FanPost

Manny Acta: Bunts, Steals, 'n IBBs

This won't be the most scientific analysis of Manny Acta's managerial influence, but hey it's at least a talking point. The three categories listed in the title, "bunts", "steals", and "intentional base on balls" are chosen as the elements to be assessed in my attempt to quantify Acta's role. I'm choosing these categories because of the available data on baseball-reference.com, and because these three categories seem to have the most managerial influence. I'm mostly interested in the number of attempts made by Manny Acta's teams with regards to the two first categories, bunts and steals, which also happen to be both offensive categories. While the intentional base on balls (IBB) category is on the pitching side of things, and is unlike the other two, is exclusively a managerial decision. This last point is an important caveat to this "analysis". There's no way to tell if the decision to attempt a stolen base is ordered by the manager or simply made by the player on the fly. We can probably assume that players will rarely attempt a stolen base when a sign to not steal is given, there isn't much of a problem here. But, we don't know how often the permission to attempt a stolen base is given by the manager, but never acted upon by the player due to any number of factors. So although I'm using data like stolen base attempts to gage Manny Acta's tendencies, the data is incomplete and leaves the analysis open to invalidation.

I wanted to look at these numbers from a couple different angles. One of the angles, is to invite our old friend Eric Wedge to the table and see where he stood in the last few years of his bloody reign. The other is to consider Manny Acta's own pre-2010 data while a manager of the Washington Nationals. There's problems in trying to gleam significance from either of these comparisons. Problems such as the fact that the 2008 and 2010 Cleveland Indians were quite different with regards to roster construction. Also, when considering Acta's time in Washington, one must also consider the fact that the Nationals play in a little girls league known as the National League where pitchers hit, bunts flow like wine, and Justin Bieber is considered palatable dinner party music. So take this stuff for what it is, a starting point of a discussion on Acta.

Justin_bieber_medium

Here's the key to the categories below: G = games, SBA = stolen base attempts, SBO = stolen base opportunities, SBA % = stolen base attempt percentage, SH = sacrifice hits (bunts), SHA = sacrifice hit attempt, SHA/G = sacrifice hit attempts a game.

Year/Team


Offense









Pitching



G

SBA

SBO

SBA %


SH

SHA

SH %

SHA/G


IBB

IBB/G

2011/Cle

73

62

971

6.39%


12

16

75%

22%


7

9.6%

2010/Cle

162

124

2251

5.51%


36

49

73%

30%


36

22.2%

total

235

186

3222

5.77%


48

65

74%

28%


43

18.3%

 

The table above is of Manny Acta's tenure with the Indians through today 6/24/11. Now for comparison, the table below is of Manny Acta's time with Washington.

 

Year/Team


Offense









Pitching



G

SBA

SBO

SBA %


SH

SHA

SH %

SHA/G


IBB

IBB/G

2009/Was

87

54

1200*

4.50%


31

48*

65%

55%


26

29.9%

2008/Was

161

124

2341

5.30%


64

104

62%

65%


44

27.3%

2007/Was

162

92

2339

3.93%


63

93

68%

57%


44

27.2%

total

410

270

5880

4.59%


158

245

64%

60%


114

27.8%

* ran at roughly 50% of the team's season-end total.

You can immediately see the jump in sacrifice hitting attempts, thus the National League effect. So you can pretty much chalk the bunting analysis in the trash when comparing his early work to current levels, other than concluding that he's adjusted to the AL style and has not forced the NL style on this team. To further this point check out the next table, which happens to belong to Mr. Wedge.

Year/Team


Offense









Pitching



G

SBA

SBO

SBA %


SH

SHA

SH %

SHA/G


IBB

IBB/G

2009/Cle

162

115

2411

4.77%


39

54

72%

33%


31

19.1%

2008/Cle

162

106

2390

4.44%


43

55

78%

34%


28

17.3%

2007/Cle

162

113

2435

4.64%


32

43

74%

27%


42

25.9%

total

486

334

7236

4.62%


114

152

75%

31%


101

20.8%

 

I found this interesting because the perception from the casual fan seems to be that Eric Wedge was adverse to "small ball" to the point of fainting in the dugout if a player attempted to bunt while batting, while Manny Acta, being from the NL and orchestrating that memorable Ezequiel Carrera game winning bunt for a base hit (which actually wouldn't have shown up on here, because it was a bunt for a hit instead of a sacrifice), would be a "small ball" king. But, here we see Acta has a 28% SHA/G in his Cleveland career, and Wedge had a 31%.

Also interesting is Acta's Indians have attempted stolen bases more often than either Wedge's Indians (maybe not that surprising) and Acta's Nationals (this was surprising). In fact, the trend so far this season is that the team will end up attempting even more stolen bases than last season.

Acta's Indians also give away fewer intentional free passes than his Nationals teams or Wedge's Indians. Though it looks like Wedge was trending lower in his last two years himself. This strategy immediately reminds me of a game against the Twins earlier this season when Acta elected to pitch to Justin Morneau with a base open and Morneau belted a double pushing a Twins lead in the close game.

Images_medium

The few trends I draw from this data is that Acta does not like bunting generally, will push the running game more than in his past or the Cleveland organizations recent past, and may be adverse to issuing intentional free passes to the other team.

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