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Quotable: Ruben Amaro Jr. says Phillies haven’t necessarily abandoned analytics, okay.

Jan 27, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

Image (1) rubenamarojr.png for post 485464

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has a nice recap of the Philadelphia Phillies odd offseason. The moves they didn’t make, like trading Jonathan Papelbon or Dom Brown. The moves they did make, like Marlon Byrd, Chooch, Roberto Hernandez, and Bobby Abreu. It points out their obvious aging issues and also notes the organization being prisoners to their own sentiment.

All stuff Phillies fans are quite familiar with by this point. But one of the parts of Crasnick’s article I found interesting was the take on the Phillies being “Sabermetrically impaired.” It included these quotes from Amaro:

“We’re trying to move that piece of our organization forward a little bit,” Amaro said. “It’s an area that hasn’t necessarily been abandoned, but it hasn’t been developed as much as some other organizations. I think we’re somewhere in the middle.

“The important thing is to understand what’s really important and what’s minutiae. What data can we use to change some things for the better?”

Okay, so that last part isn’t so bad. It’s actually what they should be doing. Or, perhaps more accurately, should have been doing for years now.

Better late than never?

>>Odd offseason for the aging Phillies [ESPN]

  1. Mike - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    They are nowhere near the middle with analytics. They are, quite possibly, at the very bottom. You cannot abobdon something you don’t use or even, apparently, comprehend.

    Reply
    • Mike - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      *abandon

      Reply
  2. Mostel - Jan 27, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    You don’t need advanced data to figure out old people don’t play 162 games. You don’t need advanced data to know when a player’s stats have dipped. You don’t need advanced data to figure out if guys know how to talk walks, work counts, hit a cut off man on a relay throw, or anything else.

    We don’t need “data” to avoid dumpster diving for players.

    Reply
  3. windheim2000 - Jan 27, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    We could quite possibly be looking at the worst outfield defense ever seen in the majors. Their one defensive replacement who will play at least 4-5 times a week, John Mayberry Jr, ranked 188 out of 192 in OF defense last year. That is the man that Ruben continues to bring back purely because he can hit a fastball from the right side (nothing else of course) and is tall and athletic so in Rubens mind he’s a great fielder.

    Ruben could literally have gone with the George Costanza opposites method and we’d be lightyears ahead of where we are now. We are living through the worst GM reign of all time in perhaps all of Philly sports, and that is saying something.

    Reply
  4. Steve - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    A friend of mine was just hired by the Red Sox as a “Moneyball” analytics guy, and he tells me the Philles are at the bottom of the league in their adoption of this. To me, it explains a lot regarding the current state of the team as well as the seeming lack of direction.

    Reply
    • willh888 - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      So I going to assume the Phils used advanced stats from 2007 to 2011, but stopped shortly after a bunch of division championships, couple pennants and a WFC.

      Reply
      • Justin - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:41 PM

        Well, their GM at the time certainly did. Pat Gillick isn’t the man who famously said “walks don’t matter” like Ruben did, and when you look at the players Gillick brought in, he obviously found advanced stats helpful.

        Let’s be honest, everything broke perfectly for this last era of Phillies baseball and the fact that it is not being sustained illustrates the difference between an organization that values analytics and is able to constantly replenish their team (see Rays, Tampa) and an organization that got lucky with players hitting their primes at the right time combined with some smart deadline deals and 2 under-the-radar GM moves in Vic and Werth.

        If you can’t see where this team is headed then I don’t know what else to tell you. It’s obvious that we’re headed right back to being the worst organization in baseball and almost every move Ruben has made recently has flown directly in the face of anayltics, and now your seeing the results.

        The fact that there still remains a single person in this city who defends this GM and organization is startling to me. I don’t know what you have been watching.

      • willh888 - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:14 PM

        well you kinda leapt right into “you’re supporting the current decisions if you don’t finger yourself with advanced statistics.”

        I don’t think this team is good at all. I think they can luckily win 85 games and sneak into a 1 game WC playoff, or more than likely win 69 games and you’ll be able to once again put your feet on the seat in front of you in any section of the park.

        The joke I made was more specifically about advance stats. You don’t need those to realize Marlon Byrd isn’t worth 8 mil per year. Or that Chooch, despite our die hard fandom, might be past his years of productivity. Or that the back end of the bullpen still looks like the a pen stick out the the ass of a bull. I don’t think there’s a perfect system in guessing the right roster for an upcoming season. Advanced stats shouldn’t be shunned just as they shouldn’t be worshiped. Unless I missed something, Gillick didn’t sit on advanced stats when he made moves. He just didnt make too many star studded moves. Joe Blanton was his big acquisition in 2008. I don’t know how, really, but he contributed. Sometimes the stars align I guess. Amaro put together the best (regular) season roster we’ve probably ever seen on the Phils and all they did was win the most games in franchise history. Lucky for the Cardinals, Chris Carpenter probably did a hand full of coke before the game and pitched like a friggen mutant. All im saying is, Phils didn’t adore advanced stats in the greatest 5 year stretch in their history. Putting together a good roster takes more than Jonah Hill pinching his head fur into an A’s hat

  5. Justin - Jan 28, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    You just said advanced stats shouldn’t be shunned, but that’s exactly whats happening here. Believe me, I am far from a stathead and I’ll argue to the death that terms like clutch and chemistry make a big difference, but there is no excuse for the way this organization continues to treat stats the way that they do. You even making a joke got my back up since Ruben has destroyed our passion and anything that looks even close to a defense of him fires me up.

    While I understand you’re not praising him, by citing his 2011 season it makes me feel like you are. He actually said “walks don’t matter.” That is as anti stathead as it gets. Somehow bringing in 2 pitchers who are all timers in k/bb didn’t wake him up and now we’re stuck with a team with the worst hitting approach in the majors and a bullpen who blew game after game thanks to walks. As far as that 2011 team goes, what exactly did Ruben do again that was so amazing? His best move, stealing Cliff Lee from the Dodgers the first time, had nothing to do with that 2011 team after he made one of the most horrific trades of all time. Everything else, like signing him back and the other two big pitching trades, were done with prospects or money.

    Do you not agree that there is a place for advanced stats and some teams have really used them to their advantage? While the Phils didn’t “adore” advanced stats in 2008, they certainly put up some great advanced stat numbers. Oh, they also cared about defense, something that Ruben has no interest in either.

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