Why was Simple Sabermetrics created? Well, because when I turned to the internet to try and find answers when I was just starting out I couldn't find much. This post recaps the story of why this all started, while peaking ahead to some of the fun things we're looking forward to sharing with all of you in the future.
The main thing that I want everybody to take away from this post is that anyone can pursue a career in baseball now, whether you played 20 years in the majors or if you stopped playing after high school. Simple Sabermetrics was created for people who were like me starting out, hungry to dig my feet in and find a way into the industry I loved but not knowing exactly where to start. Let’s go back to where this all began, at the University of Iowa in 2016.
2016 was right around the time Iowa had begun to enter as a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. That was my freshman year, right when I decided to volunteer for the team as a student manager. The use of data wasn’t widespread outside of some tedious scouting report work us managers were doing. But that changed drastically over my 4 years with the team.
The following year was when the coaching staff began to dive in deeper into what it took to develop players to their full potential. Investing in technology such as Trackman, Rapsodo and eventually Edgertronic changed the way that we thought about training. Everything became much more intentional due to the fact that we had the ability to measure a lot of the things we (and much of baseball) had been guessing at for years. It was a unique experience to witness this major shift first hand.
From my first to second year working with the team the manager program had doubled in size, and as we continued to collect more and more data the team required better systems for analyzing that information. This responsibility fell into the hands of our manager team. It was around then that we had a few members step away from the field and into the office to begin dissecting that information full time (one of them, Sam Bornstein, now writes for this blog).
Now, I won’t go into the nitty gritty details of the projects that we began to take on… I’ve done a few videos recapping my experience at Iowa that you can watch here. But the main point I’d like to emphasize is that us managers went from nearly no real baseball experience to being one of the most well recognized staffs in college baseball.
As I talked with managers from other schools I began to realize that what we were doing was different. And it wasn’t until I went down to the Winter Meetings my senior year that I came to the realization that we were doing a lot of things that most collegiate programs weren’t doing, but even professional organizations had yet to implement full-scale.
Simple things like using the technology every single day, the processes we had to break it down and even the terminology we had begun to rely on wasn’t commonplace across the game. So I started to dive deeper online to see what resources there were to learn, and I couldn’t find much. Of course all of the content Driveline had been pushing out gave us a good idea, but I considered that higher level information than what I was looking for. At Iowa we learned by completely immersing ourselves in that information (of course with a lot of direction from our coaches), but for people out there who didn’t already have the resources we did there wasn’t really a place that you could turn to. Thus, Simple Sabermetrics was born.
I began putting together a list of video ideas with a goal of posting one video every single week. I came up with around 50 video ideas before I posted my first one, trying to cover everything I could think of. The ideas were all over the place… From specific metric breakdowns, to explanations of what different pieces of technology were and how to use them, and eventually more specific pitch design practices. I wanted to share with you all what we had learned, to become that resource I wished I had when I was just starting out.
In every single video I not only wanted to cover WHAT each metric was, but WHY it was important and HOW you could use it. That way you left each video with a little more direction than you had before. And the feedback and support I was given over that first year was incredibly useful as I continued to develop the channel.
Our first year was spent laying the foundation, the things you needed to understand in order to get started. This past year was all about continuing to build off of those key concepts, diving into more specific topics like pitch design or highlighting a new way of thinking about the information we had covered in the past. We even started looking into some of the strategies going on at the Major League level. 2020 also came with the addition of the first few rounds of Simple Sabermetrics merchandise, a few collaborative videos, and of course this blog!
As we enter our 3rd year on the channel, I want to continue to grow this platform to help out as many individuals as we can. My major focus is to bring more of this content to life by utilizing more real world examples. But as I say so many times on this channel, this platform was made to bring together a community of like minded individuals looking to help propel this data driven revolution.
The community is who this is all for, and at Simple Sabermetrics we want to make sure that you’re getting the information you’re looking for. Several video ideas over the years came from people leaving their questions or suggestions in the comment section on the videos. The same goes for the blog, I believe we have 3 very intelligent contributors who are going to do a ton of awesome things here - and if you like what they’re doing or have an idea for what you’d like to see next let them know!
Of course we’ve got some ideas in the works, whether that is content ideas or inspiration for a whole new Simple Sabermetrics experience - but those interactions help make sure we’re giving you all what you want. To give you blog readers an inside scoop... You can expect tons more MLB themed content, some highly requested videos on budget pitch design methods, and a ton more over the coming weeks between both the YouTube channel and the blog. We’ve grown nearly 5 times as large as where we were last year at this time, so I’m incredibly excited to see where we will go next.
The goal of all of this is to continue to make high level information easily digestible and fun to understand. Because, like I said, when I was just getting started there wasn’t anything out there to help me out. Whether you’re new to baseball and are interested in the data side of things, or you’re in baseball and you haven’t had much experience with all of this stuff – this is the place for you.
I started out this post by claiming that the industry is much more accepting of people like me who didn’t have a big league career to lean on as I began searching for a job. That used to be the only way in, but that has very much shifted. You’re seeing tons of student managers hopping straight past those entry level jobs into pro ball. There are college coaches, who never played at the major league level, hopping into big time roles with pro teams. This wasn’t something that happened very often before and was very inspiring to me as I set my sights on the future.
Simple Sabermetrics was created to empower more people to have access to high level information so the barrier to enter into the realm of coaching, player development, or baseball analytics wasn’t so high. One of my favorite things about the channel is hearing about how the channel really hit home with one of you and how it’s helped you get to where you’re trying to go. In just my twitter DM’s I’ve heard from people all over the world, from Taiwan and Puerto Rico to Spain and the Dominican Republic. That’s really freaking cool.
So if you guys enjoy the channel, the blog, the merch… Thank you. The last two years have been incredible, and this is only the beginning. See you in the next one.