So says USA Today:
After making hyper-aggressive use of his bullpen in the season’s first series, Kapler heard boos during introductions at his first-ever home opener. To those fearful of electronic encroachment on the national pastime, Kapler appears the perfect mark: With a ridiculously jacked physique and an oddly glimmering complexion, he resembles a late-model Terminator, and he defends his strategies with a cocky confidence apt to irk any observers who have just watched said strategies go awry.
In an interview with Philly.com on Thursday, outfielder Nick Williams expressed his frustration with his playing time in the early season:
“I guess the computers are making it, I don’t know,” Williams said, referencing the team’s reliance on analytics when charting a lineup. “I don’t get any of it but what can I do? I’m not going to complain about it because I have zero power. I’m just letting it ride.”…
“Coming in and facing a guy throwing 100 right away? That’s kind of set up for failure,” Williams said. “I’m just letting them do what they do. This is their job to do this. It’s not mine. I don’t have any say. I’m not a veteran.”
Williams has a right to be disappointed in his lack of opportunities: He’s 24, and he certainly performed well enough in his half-season Major League stint last year to merit regular playing time on a rebuilding club. But the Phillies’ free-agent acquisition of Carlos Santana crowded their outfield picture by forcing Rhys Hoskins into left field, taking at-bats away from Williams, Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr – all of whom have cases for everyday play.
But picking fights with the computers seems like a bad business decision in contemporary baseball, where the machines seem to gain more responsibility on a near-daily basis. The sport is changing and evolving at unprecedented rates, and it is because of people, not information, that the Phillies’ early struggles attract so much more attention than the successes of clubs around the league using similar strategies. When the Dodgers pull starters in the fifth or the Astros use wild outfield alignments, we sort of shrug and assume it’s probably smart because they typically accompany positive results. But when the same things blow up in the Phillies’ faces, we see that they indicate analytical overreach. The beast is always us: