I mean, the main gripe with him seems to be not spending big on free agents. We had entire threads about the pitchers we didn't get and it looked like Ryan ended up pretty good in that regard. Are we concerned that he's being outfoxed in trades? Are the Twins promoting prospects too slowly? Has he made good waiver claims or rule v picks?
Scott Feldman - Cubs - 1/6m, 12-12 105 ERA+, 181.2ip, 1.6 WAR
Kevin Correia 2/10m 9-13, 97 ERA+, 185.1ip, 1.6 WAR
Brandon McCarthy - DBacks - 2/15.5m - 5-11 84 ERA+, 135ip -0.2 WAR
Dan Haren - Nats - 1/13m - 10-14 81 ERA+, 169.2ip -0.1 WAR
Ryan Dempster - Bos -2/26.5m 8-9 89 ERA+, 171.1ip, -0.2 WAR
Joe Saunders - Seattle - 1/6.5m - 11-16, 70 ERA+, 183ip -0.3 WAR
Mike Pelfrey 1/4m 5-13, 78 ERA+, 152.2ip, -0.3 WAR
Shawn Marcum - Mets - 1/4m - 1-10 67 ERA+, 78.1ip -1.0 WAR
Joe Blanton Angels - 2/15m - 2-14 62 ERA+, 132.2ip -2.0 WAR
Scott Baker - Cubs - 1/5.5m 3 starts, 15ip. Missed most season w/injury
(This is bWAR but fWAR can be very different - according to them, Pelfrey was a 2 WAR pitcher this year).
Good results would be a check mark in favor of his "Old School/Scouting" approach, but it does not prove that he has embraced statistical analysis.
Sometimes that's a good play, when you don't think the talent or value is there, but as a hard and fast rule? At the top level of a sport where talent is scarce? Even if you're really good at all of the other aspects of your job, it almost guarantees a slow rebuild (5-6 seasons?) at best, and quite possibly an unsuccessful rebuild if a particular player or draft doesn't pan out as expected.
Fortunately for TR, the draft and most international signings are explicitly capped now -- one could argue that's the only reason we have Buxton and a few other of our top prospects. But I would love to see TR and his team put their baseball and scouting acumen to work on the domestic and Cuban/Asian free agent markets -- not necessarily to sign mega-contracts or get into bidding wars, but to target good investments and occasionally snag one. Right now they essentially sit those markets out, on principle.
EDIT: Sorry I drifted away from the stats debate...
Remember, Joe Posnanski wrote that the A's internal WAR calculator had Cabrera ahead of Trout last year. ML teams have more info than we (fans) give them credit for.
And on the topic at hand, has it been statistically proven that the statistical analysis method is substantially better? Aside from cherry-picked anecdotal evidence (which can always be found for all sides of any issues) I would like to see some sort of statistical analysis about the relationship of statistical analysis to baseball success. I'm not sure how you would measure that - size of statistical analysis budget, number of analysts, a quantitative score based on percentage of weight statistical analysis carries when making personnel moves, number of times mentioned (or not mentioned) in a GM interview - but take that quantitative measure of adoption of statistical analysis and then correlate that with wins per season and playoff series wins and see what it looks like. Would the use of statistics actually be statistically significant?
After he left, we did see the Twins have a top 10 payroll for one year, with some real smart FA pickups (Pavano, Thome, Hudson) that helped them to a great season.
When Ryan came back, the team wasn't in a position where free agency was going to help, esp with a bunch of young guys needing to come up. The Willingham, Doumit, Correia, Burton finds were ok for a rebuilding team.
I'm still willing to give Ryan the benefit of the doubt and think he can spend more but he won't use FA as a crutch, he'll use it to help polish a nearly finished project like they did in 2010. And these last two years, there really wasn't a high end talent that anyone could realistically think the Twins could have gotten. They weren't going to win a bidding match against the Dodgers. Sanchez wasn't going to come here when Detroit was backing up the truck for him. The Twins weren't going to win a bidding on Hamilton or Pujols.
McPhail never had trouble signing guys to huge deals, some of the biggest in the majors at the tnme, and he operated under the same constraints.
And, we totally disagree that FA "would not help" the last three years. 100% disagree.
Also, judging decisions after the fact is not really a good way to judge decisions. If you drive drunk, and live, was it a good idea to drive drunk? Should you do it again?
I tire of this "debate". No one on the stats side is saying it is the only way. that's a straw man. No one on the FA side is saying it is the one true way, and they should not still draft and develop players. It is a straw man. No one is saying they don't use stats at all. That is a straw man. I hope I'm strong enough to just stop answering these kinds of posts someday.
What we are asking for, is to use every available means to get better.
Yep, we disagree on FA. But please tell me what path the Twins should've taken. What FA should they have signed?
I'm comfortable with Ryan and the FO getting the team right. They have the history and they've made a number of moves that suggests that the game hasn't passed them by. I'm not going to get upset if they don't seem to be going things the "fangraphs" way or if they keep thins close to the vest.
I don't think the problem with the Angels' organization has necessarily been their scouting. They gave away so many top draft picks chasing protected FAs the last couple years that it would be pretty amazing scouting to pick up anyone with significant promise. That FO has had to be a pretty frustrating place to work for good scouts lately. Now, you add in a lack of any job security because the GM himself could be shoved to the curb any time and you take any road out of town that you can find.
Unless Corrigan is the guy who told the LAAA brass to go get Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols without regard to costs in $ and draft picks, I'm not going to worry too much about the fact that he spent the last 2 years with the Angels.
EDIT: By the way, after finishing at or near the bottom of both rookie leagues a couple of years ago, both of the Angels' rookie league teams were above .500 in 2013. I have no idea if Corrigan influenced that or not, but having been a follower of the Angels' former MWL affiliate, I can tell you that's a significant improvement over the kind of talent they'd been sending up through the ranks previously.