The Royals did two very important things yesterday, they selected Kyle Zimmer as their 1st pick in the draft and they exposed Ned Yost as almost certainly unworthy to manage this, or any Major League team.
Let’s start with the newest of Royals: Kyle Zimmer. First I think it would be cool to call him Kyle “The Don” Zimmer. It works for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the mascot of the University of San Francisoco where he played. Second, it sounds like Don Zimmer the pre-historic but culturally relevant baseball player, manager and bench-coach. When it comes to analysis this is really all I’ve got. I’ve never seen him pitch and can’t pretend I have a scouting report. Instead, I’ll present you with a couple of videos for you to peruse:
The Royals say that he was the top pitcher on their board. I can’t exactly believe them because they would say that and should say that about anyone they get at this position. The bottom line is that the draft is a risk, pitchers are a bigger risk, but they are essential to winning games. We’ll watch his development and hope he becomes a front line starter.
While the front-office was working the draft room, the soldiers and their leader Ned Yost took the field in contest against the Twins of Minnesota. The Twins took an early lead and going to the bottom of the 4th were up by a score of 4-1. It was at this point that the Twins and Royals had a Judge Reinhold – Fred Savage moment where their bodies seemed to switch.
The Royals hit a couple of singles, the Twins looked like they had never fielded a ball before and then the young stud Mike Moustakas blasts a two-run double. Still no outs. Then Francoeur and Hosmer reach on astonishing errors by the Twins the last of which allows Mike Moustakas to score.
Opposing pitcher on the ropes.
Warm, run-scoring wind blowing.
Third most effective hitter this season at bat, followed by two of the worst.
Ned Yost thinks to himself and calls out for a
Escobar gives up a free out, the next two batters strike out and the Royals lose.
I need to preface this by saying that I’ve rarely been critical of Ned Yost. I don’t always agree with him, but overall I’ve been pretty pleased by what he does. But that decision was one of the worst decisions I’ve seen a Royal manager make. It was astounding in it’s ineptitude. There is absolutely no good reason to help the Twins in that situation. None.
Time and time again it’s shown that the one precious commodity in a game are outs. They are to be preserved and hoarded. Regardless of what the past-worshiping, numbers-hating, critical thinking deprived folks tell you, that was a horrendous decision by Ned Yost. If on some magical planet I were the General Manager, I’d tell Ned Yost that if he does that again he’s fired. If he objects he’s gone that day.
This mistake isn’t just about screwing his team over for one single game. It’s about an inability to understand some basic truths about baseball and a refusal to understand core concepts of strategy. The way teams did things in 1903 is not correct and the fact that they did it in the 1950’s is not proof to the contrary.
A manager of a winning baseball team needs to be able to motivate his players and deal with multimillionaire 20 somethings with giant egos. But he also needs to be aware of the latest research and understanding of the business he is in. This is true of all managers, not just of the baseball variety. Sure, maybe it was cool to call a female colleague “toots” in the 1950’s, but that is not acceptable now and it’s something that can get you fired. In baseball it’s something celebrated and I’m at a loss as to why.
It’s time for Ned Yost to make some changes, to get up-t0-date and to help this team win games. He needs to get out of the way and allow baseball players to make baseball plays. The game does not need his interference, this isn’t the brain-washed National League where some fans believe that watching a manager make decisions is interesting. We’re here to see baseball, let it happen.
- Nick Scott