Does Clint Hurdle bunt more than other managers?

As I follow Pirates games on twitter and read some of the better Pirates blogs out there, there’s always an uproar whenever Clint Hurdle calls for a bunt. In fact a Google search for “hurdle bad bunt” yields 65,400 results in the last year alone. Clearly some of the decisions seems questionable at best and asinine at worst.

But how does Hurdle compare to other managers in calling bunts and intentional walks? Jacob Peterson at Beyond the Box Score has put together a simple metric which he calls the Traditional Manager Index. The TMI is simply sacrifice bunts by position players added to intentional walks. There’s a lovely graphic which I’ll let you click through to see, but the upshot is that Hurdle ranks #21 in total TMI with a score of 20 (The range is from 8-36).

And sac bunts alone? Hurdle has ordered eight non-pitcher bunts, good for 18th place, and below the average of 10.4 (range: 4-20).

My takeaway: While not optimal, Clint Hurdle is not nearly the worst offender at meddling with game situations. I think his enthusiasm and motivational skills make up for a few bad calls.

Thursday Trade Tree – Orlando Merced

This tree is not as notable for its length as it is for its breadth. You just don’t see too many nine person trades. (Click to embiggen)

Merced was worth 13.0 WAR as a Pirate and had only one good year after he left so they traded him at just the right time. Craig Wilson was easily the best player received, so all in all a very meh deal.

I cannot find anywhere what happened to Mike Halperin. At some point during the 98 season he left the Pirates organization and reappeared in the Toronto system. There’s no evidence of a trade so I assume he was just released and signed back with the team that drafted him. He never played again after 1998.

Have a happy Memorial Day weekend everybody. Be sure to take a moment to remember those who served, those currently serving and those who gave their life in service of our country.

UPDATE 11:02AM: Thanks to Mark Jareb on the Pirates email list who was able to find that Halperin was traded back to Toronto for Jeff Patzke 5/13/98. Patzke never made the majors and left as a minor league free agent in October ’99. I’ll update the chart with the new information when I am able.

Thursday Trade Tree – John Smiley

Fearing losing him after the season for little compensation, the Pirates traded #2 starter John Smiley to the Twins for a pair of prospects during spring training 1992. The results were not disastrous, but perhaps could have been much better. (Click to embiggen)

Neagle had some good years as a Pirate and Schmidt became even better, just not with the Bucs.

Fun side notes: John Smiley wound up signing with the Reds. The Twins used the draft pick they received on Torii Hunter. I would have loved to have seen him in center for the Pirates instead of the litany of mediocrity that was trudged out after Andy Van Slyke left.

When Jason Schmidt signed with the Dodgers, San Francisco used the draft pick they acquired to pick Tim Alderson. Alderson was later acquired by the Pirates in the Freddy Sanchez trade.

Trimming the trees

I’ve gone back and edited the Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez trade tree posts, adding color and adjusting the format to match later posts.

Also, many thanks to The Common Man of The Platoon Advantage, who told me where to easily get draft pick compensation information for free agents that leave the organization. With that, I added an appendix to the Doug Drabek branch of the Milt May post.

All transaction information I use comes from Baseball-Reference.com. Check back on Thursday for a new trade tree!

Thursday Trade Tree: Jay Bell/Jeff King

Two early ’90s stars for the Pirates, both sent to Kansas City as the team tried to shed some salaries and rebuild. (Click to embiggen.)

One trade with four Jeffs, a Joe and a Jay. Easily the high “J” ratio of any Pirates trade, unless they someday spin Jason Jaramillo, Garrett Jones and James McDonald to the Marlins for Josh Johnson and John Buck.

Seriously though, very little return on this one. One year of Randa and some mediocre relief innings.

Jeff King hated baseball?

The latest from the always great Joe Posnanski, this time guest posting over at Pitchers & Poets:

Best I could tell, Jeff King did not like playing baseball. I can never remember seeing a player who seemed so miserable on a baseball diamond.

Please click through and read the article. I would not say that Jeff didn’t try hard or didn’t give his all while he was on the field. I will say that he never quite filled the expectations I had for him and this seems to me to be at least a partial explanation of why.

Look for more on Jeff King in tomorrow’s Trade Tree Thursday!

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