The Los Angeles Angels have been a team using advanced analytics in Major League Baseball at a high rate, and at times it has caused some tension within the organization. But manager Phil Nevin is now at the helm without the interim tag and with his hiring of hitting coach Marcus Thames, he aims to use all of the resources afforded to him.
Former Angels manager Joe Maddon ripped into the organization and Major League Baseball for the heavy implementation of advanced analytics, mainly because he felt it took the feel for the game out of baseball. But around MLB, the most successful teams aren’t solely listening to their gut feeling and are embracing the data.
As recent as 2018, the Angels were among the teams with a growing data & analytics team, and perhaps they needed some new-age thinking voices to fully utilize the stuff they feel is necessary, but Thames has expressed his openness to using what is available to him after learning what his players prefer, via Sam Blum of the Athletic:
I haven’t spoken about what they did last year when it comes to numbers and stuff like that. So I don’t want to speak on that yet. I’ve just got to get to know my players first. And then I’ll know what they like and they don’t like, and we can go from there.
When Nevin and Thames were both a part of the managerial staff with the New York Yankees, an analytics-heavy club, they became good friends, which is the basis for Thames’ hiring. The Angels needed a new direction with their offensive philosophy, something he’s said to be bringing with him:
Yeah, there’s some things I did. There’s going to be some things that we will use, and once I meet with our guys — I haven’t even met with our analytical department yet. But once I meet with those guys, I’ll know a little bit more about what we look for as an organization and go from there.
Thames has expressed his desire to build strong relationships with the Angels hitters, and that is going to be his first priority. However, putting more focus on using data after building those relationships should benefit everyone involved.
Phil Nevin doesn’t view sale of Angels as distraction
The Angels announced this past August that owner Arte Moreno is considering selling the franchise, and that process remains ongoing. During the Winter Meetings in San Diego, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he is hopeful a sale will be finalized before Opening Day next year.
Although the sale of the team could ultimately hinder their ability to make deals and eventually compete, Angels manager Phil Nevin doesn’t see it as an issue.
“I don’t think it’s a distraction at all,” Nevin said of the team’s potential sale. “I mean, I read the same things you guys do. I’m not part of that. But, no, I don’t think it’s a distraction at all.
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