I’m a sucker for behind the scenes stuff. I love it when drips and drabs of news leak out about a baseball team’s front office operations. The rumors are cool, but I find the process fascinating. Remember when the New York Times revealed that Brian Cashman employs GIFs during trade negotiations? That is my favorite.
Yesterday, the Yankees peeled the curtain back on their analytics department with a video called Behind the Seams: The Blueprint. Running about 11 minutes long, it provides tremendous insight into how the front office operates. Cashman, Damon Oppenheimer, and Kevin Reese are among the various executives interviewed. There are also some interesting notes about drafting Aaron Judge and trading for Andrew McCutchen.
Two quotes from Cashman really stand out. First, he credits open-mindedness towards analytics and the game’s evolution as the key to his longevity.
“I’m definitely a different general manager on a 21st year — radically different today on the job — than I was when I first started because the game has changed. It is evolved, and people who weren’t open to change and willing to change and understanding that knowledge is good, as simple as that, they died off like the dinosaurs.”
Justin Shackil then asked Cash if he sees value in traditional statistics, such as batting average. The Yankees general manager dismissed the notion emphatically.
“Batting average used to be the highlight of somebody’s baseball card, and the higher the batting average, the more value it is. But honest, I think we’ve all been taught the very simple things now you look at. You could have a lower batting average but a really, really high walk total, and you’re not making outs, or keeping the line moving, and you’re making a positive impact on the offense.”
Keep that in mind before commenting about a player’s average. It is not the end-all-be-all. In fact, it’s far from it!
The whole segment is worth your watch.
When you’ve finished watching it, let us know what you think in the comment section!