Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams joined local sports talk radio host Lance McAlister on Tuesday night on 700 WLW. He was on there for 16 minutes and there were some very interesting things that he had to say. You can listen to the entire interview below. But I will share the part that jumped out to me the most. McAlister asked about analytics and how the organization was positioned to process stuff like that.

It’s important that somebody come in here and be able to and be comfortable with pulling from all sources of information. And that doesn’t just mean analytics. It means blending all of the different sources of information that we get. And that’s evolving quickly. But we have been very successful at investing more and more in our department that we call analytics, which is the information gatherers. They’re getting more and more information. We did feel like we were not doing an adequate job of translating that into the game planning and game strategy. And that’s a big key to succeeding. (Inaudible).

At the end of the day you still have to get pitchers and you still have to get hitters. You still have to provide talent to the roster. But all of these things have to go hand in hand. We’ve got to get better about putting talent on the roster and we have to get better at game planning and game execution. And I really believe with David’s voice and the coaching staff, as it evolves, and working closer with our information department, I think we’ll be in a much better position to execute and put players and the team in a better position to succeed.

There’s a whole lot in there, but I felt that what was said was very important. And very insightful, though not a great look, either. The good news is that they seemed to be admitting a mistake. They didn’t take good information and get it onto the field in the past. That’s a very bad look. Unfortunately, it’s something that plenty of people suspected was happening.

The good news is that it seems to be something they’ve identified as a problem and are attempting to fix. Part of that comes along with hiring David Bell. He’s seemingly very open to newer baseball ideas and strategies. It helps to have a manager who can be on board with that. It will be very interesting to see if there are any obvious changes in how the team uses strategies. Will the pitchers go about attacking hitters differently? Will their pitch selection change? CAN NON-PITCHERS STOP BUNTING?! Sorry for yelling.

It’s tough to know what kind of information, exactly, that Dick Williams was suggesting in the interview. What I do know, though, is that I’m looking forward to seeing it used on the field in 2019.

You can also listen to interviews with new manager David Bell and former reliever Danny Graves if that’s something you’re interested in. I listened to the interview with Bell and didn’t find it particularly interesting. I did not listen to the interview with Danny Graves.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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21 Responses

    • MuddyCleats

      Very open ended statement – could mean almost anything fm Reds pt. of view? I hope it means they R looking at “the numbers” more to determine who to draft, develop and acquire instead of spending $$$ on a big name FAs 2 satisfy Fan Base. More importantly, why no comments about how to better develop their own SP which we all know is a must 4 long term improvement and hasn’t been very good over last several years. Brewers ranked 22, Reds 25 & Pirates 27? in payroll this season, yet our divisional foes SP well out performed ours and continue to produce better prospects. Tampa was dead last in payroll, yet finished 6th in team ERA – Brewers were 5th and Pirates 14th. Reds finished 24th….? Does David Bell & Reds FO have the experience and ability to change that poor performance??? Some teams buy that low ERA – other teams have a track record of spend little, yet getting big results. Those R the teams I would have looked to for my next GM, Analytic Guys and Manager!

  1. GM/Manager Nep O'Tism

    I would be much more willing to believe this if they didn’t finish the season slipping Hamilton back into the leadoff spot and finish tied for league lead in sacrifice bunts (which is shocking because that’s counting only “successful” ones, and they failed a LOT).

    This team also did the most mind boggling thing I have ever seen in baseball and had Peraza sac bunting to move Hamilton over to 2nd…. with Joey Votto coming up. They gave away a free out AND took the bat out of their MVP player’s hands in order to move one of if not the fastest player over to 2nd base.

    That’s not a team that will focus on analytics. That’s a team that will eat lead paint chips and stick their forks in wall sockets.

    • Champ Summers

      Those sound like on field managerial decisions. That person was not asked back.

      • MK

        And since owners has extraordinary love for Billy maybe that washis play at getting the full-time job.

  2. Alex

    Yeah, is Prince Dick, in his ceremonial position, suggesting that big Bob won’t be in the managers office talking strategy? What dick says clearly doesn’t matter and never has, cause his position is ceremonial, and maybe that’s a good thing, as he has no actual baseball resume that would suggest he should be in this position. Didn’t rigs intimate several times he asks Walt for info? Or maybe they Dickless does get a say sometimes and that’s why rigs would say winker won’t start again and then he started a day later. What a cluster.

    GM/nepotism, as great as those bunts were, don’t forget they also bunted with winker and gennett. Those two were my favorites.

    Seriously though, even if this nice stuff said by little dicky is true, it’s two days late and about 8 dollars short. The NL has left them WAY behind and they’d be smarter to start over. They are about 3 or 4 pitchers short and the position players are decent but once injuries happen, enter the Mason Williams of the world, and that’s that. No depth. No development. Not savvy. In the NL central, that’s as good as death.

  3. Colt Holt

    Past is the past. Hearing they failed and seek to improve should be encouraging. Life is too short to get so hung up on who could do their job better in the front office. #baseballisfun

    • Norwood Nate

      Agreed. They’re identifying the issues from last year(s) and have set forth a plan to try and improve. Putting Bell in place is the first step of that plan. Can’t be mad about anything laid out at this point.

  4. SultanofSwaff

    Pretty reassuring to hear DW admit the shortcomings and say they have a corrective action plan in place. It doesn’t lessen the sting of years of failed decision making, but you have to start somewhere. I agree with him that Joe Fan doesn’t understand and doesn’t care about the work they’ve done bringing in new scouting and development people, but these are positive moves. The Reds need people with a proven track record, and the new hires have that. What cannot happen again are moves like hiring guys with no experience (i.e. David Bell to manage in AA, or Corky Miller, etc.).

  5. AllTheHype

    Lack of analytic-centric managing is most likely why RIggleman was not a serious consideration for rehire.

  6. Patrick

    To me “analytics” obsession is just mind-boggling. It is just another name given for what they been doing a 100 years in baseball. It is the latest buzz word to make things sound hip or cool. Today with computer and technology it is just easier to get the information. It really is nothing more than scouting and getting a book on players yours and other teams.

    The big thing is just pulling what is useful from what is not useful especially now a days with so much data gathered.

    Here is an example why analytics is not an exact science. A study was done where 13 top analytics groups in the country where given the same exact data and they each came up with 12 different conclusions. Only two were reasonably close in their conclusions.

    If the Reds do not know how to implement analytic data means they do not know how to use scouting reports.

    • Doug Gray

      There’s a whole lot more to it than what you just typed, Patrick.

    • Tom

      I think this is a good observation in the sense that it’s entirely possible that several, if not a majority, of teams could be falling way short of applying their analytics correctly – even when the numbers are as advanced as you’d like.

      The question is, what is going to help the Reds win each at bat? I heard Benetendi say all year the Red Sox have done a good job of not giving away any at bats. Sounds like a team full of Vottos. So, how do you get there? How do you apply data to each at bat?

      A specific goal with specific results seems necessary to channel the massive amount of data.

    • DP

      Patrick, Doug is right on. May I suggest you read Keith Law’s book-Smart Baseball? You may walk away from it with your same opinion but at least you’ll have more data to decide.

    • victor vollhardt

      I think Patrick is very close to the truth. I do think that there many new ways of gathering “useful” information, but how it is used (or discarded as the case may be) and applied to the personal that the team has on hand (or tries to acquire from all sources) is and always has been the key. Then the most important element—- those driven,obsessive people (players-manger-coaches- front office- owners) with only one thing in mind—winning. Can’t get that out of a computer—you have to find the right people. They could be family(they have skin in the game) or some night watchman at a pickle factory or some guy who will argue every step of the way to get what it takes to win. They could be ivy leaguers or guys with street smarts who barely got out of high school. Only management at the highest level can put a”team” together without caring where they came from—just that they want to win.Find that management, who will put together those kinds of people(no matter what others are doing or saying) and it will work. Changes must be made constantly to keep the ball in play (pun intended) , but the focus is always the same —–WIN.

      • Doug Gray

        In the last 5 years there have been a whole lot of ways to gather new information on the field/in training for the field. And plenty of baseball has also moved to gathering information off of the field that they never did before, too, and is now trying to apply that to help improve the other stuff.

        Sure, in the end it’s all about being able to use that information – but the amount of information, and the value of that information, is so different, and better today, than even 5-10 years ago, it’s incredible. Equating what teams are doing today, and have at their fingers, to “what they’ve always done with implementing scouting reports” is wild.

  7. Scott C

    I liked the fact that Williams admitted they were not able to get the good information translated onto the field. I liked the fact, that he said “we”, that is taking responsibility for the problem and is always the first step to correcting a problem. I think most of us believe that the real problem was Price/Riggleman did not use the information given but instead relied on their old school ways like “we need someone with speed to lead off” or “we need to bunt the runner over” I hope with a FO and manager on the same page and a desire to use the analytics given them that there will be changes made in roster construction, lineup construction and in game strategy. But I really like the acceptance of responsibility.

  8. Jon Ryker

    Execution has always been the problem on this team. You get that from effective training at the minor league levels, accountability for failing to execute, and a willingness to go get players at the big league level who consistently execute.

    The rest is marketing.

  9. AirborneJayJay

    About all we heard in 2018 and since the end of the season is the Reds dysfunctional front office. So what does hiring David Bell do with this tag the Reds front office has so richly and deservedly earned? It has seemed to have exposed more dysfunction within the Reds front office. Old vs. new.
    As long as Bob Castellini owns the Reds and insists on his Family & Friends front office, it will be a dysfunctional franchise. As long as Bob Castellini continues to meddle with roster construction, the Reds front office will be dysfunctional. As long as Bob Castellini keeps Walt Jocketty on board as a special adviser, the Reds front office will be dysfunctional.
    The best way for the Reds to improve as a team and their front office, is to usher out Walt Jocketty into full-fledge retirement and to keep Bob Castellini out of David Bell’s office.
    That is step #1. Step #2 is getting better players for the 25 man roster.

    • Colt Holt

      Let’s be realistic. If I were a billionaire and bought a team, I would want to make decisions I may not be qualified for either. That’s the beauty of being the owner. You don’t really owe it to anybody to behave any differently.

  10. MuddyCleats

    Maybe I missed something, but I don’t see where David Bell or keeping Krall changes anything? Krall has been part of the problem and Bell has NO track record of great success…….those R the “numbers” Reds Ownership should be looking at IMO