New hire to help Phils better utilize advanced stats
Club hopes to gain understanding of how other teams use analytics to evaluate players
PHILADELPHIA -- One thing that intrigued Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. about incorporating some level of analytics into player evaluation is that it could help the organization better understand how other teams evaluate talent.
That knowledge could help the Phillies when they talk to those teams about potential trades.
The Phils' front office believes it took a step in the right direction recently when it accepted Scott Freedman as a consultant from Major League Baseball's Labor Relations Department, where he has worked on salary arbitration cases, provided financial guidance to teams and gained a deep knowledge of advanced metrics. Freedman is not a Phillies employee. MLB is paying his salary as part of a partnership with the Phils, although the team has the opportunity to hire him permanently once his externship concludes before the beginning of the regular season.
"He's going to help us explore more thoroughly what the options are for using these metrics," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Tuesday. "We're looking at them to compliment the opinions of our scouts."
"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."
Freedman first appeared on Philadelphia's radar this summer. MLB regularly trains people like Freedman, then helps place them in front offices across baseball.
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.
"It seemed like it was too good of an opportunity to pass up," Proefrock said. "He's got a wealth of experience at the global Major League Baseball level. It's simply a matter of educating ourselves to how some of our competitors value players. We may find something we are intrigued by, and we may find something we're not intrigued by. But we need to do more investigation and more research internally before we come to some conclusion about what may be right for us, in conjunction and certainly not to supercede what our scouts do."
It remains to be seen how much the Phils will use advanced metrics, but Freedman's arrival means they will have the stats at their disposal, in addition to a better understanding of what they mean and how they can be used to the club's advantage.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.