Some of you may have read Ted Sillanpaa’s piece about what a great manager Bruce Bochy is, and only those of us in the “lunatic fringe” want him gone, undeservedly so. I thought that such a nefarious idea deserved more than a comment on the bottom. In some ways Bruce Bochy is perfect for the Giants, he has a total disregard for Sabermetrics—although he might include such new fangled statistics as OBP and OPS in that category—given even a remote option he will always choose the grizzly gamery veteran over the younger player (see: Aaron Rowand, Bengie Molina, et. al.), he believes that a good catcher can win championships, even with subpar offense and defense; consequently in many cases Bochy’s thinking is very much in line with the Giants front office.
First let’s take a look at his total disregard for Sabermetrics. The most obvious case of this is Aaron Rowand. Through Sunday, Rowand’s OBP (that’s On Base Percentage if you’re reading Bork) was .278 and his OPS (On Base plus Slugging Percentage) was .678. His OBP is the 16th highest on the team, 16th ! It is also nearly 50 points lower than Nate Schierholz, who has seen sporadic playing time, an absolute no-no for young players. His OPS was slightly better, ranking him 13th on the team and exactly 50 points behind Schierholz who Rowand is mainly taking playing time from. Some may argue that Rowand’s defense makes up for this, but they would be wrong or drunk or both. Rowand’s current UZR is -0.4 while Schierholz stands at 5.4. Even a cursory examination of Sabermetrics shows that Bochy isn’t looking at these numbers.
However, Rowand is a veteran and Schierholz is not. Much in the same way that Molina was a veteran and Posey is not, or Renteria is a veteran and Ishikawa is not (Renteria playing slides Uribe to 3rd and Pablo to 1st ) and in each case Bochy chooses the veteran. This should come as no surprisee though because Bochy was let go in San Diego for his insistence on playing veterans on the decline over unproven rookies, namely Vinny Castilla, Phil Nevin and Ryan Klesko. While many may argue that Schierholz, Bowker or even Posey aren’t everyday major leaguers, the guys Bochy previously refused to play: Adrian Gonzales, Xavier Nady and Josh Barfield. Gonzales is one of the best players in the league, while Nady has struggled with injuries he has been an above average producer when healthy and Barfield had one solid season, but is now out of the league. No one will know how good Bowker and Schierholz are until they get consistent playing time at the major league level. Obviously they have nothing left to prove at AAA, so most teams would give them a shot or cut them loose, not Bork.
For all the talk of Buster Posey, there has been a ridiculous amount of credit given to catcher’s game calling abilities. Yet the team that has won the most World Series over the last ten years, the Yankees, have a catcher in Posada who is known for being good with a bat, but a poor receiver who struggles with calling games (see: AJ Burnett, David Wells etc.). Mind you Posada is not even average, but below average, his fielding value above replacement has ranged from -6.0 to -0.4 over the last four years according to fangraphs, yet the Yankees win and even pitch well.
Mind you, this is just a small smattering of Bochy’s incompetence as a manager and doesn’t even include his brilliant in-game decisions, like pinch running Eli Whiteside for Buster Posey yesterday, or the fact that from the outside looking in it appears that this team has quit on him. It’s time for Bochy to go and hopefully he’ll take Sabean with him.