Apr 4, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost (3) watches batting practice before the game against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Ned Yost Hates Pinch Hitters


Apr 2, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost (3) in the dugout before the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals were the last team to hit a home run this year, and they still haven’t managed their second yet, but there is something else they will be last to do in 2014 whenever the time comes.  Ned Yost has yet to pinch hit for anyone, and this is not surprising based on his history as a manager.  He used to love pinch hitting when he began in Milwaukee, but then something changed.

Let’s start all the way at the beginning.  Ned took over as skipper of the Brewers in 2003, and his pinch hitting usage looked like this during his time there.

Year # Pinch Hitter ABs NL Rank AVG
2003 254 2nd (tied) .220
2004 249 1st .205
2005 216 12th .245
2006 210 15th .267
2007 219 14th .224
2008 218 14th .211

So in 2003 and 2004 Yost used a lot of pinch hitters.  I only compared to NL since the pitcher increases the usage of pinch hitters.  In 2005, after the .205 batting average from the pinch hitters the year before, he backed way down from 249 pinch hitter ABs all the way to 216 which was the level he maintained the rest of his tenure in Milwaukee.  I don’t know if that low batting average in 2004 turned Ned against pinch hitters or not, but ever since then he has been much more sparing with them and it has carried over to KC where he has been last in the majors in pinch hitter usage in 2011 and 2012 and 28th in 2013 and of course so far hasn’t bothered to use one this year.

The pinch hitter batting averages are bad, but of course that isn’t terribly surprising.  Pinch hitters are not starters, so they are not typically great players.  Also, if you think of the situation that made me do this, yesterday when Mike Moustakas was left in to face Glen Perkins rather than letting Danny Valencia take a shot, it is typically a tough situation.  Had he used a pinch hitter, it would have been to face Glen Perkins who even against right handed hitters over the last three years has allowed a .225/.287/.368 slash line (.213/.268/.270 against lefties).  That is a tough spot for a pinch hitter to step into, but it would have been better than sending Moose up who has yet to hit a left hander this year and has never had much success against same handed pitching.

At times, having a power bat on the bench can be useful late in the game.  It is one of the reasons I haven’t really had a big problem with the odd 25 man roster including two outfielders and a third baseman on the bench.  I will however say if you aren’t going to use Justin Maxwell and Danny Valencia when you obviously should, then I don’t even understand why they are on the team.

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Tags: Kansas City Royals Ned Yost

  • cardsfanatik

    This team is screwed as long as Yostradumbass is leading them. I have a hard time believing that all the guys just “suck”. I do think that its time to end the Moustakas experiment though. He is not producing, and hasn’t produced in 2 1/2 seasons. He isn’t a “prospect” anymore. Escobar is a wizard in the field, but maybe looking at Stephen Drew has some merit at this point. Same defense (or close), more bat, also veteran that knows how to win. This team lacks guys that KNOW how to win, other than Infante. Aoki hasn’t even been on a good team coming from Milwaukee. Vargas knows how to win, so does Shields, but they are pitchers, and don’t have much input with the lineup I doubt. Other than telling guys how a pitcher might attack them. Yost was let go when Milwaukee got close, because he couldn’t “get them there”. But overall, from top to bottom, these guys don’t know HOW to win, because they haven’t won. Last year was a “winning” season, but I feel with a couple of good veteran’s could have been more. This team doesn’t capitalize on mistakes made by the opposition, and for the most part, the offense is shit. Aoki and Infante AREN’T home run hitters, so them getting on only works if the guys behind them can push them around, and so far, nope. I don’t have a cure all, but SOMETHING has to happen. My first step would be to put Yost in the guillotine. Dayton next if he can’t seem to find Major League talent in drafts that there is no way in hell he should have failed in. Glass selling this team to a person that actually loves baseball wouldn’t hurt anything either.

    • moretrouble

      Cardsfan, you’re a knowledgeable baseball guy and I enjoy reading your comments, but I do not agree that Yost is causing ANY of the problems with KC. As far as winning is concerned, yeah, this team hasn’t won anything, but teams learn how to win. Butler, Gordon, etc., have never been in a position where one at-bat can win a pennant. They haven’t played in pressure games where an entire season comes down to one series. Players have to go through that to understand how to deal with it. It’s that kind of experience that gives players an ability to play well in pressure situations. Simply put — players win, managers are along for the ride. Sorry, but on this one, I respectfully disagree.

      • cardsfanatik

        I agree with what your saying to an extent. My problem with Yost is the fact that he doesn’t put players in a position to succeed. He doesn’t make changes when he should, or makes changes when he shouldn’t. Take the example of NOT batting Valencia or JMaxx for Moustakas the other day. We all know that Moose is struggling, yet AGAIN, but instead of bringing up one of these guys they kept on the roster to hit LHP, he sticks with Moose. I’m all for showing loyalty to players, but there comes a time, when loyalty leads to stupidity, in the sense that he leaves guys in to fail, rather than put guys in whom might succeed. Players need confidence, and while I agree that its up to the players to “actually” do the succeeding, the manager is in the best position to place those said players in the best position to succeed. I’m not disagreeing with what you are saying, and you are always right on with your comments, but that is what I’m meaning about Yost. I’m not sure it would make any difference who was at the helm the last couple of weeks, they may still be in the position they are now, but I believe that there is more than one manager out there, that Moose would not have been facing a LHP in late innings.

        • moretrouble

          Well … I don’t know if this amounts to the same thing you’re saying, but Ned threw away so many games early in the season last year for the sake of development … and the year before, too. It may not have been totally his decision, but two years ago, they stayed with whats-his-name … uh … Sanchez way too long. Last year, they stayed with Francouer far too long. And, Tejada was probably jacked on cold medicine every night for three months before they decided to use him full time. They’re doing that with Moustakas this year. Hey, it’s time to win some f’ing ballgames.

          • cardsfanatik

            I do completely agree with what your saying.

          • cardsfanatik

            I wouldn’t “dislike” Ned, if he would put the “Team” first, and the players feelings second. While the two should be synonymous with “Wins”, they don’t always work that way. It is time to win some damn ball games, and if that means sitting some of the guys that are tanking……so be it. If that means going with guys that are not “The future” of the franchise, ie Valencia………so be it. Who’s to say that DV couldn’t play a good 3B this year, hit .265 with 25 bombs. I would take that. I’m just ready for something to change. You are correct, it is the same ‘ol shit, different year, different players.

          • moretrouble

            Well … I agree with you on that point. Valencia was going to be the full time DH for the Orioles this year. He’s good enough for them, but not for KC? They’re f’ing kidding themselves. The way Moose is booting the ball around the infield, Valencia can’t do any worse. Get that guy the ‘ell out of there and let Valencia hit.

          • cardsfanatik

            Yep, my thoughts exactly.

  • moretrouble

    What do you mean pinch hitters aren’t good players? Brian, I’ve seen a lot of great veteran hitters play out the last year or two of their career as pinch hitters in the AL. Pinch hitting is tough because guys have been SITTING the entire game, or a few days, or a week, they’ve seen zero pitches and they’re expected to walk up to the plate cold and give a good AB. If you’re lucky, the manager gives you a heads up in time to allow you to go down the tunnel and stretch, or even go back to the cage and take a few swings — but even if you do that, it doesn’t prepare you to hit. It just gets you loose.

    • Brian Henry

      I said they aren’t great, everybody loves semantics! Even as you just said, they are formerly great hitters with only a couple years left in the tank. There peak years are behind them. If you are “great” as I put it, you are an every day player and are only going to be a pinch hitter if you are taking a rest that day.

      • moretrouble

        Point of order … when you pinch hit … uh … you’re hitting. It doesn’t matter if you’re 36, have bum knees and can’t play the OF, or you’re not mobile enough to play 1B any longer. What you can do is hit … and many a great hitter has spent his last year or two in the bigs pinch hitting (or being a DH) in the AL. With all respect, Brian, explaining yourself is one thing, but don’t defend flawed positions. It’s common for a great hitter to extend his career a year or two by pinch hitting.

        • cardsfanatik

          And I think on that note, we should see what Vlad Guerrero is doing right now. :/ (sarcasm) (but not really) I’m ready for anything truthfully. If they signed Juan Gonzalez, and he could hit this year, I’d take him. But then BB has to go, and not sure I want that either. I love Butler, but he’s not hitting either. And its not ALL BB, noone outside of AG and SP are hitting “consistently”. LoCain hasn’t been bad either, but 3 of the 9, a potent offense does not make. Aoki and Infante have been pretty good setting the table, just to get LOB. I know this is wayyyyy off topic what you guys were talking about, but I’m frustrated, and I wish I saw a “fix” in sight. The more I read what I post, my fingers can’t keep up with the thoughts in my head, and I rammmbbllleee. Sorry guys. I think something’s gotta give though, just curious what gives first.

          • moretrouble

            To be honest, I don’t think Butler has hit well since Seitzer left. I’m just not seeing it with him. As far as Moose is concerned, if I were Yost, I’d be posting Valencia’s name on the scorecard each night in the dugout at 5:30 pm, and wait for Moose to come in my office for an explanation.

          • cardsfanatik

            I hated Seitzer leaving when he left. If that was Yost’s doing preaching “More power”, that is just one more reason I hate him.

          • moretrouble

            I don’t really know what happened with Seitz. Something happened, though. Seitz isn’t the only hitting coach who is good, which is the club’s point of view. Regarding Moose, I don’t think it’s the coach at all — I think it’s Mike. He’s got to figure it out. The light bulb has to kind of comes on in his brain. Everyone keeps waiting for this kid — and the reason, I think, is just what you said, “more power.”

        • Brian Henry

          In that role, Jim Thome’s last year was .252/.344/.442 which is decent but a long way from what he used to be. Jason Giambi the last two years in that role hit .225 and .183, pretty pathetic for a once MVP level player. Do I need to continue as those are just recent examples? Players age poorly, even great hitters lose bat speed and power.

          • moretrouble

            Ok, let’s play that game, Brian. Your article was regarding pinch hitting for Moustakas … now what’s Moose’s line again. Here’s a great example of what I’m talking about: Tony Gwynn — he had a bad knee his last year (2001) and was limited to pinch hitting most of the year, but at age 41, here was his line:.324/.384//461/.845.

            I guess you’re gonna tell me that Tony Gwynn sucks, right?

  • Bear Brinkman

    I think I would sit Moose and Butler and replace them with Valencia and Maxwell for a week just for shit’s and giggles. Maybe if a couple of the big boys sat it might wake them and the team up. As it is there are no consequences on this team. Same guys keep tanking over and over and they keep playing. Where is the fear of failure with being sent down?Is anyone ever going to step up on the field or locker room?? Someone has to with this idiot for a manager.