More on evaluating Wakamatsu
The M’s have bunted way, way too often so far this season by any reasonable measure. But here’s the thing… let’s say Wakamatsu has two and only two things to do in a day: fill out a lineup card and make a decision on whether to sacrifice two runners over.
Wakamatsu’s frankly amazing ability so far to keep Griffey at DH and seemingly happy about it, run out not-insane lineups far outweighs the bunting.
Take the Endy Chavez/Griffey in left scenario. Defensively, every time he runs that out instead of Griffey in left and Sweeney at DH, he’s come out in the good. I did some rough calculations and it’s like a quarter of a run a game so far, and that’s without punishing Sweeney for looking pretty helpless at the plate so far.
That buys him two bad bunt-the-runner-over decisions. Or a really bad steal decision. And it doesn’t incorporate, as Dave said, how well he’s been managing the pitching staff.
Really: think about the effect of batting Vidro in the middle of the order. Wouldn’t the team have been better off trading a competent hitter against an extra hit-and-run call?
The most important part of a manager’s job, game by game, is putting the right players in the right positions. Before the season I was desperately worried about how they’d defuse Griffey (and the media’s) expectation of playing left every day (and Dave, presciently, was talking some sense). But they’ve managed the lineups well, especially considering some of the strange injury constraints. And that’s a lot more important than anything else so far.