Brad Ausmus is the worst manager in the American League.
During the Sunday Night Baseball game on May 10 between the Royals and Tigers, Miguel Cabrera led off the bottom of the 9th with a walk. The game was tied 1-1, and Ausmus elected to use Rajai Davis to pinch run for Cabrera. Leadoff walks score 38 percent of the time, so removing your best hitter in a game that more likely than not will go to extra innings is facially stupid. The only justification would be if you can use that speed aggressively, i.e. a stolen base. A man on second with none out would score 60% of the time; a man on third with none out would score 85% of the time.
Davis apparently had a green light but did not run the first two pitches to the next batter Victor Martinez, then Martinez singled to left and Davis went to second. If Davis stole in the first two pitches, he would have scored on that single and the game would have been over, but fine, you could theoretically put the blame solely on Davis for failing to run. Then Ausmus decided to put the stop light on Davis when he was at second, even though (a) the increase in odds of going to third make a steal just as worthwhile as stealing second and (b) the Royals weren’t really holding Davis and he was able to establish a huge lead. What was supposed to be an “aggressive” move of pulling Cabrera for Davis ended up as mere station-to-station baserunning as the following hitters made meager outs and the game proceeded to extra innings.
Predictably, this decision would ultimately lose the game for the Tigers. The Royals scored in the top of the 10th, then the Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half. Cabrera’s spot was due up, but instead, up to the plate strode Hernan Perez, who boasted an OPS of .211 for the season. Perez did just about the worst thing possible, bouncing into an easy 5-2-3 double play with the lead runner out at home. Game essentially over.
There are many terrible managers in the major leagues, but most of them happen to be in the National League: Chip Hale, Bryan Price, Walt Weiss, Don Mattingly, Mike Redmond, Ryne Sandberg, Matt Williams. In the American League, however, it really comes down to Ned Yost, Lloyd McClendon and Brad Ausmus. I am convinced McClendon is terrible due to his close affiliation with Jim Leyland, but have no real concrete evidence to support his awfulness. Yost seemed like the frontrunner until last night, when Ausmus snatched the title away. Afterwards, Ausmus expressed no regret and stated “it’s a move you have to make.” Congrats Brad. You’re the Bossmus…you’re the Ausmus Prime of sucking.