you're reading...
Pioneers/Executives

GM Update #2

Last week, I shared our most recent update to our GM information. This time around, we have more to add with Buzzie Bavasi’s career now fully logged. For 1968 and 1984, Bavasi’s Team Performance record reflects a full season, though the transaction logs don’t. Though he left early those seasons, the teams were truly of his construction.

You may also notice (or not, really) that Al Campanis’ totals are slightly different. In researching Bavasi’s tenures, I was able to narrow down Campanis’ start date as LA’s GM to roughly 11/22/68. This moved his start date after the 1968 expansion draft, which is where the changes are mostly reflected.

As a reminder, we look at team performance, GM performance, and transaction details. I’ll remind you of the alphabet soup as we go along.

Team Performance

  • W/L : Won-Loss record while GM was in office
  • PCT: Winning percentage
  • Vs EXP: An adaptation of the expected wins formula Bill James introduced in his managers book. Except we use pythagenpat records instead of actual records to calculate it.
  • OCT: Postseason apperances (starting in 1969).
  • OCT v EXP: Measures postseason appearances against the basic probability of any random team making it.
  • WS: World Series appearances
  • WS v EXP: Similar to OCT v EXP
  • Titles: Championships won
  • Titles v EXP: Ditto
  • MGR PYTH: This is the team’s variance against its Pythagenpat record as a measure of how much value the GM’s manager brought to the team.

TEAM PERFORMANCE

                         VS        VS         VS         VS   MGR
YEAR        W/L     PCT  EXP  OCT  EXP   WS   EXP TITLE  EXP  PYTH
===================================================================
BAVASI   2386-2166 .524  +54   2  +0.19   8  +5.09   4  +2.53  +42
BROWN    1816-1625 .524  +48   4  +2.50   2  -0.20   2  +0.91  - 5
CAMPANIS 1576-1280 .552  +44   6  +2.94   4  +2.51   1  +0.24  + 8
HOWSAM   1331-1049 .559  +63   5  +3.33   4  +2.77   2  +1.39  +44
QUINN    2147-2126 .502  +17   0  -0.68   3  -0.31   1  -0.47  - 9
RICKEY   3265-3015 .520  +87  --  ----    8  +2.67   4  +1.54  +46
SEGHI     883-989  .472  -11   0  -1.95   0  -0.90   0  -0.47  - 4
R .SMITH  566-776  .422  -49   0  -2.06   0  -0.62   0  -0.26  -38

Bavasi’s career is similar in length to John Quinn’s, and he’s clearly ahead. If anything, he’s like Rickey and Campanis smooshed together. Longer career than Al, shorter career than Branch. Similar winning percentages and fairly similar totals vs expectations. The comparison holds more water when you consider that four of Bavasi’s seasons were spent getting the expansion Padres off the ground. An expansion club is a great way to dampen the appearance of one’s successes.

GM Performance

Now let’s look at how the GMs themselves did at constructing competitive clubs.

  • BASE: Talent in WAR that a GM inherited
  • GM: Talent in WAR that a GM acquired
  • GOAL: The amount of talent the GM needed to acquire to field a .550 team.
  • %GOAL: How close he got, a career average
  • medGOAL: Median seasonal %GOAL

GM PERFORMANCE

YEAR     BASE    GM  GOAL  %GOAL  medGOAL
===========================================
BAVASI    373   690   791    87%   100%
BROWN     281   552   557    99%   101%
CAMPANIS  342   407   364   112%   120%
HOWSAM    338   229   243    95%    81%
QUINN     222   729   824    92%    97%
RICKEY    388   871  1132    77%    78%
SEGHI     115   239   350    68%    72%
SMITH      97   114   247    46%    55%

The trick here is that three of Bavasi’s first five Dodger squads had stockpiled enough talent that his only job was not to wreck it. His talent base was above the .550 mark I use. So I just assigned him 100% for those seasons to keep things simple. He actually improved those teams slightly, but it wasn’t until the Boys of Summer teams aged out that Bavasi’s talent for team building became apparent. He began slowly retooling his roster, so that by the time the team moved to LA, he had Koufax and Drysdale in place, along with stalwarts like Jim Gilliam. Ron Fairly, Johnny Roseboro, Maury Wills, and Willie Davis were on the way. Bavasi’s deft maneuvering allowed him to steal the 1959 NL pennant and a World Series title when the heavily favored Braves stalled out despite the presence of Aaron, Mathews, and Spahn. Bavasi also brought the Angels their first two playoff appearances. In 1978, he took over a Halos outfit that was in a bit of disarray and quickly molded it into a division winner.

Transactions Detail

Finally, the nitty gritty of building teams. First we’ll look at the kinds of transactions, then the value wrought from them.

  • AM FA: Amateur free agent
  • PUR: Purchased from another pro team
  • FA: Free agent
  • AM DF: Amateur draft (any time of year, only players who signed with the team and played in MLB)
  • R5 DF: Rule 5 Draft
  • ML DF: Minor League Draft
  • TR: Trade
  • WV: Waivers
  • SLD: Players sold to other teams
  • REL: Players released

TRANSACTION SUMMARY

      INBOUND                                    | OUTBOUND
         AM          AM  R5  ML* EX              |          R5  MI* EX
         FA PUR  FA  DF  DF  DF  DR  TR  WV  TOT | SLD REL  DF  DF  DF   TR  WV  TOT

=================================================|==================================
NUMBER OF TRANSACTIONS                           |
BAVASI  101  50  48  69   6  15  29  135  2  455 |  58  59  27  13   6  135  10  308
BROWN    93  33  20  49   7   7  --   85  3  294 |  54  51  14  15  12   85   6  218
CAMPANIS 40  12  38  79   5   2  --   69  2  247 |  17  63  12   5  --   69   8  179
HOWSAM   33  27  14  50   7   1  --   95  1  228 |  25  24  11   3   5   95   1  164
QUINN   137  95  33  25  16  12  --  113  8  441 |   8  55  25   4  --  113   3  231
RICKEY  174  78  49  --  24  11  --  108 24  748 | 111  68  36   8  --  108  34  388
SEGHI    10  15  33  38   4   1  --  106  5  212 |  12  39   2   0  --  106   1  165
SMITH    11   8 103  34   9   2  --   65 22  254 |   8  55   5   3  --   65  15  151

*For the sake of space, First Year Draft results are rolled into the Minor League Draft results.

 TRANSACTION SUMMARY

         INBOUND                                       | OUTBOUND
         AM             AM   R5  ML* EX                |          R5  MI* EX
         FA  PUR   FA   DF   DF  DF  DR   TR  WV   TOT | SLD REL  DF  DF  DF  TR  WV TOT
=======================================================|================================
WAR FROM TRANSACTIONS                         |
BAVASI  430   94   36  235    1   0  54  257  -1  1106 |  17  20 129  20  30 438  19  674
BROWN   313    1    3  228    2   4  --  216  -2   765 |  28  10   4  29  59 343  -2  471
CAMPANIS 48   40    2  171   -1   1  --  257   0   518 |  38  13   4  23  -- 298  17  374
HOWSAM   98    7    2  104    6   0  --  228   0   445 |   8   4  27  -1  -3 251   0  286
QUINN   443   45  182  141   25   3  --  480   1  1320 |   2   1   3  78  -- 496  24  600
RICKEY  805  118  268  ---  121   1  --  261   0  1947 | 337  16  64  -3  -- 574   8 1030
SEGHI    -4   13    4   32    2   2  --  275  -1   323 |   2   3  16  -2  -- 253   0  272
SMITH     3   -2   27   36   -2   3  --  140  10   215 |   2   1   0   0  -- 141   0  144

*For the sake of space, First Year Draft results are rolled into the Minor League Draft results.

Bavasi is a hybrid GM career. He spent about two-thirds of it in the pre-draft and pre-free agency era. He spent a few years in the post-draft and pre-free agency era. And he spent the remainder in the draft-and-free-agency era. As a result, his career looks like a cross between an older GM and a more recent one. He has lots of amateur free agent signings and player purchases but also plenty of draftees and free agents. He also sold a lot of his talent, and his flush farm systems meant that he was particularly ill-positioned for the triple whammy of the Rule 5 Draft, the Minor League Draft, and the First-Year Draft. But he traded more than anyone on the board. In case you wonder why he “leads” the field in value given up in the Rule 5 Draft, we have two words for you: Roberto Clemente. As the famous story goes, Rickey knew about Clemente whom the Dodgers had signed out of Puerto Rico. The Brooklynites did everything they could to disguise him, including not playing at all in the minors. They didn’t want to add him to their roster because he needed some seasoning and had no where to play in their crowded major league outfield. Despite their best efforts to keep Rickey off the trail, he caught wind, and in one of his last acts as the Pirate’s General Manager, he selected the Great Clemente in the 1955 Rule 5 Draft. Still, it goes against Bavasi’s record.

So that’s our current update. Next time around, we hope to have Pat Gillick’s resume worked up. In the meantime, remember this one thing. If your team’s GM is a Bavasi, you’d better hope he communicates by séance. Because Buzzie’s sons were, to put it delicately, not as talented as he was at building great teams.

Advertisements

Discussion

No comments yet.

Tell us what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Institutional History

%d bloggers like this: