Diamond: How the Mariners used big data to turn a Gold Glove infielder into an outfielder

From Jared Diamond at the Wall Street Journal on March 26, 2018:

The Seattle Mariners entered the offseason realizing they needed a center fielder. They just didn’t know where to find one.

Trade discussions proved fruitless. The best free agents cost too much. So general manager Jerry Dipoto gathered his front office and issued a challenge: Come up with a creative solution.

That edict resulted in one of the most intriguing baseball moves of the winter, when the Mariners acquired Dee Gordon, a speedster with a Gold Glove on his résumé—at a different position. Gordon, who turns 30 next month, arrived in Seattle with 523 games’ worth of experience at second base, 163 at shortstop and exactly zero in the outfield. He played in the middle infield exclusively in the minors as well.

Yet the Mariners believed so strongly in Gordon’s ability to handle center that they sent three prospects to the Miami Marlins and committed to pay the guaranteed $38 million remaining on his contract, sight unseen. They insist they arrived at that conclusion not only with their eyes and instincts, but by using mountains of sophisticated data unavailable to them as recently as four years ago.

Read the full article here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-mariners-used-big-data-to-turn-a-gold-glove-infielder-into-an-outfielder-1522083065

Originally published: March 26, 2018. Last Updated: March 26, 2018.