Phillies Introduce New Analytics Hire

At long last, we have a name to pin at the point where the Venn diagram of the Phillies and advanced metrics finally overlapped.

Scott Freedman, formerly of MLB’s Labor Relations Department, is the new face of the next generation of analysis in the Phillies organization. At least, that’s the hope. The scope and breadth of Freedman’s influence, as well as his ability to hire support, is obviously yet to be determined and consumed by the fanbase at large. Skepticism still wafts in the air, as fans who can quickly recall Ruben Amaro’s dismissive air of discussing anything beyond traditional scouting evaluations may be adopting the “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach.

Regardless, it’s a step toward catching up to the pack. The Red Sox, Bill James’s employers, just won their third World Series in 10 years. Oakland is making the playoffs with regularity again. Houston is hiring a bevy of analytic minds as it aims to restructure its franchise and make the ugly present all seem worth it a few years down the line.

Exactly how Freedman will be incorporated into decision making remains to be seen. His track record with Labor Relations indicates he’d have an excellent grasp of player valuation (via arbitration and the like), so hope abounds that he’d be able to identify a good player or be able to determine when a player should get a Minor League deal instead of guaranteed Major League money. Ahem.

Make no mistake: the Phillies are still behind the times. What we know of the moves they’re making to expand their analytics department, or what exists of it, is little, but Freedman is the first and only name we have to associate with this progression. He’ll either be the champion of those who’ve longed for this growth for some time, or the laughingstock of those who deride any and all things mathematic.

No pressure, big guy. Welcome to Philadelphia.

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5 comments

  1. Justin

    November 06, 2013 11:43 AM

    Freedman isn’t even on the SABR directory.

  2. JM

    November 06, 2013 10:45 PM

    Maybe he’s listed under his maiden name so RAJ won’t know he’s hired someone more qualified than he is

  3. t

    November 07, 2013 11:15 AM

    And he’s not even an acutal employee.

    from philly.com:
    Freedman, however, is not a Phillies employee, assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.

    “He’s joined us through the commissioner’s office,” said Proefrock referring to the arrangement as an “externship.”

    Amaro is hopeless.

  4. Bob

    November 07, 2013 04:37 PM

    The title of “extern” might be to dispel any conflict of interest claims. I don’t know if it’s common practice for the league office to tell its employees to work for a certain franchise. Maybe an insider could shed some light.

  5. greg

    November 07, 2013 05:47 PM

    Why do the Phillies still insist on running their team as if Harold Reynolds were in charge?
    To paraphrase Danny McBride in This Is The End, It’s the 21st Century and you’re still running your team like a goddam pilgrim!

    Actually, the subject of his rant pretty much sums up my feelings about this hire.

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