Long: Analyzing the measure of a manager

From Jeff Long at Sports on Earth on September 7, 2015:

Matt Williams has come under fire lately, even as the Washington Nationals are on a bit of a roll. The manager was lambasted by fans and analysts alike on Twitter for the way he handles the back end of the Nats’ bullpen after it imploded against the Cardinals. In the wake of a tormenting loss that arguably could have been an easy win, Williams felt the need to defend his strategic approach:

It was suggested to Williams that [Casey] Janssen could have pitched a theoretical 10th if the Nats went to extra innings and took the lead.

“He could,” Williams allowed. “Sammy Solis could as well. But Sammy’s our long guy. So what we tried to do last night was stay off Casey, because he had such a heavy workload the night before. Again, it gets down to the result of the game, and the result of the game was a three-run homer. But Casey also worked through the first two outs of that game and had the previous hitter two strikes and just couldn’t put him away. So you look at the result, and the result says ‘Oh you should do something different,’ but you don’t use your closer in that regard because he needs to close that game out.”

Essentially, Williams gives each pitcher a role and that role sticks unless something absurd happens. What Williams’ week has really done, though, is bring into the spotlight the fact that we don’t have a good feel for evaluating managers, not even when it comes to a seemingly simple background question like “how many managerial decisions does it take to add up to a noticeable effect?”

Read the full article here: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/147801776/matt-williams-nationals-bullpen-criticism

Originally published: September 7, 2015. Last Updated: September 7, 2015.