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October 22, 2010

Changing Speeds

The BSAT

by Ken Funck

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Good afternoon, gentlemen—and lady! How cool is that?! I’d like to thank you all for coming in today to take our Baseball Skipper Aptitude Test. As you all know, we like to consider ourselves a forward-thinking organization, and we feel that having you take this short examination will give us more insight into the qualities you possess, your decision-making processes, and the opinions you have which might affect how you would perform in our organization. Since we’re a small-market club we could only afford to hire a professional proctor for one day, hence the rather unique decision to bring you all in at the same time to take this test.

We’re looking for a manager who is not only a solid tactician, great communicator and outstanding leader, but a person whose personality and point of view are somewhat aligned with those of the organization as a whole. The BSAT is designed to help us make that determination, in conjunction with your lengthy interviews over the past few days and our review of your previous work history. While completing the BSAT, please be sure to use the No. 2 pencil we’ve provided; keep in mind that there is not necessarily a single correct answer to any of these questions, and be sure to stop when the proctor tells you that time is up.

You may begin.

1. A baseball is traveling in a straight line south at 91 mph. Before making impact with a wooden cylinder and rebounding 450 feet due north through a five-mph easterly wind. The man who threw the baseball, a pitcher on your team, has already recorded 14 outs in a must-win game, and your team’s lead has just been trimmed from 6-1 to 6-4. How would you best describe the vector of your travel immediately after this event?

  1. Northeast toward the mound at high velocity to remove the pitcher in favor of a reliever who is already warm
  2. Northeast toward the mound at low velocity to remove the pitcher, giving the reliever a few more much-needed warm-up throws.
  3. Southeast toward the phone at high velocity to call the bullpen to get a reliever up.
  4. Northwest toward the water cooler while your pitching coach visits the mound.
  5. Whichever of the above best maximizes my team’s (as opposed to my starter’s) chance to win this game.

2. Please rank the importance of each of these criteria when selecting a “closer”?

  1. Has successfully finished MLB games in the past
  2. Has not unsuccessfully finished MLB games in the past
  3. Is very good at retiring opposing batters
  4. Appears confident and unflappable
  5. Is on your son’s rotisserie team

3. In which of these situations is it acceptable to bet on a baseball game?

  1. Never
  2. Never
  3. Never
  4. Never
  5. When I’m betting on my own team to win

4. It’s May 15 and your organization’s top prospect is a slick-fielding third baseman who’s raking at Triple-A. Your starting third baseman has just injured his wrist and will miss at least six weeks, while your backup third baseman is a career .283/.305/.355 hitter with an average glove. Your team wasn’t expected to contend, but currently sits only two games out of first place. At a post-game press conference, you’re asked if the organization should call up the Triple-A third baseman. How do you respond?

  1. “Naw, the kid still has a few things to work on in the minors. He’s obviously a great talent, though, so we might very well see him sometime later this year.”
  2. “Hellz yes—we need him now!”
  3. “Naw, we’re gonna wait another month or so before calling him up to make sure we get to keep him at a below-market salary for an extra year.”
  4. “That’s not really up to me, but I have to say I like the team we have, and I think we’ll be fine at third base going forward—Johnny is a professional hitter who always gives us good at-bats.”

5. Intentional Walks are to Winning Baseball as Water is to:

  1. Fish
  2. Swimming Pools
  3. Cacti
  4. Raw Sodium

6. Below are the batting lines for several of your players. Which of them would you be most likely to bat leadoff?

  1. .280/.350/.420, 20 SB
  2. .270/.365/.420, 10 SB
  3. .290/.320/.350, 40 SB
  4. .280/.400/.420, 0 SB
  5. Not sure what those second and third numbers are


7. Please circle each situation in which you would never let your closer pitch:

  1. Any non-save situations
  2. When our team is trailing
  3. In the eighth inning
  4. In the seventh inning
  5. In the fourth inning

8. Please fill in the blanks with the selection below that you feel best completes this sentence: Pitch counts are ___________and should be used ______________.

  1. useful / to determine when a pitcher is likely to lose effectiveness
  2. pointy-headed nonsense / to sop up spilled energy drinks
  3. often given too much weight / as only one of many factors that help determine when a pitcher is becoming dangerously fatigued
  4. necessary to keep pitchers healthy / to ensure pitchers never throw more than their pre-determined pitch limit

9. Which of these movies best exemplify your leadership style, and why?

  1. Bridge On The River Kwai
  2. Master and Commander
  3. Saving Private Ryan
  4. Twelve Angry Men
  5. Independence Day

10. After a series of meetings in a small conference room at our spring training facility in Florida, a staff member approaches you to say that several meeting attendees had been complaining about your bench coach’s unpleasant body odor. What do you do?

  1. Nothing
  2. Speak privately to the bench coach about the situation
  3. Inform the general manager of the situation, since you are not the bench coach’s immediate supervisor

11. At what rate must basestealers generally be successful to make their attempted steals beneficial?

  1. 50%
  2. 60%
  3. 70%
  4. 80%
  5. Depends on the player

12. What do you think of the Expected Runs Matrix?

  1. Thought those movies were self-indulgent, pseudo-spiritual crap
  2. Heard of it but don’t use it
  3. Have a copy on a clipboard in the dugout to help in-game decision making
  4. Have a rough idea of it in my head, but adjust it based on batter, runner, and gut-feel

13. Circle each situation in which you feel it might be appropriate to authorize bunting, depending on inning and score:

  1. Pitcher batting, runner on first, no outs
  2. Cesar Izturis batting, runner on first, no outs
  3. Home games on the Fourth of July
  4. Any non-pitcher batting, runner on second, no outs

14. How important is on-base percentage for sluggers who aren’t very fast? Circle all that you feel apply:

  1. Very important
  2. Somewhat important
  3. Much less important than it is for fast players, Joe
  4. Much less important than their batting average, Joe
  5. Totally unimportant

15. If you had Neftali Feliz on your team, can you envision a situation where you might let him pitch in the eighth inning to help stop a rally and protect a lead in a playoff game?

  1. Yes
  2. No

16. There are two outs and a runner on second, and your team is down a run in the bottom of the ninth. The opponents have their right-handed closer, Lester Leviathan, on the mound, and you are about to pinch-hit for your own pitcher. On the bench you have Player X, a right-handed batter whose season and career numbers are approximately .280/.350/.440; and Player Y, a left-handed batter whose season and career numbers are approximately .260/.310/.380. Player X is 1-for-8 with a double and two strikeouts versus Leviathan; Player Y is 5-for-8 with two doubles and a strikeout versus Leviathan. Who would you use to pinch-hit?

  1. Depends on the platoon splits of Lester Leviathan
  2. Depends on the platoon splits of Player X and Player Y
  3. Both A and B
  4. Clearly Player X
  5. Clearly Player Y
  6. The player which has had the most clutch hits for me so far this year

17. After a tough loss, what word best describes how you would likely respond to an insinuating question about a tough managerial decision late in the game?

  1. Gruff
  2. Imperious
  3. Dismissive
  4. Combative
  5. Sullen

18. Which of the following images best represents how you feel when you think of the word “rookie”?

A.     B.   C.      D. 


19. How would you rate the relative importance of clubhouse chemistry and player talent in assembling a winning ballclub?

  1. Only talent is important
  2. Talent is somewhat more important than chemistry
  3. Talent and chemistry are roughly equal
  4. Chemistry is somewhat more important than talent
  5. Only chemistry is important

20. What name do you plan to call an umpire when you feel the need to be kicked out of a game to motivate your team?

  1. #$**%#@#
  2. $@#**
  3. Blue-&@##$
  4. Cowboy $%#&* Joe
  5. Ke$ha

Ken Funck is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ken's other articles. You can contact Ken by clicking here

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