2. Must have the knowledge and desire to use analytics
While the Royals started to make some strides in the analytics department near the end of the Glass family and Yost era, they were way behind the times relative to other teams’ usage of analytics. What exactly do you mean when you say analytics?
It’s advanced baseball statistics that truly define the production of a player. Often they will be used in comparison to their annual salary to see if they are truly living up to their contract. With key analytics like wRC+, FIP, WAR, ISO, BABIP, spin rates, and launch angle being all the rage these days, it’s extremely important that the next Royals manager have a strong knowledge of analytics.
For example, wRC+ is simply a good measure of a batter’s value. A numerical value of 100 is considered the league average, so when someone refers to Jorge Soler‘s 133 wRC+, that implies that he’s well above league average in being able to produce runs. Rob Friedman is a really good Twitter account to follow. He has done a lot of good work for MLB and ESPN, particularly looking at pitchers’ spin rates and pitch overlays.
Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics were one of the first organizations to heavily utilize baseball analytics during the 2002 season. Similar to the Royals under the Glass family, the Athletics have long been known as a small market team that struggles to even come close to the talent that bigger market teams are able to acquire.
Prior to the 2002 season, the Athletics lost key contributors from the previous season in Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, and Jason Isringhausen to free agency. They were able to finish with a better record in 2002 simply by signing guys who had a high on-base-percentage.
With all the tools and software that is available to teams these days, it would be foolish for the next Royals manager to not incorporate analytics into their scouting reports and development of their own players.