Red Sox owner John Henry said that the organization is lessening its reliance on analytics and is adopting a new mindset to correct mistakes of the past.
Red Sox principal owner John Henry made headlines this week when he told The Boston Globe that the organization has relied too heavily on analytics to make decisions.
“Over the years, we’ve had success relying on numbers, but that has never been the whole story, as we’ve said over and over again. But perhaps it was too much of the story,” said Henry. “Perhaps there was too much reliance on past performance and trying to project future performance. That obviously hasn’t worked in three of the last four years.”
In baseball, the practice of using “numbers” to “project future performance” is known as sabermetrics, the system of baseball analytics popularized by MLB Executive Billy Beane and showcased in the hit movie “Moneyball.”
For a man famously skeptical of signing players over thirty, Henry’s departure from analytics comes as a surprise, especially since he won two World Series with Theo Epstein, a Beane disciple, as his general manager.
"“Baseball is a complex, dynamic, living thing that has to really be nurtured on a daily basis, 12 months of the year,” said Henry."
Boston sports fans understand the dynamics and complexities of baseball, perhaps, greater than anyone in the league; over the past four years, the Red Sox have both won a World Series and thrice finished dead last in the American League East.
It is important to note, however, that the organization is not completely abandoning analytics, rather, they are looking beyond metrics to correct the mistakes of the past. As Alex Speier wrote in The Boston Globe:
"“As someone whose entry into the game came from a very traditional scouting worldview, Dombrowski might assign a different weight to different types of information than did Cherington. But if one follows the money and traces what the team deems worthy of investment in its baseball operations budget, it quickly becomes clear that the Red Sox have not stopped being an organization that values its analytics infrastructure.”"
Red Sox fans have already seen this new organizational mindset in action with the signing of the 30- year old David Price. After all, it was just two years ago that the Red Sox, much to the chagrin of fans, did not sign the 30-year old Jon Lester, marking one of the organization’s greatest failures in recent years.
For a team’s front office to own their mistakes of the past, address them in the open, and make major strides to correct them, does not happen everyday. Even the most casual of fans know that the organization still has many player improvements to be made, however, with this renewed mindset, they have reason to be excited for the next generation of Red Sox baseball.