clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Has new Angels manager Brad Ausmus evolved since his Tigers tenure? Billy Eppler believes so.

New, 153 comments

Eppler’s comments in the Angels’ press release yesterday indicate an incredibly high-conviction endorsement of Ausmus.

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

While fans, analysts, and commentators across baseball are skeptical of newly-minted manager Brad Ausmus’s prospects of success, the general manager who hired him is anything but.

From Billy Eppler’s statement to the press:

“Over the past few weeks, our baseball operations personnel sat down with numerous highly qualified and impressive candidates for our managerial role. We are thankful to all of them for their time and effort throughout the process. Ultimately, Brad’s balance of connectivity, communication and leadership skills, as well as his understanding of evolving strategies and probabilistic approach to decision-making, led us to him. We believe his knowledge, drive and growth mindset will allow him to integrate seamlessly with our players and staff and will be pivotal in advancing our culture and moving us toward our goals as an organization.”

Deconstructed, line by line:

Over the past few weeks, our baseball operations personnel sat down with numerous highly qualified and impressive candidates for our managerial role.

In total, the Angels interviewed ten candidates for the role, including the following individuals:

• Special assistant to the GM, Brad Ausmus

• Special assistant to the GM, Eric Chavez

Houston Astros bench coach, Joe Espada

Chicago Cubs bench coach, Brandon Hyde

Tampa Bay Rays field coordinator, Rocco Baldelli

• Former MLB infielder, Omar Vizquel

Ultimately, Brad’s balance of connectivity, communication and leadership skills...

Ausmus is capable of (1) connecting well with players, (2) communicating to both players and staff, and (3) making tough decisions—and justifying them—in the best interest of the team.

According to Maria Guardado of MLB.com, Ausmus was often in the Angels’ clubhouse following home games and traveled with the team for road games.

...as well as his understanding of evolving strategies and probabilistic approach to decision-making, led us to him.

This entire line is crucial in Eppler’s explanation of the hire, but evolving strategies is the key phrase here, illustrating his belief that regardless of Ausmus’s prior managerial history, Ausmus will be both capable and dutiful in absorbing all incoming data, keeping an open mind, and utilizing information to optimize decisions. This means carrying out actions which lead to highest-probability outcomes for success, so long as such actions do not bring a sustained detriment to the organization.

We believe his knowledge, drive and growth mindset will allow him to integrate seamlessly with our players and staff and will be pivotal in advancing our culture and moving us toward our goals as an organization.

A graduate of Dartmouth, the northern-most of the eight Ivy League institutions, Ausmus is intelligent. He will work hard in integrating analytics at the managerial level (reception, implementation, and convincing players to buy in), and he will adapt and embrace effective strategies over his tenure in Anaheim.

At first glance, one might think of Ausmus as an old-fashioned manager. But if what Billy Eppler has detailed to be true, which it has no reason not to be, Ausmus’s past performance would not indicate future results. For the right reasons, too: Ausmus is a fundamentally improved baseball thinker now than he was then, and he will continue to adapt in the face of new strategies and new information.

While no one will definitively know whether Ausmus is a good manager until the games begin to play, it appears that the decree that the Angels have hired a dinosaur to sit on the dugout perch for 486 games could not be further from the truth.