The Rangers introduced Jeff Banister as their new manager yesterday, and earlier today it was announced that he had been signed to a three-year deal. The former catcher, who had one major league plate appearance and singled, got one more year than even Ron Washington got at any point in his tenure with the Rangers between 2007-14.
Banister had been the Pirates’ bench coach for four years. At the same time, the Pirates were heavily embracing the use of analytics, becoming one of the more famous teams around baseball for doing so. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes, Banister considers himself “bilingual” in the sense that he speaks the language of the players having been one himself, but also the language of analytics after working with some of the bright minds in the Pirates’ front office.
The Rangers are not exactly strangers to the use of analytics, as Jon Daniels has degrees in applied economics and management and has spoken at SABR. However, as Grant reports, Daniels found out that the Rangers rank in the bottom-third in terms of resources dedicated to analytics. Daniels said that the organization is likely to dedicate more resources in that area, and the hiring of Banister certainly bolsters that claim.