Clubhouse Confidential? Brilliant TV. Brian Kenny? Even better. He is 100% SABR and loves to sort of needle the guys on MLB Network that still believe RBI’s mean something, that some players are “clutch” and that starting pitchers deserve a team win. So when I heard that Dan O’Dowd and his obvious intentional avoidance of all stats outside of batting average, home runs, RBI’s, wins, ERA and saves I had to write about his performance.
Here’s hoping Kenny grills O’Dowd. My recap:
O’Dowd on Guthrie
When asked about Guthrie O’Dowd really only mentioned his inning totals over the past three years and that being the major factor in why the Rockies traded for Guthrie. Kenny then asked O’Dowd what he looks for in a pitcher and pitching in Coors. O’Dowd sort of surprised me when he said in an ideal world they would have all heavy sinker ball pitchers with fly ball to groundball rates that were very favorable to Coors Field, but they do not live in an idea world. He believes Guthrie is a “soft fly ball pitcher”. I would love to see the stats to back that one up…Lastly O’Dowd believes Guthrie will suddenly find the strike zone more often and get quick outs in the National League. Apparently finding the zone and getting quick outs is not something pitchers in the AL try to accomplish?
O’Dowd on Cuddyer
Kenny asked why the Rox targeted Cuddyer. O’Dowd said that they needed a right handed bat and then he actually mentioned that there are numbers that suggest his power was related to Target Field which means O’Dowd looks at splits?! He also talked about Cuddyer’s spray charts and feels he will hit a lot of balls into the gaps at Coors.
…then he mentioned the intangibles and the winner aspect that Cuddyer will bring to the club. If you read me with any regularity you know what a load of BS I think that is. And as a few have written: does Tulowitzki and Helton take these sorts of comments as a slight against them? If the Rockies needed more “leaders”, “winners” and “high character” guys to help lead this team, what does that make Helton and Tulo?
Thankfully Kenny zeroed in on the intangibles vs tangibles and asked how the Rockies balance between the two. O’Dowd said that a third of their decisions are on non-statistic qualities, a third on stats (shocker!) and a third on character. In other words 2/3’s of the decision on who the Rockies sign is based on something that cannot be quantified or verified.
O’Dowd on Tulo
Now that Tulo is locked up does that affect O’Dowd’s decision making: is there a window factor when signing players? I think Kenny was hinting at the fact that all the guys the Rockies signed this offseason seem to indicate they want a quick run at a possible World Series because the guys they signed are all old. O’Dowd didn’t bite and said he thinks the window of opportunity for the Rockies is through the next eight or so years and until the end of Tulo’s career, which he feels the Rockies signed him through the end of his career.
Finally O’Dowd said the core of the Rockies is in their scouting department.
The interview was fairly short and I have noticed that Kenny is a bit more polite when interviewing General Managers and the like within the league.
I think O’Dowd said that the Rockies use analytics when evaluating players to satisfy Kenny to an extent as I am sure O’Dowd knows that Clubhouse Confidential is viewed by those in the sabermetric community. I just don’t buy that the team looks in depth into stats when making decisions. I also think it was telling when O’Dowd said that 66% of their decisions are weighted by intangibles and other characteristics that cannot be seen, felt, heard or quantified in anyway.
Rockies fans are stuck with a GM who refuses to use material and information that is widely available to him to make his team better. While teams like the Tampa Bay Rays currently and formerly the Oakland Athletics have used this sort of info to help a small market team make it to the World Series the Rockies choose to hope they catch magic in a bottle again like they did in 2007. There is a reason why what the Rockies did in ’07 was a first in the history of baseball…and most likely the last. Waiting for it to happen again is like waiting to find the next Babe Ruth.