The Angels and, in particular, Mike Scioscia, have been cited as one of the last bastions of old school, anti-sabermetric thinking in the game. That’s likely an overstatement — everyone, the Angels included, use analytics in some measure — but they’ve earned the label. When Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia butted heads over the communication of analytic information to players last year and Scioscia won, it was clear which way the club leaned.
Their new GM Billy Eppler bristles at that assessment, however. Yesterday, speaking at the SABR analytics conference here in Phoenix, he talked about how the Angels use everything and how the “stats vs. scouts” divide is a false or, at the very least, outdated dichotomy. In doing so he employed a whole bunch of fun analogies.
First, in talking about how the front office should serve the on-field staff, he used a culinary metaphor. From Pedro Moura’s report in the Los Angeles Times:
“They’re going to bake certain meals and certain plates,” Eppler said. “We’re going to show what those plates and what that meal can be like: ‘This is what happens if you put this in your body. This is what happens if you do this. And what do you want?’
“We’re not gonna say, ‘You’re gonna eat broccoli.’ We’re gonna say, ‘Broccoli can do this, beets can do this, almonds can do this, lean meat can do this. What do you think can help you? Why? How do you want to do this?'”
That’s fair, actually. It really should be a partnership between the front office and the dugout staff, not a dictatorship. But to go with Eppler’s analogy, what was happening last year is that Jerry Dipoto’s people were barred from wheeling the dessert cart by the players’ tables in the first place. At least according to the reports at the time. In keeping with the theme, Mike Scioscia was the guy who brought his family to a restaurant that prided itself on chef-centric cuisine, waved his hand at the waiter and said “keep the menu, my good man; I order hamburgers wherever I go.”
He went on to drop another fun analogy. This one: east coast vs. west coast rap:
“The analytics vs. scouting thing, it’s so tired,” he said. “It’s so East Coast-West Coast rap. Uncle. Uncle, you know what I mean . . . Are you East Coast rap or West Coast? Are you for stats or are you for scouting? I don’t know. Can I really be in between? Because I am.
Again, fair. But if you don’t want to be accused of having a 1990s mindset, Billy, maybe don’t use such obvious 1990s references.
Besides, west coast is best. We all know this and if you think otherwise you’re clearly wrong.