Ruben Amaro and Phillies Throw a Haymaker at SABR Nerds


Photo courtesy St. Pete Beach Photo, who was kind enough to pass along photos of sun and grass as we hang up here in dreary Philadelphia

Somewhere, Brad Pitt is down, wounded.

Today was not a good day for advanced metrics in baseball.

In case you missed it, Inquirer writer Bob Brookover penned a piece about the Phillies’ relative disdain for Sabermetrics. 

Brookover passes along many quotes from Ruben Amaro, assistant GM Scott Proefrock and Charlie Manuel, mostly about how the team uses advanced metrics very little, and, in Charlie’s case, sometimes doesn’t understand them.


"I honestly can't tell you the last time WAR or VORP or any of those things were brought up in a conversation," assistant GM Scott Proefrock said. "We're aware of them, and we understand what they are. It's just not something we find relevant."


Somewhere, a SABR nerd weeps.

The whole thing is worth a read, if you are interested in that sort of thing, but my favorite part was Ruben’s dig at Moneyball: []

"I understand Hollywood is Hollywood, but there were a lot of unrealistic things that occurred in that movie. The thing that bothered me most is I think the fact of the matter was that Oakland had so much success because they had three of the best starting pitchers in the game. I don't know if that was mentioned more than once, if that. A lot of the movie was based around Scott Hatteberg moving to first base, and I don't think that was the reason why they had so much success."


+1 for The Big Poker.

David Hale, of the Wilmington News Journal, took a practical look at sabermetrics by (check out this crazy maneuver) applying them to real life scenarios. Specifically, the Phillies: [Wilmington News Journal]

How much did it feel like the Phillies missed Utley in 2011?

Well, if you remember those first seven weeks of the season, it certainly seemed like a ton. And when we look at the numbers, Utley’s average WAR (5.2) and Valdez actual total (-0.2), the difference is pretty drastic. Given that Utley missed about one-third of the season, that’s a difference of about two wins, which also sounds about right.


Of course, no one can accurately say just how many wins one player is worth to a team, but the examples Hale provides do make sense when applied to past and future Phillies scenarios. The disconnect, however, between believers and folks like Amaro, is that one group (SABR nerds, Billy Beane, Brad Pitt and perhaps even his leggy wife, Angelina Jolie) thinks that the metrics should be used to dictate actions… the other (Amaro, Phillies) understands them and doesn't discount their accuracy in explaining the game, but relies on scouting and experience to make decisions.

Full story from Brookover here.


5 Responses

  1. Just as any other situation, it’s really a mix of factors. The most successful GM is going to be the one who finds the perfect middle ground between scouting, gut feeling, and sabermetrics. Each side downplays the other, but really, they are all just as important.
    SABR is right- a guy can have all the tools in the world, but if he’s never been able to lay off a high fastball in his life, that’s likely never going to change.
    Scouts are right- A guy may not have the highest WAR, but he can still have that “it” that makes him successful.
    The best GM will look at the whole picture. While the A’s did have the best rotation in baseball, aiding greatly their success, Billy Beane DID change the way the team was constructed, and it DID work. For a short time, till the other, bigger market teams caught on to the same concepts.
    I just don’t like that RAJ went after the movie. Obviously, it was made for the general public, not baseball front offices. If he’s going to comment on “Moneyball,” he should really comment on the book, not the movie.

  2. This is how you end up with two of the worst contracts in baseball…………way to go Amaro and crew! Much to be excited about in the future….Thank Goodness Amaro isn’t the GM of the Rays, Royals, A’s, or Pirates….who knows what he would do if he couldn’t overpay declining players?

  3. So Brookover writes an ignorant and I’ll informed article on advanced stats, and Kyle, not surprisingly, fellates him. It’s so cute that you think the front office’s willingness to adapt is perfectly acceptable.

  4. He’s just salty about it b/c it shows how awful the Howard contract is. The shift kills him & he just can’t (or won’t) make any adjustments at the plate. It’s why he started out a .313 hitter with 58 bombs and has dropped all the way down to .253 with 33hr. He still gets paid like the .313/58 guy & he has a ring so he probably figures he’s fine & he’ll just keep doing his thing. There’s not a single team in the league that would take his contract if you offered it to them for no return (even if he was healthy). The Big Piece of garbage.

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