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The Red Sox aren't giving up on analytics

Friday's Say Hey, Baseball includes the Red Sox front office balancing, Dexter Fowler's move back to the Cubs and minor-league oddities.

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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Red Sox owner John Henry was interviewed by the press when he showed up at spring training, and as part of a longer session, he mentioned that his team had relied too heavily on analytics in recent years. This, predictably, was interpreted by many to mean the Sox were giving up on analytics, despite the fact that numbers are how Henry made his money, how the team has been so successful overall during his time as owner, how they managed to win three World Series in 10 seasons after not winning a single one for 86.

If you think they are giving up on analytics, please take a deep breath and explain why you think this, other than that it's the end of February and you aren't quite sure what else to yell about while there's no real baseball to distract you. The Sox have actually invested more money and personnel into analytics since Dave Dombrowski took over as the team's President of Baseball Operations. Dombrowski wasn't an analytics guy in the past, but much of that had to do with the teams he worked for, too: he entered into a new position at the head of one of baseball's largest analytics departments, and he not only kept it that way, but added to it.

What Henry means by the Sox relying too heavily on analytics is that there was a lack of balance. Their scouting and player development on the minor-league side has been incredible: over the last few years, it's helped them graduate Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart and Eduardo Rodriguez, and others such as Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi and Anderson Espinoza are on the way. On the big-league side? Hanley Ramirez. Pablo Sandoval. The trade for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. Carl Crawford. Three last-place finishes in four years. Mistakes were made! Better blending of scouting with analytics could give them a chance to avoid similar mistakes. Is that so bad?