There is no American sport as statistically driven as baseball. In fact, there was a book published called Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game written by Michael Lewis (and soon to be a movie on it starring Brad Pitt), which highlights the Oakland A’s focus on new age statistics to create a strong, economical baseball team. The approach has worked well for the A’s…in some years.
MLB team front office executives are not the only people using statistics and data to help them generate revenue for the entities they represent; many baseball agents are taking advantage of old and new forms of data to position their clients as being more valuable than perhaps originally perceived, and players are using new technologies to take the data available and use it to better themselves on the field. Outside of the negotiation of better contracts, players have used technological advances to learn more about their performance and what to expect from the competition. It seems as though almost every big leaguer carries an iPad around with him these days.
Jerry Milani of Baseball Digest recently spoke with Mike Dillon of Reynolds Sports Management, which is one of the agencies that is putting in work to help its players benefit from the usage technology. Here are a couple of the question and answer exchanges (BBD = Baseball Digest, MR = Mike Dillon).
BBD: When talking to teams, is the use of technology by players on their own seen as a help or a hindrance in what the coaches are doing?
MR: I think it is seen as a help. I don’t think teams frown upon players looking at video on their own. We encourage an open line of communication between the team and players and this new technology can be integrated into what the team is doing. Just looking at video doesn’t ensure success at the plate — you still have to put the work in on the field and it’s that combination that we encourage.
BBD: Are there any drawbacks to using the products now available?
MR: I don’t see any drawbacks necessarily to using new technologies. Like I said earlier, as technology evolves the way players prepare for games will evolve. Players, agents and teams have to keep up with technology in order to compete these days. And there is no substitute for hard work and just looking at video doesn’t assure success. Who knows what knew advancement we will be talking about in a year.
I’m not sure what new advancement we will be talking about a year from now, but I have no doubt that the early adopter Logan Morrison will be using it (Logan Morrison is an Octagon Baseball client and I absolutely love his activity on Twitter).