What’s in it for me? Learn how data and statistics helped turn the Houston Astros into a winning team.
Passion and instinct shape sports. Whether it’s the diehard fans in the stands, the dedicated players on the field or the grizzled old-school coach pacing the sidelines, the people who live and breathe sports tend to project a certain message – that success in the game rests on grit, determination and raw talent.
But that’s changing. Today’s top clubs are increasingly embracing something we don’t usually associate with sports – math.
Take it from the Houston Astros, a baseball outfit whose meteoric rise from mid-table mediocrity to World Series champion was driven by a managerial revolution. At its heart were two forward-thinking innovators, Californian data analyst Sig Mejdal and scout Jeff Luhnow, both of whom realized that baseball, like other games, can be understood statistically.
In the face of opposition from skeptics and proponents of good old “gut instinct,” Mejdal and Luhnow started following the data. The results were stunning. Soon enough, the Astros were gaming the market and signing overlooked talents whose unique skill sets laid the foundations for the club’s title-winning season in 2017.
In the following blinks, you’ll learn
- how technology is reshaping American baseball;
- why the most successful clubs champion inclusivity; and
- what big data sometimes misses.