By now, most of you have heard the Phillies have found their manager of the future, Los Angeles Dodgers former Director of Player Development; Gabe Kapler.
Kapler, began his Major League Baseball career in 1998 for the Detroit Tigers, making stops in Texas, Colorado, Boston and a brief cameo for the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. His career spanned 12 years and one World Series victory; helping the Red Sox break the curse in 2004.
He briefly retired after the 2006 season and managed the Red Sox single-A affiliate in 2007, managing a lackluster 58-81. He stepped down from the position citing “I miss the battle. I still need to be on the field as a player.” Re-starting his MLB career he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers as their right-handed outfield option. He had a resurgent year, hitting .301 and a .750 stolen base completion, qualifying but not winning NL Comeback Player of the Year. He would finish his career with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Kapler, in his post playing days served as an analyst for Fox Sports having his own segments breaking down sabermetrics and advanced statistics as well as helping younger players improve their game. His time working for Fox Sports led to the Dodgers to hire him as their Director of Player Development.
His tenure as Director of Player Development saw several Dodgers prospect take leaps forward in their progress including, Cory Seager and Joc Pederson, players who would help take the Dodgers to the World Series in 2017. As Director he began a series of changes such as having the entire organization switch to organic food and embracing many new advanced statistics. These changes vaulted him into consideration for Dodgers manager, losing out to current manager Dave Roberts and eventually leading him to the Phillies.
So what can we expect from the Kapler regime based on his history? For starters a massive culture change, such as healthy dieting and player specific workouts. Expect to be hearing terms such as WAR (Wins above replacement), WAA (Wins above Average), wOBA (Weighted On Base average) and FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). In game changes you will see are going to be going with statistically safe decisions as opposed to the old baseball adage of “gut feeling” by comparison earlier this season we saw Eagles coach Doug Pederson go for a 4th and 7 at midfield, a questioning call. Statistics later showed that was a sound move and now we are seeing more teams attempting similar calls now.
The tides are slowly changing in the Philadelphia baseball scene, it started with Klentak’s appointment as General Manager and will end with Kapler and company marching down Broad.
(Photo Credit- MLB.com)