Cubs Hire Stats Guy
And so begins my heart palpitations! I have previously discussed my high hopes for Tom Ricketts -- in many ways, he reminds me of Stu Sternberg, who bought the (Devil) Rays in 2005 and filled the organization with financial sector stat-heads. The rest is history and current events (i.e. the Rays are really, really good).
However, since then, it has started to feel that Ricketts is either uninvolved, or involved and unwise (he apparently approved moving Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen, or Zambrano-Gate). That is why I'm so, so glad to see an article such as this on ESPN Chicago:
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts made his first hire in the baseball operations department, naming Ari Kaplan as the team's statistical analyst manager...The question, of course, is how will he blend with Jim Hendry? The answer to that question will decide Jim Hendry's fate and the Cubs' fate.
Kaplan has created statistical profiles of players and organizations for the past 20 years. The 40-year-old Chicago native has blended scouting with statistical analysis for 21 major league teams.
Update: Here's a touch more info on Kaplan from his website:
Ari Kaplan is President of AriBall, a leading analyst and scouting firm to Major League Baseball teams and media. Educated at the elite California Institute of Technology, he is a recipient of their “Alumni of the Decade” award for the 1990’s. Kaplan is the President of AriBall and was President of the Independent Oracle Users Group for three years. Kaplan gained broad recognition in the IT marketplace as CEO of Expand Beyond Corp, a leader in the database and server management market,raising the largest first round of funding in Illinois for 2001 through its public acquisition. In 2001, he was included in Crain Communications’ "40 Under 40" profile of business leaders.And apparently Bill James said this in the LA Times:
Our ability to generate stats has gotten way ahead of our ability to make any sense of it… it's going to take a lot of work by people like Mr. Kaplan before we understand what all this means