Houston Astros and Washington Nationals: How they stack up for the World Series

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 19: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros reacts after winning the AL pennant with a 6-4 win in Game 6 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, October 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.(Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 19: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros reacts after winning the AL pennant with a 6-4 win in Game 6 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, October 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.(Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Managers

Given that A.J. Hinch led the Houston Astros to the 2017 World Series championship while Dave Martinez is taking his first team to the World Series, the experience advantage is obvious. But how will each man manage?

Both are, by modern standards anyway, relatively conservative in the use of their bullpens. Hinch used an average of 4.0 pitchers per game, Martinez 4.3. That made Hinch 8 percent less likely to pull a pitcher than the average American League manager, and Martinez 3 percent less likely than the average National League manager. Neither man is, as yet anyway, a convert to “bullpenning.”

Martinez is also, again compared with league norms, relatively slow to go to their benches. He employed 1.52 per game, slightly fewer than the norm in the National League, where pinch hitters for the pitcher are almost a daily factor.

Hinch is average by American League standards in his use of pinch hitters. His use of about one every two games translates to about 1 percent more often than the AL average.

Although the Nationals ranked third in the majors in stolen bases this season, Martinez is not particularly profligate in his use of the steal strategy. Given 1,342 theoretical opportunities, he ordered 94 attempts at a steal of second base in 2019, putting him only about 9 percent above the National League average for frequency. The Washington Nationals stole a lot of bases because they were especially good at it, not because Martinez was especially aggressive.

Hinch’s 91 steal attempts ranked him two percent above the midpoint for American League managers.

The one thing you can take to the bank is that if an intentional base on balls is ordered during this series, it won’t come on orders from Hinch. He never called for one all season. Martinez called for 41, about 24 percent above the normal frequency for National League managers.