Folks, prepare yourselves, because the following quotes came from a major league manager, Manny Acta. I’m not excerpting Baseball Prospectus here – this is one of Mike Hargrove’s peers uttering these statements:
Defense: “A big part of defense is positioning. We are not going to be letting these guys do most of these things on their own. We are going to be controlling some part of the game from the bench. We will have enough charts and stuff to be able to see if he is in the right spot and, if not, control it. We would rather take that out of their hands, and between me and Pat Corrales, we will take care of that.”
Stealing: “We will run selectively. I think one of the things that doomed this club last year is that they were first in caught stealing. I am not going to be running all over the place just because 25,000 people in the stands are saying I am aggressive while people are getting thrown out on the bases. Not everybody will have a green light here. The guys who are going to run are the guys who are going to prove to me that they will be successful most of the time trying to steal a base.”
Bunting: “It’s been proven to me that a guy at first base with no outs has a better chance to score than a guy at second base with one out. That has been proven to me with millions of at-bats. I don’t like moving guys over from first to second unless the pitcher is up or it is real late in the game. “I am telling you right now you are not going to see me bunting guys from first to second in the middle of the game or early unless it is the pitcher. We will pick spots. If we have a slow guy on the mound, and we know Logan can lay it down, we will pick those times.”
Lineup: Acta said his preference for the second spot in the lineup ideally would be determined by on-base percentage — even though his plan is to bat Guzman, a low-percentage on-base guy, second.
“You can’t steal first base,” he said. “That is the main thing for me. You have to get on in order to score. I know Guzman is not a big high-percentage guy, but we don’t have all the choices that we want to have here right now. With Lopez on base, Guzman may be the ideal guy to get him over with a hit-and-run or a drag bunt to get the guy in the scoring position for the [Ryan] Zimmermans and [Austin] Kearnses of the world.
He said if everyone were healthy, Ryan Church would bat second.
“If Nick [Johnson] was here, that was one of the original ideas because of [Church’s] on-base percentage and his ability to hit a fastball,” Acta said. “But right now, without Nick here, we need some protection behind Kearns, and if you put him hitting second, our lineup is pretty thin in the middle.”
He’s not going to bunt needlessly, he’s going to use data to help him position his fielders, and he’s not going to run the bases aggressively just to appear to be proactive if it costs his team outs. Oh, and he wants a high OBP guy in the #2 slot in the order.
Now, he’s not perfect – he still believes in protection, he’s going to carry 12 pitchers, and he might not be able to make room for Doyle, but man, you read some of this stuff, and then you read Hargrove’s musings, and you just have to wonder why he’s not in a museum or something.