With an interest in baseball, a knack for crunching numbers and an understanding of statistics, Siena College students attended the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Analytics Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. to learn more about this unique field. Hudson Belinski ’15 and Tristan Kacprzyk-Aita ’15 represented Siena at the conference and the first ever SABR Case Competition.
The annual conference gathers the top minds of the baseball analytic community to discuss, debate and share insights into the American pastime. This year, the conference featured a Case Competition that invited teams of graduate and undergraduate students from across the country to make presentations on unique baseball operations decisions like those faced by major league front offices.
“Each team was presented with a case as if they were the people in charge of making decisions for a Major League Baseball team,” explained Belinski. “The teams with the best justifications for their decisions advanced to the next round. The competition was judged by actual major league executives, so there was a lot of pressure for each team to succeed.”
Belinski explained that this competition was very similar to the events in the book and movie, Moneyball.
Although it was Siena’s first time at the SABR Conference, Belinski was no rookie. For his high school graduation gift, he attended last year’s conference and grew his interest in baseball analytics. Once at Siena, he hoped to find some funding to attend again.
“I didn’t even know where to begin,” said Belinski. “What I found, however, was that the Siena network is extremely helpful.” He and teammate Kacprzyk-Aita acquired adequate funds to attend the conference through the generous support of Art McGinnis, Jr. ’75, Richard Sleasman ’79, Doug Lonnstrom ’66 and Brad Bodmer ’82, Esq.
Although the team didn’t advance, they remained competitive against some larger schools including New York University, Northwestern University and University of California-Berkeley.