Teams in Major League Baseball that aren’t using analytics are still living in the Stone Age. The New York Yankees are at the cutting edge of analytics and building around specific numbers that provide more production on both sides of the ball.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has received plenty of criticism and hate regarding his style, especially when it comes to overusing analytics and being too reliant on the numbers. From an outside perspective, this is all hearsay and assumption, something that Boone tried to draw attention to during an interview with Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
“Certain things about that get to me,” Boone said last week while sitting at his desk in his Yankees manager’s office. “Narratives that get started that maybe have some sliver of truth to it, but in the end are kind of bulls–t. I have a hard time … it bothers me just as a sport, as an industry, as someone who has been in the game forever and loves it, sometimes the old school-new school rub. There is this built-in angst declarative.
Boone isn’t ignoring the fact that analytics are heavily used, instead making it known you’d be a fool not to incorporate them into your strategy. However, with a lineage of baseball running throughout his bloodline, Boone is confident his decision making plays an important part in the teams strategy as well.
In fact, Boone might be drawing more criticism for his decision making rather than reliance on analytics to get the job done.
“You are missing the boat if you are not all-in on all of it and understanding the importance of all of it. I try to bring that down here all the time. One thing rubbed me wrong, I heard something — I listen to things a little more in the offseason, during the season I don’t see much; I am not oblivious to things — but they called me a ‘data applicator.’ Like I am not a baseball guy and just some ‘data applicator.’ I have been in this game all my life, bro. I am as baseball through-and-through as anyone. Just because I have been open-minded and grown in the game doesn’t mean I am any more old-school or new-school than I have ever been. You are an idiot if you are not aware of all of it.”
Boone simply wants people to understand that baseball runs through his veins, and his style includes a mix — it’s interesting to see how defensive he is about the subject.
One thing is for sure, the Yankees desperately need to put together more successful seasons moving forward, whether that means looking toward analytics as a solution or giving the team a bit more natural flexibility. It doesn’t seem as if the team’s focus on home-run hitting players is going away anytime soon, but they could use a bit more contact-hitting throughout their batting order, specially with injuries plaguing their big bats regularly.