BRAD, BOOKS AND BOCHY

By:  Holly Horning

A new year with new expectations. Unlike last year, 2015 will be the true litmus test for Brad Ausmus – his make or break year. No longer a rookie, he will be expected to show measurable growth as a manager in a number of areas this year.

While Brad was in the enviable position of inheriting a team loaded in talent, this same team now potentially becomes the double-edged sword this year depending upon how well they perform. This means that Ausmus needs to evolve his skills commensurate to the talents in which he’s been entrusted.

So what’s the best thing Brad can do to enhance his performance? Simply, ditch the managerial books and bend the ear of Bruce Bochy, San Francisco’s manager and certain future Hall-of-Famer.

So what are some of Bruce’s secrets to great managing?

BULLPEN: Any surprise here? Bochy has no rigid viewpoint about who pitches when but relies upon understanding which moments require different pitchers. He also utilizes different strategies for October games.

CONFIDENCE: He speaks directly with purpose and energy. His attitude is contagious with his players.

EGOS: Performance trumps everything and Bochy was not afraid to demote players who were struggling. Some of them top players, too.

EXPECTATIONS: Both his Padres and Giants teams routinely surpassed the expected W/L totals for each year leading experts to suspect this is incorporated into the season’s planning and motivation.

FLEXIBILITY: Bochy is described as “intellectually flexible” and makes pitching, running, hitting and fielding moves that are often unorthodox but built on solid scenarios.

ROOKIES: Bruce trusted unproven talent, especially rookies, and gave them many opportunities to show their stuff instead of sitting them on the bench.

This will be an interesting, albeit ledge-clinging year to watch. But hey, if a manager born in France can become one of baseball’s best, then there’s always hope a guy from Dartmouth can learn from his success.