In Aaron Boone’s first year as the New York Yankees manager, he helped lead the team to a 100-win season and a playoff berth. He also may have cost them a divisional series win against the rival Boston Red Sox with questionable bullpen management.
However, a new report about how the team makes in-game decisions raises some questions about the level of responsibility Boone actually has. Paul Solotaroff and Bob Klapish were guests on The Michael Kay Show on Friday to discuss their upcoming book, “Inside the Empire: The True Power Behind the New York Yankees.” During the interview, Solotaroff revealed that the Yankees have the biggest analytics staff in the MLB, and that department has a significant influence in how the organization operates.
“What [Yankees GM Brian Cashman] told us is that the analytics guys have grown in power and influence to such an extent that they now have an equal voice in all trades,” said Solotaroff. “They’re in the tunnel during the game telling, or at least strongly urging, Boone to make X, Y, and Z player moves. This is new, this is shocking, and it’s also all over baseball.”
While it’s not a surprise that the analytics team has a say in the trades and transactions of the organization, it may come as surprising to some that they have such an immediate impact on the games themselves. Analytics play a big role across all sports today, but for the most part have yet to reach the stage of impacting decisions in real time.
The latter half of Solotaroff’s quote implies that the Yankees aren’t alone in this practice, and perhaps more teams in the future will be open about how they utilize their analytics team. Until then, though, we’re left guessing as to who might have a say in the crucial real-time decisions that can make or break a team’s season.