Jump to content
Sorry for the server instability, we're seeing some growing pains while migrating to a new platform. We will resolve this as soon as possible, thank you for your patience. ×
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Rocco Baldelli; The Perfect Modern Manager


Nick Hanzlik

4,805 views

 Share

Twins Video

Numbers, numbers, numbers, they dictate everything in baseball today. What pitch, how far a runner takes his lead, and everything in between is controlled by analytics and NUMBERS. This makes modern-day baseball the perfect medium for a manager like Rocco Baldelli.

Scenario time. It's the 6th inning, the score is 3-0, and the starter is at 75 pitches. However, the opposing leadoff hitter is now walking toward home plate for the 3rd time of the day. Baldelli discreetly puts a finger to his earpiece as a mysterious voice tells him, "Do it…." He lifts his finger from his ear, spits out his bubblegum, and slowly walks to the pitcher's mound. The starting pitcher's day is over. Derek Falvey can be seen grinning ear to ear.

This scenario plays out across baseball, not just in Minnesota. There are many other examples like it, but the 3rd trip starter yank is the perfect showing of how analytics drive every decision in baseball. You don't have to like it, hell it infuriates me, but it is not changing any time soon, so why fight it? Instead, let us enjoy having Mr. Baldelli as the Twins' manager for as long as possible.

Baldelli is only 41 years old, and it was not too long ago he was running around center field in Tampa and ripping doubles into the gap. Going so quickly from retirement to management makes him the perfect player's manager. His job is to be laid back, allow his players to do what they need to, say the right thing to the media, and tell the replay booth to F-off occasionally.

The Twins hired him, with that being the expectation. They wanted a manager to gel with the players and serve as a pseudo interpreter/boxing bag between the front office and the media. Someone that would not be rattled by media pushback on their new style of play. That is all his job is, and it is all it needs to be, and it is perfect for modern baseball, where 99% of decisions are coming from the iPad anyway. He is the perfect guy to not get in the way of the players.

The polar opposite can be seen with the absurd hiring of Tony La Russa by the White Sox. For some inexplicable reason, that organization thought it was a good idea to resurrect a corpse to manage one of the youngest and most talented teams in baseball. It did not go well.

Somehow, a no-doubt Hall of Fame manager and an elite level of youth and talent came together to create losing baseball. It wasn't a coincidence that when La Russa had to take a medical leave last year, the team immediately started winning.

Yes, the Sox had some critical injuries, but in today's game, an old-school manager who makes great 'gut feeling' decisions is not what young players vibe with (Dusty Baker is GOAT and an exception). Young players want a manager like Rocco. Someone just old enough to listen to and respect but young enough to have perspective and understand what it's like on the player side of a clubhouse. He is akin to a tuxedo t-shirt. It says, "I can be serious, but I'm here to party."

Next time you feel like losing your mind at Rocco for yanking your favorite Twins starter, remember this. That is not his decision alone and is a product of the current regime. It does not matter whose butt Falvey/Levine have their hand up; someone will be their puppet. Let it be Rocco. By traditional standards, he could be better, but by the new standard, he is perfectly fine. That is what makes him great.

 Share

63 Comments


Recommended Comments



I think you nailed with- "he doesn't get in the way of the players". Now it is a double edge sword with he probably won't make them much better either but we know he won't make Buxton try and hit grounders to 2nd base.

 

I'd love to see him hammin' nails in the dugout and MF'n star players out of spring training like Jim Leyland but that's not what baseball is anymore for better and for worse. 
 

He did gain a lot of favor when he got chucked after the blocking home plate incident. He might have a little more 'dog' in him but it's just not really in the job description to be that guy anymore.... great post, tip of cap 

Link to comment

Someone has been smoking that whacky tobacky! If you think you can put Rocco and the word great in the same sentence you are delusional!! Yes, they use the numbers to make decisions but you still need to have a feel for the game and know when to over-ride those numbers. Rocco can't do that. Ask Dave St. Peter if he thinks Rocco is great as St. Peter sees ticket sales continue to slide into the dumpster. Great Managers inspire their fan bases. Rocco does the opposite!

"Great"? How amusing,!

Link to comment
1 hour ago, MGM4706 said:

Someone has been smoking that whacky tobacky! If you think you can put Rocco and the word great in the same sentence you are delusional!! Yes, they use the numbers to make decisions but you still need to have a feel for the game and know when to over-ride those numbers. Rocco can't do that. Ask Dave St. Peter if he thinks Rocco is great as St. Peter sees ticket sales continue to slide into the dumpster. Great Managers inspire their fan bases. Rocco does the opposite!

"Great"? How amusing,!

Fair enough. In an ideal world I’d agree. Give me a perfect balance of analytics and game feel, I’d love that. However analytics will reign supreme whether we like it or not. It varies in severity from team to team, with the Twins probably being towards the analytical extreme. Because of this, the twins aren’t going to hire a manager that isn’t willing to buy all in on what they are trying to do. This means it doesn’t matter who is out there managing. The same decisions will be made. So why not enjoy Rocco? The guy seems chill. I like him. 
Also, as far as ticket sales dropping, you should check out my previous blog entries on the popularity of baseball. They are truly amazing reads in my humble opinion.

Link to comment

It is a good idea for baseball fans to watch Francona manage about 100 complete games to get a better idea of the difference a manager can make within a game. Just watch how Francona talks with the players, press, umpires and how he goes about making decisions. 100 games of watching Cleveland under Francona is very instructive.

I don't have any problem with Baldelli specifically. He just lacks the skills of Francona. Not every team can have Francona either but if you watch at least 100 Cleveland games you should be able to understand the differences, and then you will know that Baldelli is not the perfect modern manager. 

Link to comment
8 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

It is a good idea for baseball fans to watch Francona manage about 100 complete games to get a better idea of the difference a manager can make within a game. Just watch how Francona talks with the players, press, umpires and how he goes about making decisions. 100 games of watching Cleveland under Francona is very instructive.

I don't have any problem with Baldelli specifically. He just lacks the skills of Francona. Not every team can have Francona either but if you watch at least 100 Cleveland games you should be able to understand the differences, and then you will know that Baldelli is not the perfect modern manager. 

Not sure I could watch 100 cleveland games if I tried, but I have watched the twins long enough and seen Francona manage with the Red Sox and Cleveland. He is fantastic. He truly is that perfect blend of human skills and adapting to analytics having the impact they do on the game. I should have used a different word than perfect in hindsight. I guess my point is that I like Rocco and in today’s game and how the FO wants to do things, a genius strategist isn’t needed. 

Link to comment

I agree Baldelli is a pretty good player manager. He gets along pretty well with his players & makes everyone feel relaxed. FO hired him because of his analytics & that he'd copy the pitching formula that made TB a great pitcher team. And he has done that, the problem is we're not the TB Rays. The TB Rays have always had one of best rotation in MLB and a BP stable full of impact arms.

Even while Baldelli is trying to imitate TB with a weaker rotation, TB still pitches fewer innings. That's because of TB's superior short relief. The problem with Baldelli is that he's too analytical. He needs to get his head out from the numbers, take a step back, try to see where the problem is & try to resolve it, instead of keep plowing through with the same formula. If the rotation & short relief can't cut it, supplement with long relief.

You might say it's not him it's FO, still they're joined at the hip. I have other things against him like not focusing on fundamentals but that could be FO again. I agree that analytics are important. But personally I prefer a manager that goes by his gut & have a bench coach that can help him out with the analytical side. I'd say the same thing about the head pitching & hitting coaches.

Link to comment
3 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

I agree Baldelli is a pretty good player manager. He gets along pretty well with his players & makes everyone feel relaxed. FO hired him because of his analytics & that he'd copy the pitching formula that made TB a great pitcher team. And he has done that, the problem is we're not the TB Rays. The TB Rays have always had one of best rotation in MLB and a BP stable full of impact arms.

Even while Baldelli is trying to imitate TB with a weaker rotation, TB still pitches fewer innings. That's because of TB's superior short relief. The problem with Baldelli is that he's too analytical. He needs to get his head out from the numbers, take a step back, try to see where the problem is & try to resolve it, instead of keep plowing through with the same formula. If the rotation & short relief can't cut it, supplement with long relief.

You might say it's not him it's FO, still they're joined at the hip. I have other things against him like not focusing on fundamentals but that could be FO again. I agree that analytics are important. But personally I prefer a manager that goes by his gut & have a bench coach that can help him out with the analytical side. I'd say the same thing about the head pitching & hitting coaches.

Excellent take. The joined at the hip bit I 100% agree with. Yeah trying to get starters out for that 3rd trip when your 5-7 inning type relievers are average at best is not a good formula. Pen should be better in theory this year. I would love to see one more starter and one more solid reliever to help out. As long as Emilio Pagan is limited to mop up I can unclench a bit when the wave to the bullpen happens.

Link to comment
32 minutes ago, Karbo said:

If I was owner, I'd make it known to the entire staff, from Falvey on down, this is a make or break season. Either win your way, change your way of thinking, or get fired!

Yeah I imagine Rocco/Levine/Falvey are a package, or so it seems. If we don’t make the playoffs this year it could be chopping season come winter 🥶 

Link to comment

Rocco and this FO will never lead the Twins to a Championship. I will gladly eat crow if they do but I don't see how it will ever happen the way they construct a team with below average hitters, under-utilize the starters, over-use the bullpen, and have no concern about a players health when they sign them thus throwing money away to injured players that can't play. Great Managers play their best players every day, not a different lineup every day because some paper trail tells them to do it. Kepler was at one time a good clutch RBI guy according to the "numbers". Point being.. "at one time" doesn't mean he always will be. Continually batting him in the middle of the lineup because some number tells you to do so isn't a smart decision when he isn't doing it anymore. Making adjustments that help you win make you great. Rocco is too slow at doing that. Like sticking with Colome/Pagan as closers. It's as if he is watching the game but doesn't see what is happening. He's dumbfounded because the "numbers" tell him something different should be happening so he doesn't believe it. What makes a Manager great? Being flexible and willing to throw the numbers out the window. He won't, so my guess is he will go down with the ship when this FO gets fired. Until then, we as fans will slowly fade away because the "numbers" that matter tell us this is not fun, exciting, talented, good baseball to watch. Tell Dave St. Peter that you'll only get fans to come to games that are the type they like to watch. Evidently the scenario we have now, isn't it.

Link to comment
1 hour ago, rv78 said:

Rocco and this FO will never lead the Twins to a Championship. I will gladly eat crow if they do but I don't see how it will ever happen the way they construct a team with below average hitters, under-utilize the starters, over-use the bullpen, and have no concern about a players health when they sign them thus throwing money away to injured players that can't play. Great Managers play their best players every day, not a different lineup every day because some paper trail tells them to do it. Kepler was at one time a good clutch RBI guy according to the "numbers". Point being.. "at one time" doesn't mean he always will be. Continually batting him in the middle of the lineup because some number tells you to do so isn't a smart decision when he isn't doing it anymore. Making adjustments that help you win make you great. Rocco is too slow at doing that. Like sticking with Colome/Pagan as closers. It's as if he is watching the game but doesn't see what is happening. He's dumbfounded because the "numbers" tell him something different should be happening so he doesn't believe it. What makes a Manager great? Being flexible and willing to throw the numbers out the window. He won't, so my guess is he will go down with the ship when this FO gets fired. Until then, we as fans will slowly fade away because the "numbers" that matter tell us this is not fun, exciting, talented, good baseball to watch. Tell Dave St. Peter that you'll only get fans to come to games that are the type they like to watch. Evidently the scenario we have now, isn't it.

Yeah Rocco/Falvey/Levine are probably a package deal. They either all stay or go. Barring the injury bug, I have high hopes for this team, but I certainly understand your complaints. I thinking sticking with Pagan for the beginning was in hopes to not look dumb as a FO for trading Rogers, but regardless I don't wish to see that man on the field at any point in time in which the game is within single digit runs.

Link to comment
14 hours ago, MGM4706 said:

Someone has been smoking that whacky tobacky! If you think you can put Rocco and the word great in the same sentence you are delusional!! Yes, they use the numbers to make decisions but you still need to have a feel for the game and know when to over-ride those numbers. Rocco can't do that. Ask Dave St. Peter if he thinks Rocco is great as St. Peter sees ticket sales continue to slide into the dumpster. Great Managers inspire their fan bases. Rocco does the opposite!

"Great"? How amusing,!

I was about to say the same thing, whatever he is smoking when he wrote this article i want some.  This piece is sooooo ridiculously absurd it's hilarious.  Honestly, at first I thought this article was an attempt at sarcasm.   Rocco is not a very good manager, period.  I'm sorry he just isn't.  I'm not bashing the guy personally, he's just...... not a good manager.

His handling of the bullpen the last few seasons speaks volumes in and of itself, but also his inability to motivate key players season after season to produce in critical situations falls squarely on his shoulders.  I don't care how good of friends he is with the players, that's not his job.  His job is to help this team prepare and get motivated to play it's absolute best and ACTUALLY WIN in critical situations, which has not happened EVER during his tenure other than 2019 (excluding the playoffs of course and again in 2020 when the got shellacked).  The past two seasons they've totally fallen apart in the second halfs, mostly due to key players not producing and then injury bugs as well.   

Tony La Russa is 10x the manager Rocco will EVER be.  It's absolutely laughable that this author takes cheap shots at him.  If Rocco is such an awesome manager and is better than La Russa where are the 3 world series rings Nick? mmmm.

Link to comment
9 minutes ago, CRF said:

I'll have to respectfully disagree. The perfect "puppet" manager would be more accurate. 

haha it's funny you mentioned that as that is kind of the point I was trying to make. I was debating between the title I gave this blog entry and something along the lines of "Rocco Baldelli; An Ideal Puppet"

Link to comment
20 minutes ago, laloesch said:

I was about to say the same thing, whatever he is smoking when he wrote this article i want some.  This piece is sooooo ridiculously absurd it's hilarious.  Honestly, at first I thought this article was an attempt at sarcasm.   Rocco is not a very good manager, period.  I'm sorry he just isn't.  I'm not bashing the guy personally, he's just...... not a good manager.

His handling of the bullpen the last few seasons volumes in and of itself, but also his inability to motivate key players season after season to produce in critical situations falls squarely on his shoulders.  I don't care how good of friends he is with the players, that's not his job.  His job is to motivate this team to play to the absolute best of their ability and WIN in critical situations and that's not happened EVER during his tenure other than 2019 (excluding the playoffs when they got shellacked, again in 2020).  The past two seasons they've totally fallen apart in the second half, partly due to key players not producing when they should have and it's not because of injury, which i'm sure someone will play here in a second. 

Tony La Russa is 10x the manager Rocco will EVER be.  It's absolutely laughable that this author takes cheap shots at him.  If Rocco is such an awesome manager and is better than La Russa where are the 3 world series rings Nick? mmmm.

It was sarcastic to a degree in the sense that the analytics have gotten so crazy that there is actually place for a manager like Rocco Baldelli. And I 100 percent agree with La Russa thing when you look at his career as a whole, I think I said he was a no doubt HoF manager. I meant more specifically 2022. He was just too old for an incredibly young team like that in my opinion. Rocco will never be a La Russa, though 3 rings would be nice.

Link to comment

I have been writing this same "Blog" on the "Fire Rocco" posts for 2 years.  Like is style or not (and I probably lean towards "not"), he's going to be here as long as Falvine is in charge, because he is managing EXACTLY the way they want him to manage.  The questions about his flexibility are valid, but I don't think it's all HIS flexibility.  He has been told by the FO how to manage games, and who to put in in certain situations.  He had no choice but to put Colome/Pagan into games, because that is who the FO gave him, and gave him marching orders to use them in those situations.  I think if the FO would loosen the reigns (which I don't expect them to do) you might see a different Rocco.

Link to comment
23 minutes ago, Lagputter said:

I have been writing this same "Blog" on the "Fire Rocco" posts for 2 years.  Like is style or not (and I probably lean towards "not"), he's going to be here as long as Falvine is in charge, because he is managing EXACTLY the way they want him to manage.  The questions about his flexibility are valid, but I don't think it's all HIS flexibility.  He has been told by the FO how to manage games, and who to put in in certain situations.  He had no choice but to put Colome/Pagan into games, because that is who the FO gave him, and gave him marching orders to use them in those situations.  I think if the FO would loosen the reigns (which I don't expect them to do) you might see a different Rocco.

Great comment. I would love to see what would happen if they let him loose, but that’s not what they hired him to do. Like you reiterated, they hired him specifically to do what they want, and that’s follow the analytics. Like it or not. 

Link to comment

Have been a Twins fan for 50 years... we have had our share of good and bad managers. But... After having Kelly and Gardy we know that we were clearly spoiled. There used to be a saying around baseball... The Twins way... meaning playing great fundamental baseball, running the bases well, good suituationaly hitting, Good pitching and quality back end pitching. At this point we are 1 for 5 ... maybe ... giving that the starting pitching is good but not great. I think we have the  back end pitching but Baldelli and the pitching coach completlely mismanged. 

I clearly am a bit old school but in looking at the great teams around right now .. other than the talent disparity ... thy all play "old school" fundamental baseball. The game has been aound going on around 150 years... those that think they can outsmart it are actually doing a disservice to the game and the fans. Pretty much why all the rule changes. 

The analytics and metrics that everyone seems to be enamored with are numbers... that is it... they are intended to assist a manager in making quality decisions... not "be" the decision as it clearly appears is the case as we watch Baldelli. 

I feel bad for Baldelli as it shows a lack of trust from the FO or lack in trusting his own baseball instincts. Whatever the case unless we get back to the traditional "Twins Way" we are in for more of the same... NOT GOOD!! 

 

Link to comment

The analytics  are at times useful in identifying trends or potential talent, but running every game on numbers will give you exactly average for your level of "statistical talent". 

Teams that get hot, go on a run to the world series are the ones who develop synergy, play above their heads and most importantly believe they can win.

1980 hockey gold medal anyone?? Of you looked only at analytics, they shouldn't even have bothered to play. But Herb Brooks worked them into supreme physical condition, got them to buy into being on Team USA, not just some player on loan from college and developed a sum far greater than its.parts.

Thank God the "shift" Is gone. Play the game as it is meant to be played and go with your gut Instinct and the hot hand now and again. Jack Morris pitching the 10th inning in a game 7 was an extreme gut instinct move, especially when you have a proven stud in Aguilera available  to close.

But it worked, it was destiny, and they won. I guarantee you if TK had taken Morris out at any point earlier in that game, they would have lost

Leave the starting pitcher who is going well in. Get a set lineup for batting and stick with it until it doesn't produce. When you know who is batting in front and behind you, you will learn every nuance and what they will likely do with every pitch in every situation. 

Like Cousins & JJ or any great QB /WR combo, each will know what the other is thinking and therefore do. Stick another WR in JJ spot (pick any hall of famer) and you won't get the same results. Even though "analytics " say his #'s are better, they never will be.

 

Link to comment
46 minutes ago, KBJ1 said:

The analytics  are at times useful in identifying trends or potential talent, but running every game on numbers will give you exactly average for your level of "statistical talent". 

Teams that get hot, go on a run to the world series are the ones who develop synergy, play above their heads and most importantly believe they can win.

1980 hockey gold medal anyone?? Of you looked only at analytics, they shouldn't even have bothered to play. But Herb Brooks worked them into supreme physical condition, got them to buy into being on Team USA, not just some player on loan from college and developed a sum far greater than its.parts.

Thank God the "shift" Is gone. Play the game as it is meant to be played and go with your gut Instinct and the hot hand now and again. Jack Morris pitching the 10th inning in a game 7 was an extreme gut instinct move, especially when you have a proven stud in Aguilera available  to close.

But it worked, it was destiny, and they won. I guarantee you if TK had taken Morris out at any point earlier in that game, they would have lost

Leave the starting pitcher who is going well in. Get a set lineup for batting and stick with it until it doesn't produce. When you know who is batting in front and behind you, you will learn every nuance and what they will likely do with every pitch in every situation. 

Like Cousins & JJ or any great QB /WR combo, each will know what the other is thinking and therefore do. Stick another WR in JJ spot (pick any hall of famer) and you won't get the same results. Even though "analytics " say his #'s are better, they never will be.

 

I think it got lost in all the chaos here, but I am actually a bit of a romantic when it comes to baseball. I love a great story and narrative. I personally wish baseball headed back towards the way of old as I find it more interesting. I just don't see it happening. Kind of a 'make do with what you have' situation for me, and that is where personally (since I don't see levine and Falvey getting fired), I am a fan of Rocco since he seems to vibe with the players really well. I can see now I am in the minority lol

Link to comment

One thing I forgot to mention about Rocco or it may be more about Gardenhire in St. Paul is the lack of improvement in teaching the kids how to play the wall! Not one of them show any knowledge in that area. Buxton has improved a little and Kepler is good. But the others? Disaster. Larnach - Totally lost. Celestino? Speed - but playing the wall - forget it. Kiroloff at  First Base: Shys away from the wall every time. It is known Rocco is a players manager but can't he still demand they get out there before or after games and learn their profession? 

Link to comment
25 minutes ago, MGM4706 said:

One thing I forgot to mention about Rocco or it may be more about Gardenhire in St. Paul is the lack of improvement in teaching the kids how to play the wall! Not one of them show any knowledge in that area. Buxton has improved a little and Kepler is good. But the others? Disaster. Larnach - Totally lost. Celestino? Speed - but playing the wall - forget it. Kiroloff at  First Base: Shys away from the wall every time. It is known Rocco is a players manager but can't he still demand they get out there before or after games and learn their profession? 

It's funny, I watch a ton of the games and this isn't something I have noticed too much, except Kepler. I can recall a few beautifully retrievals off the wall and even nabbed a few guys going for doubles because of it. I'll have to keep an eye out more this year. The biggest fundamental thing I see them do wrong is baserunning. Something needs to improve there or they will keep giving away a few outs a game it seems like.

Link to comment

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...