More Arguing Balls and Strikes

I’ve investigated the impact of managers on balls and strikes Questec and non-Questec parks a little further. In my earlier post, I looked at the effect only on the pitching side. Now, I want to report what I found for hitters. I used the same methodology (switching the relevant control variables from pitchers to hitters) to examine the managerial impact on the strikeout-to-walk ratio for hitters. If a manager has influence over ball and strike calls in a way that helps his hitters, then I would expect the K/BB to be higher in Questec parks than non-Questec parks (the opposite of what it was for pitchers). The results below are regression coefficients estimating the impact of managers in Questec parks. I re-report the managerial impact on K/BB for pitchers for comparison purposes.

Manager                Hitting        Pitching
Hal McRae        	1.468        -0.487
Bruce Bochy        	0.741        -0.409
Frank Robinson        	0.472        0.271
Ken Macha        	0.457        -0.967
Felipe Alou        	0.456        -0.085
Luis Pujols        	0.403        0.428
Jerry Narron        	0.319        -0.283
Bobby Cox        	0.239        -0.275
Jeff Torborg        	0.140        -0.084
Jimy Williams        	0.073        -0.584
Lloyd McClendon        	0.015        -0.406
Jack McKeon        	0.000        -0.255
Tony Pena        	-0.039        0.215
Jim Tracy        	-0.083        -0.869
Clint Hurdle        	-0.099        -0.494
Alan Trammell        	-0.139        0.289
Mike Scioscia        	-0.162        -0.453
Jerry Royster        	-0.200        0.000
Bob Boone        	-0.202        -1.017
Tony LaRussa        	-0.204        -0.966
Ron Gardenhire        	-0.311        0.749
Joe Torre        	-0.329        -0.639
Carlos Tosca        	-0.362        -0.024
Mike Hargrove        	-0.376        0.348
Lou Piniella        	-0.379        -0.230
Bob Melvin        	-0.493        -0.114
Jerry Manuel        	-0.497        -0.156
Grady Little        	-0.536        0.197
Buck Showalter        	-0.558        0.483
Eric Wedge        	-0.623        0.369
Dusty Baker        	-0.641        0.024
Art Howe        	-0.646        0.160
Larry Bowa        	-0.693        -0.743
Bobby Valentine        	-0.862        -0.387
Bob Brenly        	-0.996        0.771
Ned Yost        	-1.920        0.113

Bold: statistically significant at the 5% level

Hal McRae seems to lose the most from his hitters when playing in a Questec park, which suggests he may be the best arguing balls and strikes for his hitters. However, the estimate is not statistically significant, so it’s unclear it the effect is real. Only Ned Yost has a statistically significant impact, in a way he might prefer not to, as his hitters seem to do much better in Questec parks. Bob Brenly is having trouble again. Maybe he’s just used to managing in a Questec park in Arizona, and therefore gets taken by other managers on both sides of the ball. Or it may be that the team assembled under him was just well-accustomed to Questec calls and played poorly when out of that environment. The only problem with this explanation is that other managers with Questec home parks don’t seem to show the same tendency. But, we must remember that the results is not statistically significant, so it’s probably not worth thinking about too hard. While the “best” estimates of Brenly show him not doing well, they are not statistically different from no effect given the standard error. Overall, it looks like most managers seems to have little impact over balls and strikes called for his hitters.

There’s one other interesting test I did, which was to compare the estimated impact for both hitting and pitching. If a manager raises the K/BB for his pitchers does he then cost his hitters and vice versa? Or, if he’s good at working the umps is he able to help pitchers and hitters at the same time. A simple correlation between the impacts generates a correlation coefficient of -0.28, which is statistically significant at about the 10% level. This gives some support to the idea that managers may have some ability to influence umpires on both sides of the ball. That is, a manager that is able to raise the K/BB for his pitchers is associated with lowering it for his hitters. In the end, in most casese I don’t think managers are influencing balls and strikes when they argue, but it’s possible that Questec just isn’t changing any impact they have. Given all of the complaining by the umpires, I tend to believe the former is true.

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