Gelb: Why the Phillies built an analytics think tank with non-baseball brains

From Matt Gelb at on March 9, 2017, with mention of SABR member Lewie Pollis:

Around the corner from the general manager’s office on the second floor of Citizens Bank Park, through the conference room where some of the franchise’s most important decisions are made, is a place unlike any other at the ballpark.

Six adjustable desks are clustered near a flat-screen TV with a camera for long-distance video chats. Wooden slabs double as countertops at the nearby reading nook. Light enters from the windows that overlook the first-base gate. It resembles the modern offices found at ambitious tech companies, and that is because the man in charge of the room came from Google.

He oversees a five-person staff. One jumped from Northrop Grumman. Another spent a decade with Bank of America before joining Silicon Valley start-ups. One wrote for Baseball Prospectus. One played baseball for MIT, and another just graduated from college in Canada. Four interns arrive in the summer.

The Phillies, once dismissive of analytics, will spend a few million on them this season. Analytics drive more decisions inside Citizens Bank Park than before; they are a component that has gained footing with scouting and player development.

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Originally published: March 10, 2017. Last Updated: March 10, 2017.