The Phillies slowly enter the era of analytics

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David Murphy of the Daily News has a story today about the Phillies’ belated entry into the world of analytics.

The Phillies are probably the last team to jump into those waters, but they aren’t just jumping into them. They added an analytics guy a couple of years ago and now, finally, have launched a database system like most other teams have. They’re also, based on the quotes in the article anyway, aware of where they are in this regard. Aware that they have more work to do to catch up. So that’s something.

One thing that does bug me is Pat Gillick’s reference to the Giants’ success as success by a team that isn’t really into analytics. As we’ve noted in the past, that has long been said but it has not been true for a long, long time. It may be the most oft-cited bit of misinformation about team analytics out there. Really, the Giants should be lauded for being astonishingly successful at integrating scouting and analytics seamlessly, not for being successful despite not being into analytics. Because that latter assertion is simply erroneous.

In any event, it’s a good “state of the Phillies” article for you.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.