Modeling Class Travels to Phoenix for Diamond Dollars Competition, Takes the Gold

Half of the group hiked to the top of “A” Mountain, which overlooks Tempe. Photo Courtesy of Grace Glaubit.

Half of the group hiked to the top of “A” Mountain, which overlooks Tempe. Photo Courtesy of Grace Glaubit.

Preston Hausser, Sports Editor

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Last week, ten seniors from Mr. Benesh’s Math Modeling Class traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for the SABR Conference, an annual of meeting of baseball’s greatest statisticians. Competing in the Diamond Dollars Competition, the Maggie Walker team was broken into two groups, each representing one of Benesh’s classes. The teams were asked to solve a problem centered around tunneling, or the ability of a pitcher to mask certain pitch sequences, and to create a real world application for Major League Baseball teams to use when scouting, developing and recruiting players within or outside of their organization.

For the first time ever, Maggie Walker placed in the event, winning the at-large bid over 17 other undergraduate and graduate programs. The team of John Blue (’17), Julia Conte (’17), Preston Hausser (’17), Pierce Tarry (’17) and Robert Zhang (’17) made history for the math modeling class through their creation of a new evaluation metric, Estimated Number of Individual Pitch Sequences or ENIPS. The team was invited up on stage for a picture with SABR founder Vince Gennaro, and received the ultimate gift from Mr. Benesh: gift shop T-shirts.

Using pitcher longevity compared with tunneling ability, the 3rd period representatives, Grace Glaubit (’17), Henry Haas (’17), Daniel Jovin (’17), Matthew Pinson (’17) and Jack Provance (’17) saw great success in their room as well, forcing the judges to strain to poke holes in their polished presentation. Affectionately named “the Scorpions”, they later became the “SABR-toothed tigers” to better get into the spirit of the competition.
Besides the math-related aspects of the trip, the teams also attended multiple seminars and panels, highlighted by Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, sabermetrics founder Bill James and MLB general managers Mike Hazen (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Jerry Dipoto (Seattle Mariners). Outside of the conference, the teams also attended a Phoenix Suns NBA game and a Milwaukee Brewers spring training game. In addition, the groups made multiple trips to Tempe and also went hiking.

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