Baseball Magazine

Feel = Experience + Information

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
Much of what a baseball manager does during the course of a game is based on “feel.”  Some people may interpret that as just guessing or acting on impulse.  They would be wrong.  As the title of the post says, feel is the combination of experience and information.  Here’s an example:
Feel = Experience + InformationA manager decides to pinch hit for a player in a big situation.  Why he does this is based on a number of factors.  Experience may have taught him that in big situations, you don’t want to keep your big guns on the bench.  You want to find a spot for them to have an impact on the game.  If the game ends in a close loss and you never used a couple of your big hitters, you may second guess yourself.  At the MLB level, the reporters will take care of the second guessing for you.  Experience can also provide some insight into whether a certain hitter on the bench hits this type of pitcher well.  For instance, a dead pull hitter may have been less successful against “slow & away” style pitchers in previous at-bats.  His better at-bats may have come against hard throwers. 
Information can determine which hitter to actually use.  Statistically, it can tell you which hitters available have hit this pitcher well in the past.  It may also give insight on a hitter’s success against righties vs lefties or who has been the hottest over the last week.  In the end, the manager bounces all these variable back and forth in his mind and a feeling is the result.  When asked after a game, it’s not uncommon to hear a manager say that he just had a feeling or a hunch in a given situation.  Sometimes that feeling works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  Of course, this can apply to any aspect of the game.  Changing pitchers, putting on a hit and run, determining a line-up, and calling pitchouts are all examples of managers trusting their instincts and ultimately deciding on what feels right at the time.Nobody is born a good baseball manager.  Pay attention to past tendencies and gather the appropriate information.  When you do, you might be surprised how your instincts and feel improves.

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