This past weekend, a four-membered team from the school was announced as a winner of the Diamond Dollars Case Competition, designated for college-level analytics majors. Jake Federman (12), Aidan Resnick (12), Maxwell Resnick (12), and Eshan Mehere (10) presented their analysis of a baseball operations decision to a panel of front office executives from 10 Major League Baseball teams.
The Diamond Dollars Case Competition, hosted by the Society for American Baseball Research, is the first national competition of its kind. On Wednesday, March 3rd, each team received the prompt and was given a week to form a response and presentation. On Friday, March 12th, each team presented in front of the panel of judges.
The goal of this year’s competition was to create a more modern and refined version of the statistic Game Score, which is used to evaluate a pitcher’s performance in a single game, Maxwell said.
“Game Score is severely flawed, as the way it works is it adds and subtracts a seemingly arbitrary number of points for different plate appearance outcomes,” Federman said.
The team encountered obstacles while perfecting their new method of analysis. “We wanted to give pitchers more credit for pitching well against better opponents, and penalize them more for pitching badly against worse opponents,” Federman said. “While this was a great idea in theory, none of us knew how to actually implement it, and how to calculate the adjustment needed.”
The team researched ways statisticians use adjustments to allow comparisons between data points that fall under different categories and then created their own method of adjustment to fit their project.
Federman’s interest in sports analytics was sparked the summer after his sophomore year when he and the Resnick twins attended Wharton Moneyball Academy, a sports-analytics program, he said. Federman and the Resnick twins have since co-founded the school’s Sports Analytics Club.
Aidan is passionate about sports and quantitative analytics, he said. “When I was introduced to the intersection between the two fields, I knew that I wanted to pursue it.”
The team did not have much time to prepare for the Diamond Dollar Case Competition because they signed up the day before the deadline. On Friday, February 26th, Aidan and Maxwell did a radio interview with MLB Network’s Sirius XM station to discuss the book that they co-authored, “The Stats Game.”
Afterwards, the host, Vince Gennaro, requested that they submit an entry into a competition he runs. “At first, I assumed the competition would be rather casual, but after doing more research, I realized that he runs the biggest baseball analytics competition in the world,” Maxwell said.
“Max called me and asked me if I wanted to join them, and then after I said yes, we recruited Eshan to work with us as well,” Federman said.
The win was a team effort, as everyone contributed to all parts of the project, Mehere said. “This was the first time that our specific combinations of teammates worked together on something like this,” he said. “However, the team dynamic was seamless.” Because all members were passionate about the topic, it was easy for them to work together efficiently and effectively, he said.
“To be selected as one of the winners was beyond amazing and far exceeded my expectations,” Federman said. “I will never forget the time I heard ‘Congratulations to University of Chicago Booth, Syracuse University, Cornell University, and Horace Mann.’”