Phillies: Traditional vs. analytical tug-of-war in MLB

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 15: Chase Utley
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 15: Chase Utley /
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Utley thanks the faithful for their appreciation of his Phillies career. Photo by H. Martin/Getty Images. /

Happy medium:

When you listen to Sabermetrics devotees, they believe everything is in the numbers, and chemistry like other intangibles is meaningless. In fact, some even rely on one or two specific stats. Total predictability?

Regarding traditionalists, they want old-fashioned baseball and feel nerds are ruining their game. They bemoan the defeats when their club has a home-run drought and are certain some losses would be victories if they played some small ball. An ignored solution?

According to Chase Utley and Erik Kratz in a piece by Todd Zolecki of, they praised the data-oriented approach of the Los Angeles and the Milwaukee Brewers. Meanwhile, other players either relied on defensive-alignment cards or stated that analytics is hurting baseball.

As for the red pinstripes, Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera had noticeable decreases in their averages and increases in homers and RBIs. In other words, taking pitches might dampen aggressiveness and lower their averages, while the launch angle could produce more long balls and RBIs. So, one size may not fit all.

Phillies stats:

  • Hernandez in 2017: .294, 9 HR and 34 RBI.
  • Hernandez in 2018: .253, 15 HR and 60 RBI.
  • Herrera in 2017: .281, 14 HR and 56 RBI.
  • Herrera in 2018: .255, 22 HR and 71 RBI.

When they’re winning, no one squawks about small ball. That stated, Scott Kingery, Roman Quinn and Hernandez pilfered bags, bunted, and ran the bases; and the Phils also showed more life in their last two victories. Perhaps, the combination of speed, old-fashioned skills and analytics could be the next step. An edge?

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