With analytics becoming a larger part of America’s past time, a new collaborative effort is being implemented by a few major league clubs to help build relationships between team departments and the team itself. One of the teams that are testing it out is the Tampa Bay Rays.
Over the last few weeks, the Tampa Bay Rays, as well as other teams, have been doing this by bringing some of their baseball analysts into the dugout to observe the game and gain a better vantage point.
New Man in Uniform
Meet Winston Doom. With a name as cool as that some might wonder, superhero? Villian? Actually neither. He is a baseball performance science analyst with the Tampa Bay Rays and is the newest addition to the Rays’ dugout, but only during some of the team’s Spring Training games. Doom’s position, as well as the rest of the Research and Development department, is complex and intricate, but how does it impact the club?
“Basically, a lot of what I do is just trying to help the coaches be better at their job,” Doom said. “So if they have questions about things, I try to answer them the best I can if I can provide them with more information to be better coaches.”
Some might ask, what type of questions does Doom answer? According to him, there’s a wide variety, which could range from players to strategy. A lot of what his role and other analytic roles use is science, research, data and models to help educate the coaches and staff to maximize player performance.
The more technical term for this is called sabermetrics, which is the science of sport. According to an article published by Syracuse University, “it is the empirical analysis of baseball through statistics, used to predict the performance of players, giving teams a winning edge.”
Essentially, sabermetrics assists teams by predicting results based on previous data, analyzing on-field performance by recording and evaluating, and assisting in the decision-making process by offering objective insights to player’s performance as well as other on-field factors (Syracuse University).
From the Dugout
Going into this, Doom said he didn’t really know what to expect since he hadn’t played ball in a long time, which meant he hadn’t been in a dugout in a long time.
This Spring Training season marks the first time that baseball analysts have been sitting in the dugout and this past week also marked the first Doom had sat in the dugout to observe. He explained how different it is to watch the game from the dugout versus up in the stands because from that point of view you aren’t able to see how players and coaches work through a game.
He also commented on one of the things that surprised him most after his first time observing, which was the pace of the game. Often, “everybody says ‘oh the speed of the game is so much faster, but really it is and you can’t get that until you’re in there,” Doom said.
As mentioned in the opening line of the article, the overall goal of this new system is to help collaboration between different departments such as the front office, player development, R&D, the team, coaches, etc. and to help build relationships.
Doom reflected on how different departments collaborate on topics or issues and explained, “we can do it in meetings and that kind of stuff, but free-flowing collaboration in the dugout I think is a lot more effective.”
The idea is the more all the parts work together, the better the result on the field.