On Thursday, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported that the Phillies hired Andy Galdi as the club’s director of baseball research and development. Galdi spent the last three years working as a quantitative analyst for YouTube, which is owned by Google.
Galdi does have sports experience, as he was a baseball operations intern with the Mets in 2009, then in 2010-11 worked in the NBA Commissioner’s Office as a statistical analyst. He represents the latest in a much more modernized front office in Philadelphia, which saw Pat Gillick step down and Ruben Amaro, Jr. fired. Andy MacPhail took over Gillick’s role as team president, and Matt Klentak was hired from the Angels as the club’s new GM.
During MacPhail’s introductory press conference over the summer, he and part-owner John Middleton discussed the importance of embracing analytics in running a baseball team, something the Phillies were notoriously reluctant to do in previous years. In fact, ESPN The Magazine ranked the Phillies dead last out of 122 professional sports teams in their use of analytics. That the club now has a legitimate analytics department is a huge step up from just two years ago.
Of course, the effects of their modernization are unlikely to be felt in 2016. FanGraphs projects the Phillies to once again finish with baseball’s worst record. However, some recent high draft picks — plus #1 overall this year — and some big returns in the Cole Hamels and Ken Giles trades have bolstered a once desolate minor league system. That, along with their burgeoning analytics department, could bring the Phillies back to relevance soon.