Sports Analytics is all the rage in the sports industry – but what does it really look like to be in research and development? Lewie Pollis, Lead Quantitative Analyst, Amateur Scouting for the Philadelphia Phillies gives us an inside look at the world of sports analytics.
Questions for Lewie Pollis, Philadelphia Phillies Lead Quantitative Analyst, Amateur Scouting
1: So excited to have a chance to speak with you lewie – research and analytics are all the rage in the sports industry and it’s great to share with our audience details on your role and background – let’s start there, your background – you’re an ivy league guy earning your degree in economics and political science from Brown University — was a sports career in your focus at this point, or were you headed down a different path?
2: I wrote an article a few years back studying the background of all the GM’s in Major League Baseball and it was really interesting to see the trend – more and more top-level executives were being hired with an economics background rather than a guy who spent his entire career sitting in minor league bleachers with a radar gun.
Did this come into your thinking as you pursued a less than typical degree for the sports industry?
3: Let’s get into the internship you did with the Cleveland Indians while in school – the Indians are a very forward thinking organization, in fact Keith Woolner their principal data scientist is a bit of a legend in the baseball analytics side of the industry. What was this experience like for you to be with a major league team, with a developed and valued staff in analytics… and for your home town team no less?
4: During your college years you interned with the Indians and the Reds – it’s hard to get major league internships, and you got two different ones. What was your key to getting these roles – how did they come to fruition?
5: You’re at a top university studying some heavy subjects in economics and political science – and then you go intern with two different professional teams – I imagine you’ve been crunching numbers your entire life, but was it different to see how it all works within the context of a major league organization?
6: For the last 4 years you’ve been with the Philadelphia Phillies as part of the baseball research and development staff, so you’ve had experience with three different MLB teams. Without naming specifics, does the organizational impact of the analytics department come from the top down and therefore vary from team to team? I’d imagine some teams embrace it more than others and that would affect your impact, right?
7: How have the analytical capacities of your department, and the influence your group has, changed or developed over your 4 years with the Phillies?
8: You were recently promoted from Analyst, Baseball Research and Development to Lead Quantitative Analyst, Amateur Scouting – let’s start with your former role, break it down for us, what were the major parts of your role in Baseball Research and Development?
9: Ok let’s flip to now, sounds like you’re focused in the amateur scouting side – is this role primarily focused on the player evaluation and acquisition via the draft?
10: How much of your role requires you to present the data and make your case to others in the organization? I think many people believe analytics is an introvert’s job, but in my experience talking with people in the industry, you have to able to defend your position and articulate your research…right?
11: Our audience is comprised of many people who want to be where you are – what advice would you give someone who has an eye for a career on the analytics section of the industry?
For all of Lewie Pollis’s answers to these questions about careers in sports analytics, make sure to listen in to the Work in Sports podcast e158!