Gennaro, Zavagno Take Home Research Awards

Vince Gennaro of Purchase, New York, and the team of David R. Zavagno, Avrami Grader, and Philip M. Halleck, took home the prizes for the best presentations at SABR 38, held June 26 to 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Gennaro won the Doug Pappas Research Award for the best oral research presentation at the SABR convention, for his “What Factors Influence Free Agent Salaries?” While the general public still views free agent salaries as a principal driver of the business, Gennaro argued that they are instead broadly explained by such factors as recent performance, contract length and fielding position.

Zavagno, et al, won the USA Today Sports Weekly Prize for the best poster presentation at SABR 38 for “Maple Bats Changed the Game.” Although many ballplayers have switched from ash (the wood of choice of nearly every hitter for many decades) to maple since Barry Bonds started the trend, physical testing of the bat-ball interaction has not demonstrated meaningful differences. The X-ray CT techniques developed and presented by these authors, however, show real distinctions between ash and maple in the structures of growth rings. Does that explain what players insist is an advantage of maple? 

As winner of the USA Today Sports Weekly Award, Zavagno wins a $125 prize, with a matching donation to SABR from USA Today Sports Weekly.

The next SABR convention will be held July 30 to August 2, 2009, at the JW Marriott Hotel Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. 

Originally published: July 1, 2008. Last Updated: July 1, 2008.