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Did Data Analytics Beat the Cubs?

Last year the Cubs were clearly the best team in baseball and went on to win the World Series (did I ever think I would write that sentence?). This year, the Cubs had almost the same team, but fell short in the NL playoffs as they could only muster 1 playoff win against the LA Dodgers. Many blame a slow start, overconfidence after last year, and many other factors. But could it be they were beaten by sabermetrics?


Sabermetrics was defined by guru of baseball statistics, Bill James, in 1980 and refers to analyzing baseball statistics and data, even as the game goes on. Imagine doing data analysis on your best selling products and then compare them with the competition and competitively undercut probably do the same thing.

The Dodgers web site lists 48 people in "baseball operations," 13 of them being labeled "Analyst" and 8 more in "Research." By contrast, the crosstown California Angels in Anaheim don't list a single analyst.

Then there's the Houston Astros, who as of this writing are tied with the Yankees for the American League title with a Game 7.

Astros General Manager Jeff Lunhow is noted for his love of data analytics, such as which players to hire, how to shift them throughout the game, etc., and hired a NASA engineer for the position of "Director of Decision Sciences."

In fact. the field of Sabermetrics is so well developed at this point that a research organization already exists, the Society of American Baseball Research. If you want to learn more about how it works, the SABR has put out this guide you can get from their web site.

No one is saying that eventually baseball will eventually be run by 2 teams of opposing computer software programs, but like everything else in the world, tech is affecting how we live and how we play.

Rosman Information Systems is experienced in Data Analysis and Business Intelligence programs and can show you how you can get important insights from your data with the right approach and right software. Give us a call at 312-226-0105.

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