On Wednesday the Baltimore Orioles announced the hire of Sig Mejdal as their new assistant general manager, analytics. Mejdal is likely to have a major impact on the Orioles’ lacking analytics department.
The Thanksgiving holiday means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For me, this year’s holiday provided me with an opportunity to step away from work for a few days and enjoy some much needed time with my family. For the Baltimore Orioles, they used the day before Thanksgiving to drastically improve their front office, by officially hiring Sig Mejdal.
Mejdal was originally an engineer for NASA but has spent the past 14 years working in baseball. Starting in 2005, Mejdal was hired as a sabermetrician for the St. Louis Cardinals. He would go on to serve in several roles with the club, including as a senior quantitative analyst and as their director of amateur draft analysis.
The Cardinals would go on to win the 2011 World Series, and during Mejdal’s tenure there, the organization drafted more players who reached the MLB level than any other team in the majors.
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2012 brought change as Mejdal moved to Houston to spearhead the Astros’ analytics department. With the Astros, Mejdal had similar success. The organization again drafted more MLB players than any other during his tenure there, and the team won the 2017 World Series.
Fourteen years, two of the most forward thinking organizations in baseball, two World Series titles; Mejdal knows what he’s doing and that puts the Orioles in a great place heading forward, especially considering where they’ve been recently.
Both Mejdal and Mike Elias will be tasked with essentially building the analytics department in Baltimore from scratch. There may be research and development systems in place in Baltimore but there seemingly haven’t been measures, or a willingness, to implement that information at the major or minor league levels.
We saw recently the disconnect between Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter, and how it affected the players on the field. Whether the Orioles didn’t have advanced information or whether they weren’t putting it to use on the field is debatable, but that won’t be an issue for the Orioles going forward.
Elias and Mejdal will ensure that the Orioles have the best possible systems in place in terms of gathering and analyzing data, and Elias will make sure the right people are in place to put the information into practice.
Whoever Elias hires, not just the manager but everyone across the board, will understand the importance of providing players with the best possible information and understand how to implement that data to build a better organization.
The point being that Mejdal instantly makes the Orioles better. The analytics department has been severely lacking in Baltimore lately, and it’s unacceptable in today’s game.
As Elias said in his introductory press conference, “the analytics portion of it is not something that’s optional in today’s game…the trick is how you incorporate it into your decision making and into your baseball practices”.
If the Orioles want to build a successful organization, they need to understand how to capture, analyze and utilize data to build smarter scouting and player development departments. Elias too, but Mejdal specifically has an in-depth understanding of how to do just that, and it’ll put the Orioles miles ahead of where they currently are.