Who's the next manager of the Blue Jays?

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This is not exactly the most pressing question in the baseball blabosphere these days. While we obsess about La Russa and Torre and Mattingly and Ryne Sandberg, while we wonder who the next Mets’ boss will be (“I’m standing right here!” Jerry Manuel says, “I haven’t been fired yet!”) and while Bobby Valentine is shuttled off to every possible job opening, no one seems to care much about the Jays.

Even in a big (and very good) article about the outgoing Jays’ manager — Cito Gaston — there is only passing mention of his possible successor, and then no names are named. Maybe because, beyond a brief mention of wanting someone with MLB experience, the GM doesn’t know himself:

“I don’t have a criteria,” Anthopoulos said. “There are certain traits I
think anybody would agree that everyone looks for in a successful
manager. But I’m really not tied down to any style, whether it’s a
first-time manager or an experienced guy, or it’s age or background, I’m
really not limiting myself at all. I’m being incredibly open-minded.”

I don’t know who the perfect choice is for Toronto — the only candidate I’ve seen mentioned recently is Pat Listach — as they’re sort of a tweener when it comes to the success cycle. They have some older offensive pieces but young pitching. I’ll cop to not following the Jays as much as I follow a lot of other teams, but logic dictates that the future is really in the arms, so you want a guy who can handle a pitching staff.

Any ideas? None of the usual suspects out there really strike me as good fits.  I’d say a minor league guy might be best, assuming he’s had some experience with helping a smart organization work with young pitching.  Really, though, I’m kind of lost on this one and would like some of you guys to help me out.

A scout thinks the Astros strike out too much. The Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball.

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Great moments in scouting. MLB.com’s Richard Justice spoke to an unnamed scout about the Astros, currently holding the American League’s best record at 76-47. The scout said that the Astros strike out too much and it will catch up with them. Justice pointed out that the Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball. The scout responded, “I don’t believe that.”

Justice, of course, is correct. The average major league team has struck out 1,006 times entering Sunday’s action. The Astros have by far the lowest total at 827, followed by the Indians at 881 and the Pirates at 882.

This scout doesn’t represent all scouts, but this is one of the major problems that advocates of statistics were trying to highlight before Sabermetrics became popular a decade ago. It’s a pattern. Person believes thing. Person either cherry-picks evidence to defend belief or is shown evidence that belief is not factually true and ignores it. Person refuses to change belief, using one of many excuses.

The other problem this highlights is the fallacy of “the eye test,” which is shorthand for treating a scout’s observations as sacrosanct due to his or her experience and knowledge of the game. In this case, the scout ignored easily accessed information, went with his gut, and turned out to be completely wrong. Furthermore, if “the eye test” were legit, the scout would’ve known that, for example, Yulieski Gurriel and Jose Altuve hardly ever strike out (11.1 and 12.4 percent strikeout rates, respectively). In fact, no one on the Astros’ roster (min. 230 PA) has a strikeout rate above 21 percent; the league average is 21.5 percent.

This isn’t to impugn the practice of scouting as a whole. There are a lot of things scouts can tell you about a player that data cannot and that has value. But for easily-researched claims like “the Astros strike out too much,” there’s no reason to trust a scout over the stats.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.