This Is Why You’re Terrible
As always, Larry Stone checks in with a well written, well reasoned piece on what the conclusion of the GM search will say about the organization. In it, he talks to Mat Olkin (who, despite still being on retainer here, works for the KC Royals now), who the M’s hold up as their carrot that they understand real statistical analysis and its applications to roster management. He also talks to Chuck Armstrong about that side of the game and gets this quote:
In my own mind, I’ve used statistical analysis the whole time I’ve been in the game,” he said. “I will also say Bill Bavasi, among the various GMs I’ve had here, has used it the most of anybody.
“On the other hand, I’ve learned if you just keep going with the cold hard statistics, that’s not the optimal way, either. Talk to some of the old-line scouts, and they’ll tell you that of the top 10 things to look for, the top three or four are makeup, makeup, makeup. Then after that you start looking at tools.
Bob Fontaine is an old-line scout. Let me quote him from the USSM event on Saturday (you know, when those inflexible stathead nerds and their computers spent a few hours talking scouting with an old line scout): “I’m from the Branch Rickey school of scouting. My first word was tools.”
If you talk to Bob, you’ll know that while he believes that makeup is important, he also believes its nearly impossible to predict. He’ll tell stories of guys that admitted they weren’t fans of the game and everyone assumed they wouldn’t play hard, but once they put the jersey on they were the best makeup guys around. He will say, straight out, that Jim Abbott is the only guy he’s ever been 100% sure of on a player’s makeup, and he’s been scouting for 30 years. One dude, in 30 years, that he felt comfortable saying “yea, I have a good feel for that guy’s makeup”.
Until the Mariners organization decides to start valuing baseball players for their abilities and not their personalities, this team will always suck. The absolute must have quality the next GM must possess is the willingness to tell Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln to take their desire to see a team full of guys with the right kind of personality and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
Your top ten that includes makeup, makeup, and makeup at 1-3 on the priority list, Chuck? It’s ridiculously stupid, and you need to throw it away. This isn’t stats vs scouts – this is reason and intelligence versus your particular brand of drivel.
Hire someone who knows how to build a baseball team and get out of the way. Thank you.