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Ruben Amaro unveils secret to scouting hitters: watching them hit

Finally, a peek under the lid of the Phillies' often insulted front office.

"Wait... you're not hitting."
"Wait... you're not hitting."
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

We haven't heard from Ruben Amaro in a while. At this point, he has become a default target for the weak-minded Phillies fan to blame for all of their problems. It's been well discussed how current issues put him partially to blame, and partially not. He could be praised for his patience with a potential Cole Hamels trade. He could be blasted for his comments on Jesse Biddle's concussion. He could also be blasted for other things.

In either case, we haven't had a sound byte of his to fuel the masses in quite some time, and this one, buried in a New York Times article on new methods in scouting hitters, probably won't do it.

Ruben Amaro Jr., the Philadelphia Phillies' general manager, has a more traditional approach. He said he liked to watch batting practice up close, next to the cage. That way he can hear the sound of the ball off the bat, see the trajectory and determine if a player is swinging well.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that," he said.

For an executive like Amaro, who has had certain questions raised about his evaluation skills in the past, to clarify something as "not rocket science" is sort of a big deal. He's right. Seeing and hearing a hitter is not rocket science. In fact, it doesn't even involve rockets.

And it also reiterates that Amaro is very much a part of the old school, where things like lookin' and seein' and hearin' and smellin' are the main itinerary. The Phillies' adoption of advanced stats has taken place in a climate of quiet reluctance and condescension. We'd watch other clubs do something innovative and turn them, hats in hand, and they would tussle our hair and walk away laughing.

So, taking Amaro's strategy into account, I decided to blindfold myself and try to evaluate some hitters myself. And it went a little something like this.


"He hit that one."


"He hit that one."


"He missed that one."


"That one hit him."

*punching, screaming*

"All the players are fighting each other."

Anyways it turned out I had wandered into a bad neighborhood.