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May 16, 2014

Front Office Expansion

The High Value of the Video Replay Analyst

by Lewie Pollis

I had the honor of having lunch with Dan Brooks last week, and as we ate our sandwiches the conversation turned to my thesis. I mentioned that if I were running a team, I would strongly consider hiring dozens of new front office employees, because their salaries are so cheap compared to those of players that even if only a few of them ended up making substantive contributions, they would more than earn their collective keep.

I don’t remember the exact words that came out of Dan’s mouth when I asked him what he thought of the idea of a team’s hypothetically hiring 100 baseball operations employees tomorrow, but it was something along the lines of: “What would you have them all do?” Though I didn’t think it detracted from the general point, it was an important question to which I didn’t have a good answer. And from a team’s standpoint, that uncertainty might be the biggest obstacle to the kind of dramatic front office expansion for which I would advocate.

This got me thinking about how one might conceive of the work that junior-level baseball operations employees do in the most concrete way possible in order to make the idea of altering teams’ front offices more accessible. This train of thought fortuitously led me to the newest—and thus least structurally entrenched—category of front office personnel: video replay analysts.

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