Crashburn Alley pointed me toward an article by Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer titled Phillies continue to rely more on scouting than sabermetrics.
As a guy who is a big stats guy who also loves the scouting side of things, I don't mind that a team still relies more on scouting than sabermetrics, but I also think that all organizations should be at least in that 60-40 range one way or the other when it comes to their balance, regardless of which way you lean because both sides do things that the other simply can't and to ignore one or the other is just dumb.
It is well known that the Phillies have long been "anti-sabermetrics" in their approach. So, the headline of the article is far from shocking. With that said, what is inside of the article, well, that is shocking.
Here are some tidbits:
About the signing of Delmon Young
Way back in 1984To evaluate him, the Phillies relied on seven-year-old scouting reports from the outfielder's days as a Tampa Bay farmhand.
There is a lot more in the article, so you should really go give it a look. But man, from a perspective of a Reds fan, if the Reds front office were run this way, I would be phurious.In 1984, the Phillies hired a University of Delaware graduate who majored in computer science and served as the baseball team's statistician for four years. Jay McLaughlin was 21, and his primary task was to interpret data from a computer system called Bacball.
McLaughlin, 50, is in his 29th year with the organization. His title is baseball information analyst. Unlike most analysts across baseball, McLaughlin's duties rarely involve the use of advanced metrics. He manages the front office's technology, serves as press box announcer during home games, and inputs play-by-play data into the team's internal system.
The Phillies hired Chris Cashman in 2011 to work with McLaughlin as baseball operations representative. Cashman, 27, graduated from St. Joseph's University with a degree in marketing and started as an intern in the Phillies ticketing office.
His daily responsibilities include manning the stadium's radar gun behind home plate at Citizens Bank Park.
Crashburn Alley writer Bill Baer ends his article on the Inquirer piece with this:
I am glad not to be a Phillies phan right now.As Gelb points out (but doesn’t state directly), it’s baffling that the Phillies haven’t looked at what made them so successful in the 2003-09 era — investing in the draft, focusing on efficiency (drawing walks, stealing bases), getting cheap free agents on the rebound at a bargain, and so forth. The Phillies’ approach under Amaro has changed to throwing money and prospects at problems and an increased reliance on veterans, which has weakened them both in the present and in the future.
What is baseball’s “bliss point”? Many teams are hard at work answering that question. The Phillies are not, choosing instead to haphazardly add spoonfuls of sugar to a bad recipe.