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January 27, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Marking My Debut

by Max Marchi

Hi, I'm the new guy.

As you all know, Mike Fast is now in the Astros front office, and one of my duties here is to make his departure more palatable for our readers. That’s not an easy task. Then again, Mike's task to help turn around the franchise in Houston won't be easy, either.

My past work at The Hardball Times should give you an idea of what to expect from me. I'm a data analyst by trade, so I'll try to make the best use of my skills on the invaluable PITCHf/x and Retrosheet data. Some of my previous work you may have read includes analysis on defensive alignment, deception, catchers’ game calling, minor-league defense, and pitch framing.

However, the data analysis will wait for next time. I'm going to take this opportunity to tell you something about me.

I live in Italy, a 10-minute bicycle ride away from the place where Guglielmo Marconi grew up. It's not too hard to follow Major League Baseball from my side of the ocean, thanks to MLB.tv. However, as I recounted during last postseason, following the majors from abroad was much more complicated a couple of decades ago.

I played ball for more than 20 years, mainly as a second baseman (good range, weak arm, good eye, no power, competent baserunner). I studied Statistics at the University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe, which was founded in 1088.

Back in 2002, I discovered sabermetrics and realized that baseball and statistics could work together very well. Yes, I’ve been dealing with Win Expectancy, UZR, and the like for 10 years. But don't go looking for my early works, as they were written in Italian (and my site isn't even online anymore).

I switched to writing in English in 2009. Since then, I have produced close to 50 articles at The Hardball Times, have consulted for a major-league club, and have delivered presentations at both the 2010 and 2011 PITCHf/x Summits in San Francisco.

I love burying my head into spreadsheets (actually, I’m into R coding), but nothing beats watching a ballgame on TV or (even better) at the ballpark. The latter is a bit harder for me, but I have managed to attend about 50 major- or minor-league games over the past five summers, the highlight of which was Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter.

I believe I’ve just heard someone from the BP brass shouting, “Go back to your PITCHf/x analysis, Max,” so it’s time to end this introductory post. But not without thanking Dave Studenmund and the other folks at The Hardball Times, where I spent a couple of wonderful seasons, and the staff I have just joined here at Baseball Prospectus, where I plan to have a terrific time as well.

20 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Greg Pizzo

Welcome aboard, Max! It's nice to see the Italians represented!

Jan 27, 2012 09:25 AM
rating: 3

Welcome, Max. I've enjoyed your writing for quite awhile now. I believe I first read some stuff from a personal blog based on links from The Book Blog, even before you joined Hardball Times.

Still, I have to admit that Mike Fast had become my favorite Pitch F/X writer, so you'll have a hard act to follow!

Jan 27, 2012 09:56 AM
rating: 2
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

I'd just like to add that Mike Fast was one of the people who recommended Max. So we're pretty excited to have Max here and are confident he'll do some great things of his own.

Jan 27, 2012 10:32 AM
Richard Bergstrom

Dan Fox was my favorite till Mike came around.

Jan 27, 2012 15:23 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Max Marchi
BP staff

Yeah, for a very short time I posted here: http://profpeppersassistant.blogspot.com/

Jan 28, 2012 05:58 AM

My favorite fact about Marconi is that he was the great-grandson of John Jameson, the whiskey guy. I like to think that Marconi's invention of wireless telephones was the earliest known attempt at a drunk-dial/booty-call.

Jan 27, 2012 10:12 AM
rating: 6

Welcome. Great to have an international perspective.

Jan 27, 2012 10:26 AM
rating: 1

Max is an outstanding saberist, in addition to being good people. He accepts constructive criticism in a very positive manner, and is always a pleasure to deal with. It's just a pleasure to see the next wave of saberists arrive, and Max is a great example of what you'd like to see. His work speaks for itself.

Jan 27, 2012 11:05 AM
rating: 8

Excellent! Looking forward to reading your work.

Jan 27, 2012 13:45 PM
rating: 0

Ah, Bologna.... I remember it well....

Jan 27, 2012 16:45 PM
rating: -1
Christopher Miller

I love the internet.

Jan 27, 2012 21:03 PM
rating: 0


Jan 28, 2012 05:47 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Max Marchi
BP staff

Thank you all for the welcome.

Jan 28, 2012 05:57 AM

Welcome to BP. From a Hardball Times point of view, however, I have only one comment: Sheesh!

Jan 28, 2012 08:41 AM
rating: -1

Nice to know there was a market for baseball stats articles in Italian in 2002... :-)

Jan 28, 2012 10:04 AM
rating: 1

Looking forward to your articles Max!

Jan 29, 2012 07:41 AM
rating: 0
Alan Nathan

Hey Max. Congratulations! I look forward to reading your regular contributions to BPro. And I hope you continue your summer tradition of a US visit for the PITCHf/x summit and multiple ball games. Best wishes.

Jan 30, 2012 06:31 AM
rating: 0

Great pick-up, BP.
Looking forward to your posts, Max.

Jan 30, 2012 11:32 AM
rating: 0
John Carter

Cool. Where in Italy are you?

Feb 08, 2012 07:15 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Max Marchi
BP staff

Bologna. (More precisely Sasso Marconi).

Feb 08, 2012 09:19 AM
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