Joe Girardi’s Binder Strikes Again


Over at Beyond the Box Score*, Blake Murphy looked at all American League managers to see which ones were the most active. In other words, which teams had the most pinch runners, pinch hitters, and reliever substitutions?

*Yes, this is another site that I write for, and yes, I am a horribly biased, shameless person. Sue me.

Unsurprisingly, Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees came out near the top in almost all of the studies ran, including streaks of games using more than 9 batters in a game, overall number of games with more than 10 batters, number of pinch hitters + number of pinch runners, number of relief appearances facing only one batter, and average number of innings per relief appearance.

Boone Logan leaves the mound after one of his 80 short appearances. (Image: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

Joe Girardi is famous (or perhaps infamous) for his binder, that magical book where he keeps statistics on every possible matchup, every pitcher, every batter, and probably every player’s mother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. He’s often criticized for making moves based on ridiculously small sample sizes (as evidenced by benching A-Rod in the playoffs last year), and for making too many pitching changes, so this data shouldn’t shock you. Boone Logan‘s usage last season is particularly relevant, as he threw in 80 games, but only pitched 55.1 innings.

What is somewhat surprising about Blake’s findings is that the most similar manager to Girardi in his hands-on approach is Joe Maddon. Maddon is generally considered to be one of the most progressive and forward-thinking managers in the game, while Girardi is more old-school. Of course, this data doesn’t refute those assumptions; nevertheless, they are some interesting numbers to see.

Questions for the community:

1. Should Joe Girardi take a more hands-off approach?

2. What makes Maddon more progressive than Girardi if not his hands-on approach? Is Maddon actually a better manager?