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Play Ball! JMP and Analytics in Baseball

Sig Mejdal, VP & Assistant General Manager for the Baltimore Orioles

Michael Lewis’ 2003 book Moneyball jump-started the industry of baseball into adopting business practices that most other industries had already experienced. Baseball executives were making multimillion-dollar decisions in a field where most everything had been recorded but were not taking advantage of all the data available to guide them. Like many decision makers, they were using their expertise, intuition, and their gut to guide their decisions. These were smart and motivated people so for the most part they were doing it well, but until they resolved to put to use the predictive ability that lay in their data, they were in effect fighting with one hand tied behind their backs. Despite the pushback, quants were brought into the system to take advantage of the value that lay in this previously unused data.

In this white paper, Sig Mejdal, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Baltimore Orioles, describes how JMP capabilities have helped him discover the predictive ability in the data, illustrate it to others and create tools to ensure the utilization of the findings.

By sharing specific moments in his career, Mejdal demonstrates how he has put JMP to work – in evaluating players for the MLB draft, assessing talent in free agency, evaluating player performance, and many other areas – to get and stay ahead of other clubs.

Mejdal also shows us how he uses JMP to share findings and tell stories in a way that traditional, often non-analytical, baseball decision makers can understand. Using JMP Graph Builder and the interrelationships between JMP graphs Mejdal discovered he could find hidden patterns in the data, and communicate his analysis and guide users to the answers, often by simply dragging columns of data into JMP Graph Builder.

About the Author

Sig Mejdal is the Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Baltimore Orioles. 

Prior to joining the Orioles, Mejdal worked as the Director of Decision Sciences for the Houston Astros. In this role he helped the Baseball Operations Department evaluate players by extracting and analyzing various forms of data from scouting reports, medical reports, minor league statistics and other information.

Before that, Mejdal worked for the St. Louis Cardinals as Director of Amateur Draft Analytics. He was involved in the modeling, analysis and data-driven decision making throughout all levels of the organization. He was a key contributor in the draft decision processes that led to the selection of more Major League players than any other organization during that time frame.

Earlier in his career, Mejdal worked for Lockheed Martin and for NASA. He holds two undergraduate engineering degrees from the University of California at Davis and master’s degrees in operations research and cognitive psychology/human factors from San Jose State University. Mejdal has been active in baseball statistics and analytics since becoming a member of the Society of Baseball Research (SABR) while in elementary school.

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