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Old 10-14-2019, 11:15 PM   #1
SmoothGentleman
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Modern Analytics: A Baseball Story

13-2.




Who knew that I would be almost 24, sitting in an office and gleaming over my teams start to a season?




To be honest, I wouldn't have. Three years ago, Malcolm and I decided to make the Baseball Analytics Institute a reality. We sent texts to his Sean Mantione who joined us in pitching East Carolina University Head Coach, Jason Hull our analytics program using the technology we could get our hands on, sabermetrics, and experimental coaching methods to increase player performance.

Coach Hull responded quite negatively to our group e-mail writing, "I don't need a bunch of kids giving me advice on baseball. I've been coaching for twenty years." Coach Hull was correct. However, his coaching career had mixed results...at best. He was fired from ECU after the 2020 season, who saw that coming?

Malcolm, Sean, and I were all students at ECU when we made the pitch. All huge fans of baseball, and deeply researched within modern analytics and the technology beginning to come to light in scouting and player development aspects of the sport.


Malcolm was a math major who can compute and dissect numbers better than anyone I've ever met. He grew up with his dad in Washington, North Carolina, where he was often picked on for being a 'nerd' and not fitting in with his African American counterparts. He often told me about his childhood issues, but his dad encouraged his love of math, science, and baseball. His dad Maurice was a high school football player but didn't force his love of football onto his son. We met during our freshman year at ECU.

Sean was an engineering major who could solve mathematical equations in the same vein as Malcolm. In fact, they met in a college calculus class. They bonded over numbers and baseball, quickly diving into sabermetrics and how technology will change the game for the better.

Myself? I was studying business and political science. My love of baseball came from my father who played in since defunct baseball leagues in Australia and Italy. Once he retired, he began coaching in Greenville, North Carolina where I grew up, which is also the home of ECU.

Our initial goal was to help our struggling baseball program, especially with football in a deep decline. Yet, we didn't allow Coach Hull's spurn of our talents to keep us from pursuing our baseball goals. It took Sean an entire twenty seconds to respond, "I'm in" after we shared our idea.


That was the beginning of the Baseball Analytics Institute. We would begin by making YouTube videos of our aspirations and our theories on baseball development and scouting. To our surprise, several of our early videos soared passed 100,000 views.




The advertising revenue allowed us to bring Malcolm's younger brother Christopher into the institute, followed by my younger sister Josephine. As we continued to grow our friends Audrey Hudson, an above-average softball hitter; Richard Colon who pitched in community college, and Allison Boyd who learned to scout from her dad would all join us.




In February of 2020, we have enough capital to rent our own facility in Greenville, North Carolina. High school and MLB minor league players would soon come to our facility for our coaching and consultation. Soon Baseball Analytics Institute would be featured in popular baseball scouting outlets, and I was asked for several interviews. Crazy right?




Life would become even more unimaginable when teams began contacting me for jobs within their front office. At first, nothing was serious enough to make me consider leaving the institute, especially since the offers were only for my services. I wasn't about to leave those who helped me build something this evolutionary.

However, in January 2021, you know several months ago, the offers became a bit more serious after the Baseball Analytics Institute's reputation continued to grow. The Arizona Diamondbacks offered me to come in as their General Manager, but I would answer to the President of Baseball Operations and wouldn't have full control over their player development department. The offer seemed almost as a publicity stunt, rather than an opportunity for me and the Baseball Analytics Institute team to change how their organization operates. The $210,000 salary was a large number, but I wouldn't have been able to bring in everyone I wanted. It was hard to pass on the offer, especially since the three-year deal would have taken care of me financially for the rest of my life.


The Colorado Rockies offered a $420,000 salary over two years to become the Executive Vice President, Player Development & Scouting. Yet, they made it well known there would be a short leash and a lot of pressure to quickly install the BAI program and foster results.




We talked about it as a group and decided that wasn't the fit for us. Charlie Monfort wasn't the boss we were looking for.


Everything would change on March 1st. Pranay Naimish, owner of the Baseball of India team, Vadodara Dynamo offered a far lower salary but would allow me to bring in my entire team. His National Congress background gave him the confidence to offer, and he ensured that the offer was not a publicity stunt. Naimish ensured that he would remain 'hands-off' and just wanted to make sure he would make a profit while fielding a competitive team.




This is exactly what I wanted to hear. The team talked it over, and we accepted the offer on March 2nd. Our first moves were to bring in new voices to lead our pitching staff and scouting department while dumping the necessary money into our player development program to bring over what we needed from the United States and begin building it in India.




After those decisions, I decided to take full advantage of the BOI rules allowing for both ten foreign-born hitters and pitchers. I and the scouting department poured over independent leagues looking for contracts to purchase.


Which to this point of the season has paid off quite well.









BOI has a 120 game season, and I decided to travel with and watch every game from various parks throughout April. We just defeated the Nagpur Bobcats 6-0 to end a successful month and a 4-1 series victory against Nagpur in Vadodara.

I'll still watch some games live throughout the season, but I need to get hands-on with the player development network, international complex, and deal with the press more directly than I have.





"Jessica, the car is waiting," Malcolm says bursting into the office without knocking on the previously closed door. "We have an early day tomorrow."



"Just because we've been dating for a year, doesn't mean you don't have to knock," I reply coyly. I know Malcolm is taking his role seriously and wants to see us succeed. "My mistake madam President, shall I try again?"



I could only smile towards him as I got up from behind the desk, "Let's get going."











Vadodara Dynamo Office & Staff


Baseball Operations

Owner: Pranay Naimish (Lenient and Hands-off who wants to make money) ->62

President, Baseball Operations & General Manager: Jessica Creger (Hired March 2, 2021 at the age of 23) [March 15 birthdate] ->24

Executive Vice President, Baseball Analytics: Malcolm Dillahunt ->24

Assistant General Manager: Agniruha Premkumar ->45

Assistant Director, Baseball Operations: Josephine Creger ->21



Player Development & Scouting


Senior VP, Scouting Director: Cudakarana Ramamuthe ->47

Senior VP, Player Development Engineer: Sean Mantione ->24

Director, Amateur Scouting: Ansh Amin ->34

Director, Pro Scouting: Dhruv Laghari ->41

Director, International Scouting: Allison Boyd ->23

Assistant Player Development Engineer, Video: Christopher Dillahunt ->22

Assistant Player Development Engineer, Hitting: Audrey Hudson ->24

Assistant Player Development Engineer, Pitching: Richard Colon ->25

Assistant, Scouting Director: Asapurna Mohaiemen ->32 [In game Scouting Director]

Assistant, Amateur Scouting: Chetan Jha ->30

Assistant, Pro Scouting: Dalip Patel ->33

Assistant, International Scouting: Colby Bassett ->27

Minor League Pitching Coordinator: Dylan Short ->24

Minor League Fielding Coordinator: Adit Grover ->34


Medical & Training Staff

Head Athletic Trainer: Jayasvamin Melliyal ->47

Assistant Athletic Trainer: Bhakti Melliyal ->24

Assistant Athletic Trainer: Kabir Lal ->36


Coaching Staff

Manager: Devayukta Hazare ->44

Bench Coach: Ksitisa Sanaka ->33

Pitching Coach: Bhuvanacandra Himani ->38

Hitting Coach: Kazuhiro Kiyohara ->53

1st Base Coach, Outfield Coach: Abhipala Kaushal ->33 [In game Bench Coach]

3rd Base Coach, Infield Coach: Adhipa Ramchandr ->53 [In game Bench Coach]

Catching Coach, Run Prevention Coach: Nick Avila ->32 [In game Pitching Coach]

Bullpen Coach, Assistant Pitching Coach: Anderson Donaldson ->26

Assistant Hitting Coach: Hajime Miki->44 [In game Hitting Coach]

Bullpen Catcher: Kyle Matterson ->24

Organizational Pitching Coach: Agendra Suchin ->32 [In game Pitching Coach]

Organizational Hitting Coach: Raj Vadivelu ->32 [In game Hitting Coach]

Organizational Fielding Coach: Todd Leroux ->40 [In game Bench Coach]

Director of Coaching, International Complex: Aly Gonzalez ->30 [In game Manager]

Coach, International Complex: Thomas Barksdale ->30 [In game Bench Coach]

Coach, International Comex: Preston Vancil ->34 [In game Pitching Coach]

Last edited by SmoothGentleman; 10-22-2019 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 10-16-2019, 05:24 AM   #2
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I should have known it wasn't going to be that easy. The first eleven days of May saw me split time between the Vadorado International Complex, conveniently located several miles from our modest operating headquarters within Dynamo Field and the Vadorado Hitting & Pitching Institute.




Audrey, Christopher, Josephine, Malcolm, Richard, Sean, and I convinced Naimish to purchase a small facility in Vadorado to set up our analytics and engineering operations within the city. That early March meeting didn't take long as Naimish was quite sincere with allowing me and my team to do what we deemed necessary as long as the team was turning a profit.

Fair enough bargain.

With all of our operations outside of our Amjer Blue Chips affiliate located within Vadorado, it makes my job a little easier.

We currently have ten players out of the fifteen allowed by Baseball Of India at our international complex. I spent quite a bit of time watching and speaking to Director of Coaching, Aly Gonzalez about seventeen-year-old pitching Irving Medina out of Mexico. The last administration signed him and he's the star of our younger players for now. With BOI adding a second minor league affiliate next season, it's possible he could begin his professional playing career soon.

His 2-Seam sits around 92-94, and 4-Seam around 95-97. He already throws a fringe Slider and is working on a Cut Change. I spoke to him briefly in passing; he's quite intelligent. I'm impressed with him.







Eighteen-year-old infielder Luis Dariel Encarnacion from the Dominican Republic, another signee from the last administration is low key but could develop into a decent BOI hitter. The staff at the complex have him learning third base to give him a bit more flexibility. He will likely debut next season in the advanced A developmental league as well, we'll see though.




The Hitting & Pitching Institute was another challenge. We don't have the resourced to set up the operation how we would like, but it's definitely a start. We were able to train our scouting department and organizational coaches unfamiliar with the technology on how it operates.

Luckily, only our hirings in India were unfamiliar with our methods, but they were eager to learn. To be honest, we made sure all outside hires were open to modern technology, the 'old school' voices don't even belong in the broadcast booth -- even less in a player development role.

We had our first draft meetings at the Institute shortly after the area and regional scouts delivered their reports on the 6th. I let everyone know that our focus has to be on pitching; it's the one weakness this organization has.

With the 8th overall selection, my eyes are on former 1st overall selection Durvarana Viral, who has tremendous makeup and upside.





If fortune falls my way, Gurudasa Shukla will be there in the 2nd round. With the baseball scene in India rapidly growing, but still light on true prospects may cause some of our targets to get snatched from us during the fifteen rounds. Again, we'll see what happens.








With the team struggling to pitch, I returned to watch a game live at our park on March 12. My favorite player on our team Takumi Yasuda was pitching. I like to call him "Tiny Terror" as he's 5'6'' and maybe 145, but I picked a bad day to be live in the park. Yasuda had two wild pitches in the first inning and just didn't have his best stuff.





I made my first in-season trade in an attempt to address the pitching on the 4th, but that didn't seem to help.





Hopefully, former big leaguer Willy Peralta will eventually stabilize our struggling bullpen. He spent two days at the institute after we claimed him to work on his Sinker grip and release point.






Again, we'll see.






Watching Chapal struggle in-person once again was enough to convince me to send him to developmental. However, he decided to decline the demotion, and I instead had to promptly DFA him. I can't let struggling players dictate the roster, even though his prankster attitude was popular in the clubhouse. Having the worst pitching in the Soar League is enough motivation to get me to try anything.





"Do you have any answers, or are you as lost as I am?" I asked Sean through my cellphone. It was 2am local time and I couldn't stop reviewing our pitching data in my office, "Outside of Nelson and Yasuda everyone in the rotations mechanics are out of whack," he tiredly answered. "Hatch's shoulder soreness definitely isn't helping, we were counting on him as our number three," he continued.









Melliyal had no idea why Hatch's shoulder remained sore weeks later, but he advised us to not rush him back as it could turn into something worse. "Yeah, he's going to need two rehab starts at this point," I replied with a sigh. "Get with Richard tomorrow and see if you two can find anything we can pass along to the coaches."



"Will do," Sean said before wishing me goodnight. I scratched my head in frustration after hanging up. It gets lonely at the office, Malcolm has spent the past several days traveling with area scouts to prepare for the draft. That's coming up on July 5th, I sometimes forget with all that I'm trying to juggle.



Agniruha Premkumar and Josephine have helped a great deal at the office. Premkumar spent several years coaching in the fledging college ranks around India and has a good head for the game. While Josephine pays close attention to even the minor details.


But, will it be enough? I guess we'll see. 120 games makes for a long season. At least we're still in first place within the division. But 17-10 doesn't feel as good as 13-2.

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Old 10-16-2019, 08:36 AM   #3
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Digging this! Ka’ai Tom is my dude! Exactly the kind of ‘Stache that screams superstar.
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:08 AM   #4
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May 20, 2021

It's flattering and peculair that several pitchers have sent messages to my office asking for extensions, full well knowing we're not happy with the current pitching going on in Vadodara. It made for an interesting past week around the office as the team has fought to regain their early season form.

Veteran Starting Pitcher Alagu Madhabi made his request on May 13th, followed by Antarvedi Raghavendran on the 19th while I was on a plane to Bombay.



Madhabi-1
Madhabi-2-May-13th
Raghavendran-1
Raghavendran-2-May-19th

I heard Bombay was a fun city, especially last year after the Bombay Pride won the Baseball Of India Championship. They began the season struggling, but I needed to see the team in person again. Hansakaya Rudraraju was pressed into starting action for a second start, mainly due to Hatch's shoulder concerns. However, it wasn't he who let the team down on the 19th. Peralta and JB Olson, who had a 1.05 ERA out of the pen last season for the team combined to blow a late lead and cost us the victory.


Pitching...


Not to mention Cardenas having to leave the game with a tight hamstring after sliding into second, and Shokrollahi exiting after getting hit by a pitch. "At least it's fun seeing Gonzalez play shortstop," Josephine said to try and lighten the mood. She was the only other office member who traveled with me to the game.


I hate my sister...


...I don't mean that I just didn't find any humor in watching our pitching fall apart again.



May-19th-1
May-19th-2


Even worse, Josie and I immediately flew to Ajmer to watch Hatch in his second rehab start the next day. To be honest, I was going to recall him unless his arm fell off.

The bottom of our rotation has been that troubling. However, there were no concerns Ajmer won 7-1. Even more important, Hatch looked dominant; while Baseball Of India Developmental is proving to be a pitcher's league right now, it was still encouraging to see.




Hatch




Josie worried that we may need to stretch him out, but I felt pretty confident that he was ready to take on his normal workload in the BOI. We left after Hatch reached his pitching limit, we needed to head back to Vadodara to handle office matters and continue developing the institute.

Malcolm just called me to make sure I was going to get some rest; he's still out on the road with scouts, the man works harder than I do. Before bed, I wanted to go over the slew of league announcements. Including one being given to the press tomorrow.



Screenshot-1


It could be worse, 20-14 isn't a terrible mark at this point of the season. However, the pitching is going to give me nightmares.

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Old 10-22-2019, 04:23 AM   #5
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June 1, 2021 [Morning]

After spending several days between the institute and office (along with seeing Malcolm for the first time in a week) I was live at the park to see Hatch make his return. He was returning off four days rest, but the 50 pitches were far from taxing. Instead of a throwing day, Pitching Coach Bhuvanacandra Himani had him do a light toss session two days before the start.

The games started rough, he hit the first batter after going 0-2....Pitching. However, the overall game went quite well. He used a lot of 2 Seam Fastballs and seemed comfortable.









The pitching remained the 'problem' on this team, but there are signs of hope in the bullpen. It's going to be a fight for us, but the playoffs are definitely within reach.


On May 26th, All-Star voting was updated. Popularity contests aren't something myself or my office values in or development and evaluation process, but fans and players seem to pay a lot of attention to them.






The 26th brought horrible news as about to aboard a plane for a scouting trip. Of course....Pitching.









Ranjan was struggling, yet Richard Colon our Assistant Player Development Engineer, Pitching thought he was close to turning it around after a few adjustments.


The injury forced an emergency meeting between myself, Malcolm, Richard, Himani, and Organizational Pitching Coach, Agendra Suchin late that night through video chat. We had to make a decision between our first two draft picks last year on who would take over for Ranjan in the rotation.






Himani told the group Vadodara Manager Devayukta Hazare would be fine with either taking over the role. Myself, Malcolm, and Richard were on board with Mecca despite his spotty control. Himani and Suchin rather we went with Punith, due to majority rule we decided to go with Mecca, last year's first round selection.

The next several days were frustrating as we struggled to overcome the Hyderabad Firebirds pitching. Since Mecca could have a future in the rotation, I decided to attend his start in Hyderabad on the 31st. We kind of needed to win the game.





I did have some hope going into this after watching Mecca warm up. His 4 Seam can touch 99, while his 2 Seam is anywhere between 84-90. He has an arm, just has to learn how to pitch effectively.




Mecca struck out the two batters he saw. Our Third Baseman and team Captain Devsita Lakhani had back to back errors in top of the 3rd, which led to runs. I ended up leaving after the 3 run homer by Subodh in the bottom of the 4th. Fullington just legged out a fielders choice on a double play ball to keep the inning alive.





Mecca was good for his first start, it was a shame a Great Glove caliber player essentially cost the team a game. However, 'Tweet' isn't someone I can openly critique. Which is one of the reasons I didn't wait around to talk to the team after the game, I'm not going to risk upsetting the team chemistry.



Today has been quite thus far. I've decided to have a meeting with team leadership at some point during the month. The date will depend on how the product on the field looks. Devesita Lakhani, Ka'ai Tom, Wily Peralta, and Jose Yonayker Garcia will be the players I ask to meet with me here in my office.

Despite only being here since May 6th, Peralta has become a player the team has looked up to. His willingness to work at the Institute on his grips, his MLB experience, and how he leads has been great for this team. He's taken up a key leadership role Jake Higginbotham was filling. Jake is close to starting a rehab stint after an elbow strain has kept him out over two weeks. The others have great characters and work ethnic, making them the de facto leaders of the team in my eyes.









As we sit on an off days, it's become clear to me that our playoff hopes will depend on the type of...Pitching we get during the rest of the season.



Pitching


If Viral is there in the draft at 8, I'm definitely taking him and will heavily consider having him skip developmental completely if we struggle in the pen again. The development and scouting departments seem to be on board with my plan for the most part, everyone in our organization likes the player a great deal.

Viral-2
Viral-3
Viral-1


I probably shouldn't panic too much, Josephine thinks we'll be fine and Malcolm believes our bats can carry us even if we have pitching struggles down the stretch.

He's almost a bit too confident with that. We'll see what happens.

Standings-After-Debut


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