We’re still adding many speakers to the 2014 program, but here’s what we can tell you so far:
Ben Cherington is the GM of the World Champion Boston Red Sox. Previously, he held positions as an area scout, baseball operations assistant, coordinator of international scouting, and assistant director (and then director) of player development from 1999–2005. He later became vice president, player personnel, through January 2009, then senior vice president and assistant GM from 2009, before his promotion to general manager after the 2011 season. Last year, he was named Major League Baseball Executive of the Year by The Sporting News.
Jeff Luhnow was named the 12th General Manager in Astros franchise history on December 7th, 2011. With a track record of success in scouting and developing players prior to joining the Astros, Luhnow’s focus has been on creating a player pipeline that will help the Astros win at the Major League level for years to come. Prior to joining the Astros, Luhnow spent eight years with the St. Louis Cardinals, as their Vice President of Baseball Development (2003-2005), Vice President of Player Procurement (2005), and Vice President of Scouting and Player Development (2006-2011). During much of his time with the Cardinals, he oversaw the scouting, international, and player development functions of the club that brought in many players instrumental to the 2011 World Series victory, the 2012 NLCS team and the 2013 World Series team.
Tom Tippett, the Red Sox Senior Baseball Analyst, oversees the development of the team’s baseball information system and provides analytical support for player evaluation and other baseball decisions. He previously held the position of as Director, Baseball Information Services, in the Sox front office. Prior to joining the Red Sox in 2008, Tom was the founder of Diamond Mind, Inc., serving as president and chief architect of that company’s baseball simulation products until he sold the company in 2006. From 2003 to 2008, he consulted with the Red Sox Baseball Operations department of the Red Sox on technology and baseball research projects. A Toronto native, Tom graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours B.Math degree and earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Mike Ferrin, our 2014 Saberseminar MC, is in his 8th season with SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. In addition to hosting the daily talk show “Power Alley” with former Mets & Orioles GM Jim Duquette, Mike also hosts MLB Roundtrip with Baseball Prospectus presented by Perfect Game and Sirius XM College Sports Nation’s This Week in College Baseball. A Chicago native, Mike has also hosted on field Pregame shows for the ALCS & NLCS, and served as the Play-By-Play for SiriusXM’s coverage of the SiriusXM Futures Game and of the Arizona Fall League. He currently lives in Arlington, VA with his wife Erika and the World’s Best Labrador, Pops.
Dr. Alan Nathan is a physics professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After a long career studying the high-speed collisions of subatomic particles, he now studies much lower speed collisions between baseballs and bats. He runs the very popular site The Physics of Baseball, and has served on various panels advising organizations such as the NCAA on issues related to bat performance.
Dr. Aaron Seitz is an internationally recognized expert on the mechanisms of learning and memory using behavioral, computational and neuroscientific methodologies. His research over the last 15 years has focused on mechanisms of plasticity and learning in the sensory/perceptual systems. A key aspect of his recent research is applying knowledge of plasticity mechanisms in the brain to create brain-training video games that are effective in improving performance in real-world tasks. A notable example is his vision training game ULTIMEYES that leads to vision improvement that positively transfers to on-field performance in baseball.
Vince Gennaro is the author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball, the President of SABR, and a consultant to MLB teams. He appears regularly on MLB Network’s Clubhouse Confidential, and is a frequent guest commentator on sports business in the media. This follows a 25-year business career, where he served as President of billion dollar division of PepsiCo. His innovative work in baseball analytics has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney, and the New York Times. He teaches in the Graduate Sports Management program at Columbia University and has an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Tony Blengino has 11 years of experience in the baseball industry, the last five as Special Assistant to the GM with the Seattle Mariners. During this time, he headed up the Mariners’ analytics department, and had significant involvement in all aspects of the baseball operation, including Pro and Amateur Scouting, 40-man roster management and player development. Previously, Tony worked for the Milwaukee Brewers for six years, three as Northeast Area Scouting Supervisor and three as Assistant Amateur Scouting Director. Tony currently writes for Fangraphs. Prior to working in baseball, Tony was a CPA and authored the book “Future Stars”, an annual preview of top minor league prospects that combined traditional scouting and statistical analysis. Tony resides in Waukesha, WI, with his wife Kathy. They have two grown children, Jessica and Anthony.
Chuck Korb is the founder of the Sabermetrics, Scouting, and the Science of Baseball conference, now in its fourth year. Chuck’s background is in the investment industry where he enjoyed modest success before moving to his true love, teaching. Chuck currently teaches at-risk middle school students in his home town, Malden, and consults with a professional hockey team. He has also taught numerous classes and seminars on sabermetrics, and has written multiple articles for Lindy’s, Maple Street Press, and various on-line sites.
Dr. David Somers employs functional MRI, psychophysics, and computational modeling to investigate the mechanisms underlying visual perception and cognition. His laboratory performs experiments to identify the human brain circuitry which support different visual tasks, and to study how different cognitive factors such as attention modulate these circuits. Modeling work investigates the computational mechanisms at work in these circuits.
Dr. Dan Brooks works in the psychology department at Tufts University, where he studies and teaches animal learning with a focus on visual perception. He is also an author of Baseball Prospectus and maintains the popular PITCHf/x analysis website BrooksBaseball.net. He lives in Providence, RI with his wife Marilyn (who still wears her pink Sox hat proudly) and dog Teddy (who wishes they would hold Bark in the Park at Fenway, even if he’d probably spend all game eating peanuts off the floor).
Dave Cameron is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs, where he and his band of merry men (and one woman) analyze, discuss, and fawn over the sport of baseball. He’s been writing for FanGraphs since 2008, and was promoted to Managing Editor in 2010. In addition to FanGraphs, he can be found writing weekly for ESPN Insider and he regularly contributes to the Wall Street Journal’s sports page as well. He also is a proud cancer survivor, as his leukemia has been in remission since August of 2011, and he encourages you to give every dime you have to cancer research, as he is quite happy to be alive today.
Harry Pavlidis is the Director of Data Analysis for Baseball Prospectus. He also provides a regular column featuring PITCHf/x based scouting and analysis. As the founder of Pitch Info and previously a founding partner of Complete Game Consulting, Harry has been providing professional services related to the handling and analysis of baseball tracking data since 2009. Harry is a graduate of Syracuse University with more than fifteen years experience in developing online and mobile applications–for things not even related to baseball, too.
Dr. Russell A. Carleton is a mental health researcher who has a secret double life as a baseball researcher. In his real job, he helps to evaluate the development of programs to assist children, adolescents, and transition-age youth in receiving mental health and suicide prevention services. He holds a Ph.D. in child clinical psychology from DePaul University in Chicago. Russell has written about his own baseball research, focusing on the gory mathematical details, at Statistically Speaking and Baseball Prospectus since 2007. He has consulted to two teams in MLB.
Dr. Ben Baumer, co-author of The Sabermetric Revolution, is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Mathematics & Statistics department at Smith College. He completed his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 2012. Previously, he was the Statistical Analyst for the Baseball Operations department of the New York Mets, a position he held from 2004 to 2012.
Jared Porter serves as the Red Sox Director of Professional Scouting, and has worked for the Red Sox in Baseball Operations since 2004 when he was a Player Development Intern in Ft. Myers, FL. Jared graduated from Thayer Academy (Braintree, MA) in 1999 and Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME) in 2003 where he was the Captain of the Baseball and Hockey teams his senior year.
Gus Quattlebaum is the Red Sox assistant director of amateur scouting. A native of Andover, MA, he attended Phillips Academy before studying at Davidson College, where he played baseball for four years (with an extra summer spent with the Chatham Anglers of the Cape League). Before breaking into the ranks of pro scouts in 2004 with the Baltimore Orioles, he scouted amateur players for the Yankees in the US Northwest and Southern California. He joined the Red Sox as a pro scout in 2006 and migrated to the front office as assistant director of amateur scouting in 2010.
Ben Crockett became the Red Sox Director of Player Development in 2012, after serving as the Assistant Director in 2010 and 2011. Ben joined the Red Sox organization as an intern in baseball operations in 2007 and served as Advance Scouting Coordinator from 2008-2009. Prior to his work with the Red Sox, Ben was selected by the team in the 10th round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft but did not sign. He was drafted the following year in the 3rd round by Colorado out of Harvard University, and is a veteran of five professional seasons (2002-06) as a pitcher.
Jared Cross is a Chemistry and Statistics teacher at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York, and one of the creators of the Steamer Projections, which can be found on FanGraphs. His writing can be found on ESPN Insider. He has a chemistry degree from Amherst College and is in the process of completing an MA in Statistics at Hunter College in New York.
Dr. Matt Swartz writes for The Hardball Times, FanGraphs, and MLB Trade Rumors. He graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 2009 with a Ph.D. in Economics, and also from UPenn in 2003 with a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics. His current research often focuses on the economics of baseball, as well as other topics. Matt does the arbitration salary projection model for MLB Trade Rumors, and co-created the SIERA pitching statistic available at FanGraphs. He regularly consults for a Major League team, in addition to working in his day job as an economist in the insurance industry. Matt is a native Philadelphian, and lives there now with his wife Laura and his daughter Maya.
Craig Glaser is an application developer and baseball analyst at Bloomberg Sports. At Bloomberg, he has been instrumental in the development of projection systems for baseball and soccer, algorithms for their fantasy software, and expanding the capabilities of their professional baseball tool to meet the needs of teams and broadcasters both domestically and internationally. He briefly wrote for The Hardball Times before joining Bloomberg, and his Baseball ProGUESTus article on how unlikely it was that the Mets had never had a no-hitter was published mere days before Johan Santana threw the first in team history.
Featured 2013 Speakers
John Farrell became the Boston Red Sox’ 46th manager after serving as the club’s pitching coach from 2007-2010 and Toronto Blue Jays’ manager from 2011-2012. John pursued his love for baseball and dream to play in the big leagues at Oklahoma State University. He was drafted out of Oklahoma State in the second round of the 1984 draft by the Cleveland Indians. John enjoyed much success as a starting pitcher for the Indians with a 90-plus mph fastball, and he finished his days pitching for the Angels (1993-94), Indians (1995) and Tigers (1996). Following his playing career, Farrell returned to Oklahoma State to earn his degree and serve as the school’s assistant coach and pitching and recruiting coordinator. He was inducted into the Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame in 1995. Respected for honesty and integrity in the clubhouse, Farrell says he plans to find success with the Red Sox through communication and effort: “One thing we have full control over is the effort that we give.”
Brian Bannister spent five seasons pitching in the major leagues, most notably with the Kansas City Royals, where he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2007. He was a right-hander with an underwhelming fastball in a sport that lusts for hard-throwers and lefties, and his ability to succeed was attributed as much to his brain (and stubborn perseverance) as to his arm. “He tinkers and analyzes and studies and plots and creates and destroys and invents and experiments,” the writer Joe Posnanski once said of him. By a certain type of baseball fan, Bannister will be remembered as the first ballplaying sabermetrician, a student of advanced statistics who saw information as valuable, not threatening. His public embrace of the brainy side of sports helped bridge the divide between baseball’s jocks and nerds.
Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D., grew up in New York as a big baseball fan with an aptitude for math and science. While attending MIT (across the Charles River from this seminar), he discovered the field of sports biomechanics for combining his interests. After graduating from MIT, Fleisig volunteered as a research intern at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, where he met up-and-coming sports medicine doctor Jim Andrews. The two men shared a passion to understand and prevent injuries in baseball and other sports. Fleisig earned graduate degrees from Washington University and UAB. In 1987, Dr. Andrews opened the American Sports Medicine Institute and hired Dr. Fleisig to head up the research. During the past 25 years, Dr. Fleisig has published over 100 scientific articles, worked with thousands of athletes including from 20 Major League Baseball teams, appeared in countless television, print, and online stories, and presented his work all over the world. Dr. Fleisig is also the pitching safety consultant for Little League Baseball and a member of USA Baseball’s Safety Committee.
Keith Woolner enters his seventh season leading the Baseball Analytics group for the Cleveland Indians. He is responsible for developing innovative ways to organize, analyze and present information to support baseball decision-making. He leads a team of analysts who study statistical data, scouting reports, medical histories and contract information to assist with in-game strategy, player acquisition and forecasting future performance. Prior to joining the Indians, Keith was Director of Research & Development at Baseball Prospectus. Keith is the inventor of VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), a well-known sabermetric statistic. He worked in the software industry for 17 years before joining the Indians, including stints at Oracle and SAS Institute.
Keith Law joined ESPN.com in June 2006 as the lead baseball analyst for Scouts Inc., covering the majors, minors and amateurs. He appears regularly across the ESPN family of networks, providing analysis on all baseball topics. Before joining ESPN, Law spent 4½ years with the Toronto Blue Jays as a special assistant to the general manager, and was previously a writer for Baseball Prospectus. He graduated from Harvard College and holds an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon.
Dr. Daniel L.C. Mack is an analyst for the Kansas City Royals. His earned his degree in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University while working at the Institute for Software Integrated Systems. Daniel’s research focused on anomaly detection methodologies for modeling early failure detection, specifically in large multi-dimensional sequence data. His dissertation focused on isolating and describing unknown failures in complex systems such as aircraft and in sports like baseball.
Robert Scott is a Negro League veteran who played first base with the New York Black Yankees, the Memphis Red Sox, and the Jackie Robinson All Stars from 1946 – 1950.
Ben Lindbergh is the editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus. He also contributes to Grantland and ESPN Insider and is a recurring guest on MLB Network’s Clubhouse Confidential, as well as a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Patrick Drane has served as the Assistant Director of the Baseball Research Center at UMASS Lowell since 2003 and has helped lead the center to become an internationally recognized center of excellence in the field of baseball and baseball bat research and a leader among facilities focusing on sports engineering research in the United States. His organization of the 9th conference of the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA) brought the sports engineering researchers from around the world to Lowell in 2012.
Alex Speier is a columnist and reporter for WEEI.com. Previously, Alex covered the Red Sox for several New England and national publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, Boston Metro, Boston Herald and Baseball America. Alex graduated from Harvard, where he served as the captain of the debate team, an experience that has been of surprisingly little use in press boxes across the country.
Brian MacPherson has covered the Red Sox for the Providence Journal since 2010. He worked for the New Hampshire Union Leader, ESPNBoston.com and the St. Cloud (Minn.) Times before that. An Exeter, N.H., native, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Michael Silverman has been covering the Red Sox and Major League Baseball for the Boston Herald since the middle of the 1995 season. A native of Kansas City, Michael is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Michael is the Vice Chair of the Boston chapter of the Boston Baseball Writers Association of America and has had a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame since 2007.