Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Don't have to be a sabermetrician for this one, Yost

You're managing a major league ballclub in a major league baseball game. You're in the 9th inning, and you're down by one run. In comes the other team's lights-out closer, a nasty right-handed pitcher. You have the pitcher's spot up in the order, so you want a left-handed batter to pinch hit.

Do you go for:
  1. A guy hitting .185/.313/.185 with little major league experience who is striking out 1 of every 4 plate appearances in 2011 and has no power.
  2. A guy hitting .286/.343/.407 with a good amount of major league experience, who is striking out 1 of every 4 plate appearances in 2011 and has some power. (Also, this guy is a switch hitter, batting .305/.361/.454 from the left side)
  3. A guy hitting .317/.440/.439 with some major league experience who is striking out 1 of every 5 plate appearances in 2011 and has a little power.

It isn't a trick question -- these were the choices that lay before Ned Yost in the top of the 9th inning in the aforementioned situation last night vs. the San Diego Padres. Seems pretty easy, huh?

#1 - Jerrod Dyson
#2 - Wilson Betemit
#3 - Mitch Maier

He chose to go with option #1, which has to be one of the stupidest pinch-hitting choices I've ever seen. It's not difficult, and it's not debatable. He had a 66.7% chance of getting it right if he pulled the names out of a hat.

Would hitting Betemit or Maier instead have worked? Probably not...pinch-hitting is an imprecise science, at best. But it doesn't take a brain surgeon to go, "Gee, seeing as how there is no possible doubt that Betemit and Maier are better hitters than Dyson, let me at least eliminate Dyson as a possibility."

I understand Yost would want Dyson's speed on the bases, but why wouldn't your plan be what you've done all year -- wait until somebody gets on base, then pinch-run Dyson? You'd rather not use up that much of your bench in one move, sure, but those extra guys aren't going to do you much good if you never tie the game in the first place.

I haven't been on Yost much this year, but this was simply asinine, insipid -- whatever word meaning "dumber than a bag of rocks" you'd like to use.

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