Last year, the Baltimore Orioles, had the worst record in the MLB. The Orioles went 47-115 last year, which is unfortunately the fourth worst record of any team in a given season since the year 1900. From 2012-2016, the team looked completely different, making post-season appearances in three years. After the end of the season last year the Orioles knew drastic changes needed to be made.
In November 2018, the Orioles hired 36-year-old, Mike Elias, to replace their General Manager. Elias was the former Assistant General Manager of the Houston Astros and was brought on by them in a similar situation to help turn the team around and in 2017, the Astros won the World Series after having a record of 51-111 only a few years before. Besides losing some of the team’s top players, Elias immediately saw a main cause for the team’s failure upon being brought on by the Orioles. In modern baseball, the use of data analytics and statistics has become an essential part of the game off the field. These stats are used to help batters understand where exactly they are struggling, where they are doing well, what pitches a pitcher should throw to a certain batter in a certain situation, and many more specific details of the game to help the players preform at their peak. The movie Moneyball (2011) is a great depiction of this process and how teams are using these numbers. This now essential part of the game is virtually non-existent within the Orioles organization, with their ‘analytics’ department consisting of only one web developer. This makes their department for data analytics by far the worst in the MLB. The Orioles were great at how the game baseball used to be but failure to adapt to modern times has finally caught up with them.
Elias needed to act quickly if he plans on having some success with this nearly impossible mission. He immediately hired his former right hand man for the past 10 years, Sig Mejdal, a former NASA and Lockheed Martin engineer who also help with the recent turnaround of the Houston Astros. The new management team is in the process of building an analytics department to prepare for the 2019 season. Since Mike Elias was hired, the culture of the team was reported to be more optimistic going into this upcoming season. Most of the players and management members are aware that it is time for change and are accepting it which is key for any success to occur. What does the future hold in store for the Orioles? Do you think this new analytics department will have a serious impact on the team’s performance, especially over the next few years?