I’m not going to use this space to blast Mets manager Terry Collins. By all accounts, he’s a reasonably well-liked and respected manager, and, perhaps more importantly, he’s been successful. We don’t know a ton about how managerial skill translates directly to on-field success, but we do know that it matters, and we also know there’s more than one way to be good at it.
And, hey, whatever he was doing last year clearly worked well for a team that few expected to competitive, even well into the middle of the season. They went to the World Series, sweeping the Cubs in the NLCS along the way.
All that said, Collins offered some thoughts on statistics in an interview with USA Today, and I was taken aback.
Collins got into a bit more in the interview, which you can check out here.
Setting aside some of the later acronyms he used – I’m thinking GPS and LCS were jokes, but I can’t quite place what DSDs are – it’s not like OPS is an especially complicated or nuanced stat (indeed, it’s actually pretty ineffective in a lot of ways, most notably how it treats a point of OBP as equal to a point of SLG). But it does give you a rough idea of how good a hitter is at the things that matter – getting on base and doing damage at the plate. Everyone should agree that those things matter, and whether you measure them in a stat or not, it helps you identify “good (expletive) players.”
To the extent Collins is genuine in his comments, and doesn’t utilize statistics at all when making certain managerial decisions, I’m blown away – especially when you consider that he’s working under a front office that is undoubtedly sabermetrically-inclined.
I’ll say only this: I am reminded of just how strong the synergy is between the Cubs’ front office (who builds the roster) and the Cubs’ manager (who utilizes that roster in games). Philosophically, they are aligned in so many ways, and I suspect that helps a great deal as the season plays out.