Yaspan: An interview with former Mets stat guru Ben Baumer

From SABR member Matthew Yaspan at Amazin Avenue on March 6, 2014, with SABR member Ben Baumer:

Professor Benjamin Baumer, now a professor of statistics at Smith College, spent eight years in the Mets organization as a statistical analyst. One of his recent baseball-related projects is openWAR, a package in the statistical language that gives an open-source calculation of Wins Above Replacement, which is available on Github. Baumer, along with fellow Smith professor Andrew Zimbalist, has also recently released The Sabermetric Revolution, a book that revisits Michael Lewis’s Moneyball and assesses the state of analytics in the game today.

Professor Baumer was kind enough to take part in an interview with Amazin’ Avenue. Below is the first part of our interview, which deals with Baumer’s time with the New York Mets.

You were brought into the Mets organization in 2004 and left in 2012. What was the adjustment like for your first season? How did your role evolve over the years?

The Mets, like most teams at the time, never really had anyone working full-time on statistical analysis, so there wasn’t any statistical infrastructure in place when I arrived. Moneyball had just been published (in 2003), and so they were probably ahead of the curve in hiring someone to do statistical analysis. However, I don’t think they had many fixed notions of what they hoped to get out of that person. This was great for me, because it meant that I had near-total freedom to do what I wanted. On the other hand, there was nothing in place, so I had to start from scratch. This was both a blessing and a curse.

Read the full article here: http://www.amazinavenue.com/2014/3/5/5426466/mets-interview-benjamin-baumer-statistical-analysis-sabermetrics

Originally published: March 6, 2014. Last Updated: March 6, 2014.