Earlier this month the Philadelphia Phillies signed Gabe Kapler as the head coach. I have taken a couple of weeks to research and further learn about the new man in charge. One conclusion that I can make is that the hiring is odd for the Phillies because, typically, it is the other way around where a head coach moves into a front office position.
Kapler has never managed in the majors. A former outfielder for 12 seasons in the majors, Kapler batted .268 with 82 homers and 386 RBIs over 12 seasons with six teams between 1998-2010. He had no previous ties to the Phillies. Kapler has served as director of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2014. He had been considered for that club’s manager’s job two years ago. According to several sources, Kapler, who is known for his progressive, out-of-the-box thinking, impressed team officials with his energy and use of analytics during the interview process.
“I’m equal parts honored, humbled and excited by the opportunity with the Phillies, an elite franchise in a city rich in history, tradition, sports excellence and with amazingly passionate fans,” Kapler said in a statement. “I believe there is no better place to build a winning environment, and I take that task very seriously.”
Kapler brings something to the Phillies organization that the front office has longed for: someone educated in the language of analytics and committed to using them in all phases of the game. In case it is not clear, I am a true believer in the power of analytics. A sport in baseball is doing everything in their power to regain interest, for example, by using analytics—a new trend being used by nearly all clubhouses. A team such as the Houston Astros completely used the power of analytics to win the world series this year. Kapler and the front office should be able to implement a plan focused around analytics, which can make the Phillies relevant once again.