|From Ed Wade to NASA
||Wed, 14 March 2012 14:11
Registered: July 2005
Getting excited for opening day, in doing some research came across reading about the new regime in Houston. This might work!! And what a change from our old friend 'Easy' Ed Wade... However, we won't know for at least 2-3 years, what a lack of talent...|
Analyze this: Astros' Mejdal takes on unique role
Engineer-turned-baseball exec leading Houston's new department
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com | 01/31/12 12:37 PM EST
HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow wasn't on the job very long in Houston when he announced he was bringing aboard Sig Mejdal to become the team's director of decision sciences, a role which immediately gave Mejdal one of the most unusual titles in baseball.
At first read, the title would make more sense if Mejdal were hired to work on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley, and certainly not at Minute Maid Park. That's the place, after all, where players spit seeds and slap high fives and where fans yell, scream and throw peanut shells on the floor.
Who needs a director of decision sciences?
Mejdal on role with Astros
Director of decision sciences Sig Mejdal talks with MLB.com's Brian McTaggart about what he does for the Astros
Astros look to youth in '12
Welcome to the world of the new Astros, who are under a fresh regime that's embracing the concept of data analysis and sabermetrics like never before. In many ways, Mejdal's role will be one of the most vital to helping Astros management turn around a franchise that lost 106 games last year.
In layman's terms, Mejdal's job is to use all the data and information available and combine it in a systemic way to aid those in charge of making decisions. You wouldn't do your taxes without a calculator, so why not use one when making multi-million-dollar decisions?
"In a general sense, perhaps what any decision maker in baseball has, is they have this overwhelming amount of information from different sources with different degrees of certainty associated with each," Mejdal said. "Some are subjective evaluations from the experts, some are well-measured fastball velocities, [and] some information comes from the player's resume and on-field performance."
The information Mejdal has been put in charge of analyzing goes beyond statistics like batting average and ERA. There are biological factors and psychological tests, as well as third-party descriptions of the players. His goal is to try to make sense of the attributes of each player and give the scouts and the front office as much help as possible when making decisions.
"Sig brings some unique skills to the front office and has been working in baseball now over five years and has a good understanding of how scouts and coaches think, and [he] complements that with analytical ability," Luhnow said. "He's going to be instrumental in us figuring out everything."
Mejdal, 46, came from the Cardinals, where he had worked since 2005 and was most recently the team's director of amateur Draft analytics. Mejdal was involved with modeling, analysis and data-driven decision making throughout all levels of the Cardinals organization and was a key contributor in Draft decision processes.
Mejdal grew up in the Bay Area of California as a fan of the Oakland A's and was always interested in baseball stats. As a kid, he even had a membership in the Society for American Baseball Research. He earned two engineering degrees at the University of California-Davis and later completed advanced degrees in operations research and cognitive psychology/human factors. He has also worked at Lockheed Martin in California and for NASA.
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