SBD/March 9, 2017/Franchises

Once Opposed To Analytics, Phillies Now Spending Millions On New Approach

The Phillies, a franchise once "dismissive of analytics, will spend a few million on them this season," according to Matt Gelb of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER.  Analytics "drive more decisions inside Citizens Bank Park than before; they are a component that has gained footing with scouting and player development." Gelb: "So the Phillies, trying to catch the more progressive clubs, have put a bunch of smart people without baseball backgrounds in this room to study the puzzles of the data-fueled modern game." Phillies Assistant GM Ned Rice said, "That was one of the appeals of getting some people outside the game who really come in with no assumptions. They are all baseball fans to some extent, so they have some baseball knowledge. But they come in with no assumptions. We can critically look at everything and test everything we think about." Gelb notes the team's R&D department "consisted last season of two full-time employees." However, the Phillies "posted more jobs, and the resumes flowed from other industries" and now there are five employees. Gelb: "It could be the Phillies discover nothing but a marginal advantage from their investment in analytics." The "exact work that happens inside the department is secretive; the Phillies, like all teams, are loathe to discuss specifics" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/9).
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