During last night's loss to the Royals, TennesseeQuackAttack8 had an interesting question: can we quantify managerial errors? So I got to thinking. There's many situations where history has shown they are not the best decisions. For instance, stolen bases are a bad idea until you get to an 85% success rate. So with that in mind, even speedsters like BJ Upton should shy away from stealing because his career success rate of 76% actually hurts his team. You can also look at sacrifice bunts (excluding pitchers); the majority of times they are used, they actually lower the likelihood of a run scoring. So why couldn't we assign a value to these decisions that is either positive or negative depending on the decisions, the situation, and the participants?
Obviously this would be nearly impossible to do on a large scale and include all 30 teams because unlike player statistics, calls are not recorded by anyone. How many times is sacrifice called only for it to fail (either by not getting the bunt down or by getting an out somewhere other than 1st)? How many hit-and-runs have been called? I don't see how this could be accurately transcribed for every team.
This is really nothing more than a fun exercise to hopefully make an off-day go by faster. I hope those who read this have some fun with it as well and leave comments to add to the "rules".
For every positive decision made, 1 out is awarded. A positive decision is when the manager makes a decision that is either logical and/or reasonable for the situation. An example is bringing in Luis Avilan to face a LHB.
For every negative decisions made, 1 out is removed. A negative decision is when the manager makes a decision that is either illogical and/or unreasonable for the situation. An example is batting Andrelton Simmons in the leadoff spot.
+27 outs = +1 MRS
-27 outs = -1 MRS
Important note: Whether a call is positive or negative will depend on the decision, the situation, and the personnel involved. And the result does not play into this at all. A decision is right or wrong regardless of the outcome because any single instance in the game of baseball is inherently fluky. To give an example, Mets manager Terry Collins absolutely made the right decision to allow Dillon Gee to go for the CG SHO vs. the Braves last week. Freddie Freeman thankfully ended the game with a walkoff HR, but the decision was still sound. He still had not reached 100 pitches and was 2 outs away from finishing the game. The decision did not pay off, but there was a rhyme and a reason behind it and at the end of the day, that's all you can ask from a manager. The players still must play. The manager's job is to put his players in the best possible position to win.
Stealing: Unless a baserunner can achieve a success rate of 85%, asking them to steal will decrease your team's ability to score runs. With that in mind, any call for a sub-85% runner to steal results in -1. Any call for a 85+% runner to steal results in +1. Remember, the result is irrelevant. Most guys are going to be below 85% (Michael Bourn, Jose Reyes, and Juan Pierre are all right around 81%) so it's really best to just not try.
Good Example: Rickey Henderson stealing. Bad Example: Andrelton Simmons stealing.
Sacrifice Bunting: To start, this excludes pitchers for obvious reasons. It's been shown that historically sacrifice bunting lowers a team's likelihood of scoring a run by trading a precious commodity (an out) for a slightly-better position on the basepaths (runner(s) moved up one base). Statistically speaking, there is only 1 situation in which a non-pitcher sacrifice bunt is a positive play: runner on 2nd, 0 out, needing only 1 run. But I would even expand that to include: runner on 1st, 0 out, needing only 1 run. It is still a negative play, but at the very least gives you a chance to tie/win the game with a single. So knowing this, any attempted non-pitcher sacrifice bunt outside these situations results in -1. So even if the player doesn't end up bunting (maybe they get to 2 strikes), it is still a negative decision. Likewise, any attempted sacrifice bunts matching the situation results in +1.
Good Example: Miguel Tejada's 10th inning bunt last night. Bad Example: 95% of Braves' bunts.
Hit and Run: This is a tricky one. What little research can be found on this play, it definitely can aid a team's ability to score runs, but with stipulations. Essentially during a hit-and-run, your 3-6 batters should never be batting, there should be less than 2 outs, it should occur early in the count (< 3 balls, < 2 strikes) and the game should be close (+/-3 runs). So if this occurs, +1. Any other time and it's a negative play so -1.
Relievers -- Call to the Pen: The first step would be to classify each reliever as either low-, medium-, or high-leverage. Craig Kimbrel and Jordan Walden are obviously high-leverage, Luis Avilan would be medium, and Cory Gearrin and David Carpenter would be low. The next step is to discover the LI (Leverage Index) of the situation they are appearing in. If the reliever is brought in to their classification or lower, +1. If they are brought into a higher classification, -1.
Good Example: Craig Kimbrel pitching in the 9th of a 1-run game. Bad Example: Cory Gearrin pitching in the 9th of a tie game.
Relievers -- Replaced: When a reliever needs to be replaced can be a tricky situation, so again we will use LI. Once a situation escalates to a higher leverage, that is when a better pitcher should be brought in. Similarly, a high-leverage pitcher may get out of a jam so he could be replaced by a lower-leverage pitcher for the following inning. Any time a pitcher left in a game to pitch in a situation above his leverage classification, -1. When an adequate replacement is used, +1.
Good Example: Jordan Walden replacing David Carpenter with the bases loaded of a 2-run game in the 7th inning. Bad Example: Jordan Walden not replacing David Carpenter with the bases loaded of a 2-run game in the 7th inning.
Relievers -- Specialists: Every team has at least one specialist (and in many cases two): LOOGYs and the rarer ROOGYs. These pitchers should pretty much only face same-handed hitters because they have quite significant splits. Obviously you can't always stick to that defined role due to bullpen sizes and usage issues, but in most cases you can at least minimize any potential damage. So long as the specialist faces more (or equal) same-handed hitters than opposite-handed hitters, +1. If they face more opposite-handed hitters, -1.
Good Example: Luis Avilan facing 2 LHB and 1 RHB. Bad Example: Luis Avilan facing 2 RHB and 1 LHB.
Starters: It's always difficult to decide when a starter should come out of a game. Sometimes leaving them in for an extra inning works fine and other times it doesn't. As a quick rule, I would say a starter should be removed in any high-leverage situation when they are beyond 100 pitches. By that point, they are likely into their third trip through the lineup and it's likely late in the game. If they are removed, +1. If not, -1.
Good Example: Leaving Dillon Gee in to attempt a CG SHO vs. the Braves last week. Bad Example: Leaving Mike Minor is one inning too many vs. the Mets last week.
I tried coming up with something for pinch-hitters, but it was far too complicated. It would really be a case-by-case basis. Hopefully some of you readers can think of something.