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Phillies hire analytics guru, Amaro unsure it changes anything

Nov 6, 2013, 4:24 PM EDT

indignant-amaro

Upon finishing out 2013 with a 73-89 record, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. finally conceded the front office needed to begin incorporating analytics into personnel evaluations. Ladies and gentlemen, the future has arrived—better late than never.

MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki revealed the organization has tabbed Scott Freedman from Major League Baseball’s Labor Relations Department for a new yet-to-named position in the front office. Thanks to Zo, we do know one of Freedman’s specialties is advanced stats, and his job is to apply that knowledge in Philadelphia. That’s a step in the right direction at least.

How valuable Freedman’s contributions will prove to the organization remains to be seen. It’s easy to be skeptical of a franchise that’s been ignoring this data at its peril for years already, while Amaro downplayed how this newfound wealth of information will impact the club’s decisions.

“I don’t know if it’s going to change the way we do business, necessarily,” Amaro said recently. “We still plan to be a scouting and player development organization, but I think it’s important to get all the information and analyze not just what we’re doing, but how other clubs are evaluating players.”

It almost sounds as if the Phillies are more interested in learning how other teams evaluate players than improving upon their own methods. In which case, Freedman was a good hire because as Zolecki explains, few people in baseball would have a better understanding of what those teams value.

The Phillies were particularly interested in Freedman’s ability to expand their data analysis capabilities. His experience in preparation for salary arbitration cases got him involved with advanced metrics. And Freedman’s work with MLB gives him an idea of how other teams use analytics.

Whatever his intentions exactly, you can’t knock Amaro for making analytics part of the process—although it’s certainly fair to ask what took so long. Apparently, the league has been placing Scott Freedmans in front office positions for awhile now.

Freedman first appeared on Philadelphia’s radar this summer. MLB regularly trains people like Freedman, then helps place them in front offices across baseball.

Do I understand this correctly? You mean to tell me the league has been actively training people who are well-versed in advanced stats for jobs in baseball? And this entire time the Phillies were like, “No, thanks?”

/smacks forehead

>> New hire to help Phils better utilize advanced stats [MLB]

  1. Pete - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Hopefully he’s doing more than saying “this is how the —— do it.” He should be supplying information about potential acquisitions and giving his opinion based on advanced sta…….HAHAHAHAHAHA just kidding we’re signing Nelson Cruz for 4/60.

    Reply
  2. Mike - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    We have one guy evaluating advanced stats…one guy. I hope he has the grit and desire to accomplish this alone.

    Reply
  3. Jason R. - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    I love that Amaro (based on his quote) views analytics and scouting as separate entities.

    So much facepalm…

    Reply
  4. Tony - Nov 7, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    3 out of the 4 major sports teams have pathetic front office’s. In only the Sixers should you trust. Otherwise question everything. And more importantly, spend nothing that ends up in their coffers.

    Reply
    • Utley"s Knees - Nov 7, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      This hiring should be viewed as a very positive breakthrough for the Phillies who are finally realizing that scouting alone is not enough in today’s MLB. I seriously doubt that Scott Freedman was hired for window dressing and he will have a signifigant voice in future acquisitions and all signings(Free Agents, Latin America and the June draft). After all he was hired and signed before any Free Agency activity. Ruben Amaro is taking heat but also changing how the Phillies operate going forward unlike the Flyers. Good move in the right direction.

      Reply
  5. mike - Nov 7, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    The first analytic to be discussed with Amaro: “Over 33 is old for a baseball player.”

    Reply
  6. Brian - Nov 8, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Check out my Phillies blog!

    http://philliesoffseason.blogspot.com/

    Reply
    • Hiccup - Nov 9, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      No news in above link with amateur writing at best. Makes me appreciate the writers at the 700 level.

      Reply
  7. phillies8008 - Nov 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Nothing like a “scouting and player development organization” that can’t scout or develop players.

    Reply

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