In a game largely defined by athleticism, instinct and on-the-fly decision making, it is difficult to conceive that numbers have taken over baseball.
Before long, the analytical efforts of Oakland general manager Billy Beane brought the small-market Athletics to a level of competitiveness traditionally held by big-market teams like the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
The analytical details sought by Beane and his staff involved efficiency and creating opportunities, specifically for those who had a high on-base percentage. The more you get on base, the more chances you have to score.
While many of the players did not look the part of a prototypical MLB player, the wildly impressive results were enough to convince nearly every MLB team to acquire an analytics specialist or entire staff of specialists.
The spread of analytics did not stop at baseball.
Analytics have seeped into most major competitive sports at levels as early as high school.
One of the most notable adopters is the NBA, which utilizes an advanced stat gathering technology called Player Tracking.
Player Tracking allows the NBA to monitor countless statistics and trends for every single player in every single game; these stats can even cover less quantifiable trends of a player’s defensive abilities.
The rapid spread of analytics alone is a reflection of just how important it has become in assessing players and strategies in modern sports, but innovation constantly pushes for new discoveries.
Analytics, as it is now, is nowhere near its ceiling with infinite possibilities that may come to fruition in the coming years.
These deep statistical analyses already tell so much about the physical aspects of athletes, but the possibility of using analytics to understand mentality, emotions or potential could be groundbreaking.
Though there seems to be no quantifiable way to measure these aspects, analytics have already proven capable of accumulating data and predicting performance with such precision that forecasting the non-physical side of athletes may not be far out of reach.
The future could involve analytical specialists being able to measure the motor of an athlete to constantly perform his best no matter how his team is playing, which could lead to super teams of relentless, hard workers that could replicate a similar success to the Athletics.
These new analytical discoveries would grant teams the ability to bring in players with a certain level of potential, a certain mentality or a certain set of emotions, and experiment with it as they would with players who specialize in specific skills or meet a physical requirement.
Analytics could increase player diversity and break many of the standard physical molds established already in various sports around the country.
Analytics are embedded in sports, they have made countless groundbreaking changes, but expect it to revolutionize athletics with groundbreaking innovation in the near future.
Kyle Kasharian is a business major from Green, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.