MLB: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. MLB managers Alex Cora and Buck Showalter

Boston, under direction of Alex Cora, has as many wins as the Orioles, under Buck Showalter, has loses.

Both teams have talent. With the edge going to Boston.

So, how important is a manager?

Sorry if this topic is elementary for you Straight Dope MLB fanatics.

But, please enlighten me.

It is a lot more than edge going to Boston for talent.
Team batting average 30 points higher
Slugging 61 points higher
ERA 1.67 lower

Pretty much every statistic follows suit.

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The difference in talent is immense. That accounts for the vast majority of the win differential.

Okay. So you are saying if Cora and Showalter exchanged teams, the W-L columns would be the same?

The skipper doesn’t matter?

Cora’s done a fine job as manager, but Bucky Showalter is a great manager. The thing I admire about Buck is that he’ll take on the hard projects. Like who the fuck would have wanted to wear an Orioles jersey back in 2008?

Managers matter but its more in the sense that Donny Baseball made the Dodgers the NL west champion but Doc makes them NL west champions that can go to the world series once. In other words there is a difference but it is fairly slight even if i think Mattenly is a horrible manager and Roberts is a great one.

Another example would be when the Red Sox fired manager Grady Little after losing the ALCS in 2003, and replaced him with Terry Francona. Little was successful as the Sox manager, but his decision to keep Pedro Martinez on the mound during Game 7 of the ALCS was widely criticized, and he was seen as having cost the Sox a chance at the series. Thus, LIttle was fired, and Francona was able to deliver a Series win the following season.

The manager isn’t the most important factor. The manager matters, though.

I’d hazard that a good manager is worth around 5 wins across a 162-game season. Not enough to make Baltimore champions, but enough to make the difference for a team that’s on the bubble.

No, we’re not saying that.

What I’m saying is that a lot of factors go into a team’s win/loss record. Of those things, the managers in game decisions are a relatively small (but not insignificant) factor. There are many other factors that are more important, such as the players on the field. Additionally, much of what the manager does takes place outside of the games and the public doesn’t really see those.

Here’s an article by Cliff Corcoran on from a few years ago, which says that several well-known sabermetricians, including Bill James and Nate Silver, haven’t been able to tease out any particular statistic which indicates the direct impact of managers.

Corcoran suggests: “That supports the belief that the best baseball manager is one with a strong roster who is smart enough to let his players play and stay out of the way.” He also writes that “a manager’s most important job is widely believed to be the distribution of playing time. It’s intuitively true that a manager is only as good as the players he’s given, but a good manager can get more out of those players than a bad manager by knowing when, how, and how much to deploy those players.”

Little was otherwise capable of delivering a title; the problem was that his 2003 defeat was something you don’t recover from unless you have an extraordinary team and a executive team that gives you a second chance.

I basically agree with Corcoran. The talent on the roster is the biggest success factor for a coach in any major sport, but I think it’s more true in baseball than in football, for example. Based on what I’ve read about MLB managers, the job is as much about managing personalities and clubhouse atmosphere as actual game strategy.

My thought is there is a big difference between a bad manager and a decent manager. But not as much margin between decent and great.

Thank you for all the replies.

When I see Cora, in the dugout, it seems he has a genuine relationship with the players.

When I see Buck, in the dugout, he does not seem as warm to the players.

So, I felt the job as skipper was very important.

But, as you folks have pointed out, it is the sum of the parts that is important.

Thanks again for sharing.

There have been successful managers who were “player’s coaches” and others who didn’t relate personally to the players. Both types of coaches (and variants in between) have been successful and failures.

If baseball is anything like football, players are most happy when the team is winning. The coach’s attitude is less important. The complete jerk who yells at you all day but leads you to win is more tolerable than the affable guy who wants to be your buddy and pats your back after every (frequent) loss. It’s more about being respected than being liked.

Showalter is widely expected to be fired. Which can only mean one thing: the O’s are winning it all next year! :smiley:

showalter is the hired gun that you bring in to start a new team (Arizona )or fix a down beyond the gutter one

from what ive read of because his aloof personality and managerial style once he accomplishes what you need him for both sides are ready for him to move on …….

Boston has much more talent than Baltimore, but that has to do with the Sox organization, which has drafted really, really well.

I’ll trade you even up for Davey Martinez.

I’m a big Sox fan. We do have some great players that came up through the farm system that are performing big time, but we also have the luxury of paying big contracts to free agents that small market teams can’t match. The Sox have the largest payroll in baseball, and while that’s no guarantee of success it’s a good place to start.