At the beginning of the season we examined the two managers new to their clubs this season, Torey Lovullo in Arizona and Rick Renteria on the South Side of Chicago. Today we’ll check in on those managers and see if our preseason analysis of them has matched their tendencies this season.

Torey Lovullo – Arizona Diamondbacks

As we discussed earlier in the season, this is Lovullo’s first full-time managerial job, and his only major league experience prior was spelling John Farrell in an interim capacity in 2015. Based on how Lovullo managed the Sox that year compared to how Farrell did, we surmised that Lovullo might be aggressive on the base paths, and we hypothesized that several relievers could see save opportunities.

As it turns out, we were only half right. The D’Backs have been aggressive on the base paths with the fifth most stolen base attempts to date. And the aggression is warranted since Arizona has the third highest success rate. You could make the argument that Lovullo is being aggressive because he has the personnel to do so, but the fact that he was noticeably more aggressive than Farrell with the same Boston roster indicates this is a Lovullo tendency.

As for the closer situation, we were dead wrong on that one. Four days before Lovullo took over for the remainder of the 2015 season, Boston’s closer, Koji Uehara, suffered a season-ending injury. Without the team’s regular closer, four different relievers registered a save under Lovullo. With Arizona’s closer situation being one of the more tenuous entering the season, a similar outcome seemed within reason.

If you had told me at the beginning of the season that Fernando Rodney would have a 5.56 ERA in June, I would have been confident that several Arizona relievers would have recorded a save by now. But Rodney has a 5.56 ERA and 16 saves (three blown saves) with Randell Delgado being the only other D’Back with a save, and Delgado is now in the rotation. It would seem that Lovullo will commit to a closer and stick with him so long as the blown saves aren’t too frequent.

For the record, it’s a good thing we were wrong about the closer situation. Closing by committee is a nightmare for fantasy owners, and, say what you will about Rodney, 16 saves in early June is plenty valuable no matter what your ERA is. So Lovullo turned out to be fantasy-friendly in that respect.

In fact, the commitment to a closer and the aggressiveness on the base paths makes Lovullo a fantasy friendly owner. He has also been fantasy friendly in other ways. Arizona ranks 27th in sacrifice attempts by position players, which we like because sacrifice attempts provide relatively little fantasy value. We’d rather hitters be swinging away. He has also rightfully let his solid pitching staff pitch deep into games. The D’Backs rotation has the fifth best ERA and fourth best xFIP, so Lovullo is right to let them have the sixth highest average number of pitches thrown per start.

All in all, Lovullo has proven to be a good addition to the managerial ranks as far as fantasy owners are concerned.

Rick Renteria – Chicago White Sox

Entering the season, we predicted that Renteria might be the opposite of what Lovullo has turned out to be. Based on Renteria’s track record, it seemed like he might be a conservative manager that was not aggressive on the bases, attempted a high number of sacrifices, and gave his starters a quick hook.

As for aggressiveness on the base paths, Chicago only ranks 18th in stolen base attempts, but, to be fair to Renteria, they rank 27th in success rate. Given the personnel, he has not been as conservative on the bases as might have been expected.

On the sacrifice front, our fears have been confirmed as the White Sox lead the league so far in sacrifice attempts by position players. And when you add in pitcher sacrifices, the White Sox have more sac attempts than five National League teams, including the Diamondbacks.

As far as pitching goes, White Sox starters rank 13th in average number of pitches thrown per start and 15th in ERA, so Renteria hasn’t been overly conservative with his staff. We could give Renteria some credit for sticking with a closer, but David Robertson has had the job on lock there for several years, and he is pitching well this season, so no kudos for Renteria there.

All in all, there’s not too much to complain about with these new managers. Renteria plays small ball a bit too much for our liking, but we’re talking about 30-40 PA over the course of a season that are affected by that. Otherwise he’s basically managing the players he has commensurate with their performance. And Lovullo has been decidedly fantasy friendly. Given how well the D’Backs have played this year, he should be around for a while.