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Monday, January 28, 2013

Tangotiger: Psst… wanna work for the Cubs (and with me)?

New Tango partner!

The Cubs are looking for a Director of Research & Development in their Baseball Operations.  If you apply, make sure to say you “heard it from Tango”.  Since we’re on the topic, I am now providing my consulting services exclusively to the Cubs. 

This role will be responsible for developing and overseeing the research and analytics function within Baseball Operations, reporting to the Assistant GM.

Responsibilities

  - Perform advanced statistical analysis on large volumes of baseball-related data and implement predictive models to aid in decision-making.
  - Develop and manage a talented staff (developers, analysts, and consultants) by identifying strong candidates, prioritizing work flows, supervising projects and providing productive feedback.
  - Present high-level analysis in an effective and articulate manner through the use of written reports, charts, tables, graphics, and other tools that enhance the Department’s decision-making process.
  - Develop and maintain proprietary projections model for future performance.
  - Monitor, identify and recommend new or emerging techniques, technologies, models and algorithms applicable to internal processes.
  - Analyze internal baseball processes in order to develop functional requirements (specifications) for outside vendors and application developers, including requirements, system impact, data flow diagrams, special considerations, etc.
  - Identify technologies that offer potential value to the organization through meetings with vendors and providers.
  - Oversee the departmental budget associated with R&D spending.
  - Contribute to baseball decisions and proactively generate ideas for player acquisition and player usage.
  - Other projects as directed the Baseball Operations leadership team.

Me do dat

Repoz Posted: January 28, 2013 at 08:56 PM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Darren Posted: January 28, 2013 at 09:06 PM (#4357006)
Okay, I'll do it. Send over the paperwork.
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 28, 2013 at 09:17 PM (#4357014)
Develop and manage a talented staff (developers, analysts, and consultants)


So what would a Supervisory Nerd make?
   3. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: January 28, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4357028)
Not quite qualified to do that, but you guys hiring interns? I'm at school at Kellogg and would love to be involved with baseball in any way.
   4. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 28, 2013 at 09:50 PM (#4357034)
I thought anyone who actually met tango IRL had to go into witness protection.
   5. bobm Posted: January 28, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4357039)
Consider this job as an opportunity for dialogue and education.
   6. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 28, 2013 at 10:43 PM (#4357057)
I thought Tango was in black ops for NSA. How is it he isn't already a long-time staff member of some organization?

Even if I was a GM who disagreed with him most of the time, I'd hire him to improve my decision making and to keep him from other teams.
   7. McCoy Posted: January 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4357081)
So we'll finally get to know Tango's real name.

Tango, if you're reading this, if the Cubs under your watch win the World Series and you do anything more than just get coffee for Theo drinks will be on me whenever I see you.

So you're employed, that's the good side. The bad side is now you'll have me pointing all the stupid moves your business is making.
   8. SavoyBG Posted: January 28, 2013 at 11:40 PM (#4357087)
I hear Steve Bartman is available.

   9. salajander Posted: January 29, 2013 at 12:10 AM (#4357102)
Edit: wrong thread
   10. KJOK Posted: January 29, 2013 at 12:14 AM (#4357107)
So we'll finally get to know Tango's real name.


I doubt it. Since he's just consulting I'm guessing he's working from home and will rarely be in Chicago. Will probably just speak to you on the speaker phone like Charlie did to his Angeles.


   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 12:18 AM (#4357110)
I'm sorry, but "work flows"? "Data flow diagrams"? Aren't these just big words losing teams use to make themselves feel smart?

I'm fired, aren't I.
   12. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:02 AM (#4357122)
He forgot to add synergy and leverage.

I have no real qualifications other then I love baseball is that enough to get hired?
   13. Bhaakon Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:15 AM (#4357134)
I have no real qualifications other then I love baseball is that enough to get hired?


For a baseball job? I'm pretty sure that you have to overqualified, willing to work sweatshop hours, AND related to the boss by blood.
   14. bunyon Posted: January 29, 2013 at 08:23 AM (#4357179)
So we'll finally get to know Tango's real name.

Turns out he's Jack Morris.
   15. Hack Wilson Posted: January 29, 2013 at 08:56 AM (#4357191)
Turns out he's Jack Morris
.

Nah, he has to be someone suspended or banned from baseball..Neifi Perez?...Pete Rose?...Is Marge Schott still alive?
   16. asinwreck Posted: January 29, 2013 at 09:02 AM (#4357194)
My condolences.
   17. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4357210)
So I'm not clear here...

Is this a 'Director' position or an 'Analyst' position --- because the next time I meet a 'Director' who does actual 'analysis' it would be the first.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4357245)
So I'm not clear here...

Is this a 'Director' position or an 'Analyst' position --- because the next time I meet a 'Director' who does actual 'analysis' it would be the first.


It's a weird posting. They say they want someone to develop and manage a staff, run the budget, interact with the senior management team, etc., but then they require:

Demonstrated expertise with R, STATA, SPSS, SAS, or similar software.
Demonstrated expertise with SQL Server, Microsoft Access, My SQL, Oracle, database administration/structuring, data warehousing and data modeling.
Knowledge and demonstrated ability in the areas of programming, software-coding, ETL, and/or machine learning techniques.


Those are rarely the same people. You want you hardcore quant/programming skills from your analysts. You wan't your director to direct and interpret the analysis, have managerial skills, and be able to translate between the quants and the top management. There's zero reason the director needs to know how to code or build models, as long as he/she can interpret the output properly.

   19. Gonfalon B. Posted: January 29, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4357256)
Is it hits divided by at-bats, or at-bats divided by hits? Anyway, I require a standing town car and sixteen weeks paid vacation.
   20. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: January 29, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4357269)
Huh, I think I actually am qualified for this (ETL aside, and which is not to say an optimal hire).

Anyway, I'm with snapper.
   21. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4357303)

Those are rarely the same people. You want you hardcore quant/programming skills from your analysts. You wan't your director to direct and interpret the analysis, have managerial skills, and be able to translate between the quants and the top management. There's zero reason the director needs to know how to code or build models, as long as he/she can interpret the output properly.


Right - it's helpful, in many cases, even necessary to have some basic understanding of db architecture - I can't count the number of times I've seen something flop miserably because loads of data get dumped on a dba and s/he is just left to guess at how to structure it.

You rarely get a 'developer' proficient in multiple disciplines is also critical -- I mean, a SQL whiz also proficient in semantic data analysis/mining? Great... let me know when you find one of those... Unless they're paying an obscene salary - which seems unlikely - I see several developers here. Otherwise, you're gonna get a tinkerer/jack of all trades/master of none. What's more - even if you found a single person with expertise in all things, I think you're wasting such a person's talents having him or her write code to begin with. Of course - the data sets here aren't that large (relatively speaking) so maybe you can get by with a tinkerer.

Still, this is one thing that drives me nuts on a daily basis... too many people at decision making levels have this bad idea that 'technology is technology' - so when you try to make clear that a program or project requires some multi-discipline work, eyes glaze over and you can't get a champion in a critical area that bombs the whole thing.

   22. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4357306)
Strange, because I would have assumed that all clubs, especially Theo's Cubs, would already have these positions created and filled. Unless Tango has been tapped to start his own intra-organisational counter-ops statistical team. Which would be awesome and is what I choose to believe.

It does seem like they're trying to do it on the cheap, though, and combine the analyst's and manager's jobs. It would take a very special individual to do both of those jobs well.
   23. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4357310)
Congrats, Tango. I'm glad to see my season ticket money going to a worthwhile effort. I hope you're part of something historic. Shouldn't you now change your name to TangoCub?
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4357319)
#19 got a good chuckle out of me. Well done.
   25. John Northey Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4357327)
Sigh... back in the 90's I would've been all over this - fully qualified and would have a blast but with 3 kids and living in Thunder Bay it just wouldn't make sense (not to mention the visa issues which I went through back in 92 when I tried for a job with Stats Inc. - hours on the phone with no luck getting it) unless I could work from home which I somehow doubt would be feasible. Price of growing up.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4357332)
Sigh... back in the 90's I would've been all over this - fully qualified and would have a blast but with 3 kids and living in Thunder Bay it just wouldn't make sense (not to mention the visa issues which I went through back in 92 when I tried for a job with Stats Inc. - hours on the phone with no luck getting it) unless I could work from home which I somehow doubt would be feasible. Price of growing up.

Don't worry, the pay's probably terrible.
   27. Dale Sams Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4357432)
I'm not seeing anything about snark and animated gifs.
   28. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4357450)
For most baseball teams, this job winds up being very hands-on because the budget doesn't permit hiring a lot of staff; the director ends up doing a lot of the work.

-- MWE
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4357454)
For most baseball teams, this job winds up being very hands-on because the budget doesn't permit hiring a lot of staff; the director ends up doing a lot of the work.

-- MWE


You mean they're cheap, right? Because a MLB payroll (even Miami's) should leave room to hire lots of analysts.

It's really a waste to have a $150-200K Director (making up numbers, but anyone good is going to cost) doing analyst work when there are scads of bright 20-somethings who'll work like dogs for $40K in order to get an MLB gig.
   30. Ron J2 Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4357464)
#29 I suspect they're cheap because there's no real buy in as to the value of the work. Most of what I've read from the guys doing this work for teams talks about how they're rarely taken seriously.

I think things have changed a little in recent years but it's still likely a pretty frustrating job.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4357466)
#29 I suspect they're cheap because there's no real buy in as to the value of the work. Most of what I've read from the guys doing this work for teams talks about how they're rarely taken seriously.

I think things have changed a little in recent years but it's still likely a pretty frustrating job.


Sounds pretty typical of corporate America. Spend enough to make it wasteful, but not enough to get real results.
   32. McCoy Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4357471)
It's really a waste to have a $150-200K Director (making up numbers, but anyone good is going to cost) doing analyst work when there are scads of bright 20-somethings who'll work like dogs for $40K in order to get an MLB gig.


I'm thinking the director would make 40k and his assistants would be unpaid interns if he got any at all.
   33. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4357472)
28. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 29, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4357450)
For most baseball teams, this job winds up being very hands-on because the budget doesn't permit hiring a lot of staff; the director ends up doing a lot of the work.

-- MWE


That just seems awfully penny-wise and pound foolish...

I mean, replace your 3-4-5 million MR with a couple of NRIs or your guaranteed 1.5 mil 5th OF with a AAAA guy and even with a very generous salary and full benefits, you could have your individual devs under a director working appropriately.

   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4357479)
I'm thinking the director would make 40k and his assistants would be unpaid interns if he got any at all.

With the skillset they're asking for!?!? Expert in analytics, stats, programming, and managerial ability, with an advanced degree?

$150-200K was already a discount for it being MLB. That guy makes $300-400K easy working in finance.
   35. villageidiom Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4357481)
Thank you for submitting your resume. Our management team is reviewing your qualifications and will contact you if there is a match with our current open positions.

We appreciate your interest in Chicago Cubs Baseball Club, LLC. and wish you the best of luck in your job search.
   36. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4357482)
For most baseball teams, this job winds up being very hands-on because the budget doesn't permit hiring a lot of staff; the director ends up doing a lot of the work.


"Develop and manage a talented staff (developers, analysts, and consultants)" seems to me to imply a staff of at least four, presuming the consultants aren't actually on staff. Of course, that may be intentional - applicants are supposed to think they'll have a sizable staff under them, when it's really just some unpaid college students.
   37. McCoy Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4357483)
With the skillset they're asking for!?!? Expert in analytics, stats, programming, and managerial ability, with an advanced degree?

$150-200K was already a discount for it being MLB. That guy makes $300-400K easy working in finance.


Yes but this is sports and not finance. The sports world gets young guys who could be making a ton of money elsewhere but work in sports for peanuts instead all the time. You don't really need to pay anyone when half your pool of applicants will do the work for peanuts.
   38. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4357488)
With the skillset they're asking for!?!? Expert in analytics, stats, programming, and managerial ability, with an advanced degree?

$150-200K was already a discount for it being MLB. That guy makes $300-400K easy working in finance.


Agreed that the 150-200 is way too high. There isn't even much value add to the job, and it reports to the Assistant GM. Finance guys write programs and algos that make banks wheelbarrows full of money. The difference between that, and clueing in an Assistant GM to the virtues of the Jeremy Giambis and Ken Phelpses and Franklin Gutierrzes of the world is, one assumes, self-evident.
   39. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4357490)
It's really a waste to have a $150-200K Director (making up numbers, but anyone good is going to cost) doing analyst work when there are scads of bright 20-somethings who'll work like dogs for $40K in order to get an MLB gig.


I'm 31 and meet all of the qualifications, though I'm probably a bit stronger on the analytical stuff and less so on the programming side. I make significantly less than $150k now, but also significantly more than $40k; I would take a big pay cut to get this job for sure. It would be a labor of love.
   40. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4357501)
Interesting that people working in a baseball front office are routinely expected to take less than market value in salary because of the psychic benefit of working for a baseball team, but god forbid that a baseball owner be willing to lose money on his team because of the psychic benefit of owning a baseball team.
   41. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4357502)
If I didn't have some of my specific commitments in terms of kids and such, I would apply as well - MLB should pay low... there's a lot of us out there.
   42. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4357504)


"Develop and manage a talented staff (developers, analysts, and consultants)" seems to me to imply a staff of at least four, presuming the consultants aren't actually on staff. Of course, that may be intentional - applicants are supposed to think they'll have a sizable staff under them, when it's really just some unpaid college students.


Again, more penny-wise and pound foolish...

Considering your data needs are going to change over time, you put yourself in a never-ending mode of 'chasing it' because rather than bringing on a skilled, experienced dba --- who understands from a practical level the importance of designing to grow and change (together with good direction and requirements the possibilities for growth and change), you end up with a novice who builds like it was... well... what s/he has probably been doing in school: creating a deliverable that will be done and done, never to be touched again (and from an intern's perspective, that's actually correct, considering this isn't an intern with an hope of a full-time dba position post-internship...)
   43. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4357510)
If I didn't have some of my specific commitments in terms of kids and such, I would apply as well - MLB should pay low... there's a lot of us out there.


But that's the other thing - and why I wouldn't want to go complete 'interns and peanuts'... Sure, leverage the market - you're going to get a lot of applicants that willing to work below 'market rate' per the skill sets.

However, set aside the relative peanuts in regards to what it costs the organization to actually have a couple of real, full-time, with-benefits positions on the staff and in a very short amount of time -- your R&D team is running circles around everyone else because you've actually got an infrastructure, rather than a one-off toy.

Would it be worth it? Well, again - the cost to do it right is less than it costs to give an NRI a ticket/roster spot north. What's it worth to have a system that give you a leg-up on deciding better than everyone else which NRIs to hand out each winter?
   44. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4357515)
I'm 31 and meet all of the qualifications, though I'm probably a bit stronger on the analytical stuff and less so on the programming side. I make significantly less than $150k now, but also significantly more than $40k; I would take a big pay cut to get this job for sure. It would be a labor of love.

Do you have experience managing a team of analysts, and presenting/interpreting data/analysis for very senior management (like CFOs, CEOs, etc)?

Because that's where the job gets tricky to fill. Yes, you can get good analysts for $100K, but most of them have neither the ability or the inclination to spend half their lives making powerpoint presentations, and explaining their work to people who are largely ignorant of analytics.

Good analysts and modelers want to analyze and model. They tend to be introverts by nature, and don't want to "get their head out of the spreadsheets." You need someone to manage them who has enough analytic chops to direct/interpret the results, but can also translate for the top management, who will usualy have zero analytics background. Those people are relatively rare, and tend to be very well paid.

   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4357517)
But that's the other thing - and why I wouldn't want to go complete 'interns and peanuts'... Sure, leverage the market - you're going to get a lot of applicants that willing to work below 'market rate' per the skill sets.

However, set aside the relative peanuts in regards to what it costs the organization to actually have a couple of real, full-time, with-benefits positions on the staff and in a very short amount of time -- your R&D team is running circles around everyone else because you've actually got an infrastructure, rather than a one-off toy.

Would it be worth it? Well, again - the cost to do it right is less than it costs to give an NRI a ticket/roster spot north. What's it worth to have a system that give you a leg-up on deciding better than everyone else which NRIs to hand out each winter?


Exactly. We're talking maybe $1M for a full team of 5, including office space, computers, software, etc. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.
   46. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 29, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4357547)
Do you have experience managing a team of analysts, and presenting/interpreting data/analysis for very senior management (like CFOs, CEOs, etc)?


I have managed projects involving teams of analysts, if not managing them directly, and I've presented on fairly involved analytical projects to the CEO and other non-analytical SVPs in my company of ~350 people many times (as well as to senior managers of my comapny's clients). This is not to say I'm the perfect candidate or something, but that's exactly what a big part of my job is now.

All that said, this would be a truly unique experience. I'd do it for a lot less than I'd do basically anything else.
   47. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4357597)
All that said, this would be a truly unique experience. I'd do it for a lot less than I'd do basically anything else.


But that's thing -- to do this right, you want a repeatable, scalable, reusable system and infrastructure... in order to get that right, you don't want to fill the opening at the Director level or even dev/analysis staff below with a bunch of people solely in it "for the experience"... I think it's absolutely fair to say you can still get people below 'market rate' solely because there would certainly be a level of interest in this work that doesn't apply in other fields. However, you need to structure it such that you're not dealing with a revolving door of people that are just gone once the internship is done or they've had enough of the 'experience' and want to make enough money to actually support a family.

I wouldn't want to structure this silo in a way that I'm constantly running through people that would enjoy the short-term (6-10-18 month) 'experience'... I would want to structure positions to be true, professional career paths - and not just those that end in "I'm gonna be a GM someday!"

There are costs for turnover, training, etc -- why bake them in as sunk costs just so you can get away with $10-20-whateverK on the individual compensation for the role.

   48. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 29, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4357612)
Analytics people are paid what they are paid because (a) the perceived value-add is enormous and (b) there's a perceived scarcity of talent. I don't believe that either of these - especially the latter - are true in fact (I think that the reason there's a perceived shortage of talent is the heavy emphasis on tool knowledge over anaytical skills).

In sports, I think that if anything the value-add is smaller and there's far more analytics talent out there than in the other industries, thus sports teams will not be willing to pay as much. As far as they are concerned they aren't competing with the financial industries and the like for talent - there are still more people who want to work for sports teams than there are jobs.

-- MWE
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4357619)

I have managed projects involving teams of analysts, if not managing them directly, and I've presented on fairly involved analytical projects to the CEO and other non-analytical SVPs in my company of ~350 people many times (as well as to senior managers of my comapny's clients). This is not to say I'm the perfect candidate or something, but that's exactly what a big part of my job is now.

All that said, this would be a truly unique experience. I'd do it for a lot less than I'd do basically anything else.


Then you are worth, and should expect, a sizeable paycheck, even from the Cubs.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:08 PM (#4357623)
But that's thing -- to do this right, you want a repeatable, scalable, reusable system and infrastructure... in order to get that right, you don't want to fill the opening at the Director level or even dev/analysis staff below with a bunch of people solely in it "for the experience"... I think it's absolutely fair to say you can still get people below 'market rate' solely because there would certainly be a level of interest in this work that doesn't apply in other fields. However, you need to structure it such that you're not dealing with a revolving door of people that are just gone once the internship is done or they've had enough of the 'experience' and want to make enough money to actually support a family.

I wouldn't want to structure this silo in a way that I'm constantly running through people that would enjoy the short-term (6-10-18 month) 'experience'... I would want to structure positions to be true, professional career paths - and not just those that end in "I'm gonna be a GM someday!"

There are costs for turnover, training, etc -- why bake them in as sunk costs just so you can get away with $10-20-whateverK on the individual compensation for the role.


Agree completely.

The other thing is you want this analytics director to be able/willing to stand up in a meeting and say "That seven-year contract Jed wants to offer to Alfonso Soriano (pt.2) is a horrible idea. We've run the studies on player aging for his skill type (present cogent summary), and he's likely to be a major albatross by year 4."

A guy who's just happy to be in MLB isn't going to take that stand, and risk his job. I want a guy who is equally willing to go back to his old industry if his opinions aren't respected.
   51. McCoy Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4357625)
Then you are worth, and should expect, a sizeable paycheck, even from the Cubs.

Hendry hasn't worked for the Cubs for awhile now so I wouldn't expect much out of them.
   52. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4357628)
The other thing is you want this analytics director to be able/willing to stand up in a meeting and say "That seven-year contract Jed wants to offer to Alfonso Soriano (pt.2) is a horrible idea. We've run the studies on player aging for his skill type (present cogent summary), and he's likely to be a major albatross by year 4."

Guys like that in junior positions -- and that's what this is -- don't last long in organizations. Their only hope is to have something of a talent for diplomacy and to be virtually never wrong.

No one worth 150-200 should be happy reporting to the Assistant GM.(*) That's a deal-breaker.

The type of attitude and pay grade you're sketching out is more of a consultant than full-timer.

(*) And no one junior to the Assistant GM is worth 200K.
   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4357633)
Guys like that in junior positions -- and that's what this is -- don't last long in organizations. Their only hope is to have something of a talent for diplomacy and to be virtually never wrong.

No one worth 150-200 should be happy reporting to the Assistant GM. That's a deal-breaker.


Agree. But, someone that junior will almost certainly be ineffective at building/running an analytics team, and delivering value.

This position, to be effective, should report to Epstein, and needs to be expected to challenge the GM, scouting and player development, when necessary and backed by hard evidence.

If you don't want that, don't waste your time. Just license a copy of ZiPs and CAIRO from the developers, and have an intern run them.
   54. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4357639)
In sports, I think that if anything the value-add is smaller and there's far more analytics talent out there than in the other industries, thus sports teams will not be willing to pay as much. As far as they are concerned they aren't competing with the financial industries and the like for talent - there are still more people who want to work for sports teams than there are jobs.


But therein lies the problem --

They're treating something that could provide substantial value at a relatively small cost if a FO were to approach these less as "jobs" and more as "careers"... Not everyone is going to be a GM - but almost everyone is going to want to say, buy a home, a car, raise a family, etc... Treat everything below the exec level as a "job" because you can get serious talent for the short haul at a deep, deep discount -- and you're creating tons of inefficiency, tons of waste (via turnover), and tons of hidden cost.

These skillsets here are professional skillsets. Pay them professional wages. You're still getting a discount because there are tons of people who do this sort of thing in different settings and a lot of them would be willing to take 10-25% pay cuts to be doing it in a baseball setting... but when you insist on doing it at a 50-75% discount, you are truly making it a "job" that someone will only be doing for a year or so.

Talent is talent... there are more dbas - even very, very good ones -- than there are gold glove SS's that hit 325/375/450.... but the paradigm is the same -- if you can lock one up for a decent period of time, why in the world would you want to have to find a new one every year?
   55. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4357650)
Agree. But, someone that junior will almost certainly be ineffective at building/running an analytics team, and delivering value.

This position, to be effective, should report to Epstein, and needs to be expected to challenge the GM, scouting and player development, when necessary and backed by hard evidence.

If you don't want that, don't waste your time. Just license a copy of ZiPs and CAIRO from the developers, and have an intern run them.


My take would be that this director wouldn't be saying... don't bother going to arb on Darwin Barney - dWAR is vastly overstating his value -- it would be saying "Well, we've run the numbers, introduced some normalization to account for the high level of shifts our IF employs, and here's the thing.... there were 12 other 2B who could post similar dWAR under the same adherence to a defensive shift... we also think - based on some limited data - we have actually identified another 5 AAAAers that could be had for a song and produce the same.... and of those 17 total -- 12 of them have career OBPs higher than DB's highest single season mark."

I guess I'm saying I'd split the difference between you and SBB...

I wouldn't expect to be Costanza'ing it up "How could you trade BUHNER!!!" --- but at the same time, you don't even need in-house staff to look-up dWAR on Fangraphs...

The analyst role here is to work through multiple projection systems, perhaps create a "better" proprietary system, and give the data to the higher ups (GM/Asst. GM) who have other info "I" presumably don't have... salary ceilings/floors, availability, etc.
   56. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4357658)
I don't believe that either of these - especially the latter - are true in fact (I think that the reason there's a perceived shortage of talent is the heavy emphasis on tool knowledge over anaytical skills).

I don't have enough thumbs to stick up for this comment.

I wouldn't want to structure this silo in a way that I'm constantly running through people that would enjoy the short-term (6-10-18 month) 'experience'

Yeah, that's key to your argument, I think. I can see going either way here...

Then you are worth, and should expect, a sizeable paycheck, even from the Cubs.

I imagine (wrongly?) that a number of us have skillsets like Joe's (I do - I'm guessing rustier analytics, more data architecture?) and don't make paychecks like you're talking about, snapper. Otoh, maybe I need to prep my resume...

A guy who's just happy to be in MLB isn't going to take that stand, and risk his job. I want a guy who is equally willing to go back to his old industry if his opinions aren't respected.

This is partly a corporate culture thing, isn't it? I'd be willing to make analogous statements where I am, in part because I've got a sense of job security / good fallback options but also because I know that I've the leeway to do so.
(Also, I've a talent for diplomacy and a solid track record, but the latter took time to prove.)
   57. vivaelpujols Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4357664)
I mean, a SQL whiz also proficient in semantic data analysis/mining? Great... let me know when you find one of those


I'm not sure they want an SQL whiz, but rather someone who's capable enough to use it for the purposes of data mining and analysis. This basically describes any writer for the Hardball Times Circa 2009 or some guys for BP and Beyond the Boxscore (also circa 2009). As to whether those guys also have leadership and management skills, who knows. It's sounds basically like they want some guy to be their Mike Fast or Tom Tippett.
   58. vivaelpujols Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4357665)
Agreed that the 150-200 is way too high. There isn't even much value add to the job, and it reports to the Assistant GM. Finance guys write programs and algos that make banks wheelbarrows full of money. The difference between that, and clueing in an Assistant GM to the virtues of the Jeremy Giambis and Ken Phelpses and Franklin Gutierrzes of the world is, one assumes, self-evident.


God damnit you are the most miserable piece of #### I've ever seen. Do you even like baseball?
   59. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4357668)
Demonstrated expertise with R, STATA, SPSS, SAS, or similar software.
Demonstrated expertise with SQL Server, Microsoft Access, My SQL, Oracle, database administration/structuring, data warehousing and data modeling.
Knowledge and demonstrated ability in the areas of programming, software-coding, ETL, and/or machine learning techniques


What? What happened to COBOL and FORTRAN?
   60. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4357672)
What? What happened to COBOL and FORTRAN?

The planet ran out of punch cards.
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4357675)
I imagine (wrongly?) that a number of us have skillsets like Joe's (I do - I'm guessing rustier analytics, more data architecture?) and don't make paychecks like you're talking about, snapper. Otoh, maybe I need to prep my resume...

This obviously varies by industry and geography. My prices reflect NY, Insurance and Banking. If you work in Tulsa, clearly the price is a lot less.

But for a real analytics director, we're talking about somebody with 10-15 years industry experience, an advanced degree (or an actuary in Insurance). That's at least an AVP (in Insurance/Commercial bank titles), or Director (I-Bank titles). Those people make well north of $100K (total comp) if they're any good.

And, if I'm the Cubs, running a corporation in a highly competitive industry, making $100M long term committments to highly variable assets, I want high priced talent making the decisions.

It's absurd to be willing to pay the boy genius $3.5M p.a and balk at paying a couple hundred grand for a real head of analytics.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4357677)
What? What happened to COBOL and FORTRAN?

Don't laugh, but recently we were looking at changing prices on a product launched in the 1980's, and we had to find someone to interpret Fortan to find the rate tables in the pricing model.
   63. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 29, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4357678)
The analyst role here is to work through multiple projection systems, perhaps create a "better" proprietary system, and give the data to the higher ups (GM/Asst. GM) who have other info "I" presumably don't have... salary ceilings/floors, availability, etc.


It's not even necessarily to give them the data - it's to give them the conclusions that can be drawn from the data along with enough of the data to give them the ability to make an informed decision.

-- MWE
   64. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 29, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4357684)
FWIW, just about every director of analytics job that I've seen listed in other industries lists hands-on usage of SQL and statistical tools as a requirement.

-- MWE
   65. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: January 29, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4357686)
61 - Not sure how far north is well north, but okay - we're in the same ballpark; thanks.
   66. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4357689)
A guy who's just happy to be in MLB isn't going to take that stand, and risk his job. I want a guy who is equally willing to go back to his old industry if his opinions aren't respected.


This is partly a corporate culture thing, isn't it? I'd be willing to make analogous statements where I am, in part because I've got a sense of job security / good fallback options but also because I know that I've the leeway to do so.
(Also, I've a talent for diplomacy and a solid track record, but the latter took time to prove.)


I think this is true -- I probably don't have a talent for diplomacy, but I do have a track record and when I do take a strong stand -- even one contradictory to higher ups -- it's not on a whim or because I like hearing my own voice complain.... In fact, in a really weird way - I almost consider it something of a fringe benefit. I'm not expected to hold my tongue or simply grin-and-bear bad decisions... of course, I like to think I present the critiques in well-founded, constructive ways that aren't just clever methods of calling other people idiots -- so maybe I have reserves of diplomacy I hadn't considered till this moment ;-)

I imagine (wrongly?) that a number of us have skillsets like Joe's (I do - I'm guessing rustier analytics, more data architecture?) and don't make paychecks like you're talking about, snapper. Otoh, maybe I need to prep my resume...


I really think the problem is really that this stuff is really valuable "in the middle" of an organization -- and those 'in the middle' jobs, at least from my seat -- are awfully hard to come by for an external applicant.

The entry levels get scooped up out of college and the C levels get head-hunted -- but managing a team of internal architects and analysts (on the data/content side, not the numbers side), it's just awfully hard to find someone external who can pick up the business knowledge quickly. I.e., doesn't matter if you've presented white papers on RDF to W3C that eventually became standards - that's no guarantee you can plug and play that knowledge within our frameworks, platforms, CMS, CSC, etc... Well, check that -- I have zero doubt such a person WOULD get a shot, but the up-and-running time would be enormous because we can't just 'start' in the perfect world, we have to transition to it.

...but that's back to my argument about the value of institutional knowledge... I don't want to continually have to clue new analysts in on the idea that we proved two years ago (but haven't told anyone, because it's propriety value that we don't particularly want to share) dWAR as it's currently calculated is horrifically flawed.
   67. SoSH U at work Posted: January 29, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4357698)
God damnit you are the most miserable piece of #### I've ever seen. Do you even like baseball?


While I occasionally wonder how much SBB likes baseball based on his other posts, his questioning how much value one of these guys would bring to a baseball organization is by no means an example of it.

And your comment is clearly out of line.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4357729)
61 - Not sure how far north is well north, but okay - we're in the same ballpark; thanks.

All in total comp (bonus, long-term equity, etc.) is probably ~$200K at the AVP level, ~$300K at the VP level. That's in Insurance. Commercial banking would probably be a little higher. I-banking probably quite a bit higher. And, I'm talking expensive cities (NY, SF, LA, etc.)
   69. Mike Fast Posted: January 29, 2013 at 06:15 PM (#4357765)
People who currently have similar job titles/roles include the following:

Boston Red Sox - Tom Tippett, Director of Baseball Information Services
Cleveland Indians - Keith Woolner, Director, Baseball Analytics
Houston Astros - Sig Mejdal, Director of Decision Sciences
Pittsburgh Pirates - Dan Fox, Director, Baseball Systems Development
Tampa Bay Rays - James Click, Director, Baseball Research and Development
   70. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 29, 2013 at 11:38 PM (#4357941)
It's a weird posting. They say they want someone to develop and manage a staff, run the budget, interact with the senior management team, etc., but then they require:

Demonstrated expertise with R, STATA, SPSS, SAS, or similar software.
Demonstrated expertise with SQL Server, Microsoft Access, My SQL, Oracle, database administration/structuring, data warehousing and data modeling.
Knowledge and demonstrated ability in the areas of programming, software-coding, ETL, and/or machine learning techniques.


Those are rarely the same people. You want you hardcore quant/programming skills from your analysts. You wan't your director to direct and interpret the analysis, have managerial skills, and be able to translate between the quants and the top management. There's zero reason the director needs to know how to code or build models, as long as he/she can interpret the output properly.


Hmm, I might be able to bridge that wide territory. I've

- Developed and shipped dozens of commercial software applications.
- Written computer based game simulation systems.
- Built successful development organizations as large as 40 people, that had excellent records on shipping high quality products on time.
- Served as CEO of several startups, including one where I raised over $12M from VCs and a Fortune 500 company.
- Obviously managed budgets, organizations, and succeeded in hiring and managing people in a manner that more often helped rather than hindered their performances.

My negatives
- This may shock people here, but I have a reputation for being a very direct and opinionated person.
- I have developed in SQL in the distant past, but most of my database work has been building data systems from scratch for performance reasons.

My positives
- This may shock people here, but i have a reputation for getting along well with peers, subordinates, and supervisors.
- I am trending towards broke, so my negotiating leverage is rapidly declining.

I'm tempted to apply, just to see if I could talk to them. Unfortunately I'm working 80 hour weeks building another startup from scratch, so I probably won't find the time to dust off (and I mean dust off, it's old) my resume.
   71. Moe Greene Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4358489)
For comparison, I have worked in an analytics group for a large company in a high cost-of-living area (although not as high as SF or NY). Everyone in the group had an advanced degree (MS, MBA, or PhD) and 5+ years of work experience; nearly everyone in the group frequently coded in some language (SQL for the DB-focused guys, R or Stata for the others); and everyone contributed frequently in meetings with non-analytics people outside the group, and the guys who coded less participated more frequently in those meetings. None of us managed anyone. All-in compensation (base, $ bonus, stock) was in the neighborhood of $140k - $160k. The guy we reported to -- whose responsibilities were a match for the job description laid out here -- was obviously north of us.

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