Mike Scioscia has been the Los Angeles Angels manager for 19 years now. In that time, he has brought the Angels to the playoffs seven times, winning the World Series once. Despite this, the longtime manager may make his last Angels lineup card on September 30. If this is the case, it is important that the next manager realizes the Angel’s problem was not Scioscia’s strategy.
Despite recent team struggles, Mike Scioscia is a good manager and is the best the Angels have ever had. In the 30 years before he became the manager, the Angels had a .483 winning percentage. With Scioscia as manager, from 2000-2018, he had a .538 winning percentage. He was able to accomplish this through an aggressive yet strategic style of coaching
Though not a statistic normally associated with current Angels teams, Scioscia’s calling card is stealing. His Angel teams have been top 10 in the league in steals in 11 of his 19 seasons. Stealing bases ensure his team can remain competitive at any point during a game or a season.
While he has had success in years where stolen bases were not prevalent, for the most part, his coaching has led to the recent success of the Angels franchise. Below is a graph showing the impact of the stolen base on the Angels.
|Season||SB Rank||Runs/Game Rank||Standings/ Playoff Finish|
|2000||16th||11th||82-80 (3rd in AL West)|
|2001||11th||25th||75-87 (3rd AL West)|
|2002||5th||4th||99-63 (Won World Series)|
|2003||3rd||19th||77-85 (3rd AL West)|
|2004||1st||10th||92-70 (Lost ALDS)|
|2005||1st||11th||95-67 (Lost ALCS)|
|2006||1st||18th||89-73 (2nd AL West)|
|2007||3rd||6th||94-68 (Lost ALDS)|
|2008||4th||15th||100-62 (Lost ALDS)|
|2009||3rd||2nd||97-65 (Lost ALCS)|
|2010||11th||19th||80-82 (3rd AL West)|
|2011||6th||17th||86-76 (2nd AL West)|
|2012||5th||4th||89- 73 (3rd AL West)|
|2013||15th||7th||78- 84 (3rd AL West)|
|2014||22nd||1st||98-64 (Lost ALDS)|
|2015||29th||20th||85-77 (3rd AL West)|
|2016||17th||16th||74-88 (4th AL West)|
|2017||1st||22nd||80-82 (2nd AL West)|
|2018||11th||15th||(As of 9/27)
78-81 (3rd AL West)
Even in years where the offense overall was lacking, like 2008 and 2005, the Angels made the playoffs. The steal itself can affect a game in ways statistics cannot easily show. It could lead to an errant throw leading to a run, or even take a certain pitcher out of the game based on the situation. Steals were the perfect weapon for Scioscia to bring the Angels to relevancy.
While Scioscia has done great things, there are reasons he should not return to Anaheim next season. One is that the Angels are trying to rebuild in a talented AL West division. While they do have most of the offensive pieces, the pitching is a work in progress. Even after nearly two decades in Anaheim, it wouldn’t make sense for Scioscia to be a part of another rebuild.
Despite regular season success, there is little postseason success outside of 2002 for Scioscia. He is 21-27 in the playoffs, reminding Angels fans of a different long-tenured coach in the NFL. Marvin Lewis has coached the Cincinnati Bengals for 16 seasons with a 0-7 record in the playoffs. While Scioscia’s record is not as bad as that, his last postseason appearance in 2014 was a sweep by the Kansas City Royals.
With that playoff record and recent playoff struggles, it would seemingly be time to let go of the longtime Angel’s manager. Even if this could happen, what Scoscia built should not be destroyed. He created a strong culture in Anaheim that has kept the team competitive even if the playoffs are unreachable. A change in culture could be catastrophic for a team simply trying to play .500 baseball.
His time may be done in Anaheim, but Scioscia’s impact on the organization will be remembered forever. His heir, however, must understand what got the Angels to a point of contending and stick to it. Without that, the Angels would not only lose their best manager but revert back to the pre-Scioscia era of losing.
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