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Just The Sports: I Have To Go With Billy Beane On This One

Just The Sports

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Have To Go With Billy Beane On This One

There may be no more cliched behavior than what former Oakland A's manager Ken Macha did after being fired, which was to bad mouth his former employer. Of course, fired employees choose this form of action to rationalize to themselves that they did not want to work with these horrible employers anyway when in actuality if they had not been fired, they would still gladly be cashing their paychecks and putting up with whatever incompetence they perceive their bosses to have. But for the purposes of this post, I want to focus on one statement that Macha said in a San Francisco Chronicle article.

Macha said in the article that "the GM [Billy Beane] wanted Bobby Kielty [instead of Mark Kotsay] to start against left-handed pitchers," especially during the postseason. I have no doubt that Beane told him to do this and I wholeheartedly support general managers telling managers how best to utilize the players on the roster because managers are usually dumb and need to be told what to do when they do not possess the same level on information that the general manager does.

As for Beane telling Macha to start Kielty over Kotsay when the team was facing left-handed pitchers. The answer is simply because Kielty is better against left-handed pitching. Since 2002 with 613 at-bats against lefties, Kielty is hitting .297 BA/.382 OBP/.517 SLG while Kotsay in the same time frame with 753 at-bats is hitting .308 BA/.351 OBP/.453 SLG with the biggest descrepancies being in the most important numbers, on-base percentage and slugging. So when Kielty hits against lefties, there's more of a chance of extra-base hits instead of just a lot of singles, which you would get from Kotsay.

Ironically, I wrote about Bobby Kielty in a June 13 post about switch-hitting.

Bobby Kielty
As LHB: .345 OBP/.362 SLG/.708 OPS in 875 at-bats
As RHB: .380 OBP/.487 SLG/.867 OPS in 534 at-bats

Bobby Kielty has the most equal split between how many at-bats he has had from each side of the plate, but he also has one of the more unequal OPS splits since he is 18% better, in terms of OPS, from the right side than he is from the left.

As is the case with most switch-hitters who do not hit similarly from both sides of the plate, Kielty has a wide power imbalance. Not only does he have a slugging percentage .125 points higher from the right side, his isolated power difference (slugging percentage minus batting average), a better indicator of how much true power a player has, is a hefty .71.

Perhaps his blinding red hair keeps the Oakland A's and himself from realizing right-handed at-bats are probably the way to go for him.

It seems Billy Beane was not blinded by his red hair and realized exactly which side of the plate Kielty should only be allowed to hit from.


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