It’s Game 7 of a future World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.
The Dodgers lead by a run with two outs in the ninth inning. With a man on, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is at the plate.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen peers in for signs from his catcher. Will he throw Judge a slider, or try and sneak a fastball by him?
The answer to that hypothetical question could be based, in part, on the work of young professionals who have more experience with spreadsheets and data than bats and gloves. They are part of the ever-growing sports analytics field that was brought to prominence by the best-selling book and hit movie “Moneyball” in 2003.
In the last several years, a number of University of Virginia graduates have joined their ranks, crunching numbers for Major League Baseball teams.
“‘Moneyball’ got everybody thinking about sports analytics,” said Arlyn Burgess, the associate director for operations and strategic initiatives at UVA’s Data Science Institute. “It is certainly a niche that we want to make sure that we’re covering because we see such an excitement from students.”