“I felt like if Mateo came in and threw the way he can that we’d have a chance of getting a ground ball,” Hargrove said. “It just didn’t work.”
Julio Mateo’s groundball percentage is 24.2%. There are exactly two major league pitchers with a lower GB% than Mateo this season; Keith Foulke, who has spent most of the season on the DL because he was unable to pitch effectively, and Chuck James, a rookie starting pitcher who has an ERA of 4.69 in the National League.
And I’m sure the response from Hargrove would be something like “he’s throwing the ball better lately”, due to the slightly altered arm slot that they worked on. Thankfully, we have game logs, so we can know if Recent Mateo is any more likely to get a groundball than Yearlong Mateo.
August 1st: 5 batters faced, 0 groundballs
August 4th: 2 batters faced, 0 groundballs
August 7th: 6 batters faced, 1 groundball
August 8th: 4 batters faced, 0 groundballs
Julio Mateo had faced 17 batters since they altered his mechanics and he had started “throwing better”. In that time, he has induced one ground ball. After last night’s performance, he’s now faced 21 batters in August and has a 5% groundball rate.
There isn’t a pitcher on an American League roster right now that is less likely to get a groundball than Julio Mateo.
This post isn’t about taking Mike Hargrove to task for a difference in philosophy. This is an indictment on his ignorance of the skills of his players. I guarantee you that Mike Hargrove does not know that Julio Mateo is the absolute worst choice in the entire league if your hope is to get a ground ball.
He’s managing the club based on bad information. He’s making critical decisions while lacking basic, publically available information that even fans who follow the team know.
We’ve documented the problems with Hargrove’s in game strategies before, so I won’t document those again. But man, I have no idea how a guy who is using fundamentally, tangibly incorrect ideas to make pitching decisions still has a job.