Please Don’t Shoot the Meaningless Figurehead – He is Doing the Best he Can
Another myth the projections blow out of the water is that a manager’s in-game strategy means a lot. You don’t have to go to many street corners to find someone willing to venture that John Gibbons has cost us “at least 10 games” this year, like that time he pulled that pitcher, or didn’t pull that pitcher, or went with his gut, or played the numbers, etc. Here’s an article from Jay’s Nest that says “Gibby has personally lost about 6 or 7 games this year alone–despite injury.”
Using the same rationale as clutch hitting (below), ALL the effects not directly related to the team’s ability to score or prevent runs have added up to less than two games over the entire season. There is simply not a manager in the league who could squeeze a 55-43 record (7 more wins) out of a team that has scored 9 more runs than they’ve given up.
In fact, looking at two universally lauded managers- Jim Leyland and Tony Larussa, it’s interesting to see that their teams have exactly the records that their runs for and against predict, despite the notion that they can conjure up wins out of thin air.
There’s still a lot they might be doing to help their team score more runs in the long term (such as nurturing players and putting them in positions where they are more likely to perform) and the short term (shrewd pitching matchups, defensive alignments) – but as a rule of thumb it takes 10 runs saved/added to equal a win, and that’s a lot of good moves to have a noticeable effect.
Usually when people complain about a manager it’s usually for not coming up with the right move in a specific situation that would have won/saved a close game. And those almost entirely even out- no manager defies his team’s numbers.