I’m a stats-oriented guy. Which tends to imply a lot. I generally don’t like intentionally walking batters (with occasional exception), and I’m generally opposed to giving up outs by virtue of sacrifice bunts — most specifically when it’s a position player bunting. I often look at things through the lens of a run expectancy chart.
Therefore, most managers don’t especially appeal to me.
Bruce Bochy is relatively average in terms of standards of traditional vs. sabermetrically-inclined. In fact, in terms of intentional walks and sacrifice bunts, he’s less traditional than the majority of other managers.
- Often starts Aaron Rowand against right-handed pitchers, despite an ugly platoon split.
- Often bats Rowand in the leadoff spot — even against RHP — in spite of sub-par on-base skills.
- Frequently benches Pat Burrell, who currently ranks second among non-injured Giants in wOBA.
- Occasionally allows Javier Lopez to pitch against right-handed hitters in high-leverage situations, despite an ugly RHH split.
- Often bats low-OBP hitters in the second spot in the lineup (most notably Miguel Tejada).
- Under-uses Sergio Romo (by far his best reliever by FIP); Romo ranks sixth among Giants relievers in innings pitched.
- Seems overly-fixated on the microanalysis that is “playing the hot hand.”
Furthermore — and this is a vastly underrated aspect of managing, his players seem to love and respect him. And that’s huge. Just ask Bob Geren. I’d much rather be whining about Rowand batting leadoff than some kind of pointless clubhouse drama that’s prevalent because a manager can’t command the respect of his players.
Bruce Bochy is prone to making questionable moves, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m more than content with him as a manager. That doesn’t mean that I refuse to call him out in specific instances (such as the Lopez-Stanton decision), but I can say with confidence that I am more than grateful Bruce Bochy is not Fredi Gonzalez. Or Ozzie Guillen. Or Ned Yost.