By In Baseball

The IWRS Leaderboard

So, thanks to Chris over at Beyond the Box Score for putting together an Intentional Walk Rage Scale Leaderboard.

A couple of quick takeaways.

The only 0-point intentional walk happened when St. Louis played Cincinnati on April 2. The score was 0-0 in the ninth, the Reds got their first two men on. After a sacrifice bunt — one of those few of THOSE I can tolerate — St. Louis’ Carlos Martinez intentionally walked Brayan Pena to load the bases. Put in into the walk-o-meter!

Q1: What inning was it?
Ninth inning. There’s a lot less rage if someone is bunting in the ninth when one run is all you want or need.

Result: 1 point.
Total: 1 point.

Q2: Did the walk bring up the opposing pitcher or a particularly weak hitter?
Yes. The pitcher was due next.

Result: 0 points.
Total: 1 point.

Q3: Did the walk give your team the platoon advantage or force the opposing manager to go his bench?
Yes. The next batter was the pitcher and the Reds sent up a pinch hitter.

Result: 0 points.
Total: 1 point.

Q4: Did the base runner matter?
No. Well, that’s a bit controversial … it did load the bases which means a walk would have scored the winning run. So in a sense it mattered. But Pena’s run did not matter.

Result: minus-1 point.
Total: 0 points.

Q5 Are you setting up the double play to get out of an inning.

Result: 0 points.
Total: 0 points.

Q6: Are you intentionally walking someone solely to avoid a great hitter.
No. I love Brayan Pena — wonderful guy, wonderful story. But … no.

Result: 0 points.
Total: 0 points.

This, then, is the least offensive intentional walk in the game this year.

I’d have to say that all intentional walks below 5 or 6 points are tolerable. I don’t like the walk at all, but used strategically — tolerable.

On the other side of the spectrum, there has not yet been a perfect rage walk yet this year. The worst one this year was ordered by Seattle’s Lloyd McClendon against Miami when he walked Giancarlo Stanton in the second inning to bring up a good hitter with a platoon advantage even though there were already two outs. In the first inning, that would have been the perfect rage walk.

Chris also lists a leaderboard among managers — it is not a surprise that Kansas City’s Ned Yost, who inspired the whole thing, is ranked so far as the third-most enraging intentional walker. But the leader so far, by far, is Washington’s Matt Williams. I have mentioned here before … I get a very, very bad vibe from the way Williams manages baseball games. I watch that team pretty often and they’re just kind of a mess. Their defense is awful, his bullpen usage seems kind of curious, he talks a lot about stuff like grit. Of course, he also has just started and might be working his way into the job. In the meantime, he has only called for four intentional walks but they have all been maddening.

20 Responses to The IWRS Leaderboard

  1. Mark says:

    Joe, the manager rankings should be based on total points, not average points. I’m sure that Clint Hurdle and Don Mattingly (with 14 and 12 IBBs respectively) would cause more Total Rage in you than Matt Williams or John Farrell (who each have only 4 IBBs).

  2. fivetwentyone says:

    in the original thread on IWRS I linked to historical values that I computed based on retrosheet,
    this is the link,

  3. Crout says:

    Let’s say you’re the manager of a team in the last year of your contract, it’s late September, your team is 25 out, and you know…like you know the sun will rise tomorrow…that you are going to be fired in a couple of weeks, if not any minute. To make this more interesting, you’re in the twilight of your life and you know it’s time to hang up the spikes. Do you go for that 25 intentionally? Do you go out on a perfecto? For me, ab-so-freakin-lutely.

  4. Ian says:

    Twins fans were shocked at how few IBBs Gardy actually orders. (Same with sac bunts).

  5. matty blue says:

    i’m not a fan of hothead baseball managers, particularly when they pontificate about hustle and grit and all that other crap. the shelf life is just too short. hothead earl weaver yes, hothead hal mcrae no.

    as to williams, this isn’t totally new, is it? didn’t he have a rep when he was a player? i recall the giants being knocked out of the playoffs by the dodgers on the last day of the season (this must have been 1993, when the dodgers were also rans but the jints won 103 games and finished 1 game behind the braves with a season-ending 12-1 loss) – williams got up in front of the cameras and said he didn’t think the dodgers would win a single game against the giants the next season. i remember thinking he should just shut his mouth and work harder rather than yapping.

    by the way, they split with the dodgers in the Season That Shall Not Be Named, 5 up and 5 down.

    • DoyerFan says:

      IIRC, Williams also complained that Orel Hershisher was ragging on him during that final game. Hearing that confirmed to me that he was a big crybaby.

  6. fivetwentyone says:

    I updated my spreadsheet to keep track of which team is the offender.

    The largest seasonal sums on the IWRS,
    San Diego 1980, 1379
    San Diego 1977, 1271
    Cincinnati 1989, 1264
    Milwaukee 2001, 1252

    the largest mean,
    San Francisco 2004, 13.6
    Arizona 2007, 13.4
    Detroit 2000, 13.4
    NY Yankees 1987, 13.2

    the smallest sum,
    Boston 2011, 94
    Dodgers 1974, 109
    Minnesota 2000, 139
    Cleveland 1981, 144

    the smallest mean,
    Seattle 1982, 7.7
    KC 1970, 8.3
    Toronto 2000, 8.4
    Boston 1961, 8.5

    • Brett Alan says:

      Two immediate takeaways from that:

      1) The two SD teams at the top would make total sense if they had the same manager–but they did not. The 1977 team was mostly managed by Alvin Dark (John McNamara was fired early in the season), and the 1980 team by Jerry Coleman. Both Dark and Coleman lasted only one season with the team, which may tend to suggest that high rage factor correlates with generally crappy managing.

      2) I find it odd that the team with the highest mean was one with the guy who generated so many of those Question 6 bonus points, Barry Bonds.

  7. rucksack says:

    I think loading the bases should earn a rage point, at least if the runner on third matters.

    • This. If a walk loads the bases, you now have to worry about the new batter’s OBP, which is (almost) always higher than his BA. Joe alludes to this in the article, but doesn’t allow for it. Definitely should be at least one rage point for loading the bases.

    • MCD says:

      Another vote for this. This happened in the 9th inning of Cardinals-Braves game this weekend and the following batter was walked, forcing in the tying run.

  8. McKingford says:

    Just came here to input Stanton’s 3rd inning IBB tonight against the Giants into the IWRS. By my calculation, it ranks as a 20.

  9. I also had a problem when Williams called out Bryce Harper for not hustling to first base on a come backer. I’m all for hustle. I love it that Jason Heyward busts it down the line EVERY time. It nets his a couple of extra hits each year. It’s a great thing. But Harper had a bum leg, and the ball was a flat out come backer that the pitcher had before Harper took his first step. In fact, he was out before he was half way down the line. Now Harper had been making some base running mistakes that had hurt the team…. Getting picked off, getting thrown out taking an extra base, but those were the opposite issue. Harper tends towards the aggressive play. Anyways, if Williams wanted a private chat with Harper, OK. He wants players to hustle. Good. He could have even benched him, telling the media that Harper needed a day to rest his leg. I don’t think that would have been warranted, because it wasn’t that egregious given his leg condition and the fact that he had zero chance do being safe, but handled in house, OK fine.

    But a professional managers main job is to manage the clubhouse. Keep the team loose and confident. Don’t air dirty laundry to the media unless something is so blatant that it has to be addressed publicly. Throwing Harper under the media bus is just bad managing. It’s that whole nebulous “grit” concept. I would have had less of a problem if Williams was reacting to Harpers overly “gritty” play by making a lot of careless outs on the bases. Those hurt the team, and may have cost the Nats a couple of games. But no, he goes after Harper for lack of hustle on a play that doesn’t matter at all. Williams has a talented team that may save Williams from himself, like the Dodgers did with Mattingly a couple of years ago when he made several gaffes in his first season. But Williams is a horrible manager. The IW stuff is just one more thing.

  10. Daniel says:

    Game 7 of the ’91 series when the Braves walked Puckett then Hrbek to face Jarvis Brown (though Gene Larkin pinch hit for him) probably is even less rage inducing; 10th inning, two very good hitter, one an all time great, last game of the year. Yeah, it worked out for my Twins, but there’s no other choice you can make besides walking Hrbek & Puckett.

    • SoDakTony says:

      I agree with this in principle, but Hrbek was in a colossal slump at the time, so while that probably doesn’t really impact on Joe’s scale, in real life, I remember even John Gordon (Twins radio) thinking it was kind of curious.

    • Chad says:

      Yes, Kent Hrbek was great.

  11. Pat says:

    I can’t wait to see Joe’s writeup of Buck Showalter’s call to IBB Reynolds to get to Yovanni Gallardo the other night….

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