The Reds are off to a miserable 2-9 start. The roster may be far from ideal, but it is becoming more and more likely that Bryan Price will not survive the 2018 season as the Reds manager. The bizarre decisions he has made over the first 11 games have turned even Price’s biggest supporters against him.

The first name you hear when discussing the next Reds manager is Barry Larkin. He is absolutely loved in Cincinnati, and rightfully so for his Hall of Fame career. Larkin has also not been shy about saying he wants to manage the Reds.

Larkin managing the Reds would certainly provide a much-needed jolt to the fan base. Reds fans are becoming less and less patient with the rebuild, and apathy is creeping in. If Larkin was to become the next Reds manager it would certainly energize the fan base.

There are several reasons why Larkin becoming the next Reds manager is troubling. The most expected answer here would be lack of experience, but that is not at all a reason why I am against it. There have been several cases of successful managers with limited or no managing experience.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but Larkin was part of ESPN’s coverage from 2011-2014. Many have forgotten how old school Larkin came across in his coverage. He once piled on during an ESPN telecast when Joey Votto was receiving ridiculous criticism for not driving in enough runs. He was always very pro-bunt. Most troubling is this quote: “The problem is when people try to make baseball decisions based on the analytics.”

The Reds front office has made a concentrated effort to become more analytical. If they were to hire Barry Larkin, it would be a step back. It is possible that Larkin has changed his ideas and philosophy on baseball in 2018 post-ESPN. Larkin has interviewed for a couple MLB jobs, and maybe he got feedback that he needed to join the times and has made a concerted effort to do so. If that is the case, then Larkin should get a good look for manager. But that is not the Barry Larkin that we saw on ESPN. The chances are that he still thinks and believes the same way.

Fear should not be a major motivator when hiring a manager, but just imagine this: Barry Larkin takes over as Reds manager and completely bombs. Fans become angry toward Larkin as most fans bases do at some point with any manager. Larkin and the Reds have a nasty breakup, and he is never able to get back the same reverence that he currently has with Reds fans. Hiring Larkin could be a short term fix with the fan base with long term consequences.

I love Barry Larkin, but it would be a hard pass for me if and when the Reds decide to look for a new manager.

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 64 Comments

  1. Isn’t the real name to watch John Farrell?

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    • I read somewhere that Farrell has it in his contract that he won’t be given an interview if Price is fired, and he can leave anytime for an interview with another club. He can’t be a candidate at all for the job, contractually speaking.

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      • source?

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        • It was in Rosenthal’s Athletic piece about managers on the hot seat. He also noted the Reds don’t like Larkin as a manager candidate, and guessed it would be Riggleman or Pat Kelly replacing Price for the rest of the year.

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  2. This is all true, but we probably need to accept the fact that the Reds aren’t suddenly about to start making sound decisions after years and years of irrational ones. Given this reality, someone like Larkin might be about the best we can possibly hope for. At this point, frankly, I’d settle for Byron Larkin. Just any kind of indication that losing isn’t okay would be a huge step in the right direction.

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  3. Unfortunately my premonition that Ryan price would be fired today looks to be wrong.

    I sure hope they don’t hire Larkin, though.

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  4. Let’s hire a laptop.

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    • Let’s hire a solid human being who is able to extract useful information that informs winning baseball from the laptop.

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      • Let’s hire a good bunch of players who doesn’t start to play until june, cannot hit in situational at-bats or get distroyed when they have opposite hitters in 0-2 over and over. Or run like zombies or play defense like…..whatever. Then, sure, bring all the hardware, software and operators that MIT graduate.

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        • You’ll get no complaints from me that this is an underwhelming roster. There are still better ways to play a poorly dealt hand.

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          • Oh sure. And perhaps a guy like Larkin – who played the game the right way- is exactly what they need. Lacking a clubhouse leader, he brings that “winning attitude” and baseball fundamentals that no metric can relate to but humans do. Will he make good baseball in-game decisions or just write down the everybody-love-lineup? I don’t know. But even Price has put Winker 85% of the time there with stIll terrible results.
            At the end, we’ve been told ad nauseum that Managers don´t account for almost anything when talking about winning and losing, so that’s that.

            BTW, fire Mr. Price ASAP.

          • The only thing I’d add to that is that Winker is holding up his end of the bargain by getting on 40% of the time right now. It at least provides the beginning of an opportunity that the rest of the players need to follow up on.

            One thing that tends to happen with “anti-metric” people is that there is an over-assumption that those who advocate for it think it will always yield perfect results. Putting Winker to lead off instead of Billy will always be the right decision as long as we all continue to agree that .400s > .290 and that getting on base is essential to scoring. The Reds’ record right now is not a way to say “see, doing it the analytical way with Winker doesn’t help.”

            All a manager can do is put the right people in the position to be as successful as possible, and then the players have to deliver. We know there are better, higher percentage ways to utilize the players the Red have, even if they aren’t delivering right now.

          • To add to Matt’s point: The Casino wins on the absolute thinnest of margins. The most favorable games are like 53% in their favor. That means nearly half of the time, you win. And yet, they rake in the money because when you have the advantage long enough, it works.

            Making the right decision doesn’t mean it works every time. Flipping a coin twice should result in one heads and one tails based on the odds. But, clearly, that doesn’t always happen. But if you flip a coin 10,000 times, you’re going to get really close to 5,000 and 5,000.

            The problem with “doing things different than they’ve always been done” is that when you do something different and it doesn’t work immediately, people then to stop doing it for a lot of reasons. One, they don’t want to be questioned on it. It’s easier to “do what’s always been done” because then people don’t ask why you did that if it doesn’t work. You’ve got to actually buy in and keep doing it. I’m not going to stop hitting when I’ve got 11 in blackjack just because the previous two times I did so when the dealer was showing a 3 I wound up losing. Make the right decisions based on the right information, and eventually you’re going to come out ahead.

    • Analytics is literally just a fancy word for “facts.” Substitute “facts” into every criticism of analytics (or “stats”) and see how silly it sounds.

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  5. “The chances are that he still thinks and believes the same way.”

    There’s not much evidence presented to support this. I am admittedly a massive Barry Larkin fan, and I would absolutely love to see him manage the Reds, but only IF he was the right fit. Quoting a single comment made between four to seven years ago doesn’t cut it. I hope the Reds take hard look at Larkin ALONG with an exhaustive search of other candidates.

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    • From all the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen from former players turned analysts, they always support the type of roll they filled during their playing days.

      Larkin was always willing to bunt or try and hit behind a runner instead of just not making an out. To switch to a view that what he did as a player was sub-optimal casts himself in a bad light. Players tend not to do that. In my experience.

      Also, I could almost guarantee Larkin is a “handles the bat well” for #2 in the lineup sort of guy.

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      • Yep. You also have to remember the guy had a Hall of Fame career on the backbone of those basic principles. Why wouldn’t his mindset be “If everyone does what I did, the team will be good?”

        That being said, a big part of the managerial job description is gaining the trust and respect of the players (which he’s already done by both being one of the best Reds of all time and being a roving instructor for the last several years), as well as being a good face for the media. Larkin has both of those attributes in spades. It’d be up to the front office to decide if they think his in-game strategy would be enough of a hinderance to offset those other factors.

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        • Jordan, I think you are absolutely right about the “intangibles” of Barry Larkin managing. In the end, the only thing that really matters is winning.
          WINNING!
          No matter how you do it, winning is really the only thing that matters.

          How you get to WINNING is kind of crapshoot. I think Analytics are a good retrospective on individual players and a team, and can point to weaknesses that have to be filled. But they are not a be-all and end-all of any team. A lot of very good baseball teams have been put together and played prior to the Modern era of Analytics. A lot of the things derived from analytics were understood intuitively by good baseball guys for years. Sparky Anderson KNEW that Pete Rose and Joe Morgan had great OB percentages, and that’s why they were at the top of the order in those days. In 1970, he had Rose and Tolan at the top of the line up.
          This was good baseball then and now.
          I never understood why some managers had some weak hitting middle infielder batting second. It always seemed dumb.

          Having said all that, if Barry can inspire the team to be more focused, execute better and win more games, that’s winning.
          If he fails, he fails. And another mess of years has passed. I would personally like a wide ranging search for a new manager, if such a thing is in the works.

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          • Yes, many great teams were built before the modern era of analytics. But if you are now facing a guy with a good team who is also using them to manage against you….. well, odds are he’s going to beat you if you aren’t using them, too.

            For me, the biggest thing I’d hate is the point that Nick brings up about what could happen if things go south. You never want to see that happen to an all-time franchise great.

          • I am terrified that I would end up hating Barry Larkin. That would be awful.

      • The greatest bunter and hitter behind a runner that ever existed though. He is a Hall of Famer and World Champion. More that many wish to dream.

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      • I think about it this way. I know there’s a big difference in watching and playing baseball. Many of us grew up watching baseball our whole lives, and focused on the “important” stats on the back of the baseball card. Now we’ve learned over time average by itself is a terrible way to evaluate/compare hitters, and so on with RBIs, etc. I think players can (and in many cases have) learned, just like the rest of us.

        I just think we’re making pretty big assumptions. I lot of that is due to Larkin having no managerial experience. Seeing is believing. In this case we can’t see, so we assume.

        I just want to trust the Reds to make the correct decision, and based on the fact that Price is still managing, I find that doubtful.

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  6. Armed with this new information I’m also not sure he’d be a good fit. My statement may surprise some of you bcuz of how much I was against this new analytics/sabermetric (still not sure which term to use) movement. I was very much for the old-school stats that, by comparison to some of the sabermetric formulas, were quite simple to figure (which is something I like to do every now and then). When I first voiced my displeasure with not being to figure out some the new formulas one of the writers here (can’t remember which one) told me, in so many words, that I don’t need to understand them…that all I need to do is take their word for it. I can’t remember the exact wording but it had a littler nastier tone to it. That didn’t sit well with me. But I am a man and I let my cooler head prevail. Plus, in light of the fact that I can’t understand some of the formulas, I guess I’m ok with “taking their word for it” (or however it was put). Also, tone is a tricky thing to decipher sometimes when just reading what someone has typed without hearing it directly from their mouth (unless they were to type clear cut words like, “hey, I mean this in a nasty tone!”…lol). So, with my rational/cooler head prevailing, I let it go.

    Anyway, didn’t mean to ramble there, here’s why I may not be 100% on board with the hiring of Larkin. Bcuz, without any Definitive statement from Larkin about a change in philosophy from his old-school thinking, we have to assume he still thinks that way and that would definitely not mesh with the way the organization is trying to do things.

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  7. I think Price is gone by Mother’s Day. Whatever rope there was due to the injury situation is very quickly being pulled on by Price himself.

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  8. Corky Miller should be the next manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

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  9. Four years is a long time, and the prevalence of modern analytics in decision making off and on the field has changed dramatically in those years. I agree that the Reds search should be thorough, but if Larkin has developed a modern attitude to the role and usefulness of relevant data, I like his skill set for the remaining aspects of the job. I don’t think dismissing him already is the right conclusion any more than anointing him without due diligence would be.

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  10. If we’re gonna hire someone with zero coaching experience, I’d like to see Billy Ripken given a shot. That dude has a baseball mind.

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  11. I just want a good manager. I don’t want a manager chosen because he “fires up the fan base”. I don’t want a manager chosen because he’s a Reds legend. I don’t want a manager chosen because “he’s been there before.” I just want a good manager who will get the most out of his roster. It’s scary how little faith I have in this organization to make a choice for the right reasons.

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  12. Darkhorse candidate for manager: Ryan Hanigan. There’s an interview from FanGraphs (posted at the bottom of this post) from 2012 that still sticks in my mind today. He says all of the things my ideal Cincinnati Reds manager would say today – and all of that was in 2012. He was recently released from the Indians, is obviously a former Red, and like Joe Girardi when he was hired by the Yankees, still has some teammates from his playing days on the team.

    Here’s the interview. Tell me he doesn’t sound like someone you’d want manning the ship in Cincinnati: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/qa-ryan-hanigan-underrated-red/

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    • I agree wholeheartedly that Hanigan would be a good choice.

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    • Hmmmmmmmmm…

      The Old Cossack seems to recall that someone has been promoting and advocating the idea of hiring Ryan Hanigan for 2-3 years, if Hanigan wants to manage.

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    • I have felt for years that Hanigan would eventually make a very good manager. That interview, which I do recall, reinforces that belief.

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  13. Baseball analytics, for crying out loud, aren’t that hard to understand. Larkin, a University of Michigan graduate, could learn everything he needs to know, if he hasn’t already, in about 4 days. A guy pulls all his grounders? Uh, let’s play him to pull in the infield. A pitcher gets hit around the third time through the order? Uh, let’s watch him a bit closer, then. Gennett can’t hit lefties? Uh, let’s use him sparingly against lefties.

    Larkin batted second for much of his career. I think he gets that issue. He could probably learn the studies that show that lineup construction doesn’t really matter much, a point that seems to elude many on this board. Recently, The Athletic did a run of 362,880 lineup simulations for this year’s Yankee team against lefties, and the difference between the most effective and least effective (with Sanchez, Judge and Stanton hitting 7-8-9) was a half win over the course of the season.

    There may be good reasons not to hire Barry Larkin as manager. For my taste, he’s campaigned a bit too hard for it, when tact dictated otherwise. But it is a big stretch to use an old quote, without context, to assume a guy with a degree from a first-rate university can’t adopt to new ideas.

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    • This isn’t me speaking about Larkin at all, but, people with the capability to understand something fail to adapt and accept new ideas every single day. And there are a lot of reasons for it, and it’s rarely anything to do with the ability to grasp the concept.

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      • Yeah to add to Doug’s point, knowledge doesn’t always lead to changed behavior. I do not doubt Larkin’s ability to understand analytics and use that information (along with video, scouting, and other information) to make decisions. I am concerned that he will refuse to do so.

        Many of us know that we should eat better, and yet, that knowledge doesn’t actually lead to us eating better.

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      • Amen. People are irrational creatures that will often “cut off their nose to spite their face” and engage in other such irrational behavior.

        Ego is man’s number one motivator, whether it’s sexually-driven (Freud), power-driven (Adler), or meaning/purpose-driven (Frankl). Larkin’s ego keeps him from shutting up and it will likely keep him from learning new tricks.

        I once heard him on ESPN advocate a downward chop to apply backspin to the ball – a relatively common, but truly insane theory. The timing of that is incredibly difficult and a downward swung bat, with solid contact, hits the ball downward (you have to just clip it otherwise, which never drives it very hard). Not only does video show his slightly upward swing (down then up through the ball), meaning he failed to really understand his own swing, he will likely teach the anti-Ted Williams/ makes sense approach to our hitters.

        I love Barry Larkin, HOF SS (who hit with talent and practice, not by understanding the science of hitting – Mantle knew less and was even better *shrug*). I think he’d be very good with the players and leadership, as he was in his playing days. I have very little confidence he’s looking to change anything he already thinks he knows. Good article and I second (or twelfth or whatever we’re up to) the hard pass.

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    • you can’t simulate human execution the way you can simulate the physical world. there are situations when it is useful for massive CPU power to data crunch numbers and this is not one of them. past performance only gives a decent hint at future performance. to think sanchez judge and stanton will perform over a 162 game season evenly or similar to last year is folly.

      just a simple example: yankess will win more games if those three perform in streaks that avoid coinciding with one another. but if their performances overlap – hitting well at the same time, striking out at unprecedented levels at the same time, the differences in W-L will be several games.

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  14. 2 reasons to NOT hire Larkin this year.

    1 – unless the replacement succeeds wildly, it’s really just a place holder, or a mediocre company man. Larkin cannot want to be the former, and I hope he’s not the latter.

    2 – much less important, but still an item, don’t we want some track record of success at some level? A catcher might be an exception (Scioscia and Matheny being the most recent), but even a partial season anywhere in the minors would help.

    I doubt Larkin would fail or fall flat, but the Reds have already done this several times – Helms, Perez, Rose, Knight – w/o great success.

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  15. Joe Oliver needs to be the next manager. He’s learned in the minor leagues. He’s a former catcher (I always think they make the best managers). He’s got the Reds connection for our fan base. I’ve defended Price in the past and given him the benefit of the doubt, but I now agree, he just keeps making indefensible decisions in-game. For the life of me, why isn’t Amir Garrett touching more?

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    • Joe Oliver may have a connection to the fan base over age 40 but not so sure about the younger fan base. He might make a great manager. If I was looking at a catcher, and I probably would, I would be taking a long look at Hanigan.

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  16. I’m not even a Larkin guy; I would prefer Hanigan or David Ross. I just don’t see any objective evidence that Larkin should be deemed to be an inflexible moron, or whatever appellation you want to put on it.

    To give but one example, there are studies to show that stealing bases is a bad idea, if the success rate is less than 75% or so. OK, that is useful for the average situation. But every situation isn’t average. When a decent runner is on first with 2 outs and an 0-2 count on the hitter, it’s a good play to try to steal even if the odds may only be 50-50. At worst, it reloads the count for the next inning. That is a qualitative judgment—a “baseball decision” if you will.

    I like the simple philosophy that if a pitcher is throwing well, then leave him in, rather than rely on some stats to bring in another pitcher, who may not be throwing well that day. These are humans, with great randomness in performance. The players are not games of chance, with immutable odds like a casino has.

    Use the analytics where appropriate, but give me a manager with good qualitative judgment.

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    • Good post and I wholeheartedly agree with that stolen base example, especially on the age of the strikeout.

      However, humans are actually just like the casinos in terms of odds. The math doesn’t change, the individuals do. That’s where run expectancy and wOBA and such come from – tens of thousands of real situations having been measured. Human performance is also a game of chance. The issue here is that, compared to a casino, baseball has only limited sample sizes – the noisy variances appear much bigger because we are staring at them from far too close (abad month as opposed to every similar situation for decades).

      To explain better, you get 600 plate appearances in a year and hot/cold streaks are affected by physical condition (injury, rest, sickness, etc.). Blackjack, you get 50-80 rounds an hour (Stanford Wong estimate, seems about right for 3-6players with a good dealer in my experience). Thus, in one day at the table, you get a season’s worth of “appearances,” unaffected by your mood, sore wrist, or other variables (“perfect blackjack” isn’t that hard to play – there’s no such thing as perfect execution in baseball).

      So, statistical analysis allows you to know the probabilities. An observational analysis like a “hot bat” or “throwing well” (velocity aside – five thirty eight has a nice “hot streak predictor” based on up and downturns in average velocity) doesn’t override that math. An injury or fatigue or other lowered probability does. It’s like saying I always make the right move at the table based on the table rules, so I follow the probabilities. The only thing that changes that is if the math changes (the count is highly favorable so you bet more and play a few numbers differently) or you’re wasted and unlikely to play perfectly (the person changes).

      The situational odds never change, nor does the wisdom of following them. The people change, making monitoring their inability to perform at their peak the manager’s job. This is why a manager should know to sit Hamilton against lefties but not care so much about where in the order he faces righties. He should also be concerned with a dinged up hamstring changing the math of Hamilton’s steals.

      In short, long-term, broad statistical analysis shows players to be exactly like the casino. The difference is the player is far more likely to play in a diminished capacity and the number of plays to measure for any individual baseball player is far lower than for any card player, making the results appear more random.

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      • Also… the Reds are working really, really hard at causing us to have to adjust the Run Expectancy chart down! They’re gonna ruin it for everyone!

        But your card playing analogy is apt. If 5 other players are all armed with the best odds and expectancies, and play by those, they are more likely to win then the person who isn’t. You know who isn’t playing by those? The guy that bunts freaking Tucker Barnhart as PH. It’s kinda like saying “ooo, I just feel that card I need is gonna come in”… sometimes that guy will hit, but I wouldn’t want his wallet.

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      • I agree that the sample size is big enough to know that Billy Hamilton or Scooter Gennett are weaker against lefties. But I’m not sure what your point is.

        A craps roll, over time, is 1/6 of the time going to be a 7, and 1/12 of the time going to be a 10, which is why the “odds” bet, a 50-50 wager, pays 2-1.

        Whether Adam Duvall is going to get have a good AB against Adam Wainwright turns on a whole lot of non-quantifiable things: whether Wainwright’s elbow hurts; how much sleep either one of them got last night; how hung over the shortstop is; whether Wainwright has his good slider that day; etc., etc. These things are not quantifiable, nor are they constant over time. What Wainwright can do in 2018 is not what he could do in 2013, or even a month ago, or even 5 innings ago.

        I don’t think the players are even remotely like the casino. Some point to the chart that shows the run expectancy in any given out/base scenario, or the related chart showing the chance of 1 run scoring. But even that depends on who is on base, who is pitching, and who is hitting. There is a better chance that Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia will drive in Jackie Bradley, Jr., while hitting off Yovani Gallardo, than of Cliff Pennington and Billy Hamilton driving in Ryan Hanigan while facing Craig Kimbrel.

        My general point is that a manager needs a good qualitative feel for the game, and that the analytics part of any individual game is pretty mundane, and certainly within Barry Larkin’s ken.

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        • I don’t mean to be harsh, but literally all of that is wrong except 1/6 odds of rolling a 7. 6-1, 5-2, 4-3 and the reverse of each of those (which die it is flips) are all possible 7s. 7 is the most common occurrence on a two dice toss. 1 is impossible (barring some silly edge landing or rule about a toss leaving the table) and 2 and 12 (1s or 6s) are least common. However, it’s not 1/6 die faces get you to 7, it’s 6 of 36 possible combinations (6 faces x 6 faces = 36 possible combos). 10 is about 8.33% likely, not 10% (3 of 36, 6-4, 5-5, 4-6). Here’s the probability distribution for two dice occurrences:
          https://wizardofodds.com/gambling/dice/

          The 2-1 bet is actually there so you’ll go with a Martingale strategy (double your bet at every loss, chasing losses). Eventually, you hit a losing streak. Then you (or you and 99 other bettors like you on average) either a) chicken out and abandon your now escalating system of betting (house wins); or b) bump up against the maximum bet for the table and can no longer double up to recoup your losses (house wins). Same thing in blackjack and roulette, with green spaces and dealer winning on blackjack or hitting soft 17 turning the odds further against you. 7 coming up is 16.67% likely (1/6), not 50, so the 2-1odds bet has nothing to do with a 2-1 probability (much the same, 2-1 blackjack insurance is always giving your money away unless the count is something like -8 or -10 in which case why are you still sitting there?).

          In baseball, the probability of scoring a run from any of the 24 base/out configurations is just that, a general probability of the occurrence of an event, based on trends of thousands of similar positions.
          https://gregstoll.dyndns.org/~gregstoll/baseball/runsperinning.html

          As I said above, the math doesn’t change, the player changes. The RE for guys hitting .350 the past 600 PAs is obviously higher in any scenario than it is with Hamilton up there hitting righty. Additionally, decrease from ability to reach peak performance (injury, fatigue, illness) can lower a player’s chance of reaching expectancy. Seeing who over and under performs is hard because of what you mentioned – it’s not quantifiable (able to be measured). Exactly how sleepy a guy is and it’s effect on his performance today, or where are they in their career arc (can be seen retroactively or semi-accurately predicted but not relied upon for daily decisions), etc. is as unpredictable as, ha ha, the next craps shoot (guess 7 and you’re wrong 5 of 6 times).There are too few examples to say the manager getting it right is anything more than luck. Over 100 examples will yield roughly the same results across managers. Very few over or underperform their team’s expected wins (based on run differential) with few exceptions (Buck Showalter being one of the big ones still around).

          Here is what the numbers say about managerial impact (it’s very small):
          https://www.google.com/amp/s/fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-orioles-always-win-more-than-they-should-theres-a-reason-for-that/amp/
          https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/most-managers-are-headed-to-the-hall-of-mediocrity/amp/

          Probabilities are best interpreted for all players. Start there. It maybe “mundane” (means “boring” not easy or pointless) but it is wise. The odds of something happening based on the previous occurrences of it having happened over a huge sample size makes logical sense – it is quite literally “x amount likely” to happen. Adjusting slightly (which hitter to bat, bunting in one of two scenarios to play for one run instead of a big inning, walking a guy to face a slightly injured one) is fine, as it is based on the players and their current individual levels (subbing for an opposite hand matchup).

          Anything else is guessing. That’s the old “if it works it was supposed to, if it doesn’t, I’m to blame” manager gripe. Qualitative touch is important for personalities (don’t run out a guy who just moved out after a fight with his wife) but it has no bearing on probabilities. Those are what they are and a good starting point for any decision making in baseball or business or really anything else.

          Someone who failed to even understand that his own swing went slightly up at contact (video was around then) and his strong reactions against “using analytics” (while failing to understand that basic ideas on “when to bunt” or “when to pull a starter” or “guys hit opposite-handed pitchers better” were early analytics) seems unlikely to change. If he wants to take a week and learn it all, then some substantial time to practice applying it, great, but he was always known to have a stubborn streak (which apparently includes never watching his best hits in slow motion). It’s not about smarts, aas is true of most human behavior. I’m not optimistic – the facts (the history of Larkin himself to this point and all the other “anti-analytics” old guys) say it is highly improbable…that’s a better thing to hang my hat on than “I guess he could get it.”

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  17. The MOST important thing in hiring a manager is conducting a thorough search.

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    • Assuming the people doing the search and interviewing the candidates have a clue. Otherwise, go ahead and pick me. I’ll work cheap.

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  18. Proper understanding of analytics is far more important for a general manager than a manager. It is essential in development and in building a roster via trades or free agency.

    And it can be used to study some issues. I have a theory, for example, that an outfielder with a booming arm should really be in left field, rather than right field, because the LF gets more balls hit to him and hence would deploy his asset more often. (This does not mean I advocate putting a lame arm in right.) I think with Statcast, you could analyze whether this would be effective.

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    • The GM and manager and front office staff and scouts must all be moving in the same direction and working together. That should not be a singular, tunnelled approach to Baseball Operations, but an open and encompassing approach to baseball operations. Anything taken to excess is counterproductive and dangerous.

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    • It’s not a bad theory but people rarely stretch for extra bases on LFs. The original reason for a stronger arm in right (as I’m guessing you probably already know) is the one long throw, to third. LF/RF to second or home is the same, roughly. LF to 1B is almost never made, but RF to 3B often is on guys going 1st to 3rd. Here’s an Ichiro example of why a strong arm on RF is good that was just on Cut4 the other day:
      https://youtu.be/WYAxk01E404

      That said, there may be more overall plays at home on balls hit to LF, I don’t know. I’d like to see the statcast data and see if you’re on to something. Which is really all “analytics” is – looking at something new (numbers, statcast data, whatever) to see the game in a new light in case you might be missing something or to better understand something your gut kinda said felt right.

      Reply
  19. His own words provide all the evidence necessary to eliminate B Lark from consideration.

    We need a manager that is completely sold on the value of all the data that is now available to today’s manager.

    Reply
  20. Couple more weeks of this – The Reds won’t need a new manager – they’ll need an undertaker.

    Reply
  21. Analytics or not, anyone is better than Price but it will be Farrell, not Larkin. However, I’d take Larkin too. Time for a change.

    Reply
  22. I’ve had David Ross’ name in the back of the mine as someone that could eventually end up on a Reds manager list.

    Reply
  23. Makes perfect sense to rest Votto in front of the home crowd. Wrong Price has no sense.

    Reply
  24. There is always the baseball adage that great players don’t make good managers and seems to somewhat apply today but if any current comparison for Larkin would be Paul Molitor. Molitor at least had been a bench coach and Minor League instructor since retirement before becoming manager and also seems to embrace the analytics side of game and has done a good job with Twins. Just seems the more successful recent managers in past 5-15 years have all been former back-up catchers (Bochy, Hinch, LaRussa, Maddon (minor leagues), Metheny, Scioscia). Unfortunately our back-up catcher manager was Jerry Narron.

    Reply
  25. It’s good to remember that the Reds have 2 goals: win/start changing the culture and to sell tickets. For my money, Larkin excites me more than any interim manager or retread does. I also think the energy he would bring to the clubhouse along with the emphasis on playing the game the right way (defense has been horrid this year and in spring) is what this club needs. I am not of the opinion that they should not hire him in fear of it not working out. If he fails, then he fails but in 10 years he’d still be loved for his playing days. I’ve seen him work firsthand with players in Dayton and I think he’d be a great addition on and off field.

    Reply
  26. I don’t even like Larkin, but am ready to see what he can do as skipper, can’t do worse

    Reply

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About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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2019 Reds

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