How Phillies' Use of Analytics Should Change Under Joe Girardi

Toward the end of Joe Girardi's Yankees run, he pushed back some against the use of analytics to dictate decisions. It was one of the reasons the Yankees moved on after 2017, along with how tightly wound he was by the end of his decade-long stint as Yankees skipper.

Baseball is cyclical. High-strung managers get let go and replace by more player-friendly skippers. Managers who keep it loose get let go and replaced by more authoritative types. Happens all the time. Look no further than Buck Showalter, whose disciplinarian reputation attracted several teams before he arrived before also being a reason behind his ouster.

Girardi's pushback toward the end of that Yankees stretch provides evidence that he is not married to analytics. He knows how to interpret and use data, and he can speak the language of analytics, but Girardi will also incorporate gut-feel in his daily decisions.

He likely won't match up, on the mound or in the batter's box, the same way Gabe Kapler and Chris Young did. Bullpen usage will almost certainly change.

"Joe believes in bullpen roles and that was something the previous regime kind of shunned," Jim Salisbury said on Thursday's At the Yard podcast. "Although when you look at when the Phillies were going good the last couple years, they sort of did have bullpen roles. They had a defined guy in the eighth delivering the ball to Hector Neris. 

"I think [Girardi] will seek to have roles in that bullpen. We talk about the blend. He's more likely to employ the blend, use that data when he feels it's the right time to use it, use his gut when he feels like it's the right time to do it.

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"One, he comes from a franchise where there was a lot of analytics in the New York Yankees. He was analytically literate. He's also got 10 years on his resume of running the most visible team in maybe all of pro sports. That gives him some cache, so if he doesn't want to follow the dictates from above, it's gonna be hard to call him on the carpet because he's done it, he's been successful."

That last point is a key one and will help Girardi avoid being criticized for every single move. For more on what else should change in the Phillies' organization under Girardi, check out the latest At the Yard pod below.

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