism next time. Have a good one.

  46. Just wait till next year, when Bruce Sutter gets his final payment. Then I’ll really laugh at the Mets.

  47. I think we pay Sutter through 2021 – and he’s making more than Albies over that time, lol. It’s way worse than the Bonilla deal – thankfully nobody ever talks much about it. At least Bonilla was somewhat good for the Mets for a few years. Sutter was straight bad for us.

  48. Ender begins his rehab assignment tonight. Maybe time for a poll here…what do y’all think is going to happen? I don’t think he has a spot to come back to. I think he will be traded for cash considerations.

  49. There are no quotes in your piece. Literally. None. The only quotation marks in your piece are the scare quotes around “traditional.”

  50. I think when Ender returns Matt Joyce is optioned. I think they go with the guy that can play/backup CF over the one AB per night pinch hitter. Culberson takes the PH slot.

  51. Matt Joyce can’t be optioned. That’s a fact.

    Also, some of the quotes can be found in the little underlined words that are hyperlinks.

  52. One quibble. Camargo’s start yesterday was not due to a change in philosophy by Snit. Ozzie is on the injured list as day-to-day since the HBP. His elbow may still be bothering him.

    I’m also still curious about what is wrong with Dusty Baker’s managerial career. Three Manager of the Year awards and a winner wherever he went. Seems like the only cautionary tale there is that he was always met by high expectations and didn’t always deliver. That strikes me as being a mistake among those with the expectations not the manager himself. I think Snitker would love to have Dusty’s record.

  53. @Roger true, but I’m not sure if they had plans to use him somewhere else or not, so I’m giving the BOD there.

  54. I thought I heard on the broadcast on Saturday after Ozzie left the game that Snit had said that Ozzie had an off day scheduled for Sunday. I found it noteworthy since it seemed so out of character, but I definitely think I remember hearing it.

  55. It also seems to me there’s a lot of stat-nerd hypocrisy regarding Acuna at leadoff. I thought lineup was proven to be not a big contributor to win percentage leading to only maybe 1-2 wins per year if done perfectly. I agree that Acuna’s place should be #2, but we have no one else with a high enough OBP to lead off who doesn’t have some other flaw. We are sacrificing Acuna’s power to use his OBP at leadoff. The only reason he’s driving in any runs is because of Ozzie’s resurgence at #8. With Tyler at #8, Acuna hasn’t had many RBIs. Our leadoff hitters of the future will likely be either Waters or Pache with Waters as my choice. The other reason Acuna is succeeding at leadoff is that Dansby is producing at #2. If Dansby turned into 2018 Dansby than the lineup would not be working well – Donaldson would probably be back at #2.

  56. @67 @70 the reason Baker is a cautionary tale – as it pertains to Snit in Atlanta – is that he was never able to get a team over the hump. He was an outstanding personality, his guys loved him, but he wasn’t able to win what mattered most. And it got him fired, despite leading Washington to playoff berths. I think we can safely assume that playoff berths are not the goal with this team.

  57. It’s true that lineup optimization is usually over valued. The more important factors are
    1. Getting your most dynamic player the most ABs.

    2. The offense feeds off of Acuña, and he has stated that he is most comfortable at leadoff. That should be all the reason you need

  58. I might be wrong, but I believe Dusty Baker is blamed for killing mark prior and Kerry woods careers due to overuse while young.

  59. 36 — Camargo was never demoted to Gwinnett. He has been on the major league team all year.

  60. @74, you are not wrong. Prior in particular was never the same after 2003 and, fairly or not, that was blamed on Dusty.

  61. Considering the Nats’ performance since firing Dusty, I think we can safely say that the team owners did it because they’re cheap and dumb and the team would likely be performing better under Dusty than they are under Davey.

    Sam’s point is that you can’t prove how the team actually feels by pointing to team public statements. But he could be nicer about it.

  62. @75 I think he’s referring to going from a super sub to simply a bench bat.

  63. @79, I believe @36 is in reference to @25 where it is explicitly asserted as fact that Camargo was demoted to AAA.

  64. @Rob- yeah he said earlier that Camargo was sent down to AAA.

    @AAR- I dont doubt the Nats would be better with Dusty. He’s a better manager than Martinez. He also wasn’t good enough to win when it counted. Went to 1 WS and blew it (Russ Ortiz game), refused to play young guys over aging veterans, and was notorious for running his pitchers into the ground

  65. Thanks for the link to the 1st half/ 2nd half stats, but after looking at them, I really don’t think they prove what it is asserted that they prove. You can’t really, as the post requests, focus specifically on three players – that’s cherry picking. Ender played almost as much as any of those other guys, and he got better after the ASB. Dansby played less, but his production also fell off after the ASB – possibly because he wasn’t 100% health-wise. Did Acuna and Camargo play better after the ASB because they were better-rested, or because they were healthy? I don’t know – there’s no way to know. Bottom line is there are lots of reasons why performance might vary from one half to the next – fatigue is certainly one of them but you can’t just assume that to be the culprit every time someone has an extended slump.

    Probably also worth noting that the 1st half injuries to Camargo and Acuna were possibly part of the reason Freeman, Markakis and Albies played so much prior to the ASB. It’s not like we had a lot of good options at the time – remember Flaherty, Joey Bats and Preston Tucker were seeing regular ABs during that time.

  66. Alright, Sam. I don’t know what to tell you. Dylan — right, wrong, or indifferent — makes assumptions based on actual quotes from the team. It’s a blog; you’re allowed to have an opinion, but the key quote was linked in the post, so I don’t understand the overall premise of the critique.

    Dylan and Ryan, the only way to win an argument with Sam is to not have an argument with Sam. I’m trying to get better at it, as well.


  67. I don’t think Dansby or Ozzie got snubbed. As good as Dansby is, how important he is to our team, and how important his improvement has been to this season, he’s simply not one of the very best SS in the NL. Baez, Story, and DeJong are more deserving, let alone Machado and Seager.

    Same with Ozzie. If Max Muncy couldn’t make the All-Star team with a 3.1 fWAR, then Ozzie just can’t get in there.

    Now, I’m very, very happy with 5 position players and a catching tandem all on pace to clear 3+ fWAR, and a bench that has been one of the best in baseball.

  68. Also, talk about good benches. The Dodgers, from the PH position, have already accumulated 2.2 bWAR (we’re at 0.6 bWAR). The picture shows the PHs they’ve been able to throw up there. What an embarrassment of riches.

  69. certainly points to consider, although freddie has been worse in the 2nd half in 3 of the 4 seasons where hes played over 150 games. I think discounting the effect that fatigue has on your numbers is bad. There’s a reason great teams spend on depth. Just anecdotal evidence from the 2018 playoffs: of the teams that passed the WC round, 18 players played over 150 games. Only 4 of those 18 had good postseasons. 2 of those 4 are in their early 20’s and superstars (Lindor and Bregman), and 1 is a DH (JD Martinez).

  70. I should say, “I think discounting the effect that fatigue has on your numbers is a mistake”, not “bad”.

  71. @88 We’ve got a resident statistician who might relish the opportunity to analyze the numbers on this. We don’t have to merely rely on conjecture based on the behavior of other good teams.

  72. Dusty Baker’s management of his pitching staff cost the Giants the NL west in 1993.

    Well, that and Fred McGriff.

  73. Dylan, he’s referring to frequent commenter and writer JonathanF, who has written some really cool statistical and economic posts for the blog.

  74. I will say this about Snit, he may need to rest a few guys more, but he’s done a pretty good job.

    He is playing the hand he has been dealt with this bullpen. I am sure the front office has said “Use this guy here and this guy there”

    I’d take Snit over most managers. He’s way better than Fredi and I doubt he would have left Kimbrel standing in the pen in the 8th inning.

    I am not saying he is perfect, but neither was Connie Mack

  75. He’s way better than Fredi and I doubt he would have left Kimbrel standing in the pen in the 8th inning.

    Yes, one thing that has made me think that he would probably be a better in-game manager in the playoffs is how judiciously he handles the hook. I wouldn’t say he’s Tony La Russa by any stretch, but give the man credit that he won’t lose a game too often with a guy he doesn’t like on the mound.

    I’d also be interested in seeing if there’s data on the prevalence of pitching changes amongst managers. How the managers rank in terms of the quantity of pitching changes, so to speak.

  76. @87 – Freddie was also better in the 1st half in 2 of the 4 years where he didn’t play 150+ games. One of those years was 2015, when he had a nagging wrist injury, but the other was 2017 when he got hurt during the 1st half. The other two years were 2012-13, when he was still in his early-to-mid 20’s. He may just be better in the 1st half, like Ender tends to be better in the 2nd half.

    I don’t mean to discount the possibility that he was tired last year or any other – I have no way of knowing – but I don’t think it follows logically that a late-season slump must be due to fatigue.

  77. Based on Chris Jaffe’s work in Evaluating Baseball’s Managers, where he built a database to track managers’ tactical trends against their peers in their era, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa basically invented situational relievers. Might be worth asking him @jaffechris if he’s kept that data up to date.

  78. The only trade proposal worse than my trade proposal for Bumgarner and Smith is this one.

  79. I wasn’t aware we were treating the comments section as a safe space these days. So sorry about that.

    Dusty Baker was, in fact, blamed for breaking Wood and Prior with “abuse” and “overuse.” Of course, the guys who blamed him for that didn’t really have any data to back up there assumptions about “abuse” and “overuse” leading to pitcher injury at higher rates than normal, but it was super cool to bash Dusty at the time so they ran with it.

    Dusty Baker’s teams won. A lot. Those same teams near universally stopped winning when “smarter” people decided Dusty was too “old school” and “dumb” about modern statistical management theory to be successful and replaced him. (In San Francisco’s case, they won for two more years post-Dusty, but then crashed when the league black balled Barry Bonds.)

    The job of the field manager is to get wins out of his team. Dusty Baker was exceptional at that. Brian Snitker, when given a roster of actual talented baseball players, is on his way to winning 90+ games two years running. It’s pretty much the working definition of hubris run amok to demand he win 100+ instead, if he’d only listen to the brilliant bloggers who know the truth about rest, exhaustion, and performance (just please don’t ask them to cite their data, because that would make them feel bad and it’s always Bob’s fault if there’s a disharmony in the groupthink stasis field.)

  80. Great post. Have been wondering with a couple friends why the Braves don’t do a better job resting their players.

  81. The Braves are playing very solid ball – arguably in the top 3 in the NL. The offensive productive is top notch, but I worry about the ability of the pitching staff to keep the best teams in the MLB in check.

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