Any Astros fans wondering what to think of the team hiring Nationals third base coach Bo Porter as the new manager should read this interview Porter did back in July with David Laurila of Fan Graphs.
He gave a ton of very detailed, interesting responses, most of which showed Porter to have a really good grasp of the analytical side of batting orders, bunting, defensive shifts, bullpen usage, and other in-game strategies. I’d almost go so far as to call him a stat-head.
For instance, while many managers prefer a No. 2 hitter who can bunt or hit-and-run, Porter mostly wants a guy who can get on base:
At the end of the day, the game is about scoring runs and stopping the other team from scoring. In order to score runs you have to get on base. Yes, you want the top of your lineup to possess speed, so that when the hitters in the middle of the lineup drive the ball into the gaps, those guys can score from first base on a double. But at the same time, they have to be on base to score on that double. In a perfect world, your number-two guy can hit-and-run, bunt and move runners. But I want to make sure that the guys at the top of the lineup are able to get on base at a high percentage.
Add all that stuff to what is a strong reputation among players as a clubhouse guy and … well, after reading the interview I’d definitely be feeling good about the hire as an Astros fan.