From the Field to the Dugout to the Front Office
On the heels of an off day, it's time to talk about news outside the world of the playoffs. Two days ago, Bill Stoneman stepped down as the Angels general manager. Stoneman, 63, had served as GM for eight years. Tony Reagins, formerly director of player development, was hired as the team's new GM.
The Angels advanced to the postseason four times under Stoneman. The organization won its only World Series championship in 2002, Stoneman's third year on the job. He signed Bartolo Colon in December 2003 and Vladimir Guerrero in January 2004. Guerrero won the AL MVP in his first season with the Halos. Colon won the league's Cy Young Award the following year.
Stoneman becomes the fourth successful GM to depart a high-profile job in recent weeks. Terry Ryan, 53; Walt Jocketty, 56; and John Schuerholz, 67, had previously announced their resignations. The GM position is becoming more and more a younger person's job. The number of 20- and 30-somethings with corner offices is not a coincidence. Look for this trend to accelerate into the future.
- Rich Lederer, 10/18, 7:45 AM PT
Stepping down into the dugout for a moment, the Cincinnati Reds made news on Sunday when the club confirmed that it had signed Dusty Baker to a three-year contract to become its next manager. It was the first time that the Reds turned to an outsider to run the team in 18 years.
Lou Piniella was the last manager hired by Cincy with no ties to the organization. Every manager since has either come from the minors, the coaching staff or from a scouting/advisory role. Piniella, of course, led the Reds to a World Series championship in his first season at the helm in 1990. Let's hope fans don't expect a repeat performance from Baker this year – or anytime soon. Homer Bailey, Joey Votto, and Jay Bruce may give Cincinnati optimism for the future, but there is no reason to think that Baker is going to be a difference maker.
- Rich Lederer, 10/18, 8:15 AM PT
I have a new toy. A couple weeks ago I wrote about pitches that were similar to Barry Zito’s curve and Mariano Rivera’s cutter. I though it was pretty interesting, but the list I made was based on pitches that I eyeballed as having similar values. With some help from Tangotiger, I was able to create similarity scores for pitches and given a particular type of pitch, say Zito’s curveball, I can find the most similar pitches to it, based on speed and the spinless “break” values. The most similar pitch to Zito’s curve is Ted Lilly’s curve. The pfx_x value (the amount the pitch moved due to horizontal spin) on Zito’s curve is unique for a curve and is actually close to pfx_x values for sliders.
The most similar pitches to Rivera’s cutter are the fastballs of Jared Burton and Juan Salas. I had never heard of Burton or Salas, but both guys throw a fastball that is relatively similar to Rivera’s cutter and both pitchers have reverse splits. Other pitchers with similar pitches to Rivera's cutter, such as Jason Isringhausen and Micah Owings, don’t show a reverse split, but they don’t throw their “reverse” pitch nearly as often as Rivera, Burton or Salas, which I think is key to having a reverse split.
I think the rest of my afternoon is spoken for with this toy (Jamie Moyer’s fastball is most similar to Cole Hamel’s changeup), so if there are any requests for similar pitches, I’d be happy to look at them.
After a couple rounds of corrections to my pitch-identifying algorithm, I’m pretty confident in the process, but there are definitely pitch types that it doesn’t identify very well, particularly splitters. Correctly identifying pitches is important for my analysis, so I’d love any suggestions/advice people have about which pitchers throw splitters.
- Joe P. Sheehan 10/18, 1:23 PM ET