Without Luis Rojas and his coaching staff, the mountain of generated analytics information is useless if not communicated to the players.
But before the Mets decide to look elsewhere, Cohen and his right-hand man Sandy Alderson should take a hard look at the assets Rojas brings to the table, with an accent on his familiarity and commitment to using analytics to produce wins on the field.
Moreover, Luis Rojas, who was not even the Met’s preferred choice (Carlos Beltran), stepped into a season like no other seen in baseball, landing on his feet with his players’ full support.
Luis Rojas: Simplifying Information To Mets’ Players
Following years of neglect and false starts by Brodie Van Wagenen, Steve Cohen’s pledge to strengthen the Mets analytics department is a worthy endeavor.
But the nerds who assemble the information, as valuable as they are, cannot sit down with Pete Alonso to watch the video of multiple and fruitless swings taken at sliders off the plate when he has two strikes on him, suggesting, “Pete, you can’t keep doing this. So, why don’t we try it this way…”
Steve Cohen or Sandy Alderson can’t do it either. The communication has to come from Rojas or maybe the Mets hitting instructor- someone who knows the player.
Players are different, and they have varying degrees of need. In another scenario, Luis Rojas, because he observes Jacob deGrom not only on the days he pitches but during his routine between outings, might say to him:
“Jake, here’s some video the guys prepared from your last start. Why don’t you take it inside, and when you finish, let’s talk about what you see.”
But the common thread is always the mutual trust developed over time between the player and his manager.
Luis Rojas: No Need To Re-Invent The Wheel
Obviously, if the Mets are looking for qualities in a manager not listed as Rojas strong points, they should look elsewhere.
But the tie-in between the newfound enthusiasm for analytics by Cohen and Rojas’ interest and strength to make the plan a success is already there.
An old-school manager like Tony LaRusso, who was recently hired by the Chicago White Sox, would be a disaster here, and it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for his players to rebel against his style of managing, as happened in LaRusso’s first go-around with the Sox many moons ago.
Joe Girardi is another example of a non-fit as a manager who recently was given credit by Didi Gregorius for his “managing by the seat of his pants” style compared to his former manager Aaron Boone and his liking of analytics.
Mets: Let The Experiment With Rojas Continue
There’s always someone better out there, and if you look hard enough, you can find them.
Normally, the Mets failure in 2020 to capture one of an unprecedented sixteen spots in the playoffs would have drawn some targeted finger-pointing and undercurrents of tension between Rojas and the players. We saw none of that.
Steve Cohen built his hedge fund empire by surrounding himself with the best and the brightest managers he could find.
Cohen didn’t “find” Luis Rojas; the previous regime did. The across the board cuts made a day or two ago did not touch Rojas. Hopefully, that’s a sign that sees the Rojas experiment continue for the 2021 season.