Department: Baseball Research & Development
The Cleveland Guardians Baseball Research & Development (R&D) group is seeking data scientists at a variety of experience levels, including senior, entry-level, and interns/fellows. Prior experience with sports is not necessary if you have some curiosity or interest in learning about data science applications in baseball.
If you enjoy tackling challenging problems, using interesting real data, collaborating with smart people, and having a direct impact on what happens on the baseball field and in our business, this may be the opportunity for you!
People in this role will use statistical and machine learning techniques to better understand and quantify the game of baseball. You will analyze video, player tracking, and biomechanics data as well as traditional baseball data sources like box scores to help us acquire and develop baseball players into a championship-caliber team. You will work alongside the rest of the R&D, data engineering, and IT groups, and interact with coaches, scouts, and executives from across the organization.
The Cleveland Guardians prefer our employees (or teammates) reside in Cleveland, Ohio, but we will consider and discuss the possibility of remote work.
If you meet some of the qualifications below, we encourage you to apply or reach out for more information. We know that historically marginalized groups – including people of color, women, people from working class backgrounds, and people who identify as LGBTQ – are less likely to apply unless and until they meet every requirement for a job. We encourage you to reach out if you have questions about the role or your qualifications. We are happy to help you feel ready to apply!
Our teammates are at the core of what we believe in: People, Collaboration, Learning, and Excellence (PeopleCLE). We look to hire individuals who are committed to our purpose of uniting and inspiring our city with the power of team. Our mission is to win the World Series while creating a compelling fan experience.
We believe that we will achieve our goals by making evidence and model-based decisions and creating environments that support our people and empower them to continuously learn. This role might be for you if you are looking to join a team that works together to learn new ways to make model-based decisions that lead to excellent outcomes.
We also pride ourselves on creating an attractive work environment highlighted by a healthy work-life balance, exceptional benefits such as health, vision, and dental coverage, and competitive 401k plan with employer contribution and match.
Our Hiring Process
To apply, please follow this link.
Department: Baseball Systems
Employment Type: Full-Time, Exempt
The Cleveland Guardians are seeking a Software Engineer to join their Baseball Systems Engineering team. In this position, you will have the opportunity to gain exposure to a variety of tasks – including, but not limited to, software engineering, data warehousing, and UX/UI design & development – that directly impact the organization’s ability to acquire, develop, and deploy players. Depending on your preferences, we will work with you to craft a role that either specializes in one of these areas or allows you to contribute across multiple areas. The software and data products you help build will facilitate operations and enhance decision-making across all areas of the organization, helping to answer questions such as “which trades should we execute,” “who should we select with our next pick in the draft,” and “how can we show players their data from yesterday’s game?” The position offers the opportunity to collaborate and help craft innovative solutions to challenging problems, grow from both an engineering and leadership standpoint, and work with teammates side by side in pursuit of the organization’s ultimate mission – winning the World Series.
As a Software Engineer with the Cleveland Guardians, you will have the opportunity to:
From a front-end engineering perspective…
From a back-end engineering perspective…
Base Requirements Needed, you should have:
About Us In Baseball Operations and Baseball Systems, our shared goal is to identify and develop diverse players and front office teammates who contribute to our mission. By working together effectively and collaboratively, we create a family atmosphere that supports learning as we strive for excellence in everything we do. We believe that we will achieve our goals by making evidence-based decisions and creating environments that support our people and empower them to learn.
We know that people from historically marginalized groups and those who have not yet had direct experience in the sports industry are less likely to apply for a job unless they meet every requirement. That being said, we encourage anyone who meets some of the qualifications above to apply or reach out for more information.
The Cleveland Guardians are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
The content in this posting was created and provided solely by the Cleveland Guardians.
It would be a scurrilous lie to suggest that adding Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals has been anything but a roaring success for the franchise. Arenado’s first season with the Cards may have been a bit down compared to his previous campaigns, but he’s rebounded to have arguably his best season ever in 2022. And with a .292/.358/. 533, 151 wRC+ line good for 7.2 WAR, he’s making a solid case for votes in this year’s National League MVP race, especially with teammate Paul Goldschmidt coming back to the pack thanks to a weak September. The near-certain MVP in the American League, Aaron Judge, will be a free agent this offseason. Could the National League MVP join him? Arenado has an important decision to make.
The Rockies originally signed Arenado to an eight-year, $260 million contract in early 2019. That contract came with an opt-out after the 2021 season, an escape hatch if he wanted to take a crack at free agency. Sadly for Rockies fans, opening that hatch became a possibility almost immediately, with Arenado reportedly becoming unhappy with the path the organization was taking before the first season of the new deal was even complete. Per The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders:
Although Arenado declined to talk publicly about the details of his deteriorating relationship with Bridich, multiple sources told The Post that Arenado feels like “promises were broken” after he signed an eight-year, $260 million contract last February. At that point, Arenado believed the Rockies were going to make roster moves to further improve a team that made the playoffs in 2017 and 2018.
Read the rest of this entry »
The “shadow zone” is one of my favorite new bits of lingo from the Statcast era, and I’m sure I’m not alone. In actual fact, the term describes a pretty simple concept – the area in and around the edges of the strike zone – but it sounds more like a hidden world from Star Trek or Stranger Things. The title for a FanGraphs piece about the shadow zone practically writes itself.
But I’m not here to talk about sonically pleasing sports terminology. Sure, I like the shadow zone because it sounds like it’s from a straight-to-video B-movie, but I am just as partial to what happens within it. It’s an area of ambiguity around the strike zone’s edges. It’s where plate discipline matters most, where control matters most, where umpiring matters most, and, as I’d like to focus on today, where pitch framing matters most.
Pitch framing takes place almost exclusively around the borders of the zone. Every so often a catcher successfully frames a pitch from beyond the shadows (a potential sequel to The Shadow Zone), but at that point, it’s just as much about bad umpiring as it is about good framing. Read the rest of this entry »
In my time at Sports Info Solutions this summer, I scored both of Janson Junk’s 2022 major league starts. Typically, getting assigned to an Angels’ game, especially a Mike Trout-less one (he was injured at the time), would elicit a groan. However, come the second Junk start, I was admittedly a bit excited, because in his first turn, I saw a lot of this:
I kept the audio in that clip so that you can hear the announcer say “there you go, there’s another one” — specifically, another whiff on a high slider. I put the announcer’s assertion to the test by defining a high pitch as one in the highlighted part of Statcast’s strike zone:
In that start against the Royals alone, Junk threw 36 sliders, 17 of which were high. All four of his slider whiffs came on the high hard ones. In his next start against the lowly A’s, Junk didn’t fare as well, but the high slider wasn’t to blame. He threw 24 more sliders, eight of which were high. His only slider whiff came on a high one, and the two doubles he allowed off sliders were not off high ones.
Sadly, that’s all the data we have to go on, as Junk was demoted after failing to quiet Oakland’s typically silent bats. In Triple-A the rest of the year, he pitched to a 6.12 ERA and 5.10 FIP, making it unlikely he’d receive another nod in the majors this year. So I had to search elsewhere for a verdict on whether high sliders were truly effective in the majors. They certainly remain uncommon, with little change from last year to this year:
Using my Statcast-aided definition of high sliders, their usage has actually decreased from 18.0% last year to 17.3% this year, a statistically significant difference. Read the rest of this entry »
Sunday wasn’t Charlie Morton’s best night, though it was hardly his worst. Fresh off the announcement of a contract extension for next season, and with nothing less than the Braves’ full control of their own destiny in the NL East race on the line against the Mets, the 38-year-old righty bent but didn’t break before manager Brian Snitker pulled him with a 4–3 lead and one out in the fifth inning. His performance was still better than opposite number Chris Bassitt, who was chased in the third inning. And for the third straight night, the Braves got home runs from both Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson and a save from Kenley Jansen. Their magic number to clinch the division and the NL’s second seed is down to one.
With victories over Jacob deGrom on Friday and Max Scherzer on Saturday, the Braves had taken a one-game lead in the NL East race — their largest of the season — and evened the season series with the Mets at nine games apiece. A victory on Sunday night meant that they would possess not only a two-game lead with three games left to play but also the upper hand in a tiebreaker scenario via their 10–9 record in head-to-head games. Under the new postseason format, so long as they do anything but lose all three of their remaining games against the Marlins in Miami along with the Mets winning their three against the Nationals at home, the Braves would get a first-round bye and face the winner of the best-of-three Wild Card series between the Cardinals and the sixth seed (currently the Phillies, who have a magic number of one over the Brewers). The fourth-seeded Mets would face the fifth-seeded Padres, with the winner moving on to face the top-seeded Dodgers in the Division Series.
So there was a lot riding on Sunday’s contest, to say the least. As a 15-year veteran who’s pitched for teams that have been to the playoffs in eight of the past nine seasons (plus this one) and who has appeared in three of the past five World Series (most notably closing out Game 7 for the 2017 Astros), Morton is no stranger to big games. It appears that he has more in store, not only because the Braves are playoff-bound but also because on Saturday they announced a one-year, $20 million extension with the righty, with a $20 million club option (and no buyout) for 2024. It’s essentially a rollover of Morton’s previous deal, in that he’s making $20 million this year and had a club option for $20 million next year. Read the rest of this entry »
The top nine pitchers by WAR since 2012 have a combined 54 All-Star Game appearances, 13 Cy Young Awards, and two MVP Awards in their careers. Most of them, including Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, and Stephen Strasburg, have signed nine-figure contracts that earn each of them over $30 million annually. Then, at number 10, there’s the ever underrated one-time All-Star José Quintana, just ahead of Yu Darvish and David Price:
Quintana, 33, has accumulated 32.7 WAR over an 11-season career that looks wildly different from those of his peers on this list. He started with the White Sox from 2012-17, signing a $21 million extension in 2014 and posting a 3.51 ERA in over 1,000 innings. In 2017, the Cubs took an interest, parting with their top two prospects, Eloy Jiménez and Dylan Cease, and two others to get Quintana’s talents to the North Side.
From there, he wavered. His fastball velocity declined year to year from 2016 to ’20, and while he was still capable of making 30 starts each season, he wasn’t able to get outs as effectively. In his contract year in 2020, COVID-19 and two stints on the IL limited Quintana to just one start and three relief outings. His struggles would continue in 2021, when attempts to catch on with the Angels and Giants resulted in a pair of DFAs. Read the rest of this entry »
I once spent what felt like a lifetime arguing with a colleague who hated the German soccer player Mesut Özil and would not be moved no matter what statistical evidence, stunning highlights, or expert analysis he consumed. For years, my friend insisted Özil was trash, and for years he was wrong.
Then, Özil finally lost a step, fell out with his coach, and got benched. Rather than admit circumstances had changed, my friend claimed victory, as if he’d prophesied the truth instead of stumbling into it after the fact. Which I’m totally fine with, by the way, and in no way still so pissed about that I’m bringing it up for an audience that likely knows or cares little about semi-retired European soccer playmakers and even less about my onetime debate partner. No, sir. Anyway, this experience taught me an important lesson about sports takemanship: If you hold on to an opinion long enough, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, sometimes the mountain comes to Mohammed.
In that spirit, I’m declaring that I was right about Ryne Stanek all along. Back in 2012, I was a huge Stanek fan. In his days at the University of Arkansas, he was one of the top candidates to go first overall in the 2013 draft. I saw his fastball velocity and wipeout slider and imagined him as a future no. 1 starter. And when Stanek continued to worry scouts his junior year — he fell all the way to no. 29 in the draft, despite posting a 1.39 ERA as a starter in the SEC — I was unmoved. Stanek would come good, I insisted.
For nine years, I kept the faith. Through injuries, through command problems, through a move to the bullpen. When Stanek finally started a handful of major league games, it was as an opener, the Blaster to Jalen Beeks’s Master. He was effective in short bursts, but a trade to the Marlins in mid-2019 and a month-long bout with COVID in 2020 brought his career to the brink of dissolution.
Suffice it to say, things have changed. Last year, Stanek became a key part of the Astros’ bullpen, appearing in 13 of Houston’s 16 playoff games, holding batters to a .139/.184/.333 line, and posting a positive WPA in the first 12 of those outings. This year, well, here’s a list of the top reliever ERAs in baseball this season:
It took nine years, but Stanek is finally as dominant as he was at Arkansas. A 1.17 ERA in 58 appearances for the top seed in the American League might not be a 200-inning Cy Young season, but it’s close enough that I can claim to have triumphed in the marketplace of ideas.
Many of these names above will be familiar to you from a piece Ben Clemens wrote last week about how the top relievers in baseball are especially dominant. Among the players he mentioned are the ones you’ll remember in several years’ time: Helsley chucking the rock at 104 mph, Díaz storming in to trumpet fanfare like a Roman consul, Clase cuttering through opponents like Mariano Rivera, plus six ticks. But Stanek, who’s second among relievers in ERA, didn’t merit a mention. As if he’s not actually elite.
The Astros don’t seem to think so either, or at least they’re not using him that way. Among the six Astros relievers with at least 40 innings pitched, Stanek is only fourth in gmLI, at 1.22, which places him in the range of important middle relievers, but hardly a high-leverage fireman or closer. Some of that is down to Houston having a loaded bullpen: in addition to closer Ryan Pressly, the Astros have invested significant resources in the past 18 months to sign or trade for Héctor Neris, Will Smith, Phil Maton, and Rafael Montero. They’ve all pitched well, as has Bryan Abreu. And Houston’s surfeit of rotation arms will bolster the bullpen in the playoffs — Justin Verlander acolyte Hunter Brown has already moved over, and one or both of José Urquidy and Luis Garcia is likely to join him there as October rolls on.
The other reason Stanek’s exceptional run prevention season is going unnoticed is that it’s most remarkable in one specific way: The sheer number of fluky season red flags he’s managed to hit. In an era when the best relievers are striking out tons of batters and walking no one, Stanek is a throwback to the Matt Mantei–Armando Benitez-type relief ace who gets outs but walks so many guys you end up watching his appearances through your fingers. I’m not complaining — everything that was cool when I was a middle schooler is coming back into style, it seems. Just today I saw a TikTok about how to make your hair look like Shawn’s from Boy Meets World. But I digress. Let’s take a look at some of Stanek’s stats:
The Statcast-derived metrics are no more flattering:
Calling Stanek’s season fluky feels unkind, and it’s certainly not my intention to denigrate the fine work he’s done this year. The F-word is usually tagged to players whose superficial stats look good but are actually bad. Stanek, based on the underlying numbers, is a good reliever whose ERA makes him look like Dennis Eckersley.
What is he, then? Well, basically the same pitcher he was last year: A good middle reliever with an above-average strikeout rate and a slightly concerning walk rate. He’s much less homer-prone this year, but that’s about it. His improved LOB% and inherited runner strand rate (up to 41% from 19% in 2021) come despite very similar performance with runners on base (.257 opponent wOBA in 2021, .267 this year). But it bears repeating that he was a workhorse in the playoffs for an Astros team that nearly won the title, and with the LDS and LCS both losing an off day, more of this postseason than ever will be decided by teams’ fourth- and fifth-best relievers.
Players like Stanek, in other words. As much as the Astros need star performances from Verlander, Pressly, and so on, they need their entire pitching staff to show up. Lucky for them, for the seventh and eighth innings they have an ace, just as I predicted all those years ago.
Riley Greene was 18 years old and only three months removed from being drafted fifth-overall when he was first featured here at FanGraphs in September 2019. Harking back to our earlier conversation, I asked the Detroit Tigers rookie outfielder what he knows now that he didn’t know then.
“When I first started, I didn’t really think about much,”replied Greene, who celebrated his 22nd birthday four days ago. “I kind of just went up there, and was free-swinging almost. I was a young kid who didn’t really know anything. Since then, I’ve come up with a routine and am more educated on what I need to do at the plate. I have a plan. Whether it works or not is up the baseball gods.”
The extent to which the baseball gods have been on his side is relative. Greene isn’t exactly setting the world on fire — he has a 100 wRC+ and five home runs in 400 plate appearances — but again, he’s been old enough to take a legal drink for barely over a year. He also came into the season with just 198 professional games under his belt, only 55 at the Triple-A level. His potential far exceeds his present.
In some respects, Greene is much the same player Detroit drafted in the first round out of Oviedo, Florida’s Paul J. Hagerty High School. Read the rest of this entry »
Picking up where I left off from Thursday’s installment, while starting pitchers born in the 1960s are better represented in the Hall of Fame than those born in the ’50s or ’70s — but still far below levels from earlier decades — the period produced a handful of standouts who aren’t in. Some are outside because they didn’t have longevity in their favor due to injuries and other interruptions. They all went one-and-done on BBWAA ballots because they were far short of 300 wins at a time when the writers were only electing such pitchers. “Traditional” JAWS didn’t favor them either, but some of them look like much stronger candidates via S-JAWS, most notably the pair featured here, Kevin Brown and David Cone.
From the previous piece, here’s how they stand among the pitchers born in the Sixties: