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The Phillies hired their stat guy

Nov 6, 2013, 9:25 AM EDT

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A year and change after Ruben Amaro derided statistical analysis, the Phillies have finally hired a stats guy. His name is Scott Freedman, who until now had ben working for Major League Baseball’s Labor Relations Department. He did arbitration cases, where being able to marshal statistical evidence is useful thing.

Now the question is whether Amaro will truly listen to him and make him part of the decision making process. Or if one guy hired now will be able to stand up to other teams which have scads of these guys who have been in place for years.  Because based on Amaro’s recent comments on the matter, it sounds like Freedman could be out on an island and only a minor part of the Phillies’ player evaluation process.

Guess we’ll see. For now: welcome to 2002, Philadelphia.

  1. flamethrower101 - Nov 6, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Here’s the likely scenario: Ruben ignores stat head, team continues losing, upper management questions why Ruben isn’t listening to stat head, Ruben throws hissy fit, Ruben gets fired.

  2. dacty4491 - Nov 6, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Craig, as a Braves fan, like me, you should know that the Braves probably don’t have anyone on staff who is well-versed in analytics and an integral part of their decision-making processes regarding player acquisitions. So, in that regard, they’re much like the Phillies.

  3. toodrunktotastethischicken - Nov 6, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Should’ve hired Jonah Hill. That would fill up seats at Citizens Bank Park.

  4. yamomsfishtank - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    “who until now had ben working for”

    Excellent work Craig… couldn’t get that story out quick enough without spell checking.

  5. yamomsfishtank - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    “where being able to marshal statistical evidence is useful thing”

    Nice Craig…. Fire good!!!

    • kardshark1 - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      Okay, you’re super smart, we get it.

  6. tvguy22 - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    He so excited to snark he no take time for proofreading good.

  7. chacochicken - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Ruben got him a used TI-81 off of ebay.

  8. paperlions - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    This… a weird choice. They hired a guy with no experience developing metrics and with little evidence that he’s actually well versed in advanced metrics.

    “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.”

    He helped prepare player arbitration cases? Great. Arbitration hearings are not in front of cutting edge baseball people, those cases are typically heavily weighted toward things the Phillies already value too heavily (wins, RBI, saves, HRs, BA) because the arbiters aren’t well versed in advanced metrics.

    How other teams value things is kind of irrelevant if you don’t understand why they value those things and learn how to identify the things of value on your own. If you don’t develop your own advanced approach to understanding, you are always going to be on the trailing edge. If the Phillies were serious about this, the first thing they should do if hire a guy that is capable of running an analytical department, have that guy hire a staff of analysts, and have that staff start to educate the scouting, development, and coaching staffs on particular aspects of advanced understanding so that the information is integrated at the necessary levels. Hiring one guy (and a rather odd choice) isn’t going to do much of anything to change Phillies approach or understanding of what other teams are doing.

    • DJ MC - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      Much of how Bill James became known within baseball came out of his work on arbitration cases in the ’80s.

      This guy’s job was making the best possible case for whichever side he was on. So if you have a player likely to go up to an arbiter using RBIs or pitcher wins as their argument, you find whatever OBP or FIP you can to argue against them. So he probably knows what he is doing when it comes to all of these possible stats.

      • paperlions - Nov 7, 2013 at 7:32 AM

        Yes, but the approach to arbitration cases has not really changed since the 80s, arbitration hearings have not advanced with statistical understanding, they are pretty much still stuck in the 80s.

        Arbiters don’t understand or care about things like FIP, wOBA, wRC+ or the far more complex proprietary metrics teams use….they don’t understand those things….which is why the players that always do best in arbitration are the ones that hit HRs, drive in runs, save games and have a lot of pitcher wins or low ERAs. Great defenders or high OBP guys don’t do well in arbitration.

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