Before Matt Klentak became general manager, many had criticized the Phillies organization for the apparent lack of interest in advanced analytics.
However, a little more than a year after becoming the general manager, Matt Klentak has rallied the Phillies, specifically regarding analytics.
A new, advanced computer system called, “PHIL” was developed by the Phillies organization, and the process accelerated, following the hiring of Klentak in October of 2015.
To give you an idea of the technological advancements that have been made since Klentak’s hiring, a handful of analytical experts were brought on board, including Andy Galdi.
Currently, Galdi serves as the director of baseball research and development. Galdi’s previous job was with a company you may have heard of; it’s name is Google.
On Wednesday, the final full day of the Winter Meetings, the Phillies announced that they are looking even beyond the most advanced statistics.
A company called WHOOP, which specializes in human performance optimization, announced that it has completed a performance study involving Minor Leaguers from nine different organizations.
Furthermore, the study was conducted with 230 players from June through November of this year. It looked at various factors, including the correlation between age, sleep and recovery levels, as well as the relationship between recovery and performance levels.
When asked to elaborate on the new analytical approach, Klentak told CSNPhilly reporters, “This is probably separate from traditional analytics. This is more what I call sports science.” He continued, saying, “We don’t have a dedicated department for that yet. It’s all related in our efforts to gather more information to make better decisions. But it’s not necessarily straight analytics.”
In addition to injury prevention, maximizing player performance appears to be the latest frontier in baseball’s continuing effort to find an edge. Players were outfitted with what is called a “WHOOP strap,” worn on the wrist or forearm. The strap automatically measures heart rate, heart rate variability, ambient temperature, motion and movement and skin response.
When CSN asked Klentak about the use of the “WHOOP strap,” he said, “That’s a new technology that was pitched to us last summer that we decided to invest in to try, ultimately, to keep our players healthy and to learn more about different ways to optimize their performance.” He then explained, “It’s about objectivity and making better decisions. It’s not just about batting average and earned run average and on-field performance. It’s whatever data we can acquire that helps us make better decisions.”
Klentak later revealed that the new method for gathering data had been reviewed.
“We’ve received some feedback from the data. We have also received feedback from players on things they like and don’t like about it. We’ve actually had some pretty interesting results about players who can learn about their own sleeping habits and ways they’ve been able to identify to keep themselves healthier and perform better. We’ll base whatever conclusions we make on what the data dictates. We’re still very much in the early phases of this. We’re still learning about it. But so far it’s provided some interesting developments.”
The Phillies are now fully invested in the use of advanced metrics to try to evaluate the overall performance of players, while also hoping to find advantages that can lead to wins.
Even though new advancements in technology continue to change the way we look at the game, the Phillies have not abandoned the values of old-time scouting.
What do you think? Does this new method of data gathering seem like it will pay off? Will it allow the Phillies to capture more wins in 2017? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Photo: Lindsey B (via: Flickr)