It’s a ‘Numbers Game’ which BGSU economics student presented to top baseball executives and scouts
In sports, October belongs to Major League Baseball playoffs and the World Series and then MLB teams will be looking at their options for next year. Drafting strategies was the focus of an August seminar where a BGSU business senior presented his optimal drafting strategies project.
Seventeen MLB teams, along with hundreds of other baseball scouts, officials, statisticians, fans and scientists attended SaberSeminar, a conference on the statistics, scouting, and physics of baseball located in Boston. The attendees had the opportunity to hear from BGSU business student, Grant Jones, whose research project “Are teams under-gaming the draft?” was selected to present at the sold-out SaberSeminar.
The BGSU senior, who is specializing in applied economics, describes his research. “My project looks heavily into teams’ strategies when it comes to the draft, where every U.S. and Canadian-born player is eligible out of high school, as well as certain college players.”
Jones continues, “With the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement there are soft monetary caps on how much a team can give out in bonus money, and it offers interesting possibilities for teams to mix and match bonuses to keep under those caps. All teams have stayed within the soft caps -- but my project takes a look at what a team’s draft would look like if they broke the soft cap and accepted all penalties associated with that. As an applied economics specialization, my background helped me immensely with this project.”
It was an exciting opportunity for Jones. “Having the opportunity to present in front of hundreds of people gave me a unique experience that a classroom could not provide. With academics, fans, and front office members in the audience, I had to prepare vigorously in the weeks that preceded the event.”
“After presenting, I felt very confident about my presentation. In the subsequent days and weeks of this event, I have talked to several teams about my project, something I am hoping to parlay into a full season internship or position in baseball operations.”
SaberSeminar included headline speakers Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski and Arizona Diamondbacks Assistant General Manager Bryan Minniti. The conference benefitted The Jimmy Fund and the Angioma Alliance.
Jones is currently a minor league scouting contributor at Baseball Prospectus and has previously interned with the Milwaukee Brewers and has been an associate scout with the New York Mets. He will be graduating from BGSU in December and hopes his economics background lands him a position with one of the MLB teams.