The halfway point of the 2021 MLB season is also an appropriate time to offer a mid-term assessment of the team-building strategies of Major League general managers.
Today: The National League West.
Assessing the NL West GMs at the midway point of the MLB season
As a group, the moves made by each NL West GM since last October have produced -1.4 WAA for their 2021 teams. But that’s almost entirely a byproduct of their horrid season experienced in Arizona and GM Mike Hazen’s -8.5 rating that results. Hazen, in brief, is the kid who drags down the entire class’s GPA.
As you might deduce from their records, the three teams at the top of the MLB standings – Scott Harris’ Giants, Andrew Friedman’s Dodgers, and A.J. Preller’s Padres – all sit comfortably to the plus side of the rating.
We’re assessing GM performance based on the short-term impact of all personnel moves made since the conclusion of the 2020 season. Our rating standard is Wins Above Average, a variant of Wins Above Replacement that is superior for this purpose because it is zero-based.
That means each GM’s score approximately replicates the number of games he has influenced his team’s standing, either for better or for worse, by dint of what he has done to the roster.
Of course, much of each GM’s work remains to be accomplished. With the July 31 trade deadline, the second half of every season is usually more active than the first half. That means these ratings can change significantly between now and October.
As you look at these ratings, it’s also worth keeping in mind that this system is not designed to necessarily replicate each team’s standing in the race. Rather, it is designed to estimate how much of an impact each GM has had since the end of last season. In theory, that means a GM of a bad team could generate a positive score by modestly improving what was a poor talent base, while the GM of a good team might generate a negative score by making only a few unproductive moves to what was already a very strong ballclub.
With that said, here are the mid-term ratings for the NL West general managers.