Mitchell: Tufts undergrads use math smarts in Diamond Dollars Case Competition

From Jacqueline Mitchell at on July 20, 2015, with mention of SABR member Andy Andres:

Pitcher Cole Hamels has spent his entire career with the Philadelphia Phillies, debuting for the big league team in 2006 and winning the World Series with them in 2008. But Hamels signed a $20-plus million contract in ’09, and this year the Phillies are not expected to make it to the playoffs, so many observers expect the team to trade the popular Cy Young contender. What’s a general manager to do? Move the guy? For whom? And for how much? (Wait for it—the answer is below.)

That was precisely the problem given to college teams that participated in the 2015 Diamond Dollars Case Competition held during the national conference of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) this spring in Phoenix, Arizona. Out of 11 undergraduate entrants, the two Tufts teams—captained by Caleb Pykkonen, A16, and Morris Greenberg, A16—were among the top three contenders, just behind eventual winner Stanford University.

SABR members take a sophisticated statistical approach, eponymously known as sabermetrics, that dives deeper than a hitter’s runs batted in (RBI) or a pitcher’s win-loss record to analyze a player’s strengths and weaknesses. Both of those old-timey baseball stats depend heavily on the rest of a team’s collective talent. Sabermetrics, popularized by the 2003 book Moneyball, allows seamheads to look more closely at individual player performance by making use of the reams of data generated in each ballgame.

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Originally published: July 24, 2015. Last Updated: July 24, 2015.