The Syracuse University Baseball Statistics and Sabermetrics Club sent two teams to the SABR Diamond Dollars Case Competition at NYU on November 16, 2018.
The competition is for undergraduate students from universities across the country to compete against each other by preparing an analysis and presentation of a baseball operations decision. Presentations were made to a panel of judges consisting of Major League Baseball executives. Teams were given seven days to collect data, make projections, and prepare a 30-minute presentation for the competition in New York City.
This year, the teams were asked to predict the free agent contract in years and dollars for Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals and Manny Machado of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Harper and Machado are expected to receive two of the largest free-agent deals in Major League Baseball history during the 2018-19 offseason. Students also had to predict which team the players would sign with and their future statistics for the life of the contract.
“This was an interesting case to work on because within a few months we can compare our predictions against the players’ actual contracts, and later on, against their actual statistics,” said Sport Analytics major Zak Koeppel ’21. “Overall, it was a fantastic research experience for all students involved and we learned a lot.”
Along with Koeppel, nine SU Sport Analytics majors competed at the event: Zach Crowe ’22, Steven DiMaria ’22, Gareth Jobling ’20, Kyle Liotta ’20, Drake Mills ’22, Colby Olson ’21, Daniel Preciado ’22, Joey Sabel ’21, and Warren Schatten ’22.
“While neither team won, it was truly a unique opportunity to present our student-led research to Major League Baseball executives,” Liotta said. “That’s not something undergraduate students get to do very often.”
The Sport Analytics students competed against teams from Fordham, Tufts, and NYU, among others. Judges included Cameron Barwick (MLB), Chris Pang (New York Mets), and Greg Bouris (MLB Players Association). The judges picked a winning presentation at the conclusion of the competition and offered suggestions on how the presentations could be improved.
“Having our students continually be able to present research at national competitions is vital to their education and expands upon what we teach them in the classroom,” said Dr. Rodney Paul, director of the Sport Analytics program at SU.