Fredi will split closer duties
Fredi will use Venters and Kimbrel, depending on the matchups. No shock, but this is the first I’ve seen it reported as a final decision.
Makes sense. Neither is, of course, a proven closer, though both showed huge promise last season. If Kimbrel keeps his walks to a manageable number, and Venters gets a little rest, this should work out.
On this and other topics, indulge me for a minute, please. I am not dismissive of the stat geeks. I think they probably have some legitimate points. But for guys who have never managed nor played nor coached a game in the big leagues, nor probably any league with players over four feet tall, they’re maddeningly self-assured.
Take the Capitol Avenue Club as a handy example. Now, I enjoy reading that site. It’s thought-provoking and generally well written. Yet the writers and most commenters utterly disregard the human side of handling ball players. The idea of a designated closer is absurd, they say. That’s an old sabermetrician’s argument, and I can’t flatly disprove it. But I have heard many, many managers, pitching coaches and pitchers say that relievers are most comfortable in a defined role. And it seems that a closer by committee approach has rarely if ever worked. Can anyone cite an example of an effective one in the past 30 years?
No matter. The sabermetricians dismiss out of hand the psychology of it all, the comfort level of pitchers, the nerves involved that are – again, according to most who have actually thrown baseballs in the majors — different in the 9th inning than in the 6th or 7th inning.
Maybe the stat masters are right. Maybe the three outs in the second, or fifth, or 8th inning are as important as those in the 9th. From a purely logical standpoint, I suppose it’s true. But when you are dealing with humans, logic does not always reign. Look at economics. Classical theory holds that we are all rational decision makers. We act sensibly and seek optimum value in all situations.
That’s ridiculous. People without health insurance and living in rented trailers blow BP oil spill settlement money on flat-screen TVs and four-wheelers. People scraping to pay the mortgage buy bass boats and Hummers.
So, maybe the sabermetricians are right. Maybe the benighted codgers who manage ball clubs hopelessly cling to the old ways simply because they are, well, the old ways. There is probably some truth to that regarding certain strategies. However, the smug self assuredness from those who brandish spreadsheets is as grating as the sacrifice bunt is to the sabermetric fundamentalists.
That is all.