Sarris: Q&A with Nick Ennis, San Diego Padres Director of Baseball Operations

From SABR member Eno Sarris at FanGraphs on December 17, 2014:

Nick Ennis was recently promoted to Director of Baseball Operations for the San Diego Padres. He signed on with the Padres as an intern in the baseball operations department out of Columbia Business School, and has also been an advance scout since he joined the team in 2010. He agreed to talk at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, where he had a hotel room despite living five minutes from the convention center. How else are you going to finish up work at two a.m. in the morning and be available for brunch?

Eno Sarris: One of the first interviews I ever did was at the winter meetings, with John Coppolella, now an Assistant General Manager in Atlanta. I asked him about defensive stats, and where they were, and if he ever looked at stats like UZR. He said, yeah, we do have some of that stuff in our database and we have our own opinions. When it comes to the stuff that you see on FanGraphs, how far off is the research?

Nick Ennis: That’s a good question because in the realm of their information, the lens through which they view the world — a macro view, bucketing different outcomes of batted balls with the information that they have, that kind of stuff — I think they’re good. With the public information at their disposal, those metrics are good. That’s a testament to the skills and talent of the members of the public baseball analytics community.

Where the clubs might have access to information that isn’t publicly available — whether it’s information that’s proprietary to that specific club, or information that’s shared only amongst clubs — then you start to see advantages potentially. Better input, essentially. All these models are going to depend on their inputs as well as the way they weigh those inputs.

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Originally published: December 18, 2014. Last Updated: December 18, 2014.