It was so fun to read Astroball by Ben Reiter during the current baseball season. In fact, I finished it last night while watching the Astros beat the Angels:). That’s Jose Altuve running the bases after hitting a home run in the photo!
I really enjoyed this book both for the behind-the-scenes stories about some of the Astros players and for the fascinating look at how “big data” was incorporated into the building of the current Astros team. GM Jeff Luhnow and former rocket scientist Sig Mejdal started with the basic premise of using analytics from quantifiable measurement (as was done during the “Moneyball” days of the Oakland Athletics, and then continued to tweak their system through the years to incorporate other pieces that are not as easily measured such as personality traits and leadership qualities, to guide their decision making during drafts and free agency between 2012 and now to build a World Series Championship team (although they do admit that it also took a little gut-feeling and luck!). You don’t have to be an Astros’ fan to enjoy this book – anyone who is interested in baseball operations or even just analytics in general should love it.