SABR Analytics Conference speakers

Schedule of events Featured speakers Diamond Dollars Case Competition
SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards Sponsors Hyatt Regency Phoenix information
Research Presentations Download the Digital Program Photo galleries

 

SABR Analytics Conference
March 10-12, 2016
Hyatt Regency Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona

Here is a list of speakers, panelists and moderators for the fifth annual SABR Analytics Conference, March 10-12, 2016, in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

Dick Williams
Sr. VP/General Manager
Cincinnati Reds
 

Derrick Hall
President/CEO
Arizona Diamondbacks
 

Billy Eppler
General Manager
L.A. Angels of Anaheim
 

Mike Ferrin
Broadcaster
Arizona Diamondbacks/
MLB Network Radio
 
Brian Kenny
Host
MLB Network


 
Aaron Boone
Analyst
ESPN
 

Sarah Gelles
Director, Analytics and MLB Contracts
Baltimore Orioles
 

Yeshayah Goldfarb
Vice President, Baseball Ops
San Francisco Giants
 

Nick Ennis
Director of Baseball Ops
San Diego Padres
 

Ken Rosenthal
MLB Network/
FoxSports.com
 
John Dewan
Owner
Baseball Info Solutions
 
Dallas Braden
Analyst
ESPN
 

Click here to see the full schedule for the 2016 SABR Analytics Conference. Or click here for the schedule of research presentations, along with abstracts and presenter bios.

Check out highlights from our featured panels and speakers by clicking on a link below:

Brian Kenny: "Ahead of the Curve": The MLB Network host welcomed attendees to the 2016 SABR Analytics Conference with a talk titled "Ahead of the Curve" on the state of baseball analytics. 2:00 p.m., Thursday, March 10.

  • Brian Kenny, Host, MLB Network: Brian is a host at MLB Network, where he appears across the network's studio programming, including “MLB Now” and “MLB Tonight.”  A 25-year national TV and radio veteran, Brian joined MLB Network from ESPN, where he was a “SportsCenter” anchor, host of the Brian Kenny Show on ESPN Radio and an Emmy Award-winning anchor for “Baseball Tonight.”

The Analytics of Hitting and Pitching: Two former major-leaguers and a baseball analyst discussed the mental aspects of hitting and pitching. 2:45 p.m., Thursday, March 10.

  • Aaron Boone, Analyst, ESPN: Aaron is an analyst for ESPN's “Monday Night Baseball” with frequent appearances on “Baseball Tonight” and other studio programming. He joined ESPN in 2010 after his retirement from professional baseball. He also served as a guest analyst on ESPN Radio during the 2009 National League Division Series. Boone played for six Major League franchises over 12 seasons including stops in Cincinnati (1997-2003), New York Yankees (2003), Cleveland (2005-2006), Florida (2007), Washington (2008) and Houston (2009). In 2003, Boone earned his first and only All-Star appearance before being traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Yankees. Later that year, he famously hit a dramatic, series-clinching home run in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7 of the ALCS, giving the Yankees a 6-5 victory over their rival, Boston Red Sox.
  • Dallas Braden, Analyst, ESPN: Dallas joined ESPN as a studio analyst in 2014, and he regularly contributes to “Baseball Tonight,” “SportsCenter,” and other ESPN news programs. Drafted out of Texas Tech University in 2004, Braden debuted with the Oakland Athletics in 2007. On May 9, 2010, Braden threw the 19th perfect game in MLB history when he defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in Oakland on Mother's Day. That same year, he threw four additional complete games including two shutouts en route to a career-best 3.50 ERA. Braden spent five seasons with the Athletics from 2007-11. He attempted to further his career for two years, battling injuries, before retiring in 2014.
  • Eno Sarris, Staff Writer, FanGraphs: Eno is a staff writer for FanGraphs, where he specializes in pitching analytics. He also takes the best public analytics findings to the players in the clubhouse to get their reactions. He has also been a contributor to ESPN, The Hardball Times, and 120Sports.
  • Moderator: Mike Ferrin, Broadcaster, Arizona Diamondbacks/MLB Network Radio: Mike is entering his first season on the Diamondbacks radio broadcast team, as the pre- and postgame show host and secondary play-by-play announcer on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and the Arizona Diamondbacks Radio Network. Since 2007, he has worked as a nationally renowned broadcaster on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio as the host of “Power Alley” and the on-site host in the MLB postseason and Winter Meetings. Previously, he was the play-by-play announcer for the Double-A Bowie Baysox and a sports producer and reporter for WGN Radio in Chicago.

MLB Now Panel: Host Brian Kenny moderated a wide-ranging discussion on issues affecting the modern game. 5:15 p.m., Thursday, March 10.

  • Eric Byrnes, Analyst, MLB Network: Eric became an analyst for MLB Network after an 11-year career as an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Seattle Mariners. He was a key member of the Diamondbacks' 2007 NL West championship team, hitting 21 home runs, scoring 103 runs, and stealing 50 bases. As a member of the A's, he batted .462 in the 2003 AL Division Series against the Red Sox. He has also been a contributor on ESPN, MLB on FOX, Fox Sports Arizona, “The Best Damn Sports Show Period,” “MLB Home Plate” on SiriusXM, and KNBR in San Francisco.
  • Vince Gennaro, President, SABR: Vince is the President of SABR's Board of Directors and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball. He is a consultant to MLB teams, appears regularly on MLB Network, and director of Columbia University's sports management graduate program. He also hosts the syndicated MLB Network Radio program, "Behind the Numbers: Baseball SABR Style on SiriusXM" on Sunday nights. He is also the architect of the Diamond Dollars Case Competition series, which brings together students and MLB team and league executives and serves as a unique learning experience, as well as a networking opportunity for aspiring sports executives.  
  • Ken Rosenthal, MLB Network/FoxSports.com: Ken is a Baseball Insider for MLB Network and regularly appears on MLB Tonight and Hot Stove. A sportswriter for more than 20 years, he also is FoxSports.com's senior baseball writer and a weekly contributor to the Fox Saturday Baseball Game of the Week. On-air since 2005, he serves as the field reporter during Fox Sports' featured baseball matchup.
  • Moderator: Brian Kenny, Host, MLB Network: Brian is a host at MLB Network, where he appears across the network's studio programming, including “MLB Now” and “MLB Tonight.”  A 25-year national TV and radio veteran, Brian joined MLB Network from ESPN, where he was a “SportsCenter” anchor, host of the Brian Kenny Show on ESPN Radio and an Emmy Award-winning anchor for “Baseball Tonight.”

One on One: Derrick Hall: Listen to a special one-on-one session with the Arizona Diamondbacks executive. 8:00 a.m., Friday, March 11.  

  • Derrick Hall, President/CEO, Arizona Diamondbacks: Derrick is entering his 12th season in the Diamondbacks' front office. He was named as the Diamondbacks' team president in September 2006 and later added the title of CEO in January 2009. Hall originally joined the Diamondbacks in May 2005 as Senior Vice President, Communications, and served in numerous other capacities until being named president. During his tenure, the team has won two NL West championships (2007 and 2011) and was named the top Major League franchise in ESPN's Ultimate Standings in 2013. He has been named the “Best Boss in Sports” by TeamWork Online and Yahoo! named the Diamondbacks as the “Best Workplace in Sports.” His leadership in the local community allowed the Diamondbacks to become the first professional sports team to win the inaugural 2010 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award.
  • Moderator: Ken Rosenthal, MLB Network/FoxSports.com: Ken is a Baseball Insider for MLB Network and regularly appears on MLB Tonight and Hot Stove. A sportswriter for more than 20 years, he also is FoxSports.com's senior baseball writer and a weekly contributor to the Fox Saturday Baseball Game of the Week. On-air since 2005, he serves as the field reporter during Fox Sports' featured baseball matchup.

General Manager Panel: This panel discussed how major league front offices are using analytics to develop a competitive edge and stay ahead of their competition. 9:45 a.m., Friday, March 11.

  • Dick Williams, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Cincinnati Reds: Dick is entering his 11th season in the Reds front office and was promoted to his current position in November 2015. He joined the baseball operations department in 2005 and was involved in all financial and administrative aspects, including budgeting and strategic planning for the major league, scouting and player development departments as well as background analysis for contract negotiations and player acquisitions. Previously, Dick worked in investment banking and the private equity industry in New York and Atlanta. He also worked in Washington, D.C., at the campaign headquarters for President George W. Bush. He graduated from the University of Virginia.
  • Billy Eppler, General Manager, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Billy was hired as the Angels' GM in October 2015. He spent 11 seasons in the New York Yankees front office, including the last four as Assistant GM to Brian Cashman, helping in all areas of MLB operations including player acquisitions, roster composition and management, staffing and personnel decisions, and player contract negotiations. Prior to his tenure with the Yankees, he worked for five years in the Colorado Rockies organization. He graduated cum laude with a degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut in 1998.
  • Moderator: Brian Kenny, Host, MLB Network: Brian is a host at MLB Network, where he appears across the network's studio programming, including “MLB Now” and “MLB Tonight.”  A 25-year national TV and radio veteran, Brian joined MLB Network from ESPN, where he was a “SportsCenter” anchor, host of the Brian Kenny Show on ESPN Radio and an Emmy Award-winning anchor for “Baseball Tonight.”

Technology Panel: Exploring ways in which technology will impact the game of baseball. 1:15 p.m., Friday, March 11.

  • Michael Bentley, Founder, Blast Motion: Michael is the founder of Blast Motion, a San Diego-based company that has helped develop some of the most innovative motion capture and analysis systems, including K-VEST, ENSO, and BLAST. He is considered an industry expert in 3D motion capture technologies and analysis. His extensive research and expertise spans Inertial, Electromagnetic, and Optical technologies. He is also a member of the Professional Golfers' Association of America and a former PGA Tour player. During his playing career, he competed professionally in Australia, Asia, and the United States, and is a consultant to many of today’s top teams, coaches, and equipment manufacturers.
  • Kevin Forbes, Product Specialist, Kinduct Technologies Inc.: Kevin is a Product Specialist with Kinduct Technologies, a Canadian-based technology company that delivers flexible solutions in health, wellness and high performance environments. The Kinduct Performance software platform provides tools for teams and organizations to assess their athletes, deliver programming and track progress, while serving as a centralized location for the collection and analysis of data. Kevin has worked in the field of sport and technology for the last ten years and in his role with Kinduct, works with clients in four major professional sport leagues in North America (MLB, NFL, NBA & NHL) as well as NCAA schools, and other elite performance organizations.
  • Jason Sherwin, Chief Executive Officer, deCervo: Jason is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of deCervo. Previously, he was Research Professor of Visual Neuroscience at the State University of New York. Before that, he held dual appointments as a post-doctoral research scientist at the Columbia University in the City of New York and as an Oak Ridge Associated Universities post-doctoral fellow at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. His research during this time covered perceptual decision-making in real-world environments. Ultimately, this work led to establishing deCervo with co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Jordan Muraskin based on research and inventions they had pioneered at Columbia.
  • Moderator: Vince Gennaro, President, SABR: Vince is the President of SABR's Board of Directors and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball. He is a consultant to MLB teams, appears regularly on MLB Network, and director of Columbia University's sports management graduate program. He also hosts the syndicated MLB Network Radio program, "Behind the Numbers: Baseball SABR Style on SiriusXM" on Sunday nights. He is also the architect of the Diamond Dollars Case Competition series, which brings together students and MLB team and league executives and serves as a unique learning experience, as well as a networking opportunity for aspiring sports executives.

Statcast on Every Screen: Statcast is a revolutionary tracking technology developed by MLBAM. It gathers and displays aspects of the game that were previously immeasurable. The system collects the data using high-resolution optical cameras and radar equipment that have been installed in all 30 Major League ballparks. The technology precisely measures the positions and movements of the ball and every player on the field, introducing fans to a whole new generation of stats such as Exit Velocity, Launch Angle, Route Efficiency, Top Speed and more. MLBAM’s director of baseball research and development Daren Willman and MLB.com analyst Mike Petriello discussed Statcast and how they’re using it to tell, and visualize, baseball’s most interesting stories, engaging fans in a multi-platform world. 2:30 p.m., Friday, March 11.   

  • Daren Willman, Director of Baseball Research and Development, MLB Advanced Media: Daren spearheads socially fan driven content featuring Statcast in his work for MLBAM. He developed the popular data websites BaseballSavant.com, MLBfarm.com, and NFLsavant.com. Previously, he was the lead software architect at the Harris County District Attorney's Office in Houston.
  • Mike Petriello, Analyst, MLB.com: Mike is an analyst for MLB.com, host of the Statcast podcast, and he regularly appears on MLB Network. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs and was an editorial producer for Sports on Earth. From 2008 to 2013, he was Senior Digital Producer at Ketchum, one of the world's largest PR agencies. 
  • Moderator: Vince Gennaro, President, SABR: Vince is the President of SABR's Board of Directors and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball. He is a consultant to MLB teams, appears regularly on MLB Network, and director of Columbia University's sports management graduate program. He also hosts the syndicated MLB Network Radio program, "Behind the Numbers: Baseball SABR Style on SiriusXM" on Sunday nights. He is also the architect of the Diamond Dollars Case Competition series, which brings together students and MLB team and league executives and serves as a unique learning experience, as well as a networking opportunity for aspiring sports executives.

Defensive Metrics Panel: This panel discussed how the art of fielding and evaluating defense have changed thanks to modern analysis. 8:30 a.m., Saturday, March 12.

  • Alex Cora, Analyst, ESPN: Alex has been an analyst with ESPN and ESPN Deportes since 2013. He provides analysis on various platforms across both networks, including on “Baseball Tonight” and other studio programming. He was an infielder for 14 seasons in the major leagues, helping the Boston Red Sox win the 2007 World Series. He also helped lead the University of Miami to three College World Series. He is also the general manager of Puerto Rico’s Caguas Criollos baseball team and led them to the 2013 Caribbean Series.
  • John Dewan, Owner, Baseball Info Solutions: John is the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, which collects, analyzes and disseminates the most in-depth data in the industry with more than a dozen Major League Baseball teams as clients. He is also the co-publisher of ACTA Sports, a division of ACTA Publications, which publishes books on statistical baseball analysis, including the annual Bill James Handbook and other sports titles. John’s three-volume set of The Fielding Bible books break new ground in an area that has been the least analyzed in baseball: defense. His Plus/Minus System and Defensive Runs Saved are a direct application of actuarial and sabermetric techniques. Before founding BIS, John was President and CEO of STATS, Inc., following a highly successful career as an insurance actuary.
  • Caleb Peiffer, Manager, Baseball Operations, Seattle Mariners: Caleb is entering his eighth season in the Mariners front office, where he assists in player acquisitions, roster management, professional scouting, and contract negotiations. He was named Manager of Baseball Operations in 2013. He graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in History in 2007. He has also written for Baseball Prospectus.
  • Moderator: Mike Ferrin, Broadcaster, Arizona Diamondbacks/MLB Network Radio: Mike is entering his first season on the Diamondbacks radio broadcast team, as the pre- and postgame show host and secondary play-by-play announcer on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and the Arizona Diamondbacks Radio Network. Since 2007, he has worked as a nationally renowned broadcaster on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio as the host of “Power Alley” and the on-site host in the MLB postseason and Winter Meetings. Previously, he was the play-by-play announcer for the Double-A Bowie Baysox and a sports producer and reporter for WGN Radio in Chicago.

How Big Data and Analytics is Impacting Baseball's Business Operations: The business of baseball is becoming more dependent on analytics. This panel takes an inside look into how team’s front offices are using analytics and big data to progressively drive incremental revenue growth. 11:00 a.m., Saturday, March 12.

  • John Fisher, Senior Vice President, Ticket Sales and Marketing, Arizona Diamondbacks: John is entering his ninth season with the Diamondbacks front office, and sixth in his current position. He oversees all groups, suites and season ticket sales, service and ticket operations as well as all marketing efforts for the Diamondbacks. He originally joined the organization in October 2007 and managed a staff of season tickets sales representatives that set an organizational record in new ticket package revenue for the 2008 season. Prior to joining the Diamondbacks, Fisher worked for the Lake Erie Monsters of the America Hockey League in 2006-07 after spending six seasons leading group sales efforts for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena.
  • Ryan Gustafson, Vice President, Strategy & Innovation, San Diego Padres: Ryan oversees business analytics, strategic planning, financial projections, and special projects for the Padres. Previously, he worked at the MLB Commissioner’s Office in ticket analytics, and received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2012.
  • Moderator: Dan Migala, Chief Innovation Officer, PCG & SportsDesk Media: Dan is the co-founder of PCG, a Chicago-based team marketing advisory firm and SportsDesk Media, a next generation digital media, analytics and marketing company with clients in MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAA and International sports organizations. He has helped design some of Major League and Minor League Baseball's most innovative revenue-generating concepts and has been recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for his creative advancement of baseball promotions.

Baseball Operations PanelThis panel focused on how baseball operations departments throughout Major League Baseball are using analytics. 2:00 p.m., Saturday, March 12.

  • Sarah Gelles, Director, Analytics and Major League Contracts, Baltimore Orioles: Sarah is entering her sixth season in the Orioles front office. She has also served as a judge in the Diamond Dollars Case Competition. Previously, she had internships in the Labor Relations Department for Major League Baseball and in the Pittsburgh Pirates' baseball operations department. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought from Amherst College in 2010.
  • Yeshayah Goldfarb, Vice President of Baseball Operations, San Francisco Giants: Yeshayah is entering his 16th season with the Giants, his first as Vice President of Baseball Operations. He runs minor league operations on a day-to-day basis, which includes: running spring training camp, forming and managing rosters, conducting player evaluation, staff development, budget oversight, and acting as the affiliate team liaison. Additionally he provides statistical analysis on major league, minor league, and amateur players for purposes of roster construction, player acquisition and development. He is also responsible for seeking out and incorporating new technologies and data into baseball operations information systems. Goldfarb graduated cum laude from the University of California, San Diego.
  • Nick Ennis, Director of Baseball Operations, San Diego Padres: Nick is entering his seventh season in the Padres front office, having been promoted to his current post in November 2014. His primary responsibilities include assisting in player acquisitions, roster management, professional scouting and contract negotiations. He is also involved in the club's analytics research initiatives and the application of new technologies throughout the department's activities. He first joined the club as an intern in the summer of 2010. A 2004 graduate of Georgetown University, Ennis worked in the venture capital industry before receiving his Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School in 2010.
  • Moderator: Vince Gennaro, President, SABR: Vince is the President of SABR's Board of Directors and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball. He is a consultant to MLB teams, appears regularly on MLB Network, and director of Columbia University's sports management graduate program. He also hosts the syndicated MLB Network Radio program, "Behind the Numbers: Baseball SABR Style on SiriusXM" on Sunday nights. He is also the architect of the Diamond Dollars Case Competition series, which brings together students and MLB team and league executives and serves as a unique learning experience, as well as a networking opportunity for aspiring sports executives.

 

For more information on the 2016 SABR Analytics Conference, visit SABR.org/analytics.