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?”