Guttridge/Ogren: The state of analytics in MLB

From Adam Guttridge and David Ogren at FanGraphs on January 17, 2016:

Much has been made lately of “title inflation”; the presence of multiple personnel above the role of assistant GM within MLB front offices. That’s a symptom of something larger, rather than a phenomenon unto itself. Front offices are growing, and most rapidly through analytics-centric staff of some type. Critically, though, they’re mostly proceeding with a classically hierarchical (vertical) structure. As a result, specialization is now at an all-time high.

40 years ago, a general manager’s duties extended to such perfunctory tasks as preparing operating budgets and arbitration presentations. In 2016, those may be functions of people who report to people who report to the GM (and perhaps the GMs themselves are reporting to yet another non-owner above them). Even just 10 years ago, well into post-Moneyball times, general managers would occupy barstools in the open lobbies of winter meetings hotels, and talk trades over drinks. That’s simply not how it is any longer, as the mechanics of trades (and evaluations) are more sophisticated.

Certainly, not all organizations have taken the vertical route. But many (or most) have, and it has several effects, as one might imagine.

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Originally published: January 25, 2016. Last Updated: January 25, 2016.