If you've read this site for a while, you may or may not have noticed that I really don't write about managers that much. A search of "Felipe Alou" only brings up 33 results in my front-page posts, and most of those mentions are only in passing.
It isn't that I don't think the managers are important, it's just that it's hard to evaluate a manager because almost all of the information to which we have access is in-game information. That's important, for sure, but it isn't the whole story. Dusty Baker is one of the worst in-game managers I've ever watched. His players, however, would eat glass for him. Does that make up for his veteranophilia or bizarre lineups? Probably not. But because this is all conjecture and analysis of intangibles, you have to throw in the "probably" to that sentence.
And when it comes to specific in-game moves, it helps to remember this: You will never agree with a manager on specific in-game moves. Every manager will pinch-hit this guy when they should have sent up that guy. Every manager pulls a pitcher too soon, too late, or not at all. Every manager will scream at his hitter for striking out until the hitter cries and is embarrassed to go to school the next day so he fakes a stomachache and his mom knows what's going on but she feels bad for him so she lets him stay home and later on his life a psychiatrist will also bring up repressed Little League anxiety as something that's possibly related to the adult bedwetting but he's not sure so it isn't healthy to fixate on that just yet. At least, I've heard that could happen.
Point is: There is no holy grail of manager evaluation. We have limited information, but it isn't that limited. It's at least enough information with which to form a pretty solid opinion.
Things I like about Bochy:
- The players seem to respect him, at least I get that impression more than I did with Felipe Alou.
- His in-game strategy - at least with respect to pitching changes, substitutions, hit and runs, etc... - doesn't bug me that much.
- He's conscious of how hard his young pitchers work. He'll have Cain go over 100 pitches, but he is much, much more conscious of pitch counts than were Felipe or Dusty. Night and day.
- He's a hardcore veteranophiliac. Seriously hardcore. As bad as Dusty, but with lesser players. Bochy's thinking about veterans right now. The way they bunt...the way they come to play every day...oh, man...the way they take control of the clubhouse...the way they do that thing with their uniforms...mmm....
He really, really thinks that there is a substantial quality difference between the "veteran lineup" and the "young lineup". As in, hey, I'll play the youngsters as much as I can, but at some point we have to try and win. The Giants won't score runs this year, Boch. You're trying to fix a jet engine by snapping different Legos together. Just stop. Nothing's going to work. You have an equal chance of winning with Frandsen as you do with Durham, but only one player might be on the next Giants contender.
- He actually hit Ray Durham cleanup this September. Good gravy. His lineups can drive me nuts.