Meet Kyle Liotta. Liotta is a senior at Syracuse University who majors in sport analytics and economics. He arrived at S-U through his love for sports and math. Liotta learned Syracuse would be adding a sport analytics program during his senior year of high school and thought it fit his interests. Unfortunately, he had to wait to start the program.
“I enrolled here as a sport management student because the program wasn’t created yet. So, I had to go my first full undergrad year as a sport management student, then I had to transfer in as a sport analytics student the following summer.”
Majoring in sport analytics has given Liotta opportunities to join student organizations. He is currently the President of the university’s Baseball Statistics and Sabermetrics Club. During meetings, he discusses topics around Major League Baseball and teaches group members how to gather statistics from baseball websites. However, Liotta does not want the club to be based solely on statistics.
“This is a club where you’ll have 40 to 50 people talk about baseball with. On top of that, we also want to teach some basic analytics stuff like how to grab data from Fangraphs or Baseball Savant. I really want it to a baseball discussion club first, then move into the analytics section after that.”
Now is a good time to look at this mix of baseball with and without analytics. Viewers of today’s game see some advanced statistics like launch angle and exit velocity when a player hits a home run. However, the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals features two teams on different ends of this spectrum. The Washington Post reports the Astros have a highly ranked analytics department while the Nationals use analytics, but have relied more on scouts and the eye test. Now while most, if not all, teams rely heavily on analytics, some fans are still against the shift or managers micro-managing pitching matchups. Liotta feels these fans do not know how teams function.
“There’s reasons why none of us work in baseball because we’re not qualified and we don’t have access to this information. So that’s always one thing I always wanted to tell them is, like, ‘you’re not in the dugout with this information in hand, let them do their job.’”
Looking ahead, Liotta wants to work in professional baseball doing business analytics for a team. Santino Primerano, N-C-C News.