The Phillies have been slow to adapt to the analytics revolution in baseball, seeming to overvalue statistics like saves and runs batted in. Now is the time to learn.
“We may be looking to fortify some of our information with some more statistical analysis,” Amaro said. “We have to look at the way we do things and try to improve. That’s our job, to try to get better every year. I’m not so stubborn that we can’t try to do things a little bit different, or think that we can’t make better decisions. That’s what I’ll challenge our people to do, and I think they understand that. That’s part of what I expect of my staff, and of myself.”
While there are some aspects of Amaro’s statement that I take issue with, I am certainly not going to nitpick right after he makes the one move I’ve been begging the organization to make for years. They are one of the last remaining teams that does not officially make use of analytics. While a deeper appreciation of the numbers is no panacea for all that ails the Phillies, it should noticeably cut down on the more egregious errors, like giving Ryan Howard a five-year, $125 million contract extension two years before he becomes eligible for free agency, non-tendering Nate Schierholtz, vastly overpaying veteran relievers, and not trading anyone both by the July 31 trade deadline and the August 31 waiver deadline (this may change, but it seems unlikely).
Again, this is only one step in the hike that awaits the Phillies in their quest to return to National League superiority, but it is a necessary step and one that was well overdue.