Numbers Game

by | Jul 1, 2019 | Alumni Profiles, Spring/Summer 2019

If Sig Mejdal ’89 loves anything more than statistics, more than even baseball, it’s solving problems. Named assistant general manager of the Baltimore Orioles in November, Mejdal is rebuilding the team’s analytics department. He’s been on the forefront of baseball analytics — the practice of providing managers and players with advanced statistics to give them an edge — since 2005, when he talked his way into a front office position with the St. Louis Cardinals. Before that, he was conducting sleep research at NASA. “I’ve always been curious to test hypotheses. So much of that comes from the UC Davis engineering education, where you’re breaking down a problem into smaller parts and solving them one at a time,” said Mejdal, who double majored in mechanical and aeronautical engineering at UC Davis. When St. Louis hired him, he was one of the only people in the game whose sole job was analytics. Now, every team has an analytics department. “I don’t think that’s ever going to change,” he said. “The magnitude or reward may get smaller as the industry becomes more efficient, but there’s still going to be advantages to find and put into action.” Now he has three World Series rings to show for it — two with the Cardinals (in 2006 and 2011) and another with the Houston Astros in 2017.