It's with a great deal of excitement that I'm announcing today that I've taken a job as a Baseball Analyst in the front office of the Cleveland Indians. I'm thrilled that I'll be joining the great Keith Woolner and Jason Pare in the Indians front office, and I'm excited to contribute to the club. As you can imagine, the Indians will be wanting to keep all of my ideas to themselves, so it's with some sadness that I say that this will be my final post here at Baseball Analysts.
There aren't a whole lot of jobs out there that are like this one, and I feel lucky to have landed one them. Upon getting the job, I thought back to Malcom Gladwell's book Outliers, the crux of which can be summed up in a statistical concept that sabermetricians know well: people with outcomes on the tail end of the distribution are likely to have been both very good and lucky. While a player who led the league in batting was probably a very good hitter, he also likely caught some breaks as well. The same concept applies to pretty much anything in life, be it career, money, etc. Looking back on my own experience I was very lucky to have had a number of helpful people in my sabermetric career.
Most of all, I'm indebted to Rich Lederer, the leader of this great site. After studying sabermetrics on my own for years, back in March of 2009 I started my own blog on sports and statistics. Getting about five readers per day, I emailed Rich an article I had written in hopes of drumming up a little more publicity. Instead of just linking to the article, he offered me a weekly column at the site. I jumped at the chance and never looked back. It was also my good fortune to come on to the site right as Dave Allen and Jeremy Greenhouse also joined Sully and Rich at Baseball Analysts. Their great writing and analysis helped make Baseball Analysts a go-to place for sabermetric research during the 2009 and 2010 seasons and I'm grateful to have been a part of that.
I also have to thank Dave Studenmund, who not only tapped me for an article in the Hardball Times 2010 Annual, but also introduced me to the good folks over at SI.com, where I had been writing since November. Through some hard work and more helpful people, I was able to parlay that into a full-blown weekly column which was a terrific experience. After starting at SI, I was then fortunate enough to be contacted by another MLB club (not the Indians) to do some consulting for them, giving me invaluable experience working with an MLB front office and setting me on a path for further success. To all who have helped me on my journey, I thank you.
My Two Cents
Perhaps like some people reading this, working as a statistician in an MLB front office was a dream of mine growing up. Now that I've achieved that goal, I'm excited to start the next chapter in my career and take my ideas inside the game. As I've told people about my new job, a common reaction I got was "How can I get that job?" And, during my time at Baseball Analysts, I've gotten emails from at least one young fan asking for advice on getting into baseball. For what it's worth, here's mine:
A) Start blogging: the surest way to a career in baseball is by consistently putting good stuff out there. Don't wait until you get that one earth-shattering finding. Consistency will prove you know what you're talking about and over time you'll build a solid reputation which will lead to other opportunities.
B) Get a degree: As sabermetrics becomes more advanced, there's going to be more need for people with technical skills. I personally have an MS in Statistics, and I think it's helped tremendously. Not only will the knowledge from your degree help in your analysis, but jobs in and around sabermetrics will likely start requiring one.
C) Don't worry about the competition: There was a time when I wondered if most of the sabermetric gold had already been mined. However, as I discovered, that's not even close to true. While many topics have already been looked at, it doesn't mean that other studies have all the answers. If you have an idea for an investigation, go for it - chances are you'll have a twist on it that makes your analysis a little different from what has come before. Sabermetric studies can always benefit from a second opinion.
D) Work hard: I challenged myself to write one in-depth study per week here at Baseball Analysts. It wasn't always easy, but pushing yourself to perform your best work pays off. By the end I was not only writing here, but writing weekly for SI, as well as consulting, meaning I was spending more time on baseball than at my actual job. Like anything, serious payoff requires serious hard work.
Thanks for Everything!
I've truly enjoyed writing for this site and being part of the sabermetric community at-large. All of your comments and readership have been wonderful and it will be tough to leave that behind. However, I'm really looking forward to going inside baseball and bringing my best work to the Cleveland Indians. From Baseball Analysts to Baseball Analyst, thanks for everything!