As MLB teams lean on analytics, the Toronto Blue Jays and Charlie Montoyo should take note of Kevin Cash’s blunder during the World Series.
The 2020 MLB season has come to a messy end when you see the way the World Series ended both on and off the field and there are certainly notes the Toronto Blue Jays should have taken.
Watching Game 6, the obvious takeaway was Blake Snell being pulled in the sixth inning after allowing only two hits. The move has been heavily scrutinized because it highlights the way analytics has been overly relied upon by teams instead of adapting to in-game situations.
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This is not to say that analytics can’t help teams considering the Tampa Bay Rays made it all the way to the World Series with a roster that was the polar opposite of the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, when you consider how the Rays navigated that game, it was a reminder that teams need be cautious moving forward.
We know that with the Blue Jays there has been a heavy reliance on analytics when you see some of the decisions they made this season. Look no further than the number of occasions when the team didn’t have their starter pitch in the seventh inning and using an opener before sending in the starter.
You also hear how Charlie Montoyo talks about the Rays and you get the sense that this is the direction that he wants to take the Blue Jays in. While it’s not the worst strategy, you saw how it played out and the reaction from players and there is still a disconnect with a hard analytics strategy.
Also, you have to remember that one approach from a team isn’t going to be universal with others. The Blue Jays don’t have the depth of pitching that the Rays have, nor did they get the elite hitting that the Dodgers did, that’s certainly an important distinction to remember.
When you consider how excited the Dodgers were to see Snell lifted from the game, it should remind Montoyo that in-game situations require more than just a spreadsheet to navigate. It almost suggests that the credentials managers need to get hired by an MLB are less relevant because the data front offices use overrules their decision making.
This also takes away some accountability because players are left frustrated because they don’t seem to have all the data that would explain these decisions and teams aren’t putting the people involved with analytics on the podium to take the blame when it doesn’t work.
Maybe this will allow MLB front offices an opportunity to realize that a human element is still needed in these situations.
What are your thoughts on the role analytics plays in baseball now? Should the Blue Jays avoid this approach? Let us know in the comments below.