When everyone examines and over-examines stats, it’s always for players. Rarely is it for managers.
I figured, it might be interesting to look at Jeff Banister’s numbers as a major league manager.
In two and two-thirds seasons, Jeff Banister has managed 437 major league games.
His record in those games is 237-200, a .542 winning percentage. Ignoring Eddie Stanky’s 1-0 record in the dysfunctional 1977 season, Banister has the third-best winning percentage in franchise history among managers.
It goes Tim Bogar at .636. Billy Hunter at .575. Jeff Banister at .542.
Only three managers have guided a Rangers team to the post-season. Ron Washington was 4-4 in post-season series, with an 18-17 overall record, including the only two World Series appearances in franchise history. The other two managers are winless in post-season series. Johnny Oates was 0-3, managing just one win in nine games. Jeff Banister is 0-2 in post-season, at 2-6.
What’s interesting about Banister is, while he has a winning record as a manager, how little time the Rangers have been over .500 while he has been the manager.
Just nine out of the 113 games this year have the Rangers been above .500. And fewer than half of the games when he won a division title in 2015, seventy-seven games out of the 162. When he won the Manager of the Year award in his rookie managerial season, his team was under .500 most of the season. A late-season surge catapulted them from fourth to division champions.
On the flip side, his 2016 team had the best record in the American League.
Mainly it’s a case of getting out of the gate slowly, and having to crawl their way out of a hole. They were able to do it in 2015 and 2016. Not in 2017. Of course, 2015 was aided by the acquisition of Cole Hamels, who carried the team on his arm from fourth place to first. The 2015 Rangers were pretty much in the same position as the 2017 Rangers. Floundering late in the season. In fourth place. On the verge of last place.
While it’s easy to get frustrated with Banister’s unimaginative managing style, his Sesame Street level building of a lineup, and his dense bullpen managing skills, he has won a division title two out of three years, and he does have an overall winning record.
He’s been a success. In the regular season. Mostly.
The question is, was 2016—when he led the team to the best record in the American League—an aberration? Or was the aberration 2017 and most of 2015—when his teams spent most of their time wandering in the darkness?
We will find out in 2018.
NO GAME TODAY.