Hudgins: Callahan honed ‘Moneyball’ approach through SABR internship and W.P. Carey School

From Brian Hudgins at W.P. Carey News on July 31, 2019:

As cookie-cutter, multi-purpose Major League Baseball parks built in the 1960s and ’70s such as the Astrodome and Riverfront Stadium gave way to glitzy new stadiums with on-site restaurants, museums, and better fan sightlines, another revolution was taking place.

Scouting of individual players and teams took a turn. Teams gradually started using advanced data to help front-office personnel make wide-ranging baseball decisions on everything from on-field player positioning to trades and overall roster construction.

A pair of W. P. Carey grads have witnessed the transformation up close. Arizona Diamondbacks Analyst, Baseball Operations Research & Development Cody Callahan (BS Marketing ’14, MS Business Analytics ’15) uses mathematical models to help solve complex plays in baseball for the team. Daniel McIntosh (BS Finance ’07, MBA ’10), a lecturer on the Tempe campus, has examined the ins and outs of analytics largely in the basketball arena.


Callahan’s initial exposure to baseball happened in northern Virginia where he spent several childhood years before his family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. “I was always interested in baseball, but it got bigger in Arizona with the sport being played year-round at a greater level. The number of coaches and resources here are unique for baseball.”

That resource bank includes the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). The Phoenix-based organization started in 1971 as a group of 16 baseball researchers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Today the organization includes more than 6,000 members. Callahan was the captain of the 2015 ASU team that won the graduate and professional school division at the 2015 Diamond Dollars Case Competition at the SABR Analytics Conference. “During college, I could intern with SABR because they are local,” Callahan says. “It all feeds into itself.”

Callahan’s student experiences at ASU fulfilled his need for practical knowledge. Courses in logistics and modeling provided data skills. The Master of Science in Business Analytics program gave him an SABR competition opportunity. “That was a great environment for meeting my future boss with the Diamondbacks,” Callahan explains. “The grad program allowed us to compete at the SABR Analytics Conference. It was all about developing skills and applying them to your work.”

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Originally published: September 19, 2019. Last Updated: September 19, 2019.