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Amaro: Phillies front office will incorporate analytics into personnel evaluations

Sep 30, 2013, 3:43 PM EDT

Image (1) rubenamarojr.png for post 485464

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. didn’t need to tell anybody that he didn’t have a very good year. His team finished with the seventh-worst record in Major League Baseball at 73-89, 23 games out of first place in the same NL East the club once presided over for five consecutive seasons.

Amaro accepted his share of the blame anyway, admitting the front office needed to do better job of evaluating players in a wide-ranging interview with Phillies beat writers such as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. It’s not enough though to simply say, “My bad,” and go about business as usual moving forward. Something has to change.

Amaro acknowledged that as well, and somewhat surprisingly, it sounds like the Phillies could take a slightly different direction this winter. After years of marginalizing or flat out ignoring sabermetrics, it seems the GM is finally ready to let advanced statistics into his heart—or into the building anyway.

“We’re going to make some changes,” Amaro said. “I think we’re doing some stuff analytically to change the way do some evaluations. Look, we are going to continue to be a scouting organization. That said, I think we owe it to ourselves to look at some other ways to evaluate. We’re going to build more analytics into it. Is it going to change dramatically the way we go about our business? No, but we owe it to ourselves to at least explore other avenues. We may bring someone in from the outside, but we have not decided that yet.”

Critics have been dwelling upon the Phillies’ lack of interest in an analytics department, but it sounds like that’s poised to change. My hope here is Ruben will indeed bring somebody in from the outside, if for no other reason than to inject some fresh blood into the front office. It helps if somebody knows how to interpret those fancy numbers too.

While I feel the biggest proponents of sabermetrics can occasionally go overboard in tearing down traditional measures or scouting methods, it doesn’t make sense for a team to ignore any data that could be interpreted as useful either. In other words, this decision is probably long overdue—but at least it’s a start.

Amaro also discusses some potential moves that could be on the way in the offseason, how injuries and the age of the club’s core will impacting decisions, and what the payroll could look like for 2014 in the interview.

>> Amaro Feels the Heat, Talks Future [Zo Zone]

  1. GTown_Dave - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    “We may bring someone in from the outside, but we have not decided that yet.”

    Read: “We may bring in someone from the outside, but there’s probably an intern in the janitorial crew who would serve just as well. After all, we got our President from scoreboard operations, & my own GM training came from a guy who learned baseball in the PR department. What’s important is that this person, whether he comes from inside of the organization or outside of the organization, comes from inside of the organization.”

    Reply
  2. Mike - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    I read Amaro’s comments as “We will definitely give lip service to advanced stats, then just stay the same course.”

    He doesn’t have to become Bill James, but not understanding or incorporating advanced stats into scouting will just keep this team floundering. I know Monty loves to hire within but that is just not good enough for this team. The are rotting from the head.

    Reply
  3. BenE. - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Trending today: Phillies to look into using advanced analytics for rebuild.

    Trending tomorrow: Phillies sign statistician to 5 year, $90 million contract to analyze cheaper options.

    Reply
  4. jb1239 - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    The Pirates hired like five full time nerds to look at batted ball data and developed their entire strategy for success this season around defensive shifts. See also Tampa Bay Rays. These are both teams with a ridiculously low payroll and no real offensive studs. It blows my mind that the Phillies are just now coming to the realization that they need Jonah Hill.

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