Phillies Hire Former Google Analyst Andy Galdi

In an effort to bolster their analytics department, the Phillies have hired former Google analyst Andy Galdi. During the past three years, Galdi was a quantitative analyst for YouTube, which is owned by Google. He’ll now serve as the director of baseball research and development for the Phillies, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports.

The Phillies started an analytics department in November 2013 with the hiring of Scott Freedman from Major League Baseball’s Labor Relations Department. That continued when the Phillies selected Andy MacPhail to take over as team president from Pat Gillick. During MacPhail’s introductory press conference, he and part-owner John Middleton stressed the importance of adopting the use of quantitative analysis along with the team’s usual reliance on scouting. MacPhail noted that the organization was working on an internal database to be unveiled towards the end of the season.

With former GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. out of the picture, the Phillies took another step into the modern era by hiring Matt Klentak. Klentak, 35, had been the assistant GM from the Angels and is a graduate from Dartmouth College, an Ivy league school. Klentak worked under MacPhail in MLB’s Labor Relations Department and helped draft the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement. He and MacPhail have combined to dramatically reshape the team already with some notable transactions, including the Ken Giles trade.

Once a laughingstock of baseball for their stubborn refusal to integrate modern ways of thinking about baseball, the Phillies have made sea change in the front office and in the culture of the organization as a whole. The new leadership has one of baseball’s best minor league systems and an obscene amount of money with which to play as the Phillies build towards being competitive in two or three years. 2016 will, most likely, be another tough season for the Phillies, but the outlook has gotten much better very quickly.

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12 comments

  1. CJ

    January 29, 2016 10:06 AM

    Nice. This is the kind of new that will get us through the next few years.

  2. Tim

    January 29, 2016 10:16 AM

    Good for the Phillies changing course when they realized their old approach wasn’t working for them. Of course, you never know, it could turn out to be that the Phillies are bad at analytics (plus since pretty much everyone is doing it, it’s harder to develop a competitive advantage), but it’s a great sign that they’ve rejected their previous outlook, which basically boiled down to willful ignorance.

  3. Romus

    January 29, 2016 10:26 AM

    Questions how valid is analytical measureables for projecting future value when drafting Rule 4 HS players, or for that matter signing Latin American 16-year olds?
    I can see the use in some college draftees based on conference play, ie SEC, PAC-12, Big Ten, ACC etc, and also can see the value when analyzing a 2/3 year minor leaguer who’s name comes up in trade talks or current major leaguer.

    • Ryan

      January 29, 2016 11:39 AM

      With any hope, they should be using analytics to answer that exact question. The process for predictive analysis is iterative: gather data, partition data, model data, make inferences about that modeled data and then finally use that model on a different set of data. In the current state, they would apply the model to the unused partitions, going forward they’d apply the model to future draft classes and little known markets.

      To Tim’s excellent point, they could certainly turn out to be comparatively good or bad at analyzing data and comparatively aggressive or hesitant to utilize the results of that data. In either case, I find that all else equal, more information is better than less information when making a decision.

  4. Greg

    January 29, 2016 02:00 PM

    Nice hire, and a real leap forward. I always assumed the Phillies under RAJ used AltaVista.

  5. Ned

    January 29, 2016 03:18 PM

    Crashburnalley excepted, its funny how msm and philly fans in general are still stuck on bashing Ruben & discussing Ryan Howard. Just let it go people – time marches on. I predict Freddy Galvis will become the next hate object & Franco if he doesn’t come out on fire for 2016.

    • JustBob

      January 30, 2016 02:35 PM

      Unfortunately due to the contract, Howard will still get his share of ire/angst this year but I haven’t seen that much of criticism of Amaro anymore in various comments even on Philly.com.

    • Steve

      January 30, 2016 07:51 PM

      I highly doubt that the fan base would sour on Franco because of a bad first half in 2016. He is young, inexperienced, and comming off am injury. He is also exciting, talented, promising, and new. I think he will get some slack as he starts his first full season in the majors.

      • Ned

        February 02, 2016 08:36 PM

        His superstar demeanor will be used against him at the first sign of extended trouble. The comments about how he doesn’t care, is selfish, doesn’t hustle is just around the corner.

      • ASK

        February 03, 2016 05:53 AM

        Ned,

        Are you suggesting that you have read / heard comments about how Franco has a “superstar demeanor”, doesn’t care, is selfish and doesn’t hustle or are you predicting that’s what we’ll hear if he struggles out of the gate?

      • Ned

        February 03, 2016 06:38 PM

        It’s clear that’s going to be rub upon watching him play. The kid has that star factor & plays to be a star. Unfortunately, when guys like this have trouble, the charge is that he is selfish. He some times makes mental mistakes too – he’s going to be charged with not caring. He is slow & also has smooth actions on defense – he’s going to be charged with not trying hard enough. This happens over & over.

  6. Major Malfunction

    February 01, 2016 09:52 AM

    One context that I don’t really talked about is situational usage. It’s one thing to use the Billy Beane method to build the team, but when are we going to see that someone in an upstairs box calls down to the dugout to tell Mackanin that X player ought to be pinch hitting against Y pitcher because of Z data says the outcome will be higher?

    But then, we still can’t get a firm commitment that Howard will platoon even though data says to do it.

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