Kenny: New wave manager tipping point

From SABR member Brian Kenny at Sports on Earth on April 1, 2015:

It might not seem like a huge story on its own. New Rangers manager Jeff Banister said his club will have no set lineup, and may change day to day. This, he says, depends on the opposing pitchers and specific things they see in the matchups.

Jeff Wilson of the Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram points out that within the span of a few days, Shin-Soo Choo batted 2nd and 6th, and Elvis Andrus was back and forth between 2nd and 7th. Players moved all over. It’s not that players have never switched around before, especially given righty and lefty starters on back-to-back days. Banister, though, is adhering to a different process. “You want to be able to have a stretched lineup,” Banister said. “You want to be able to construct your innings such that they give up a better opportunity to score runs.”  

Maybe this doesn’t strike you as extraordinary. But I believe it is. It’s a tipping point in breaking down one of the last barriers to the sabermetric revolution: the gatekeeping manager. 

Two years ago, I was invited to speak at the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference. It’s a hoot to some of the guys at MLB Network, who envisioned a WOBA whirlpool on the deck of the S.S. SABR cruise ship. They are correct in that it’s not quite a raucous spring break scene. A degree in math or economics isn’t required, but it will help you to stay in a conversation at the cocktail reception.

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Originally published: April 1, 2015. Last Updated: April 1, 2015.