Glenn DuPaul ’14 has long had a passion for baseball and the statistics behind the game.
DuPaul, an economics major, played baseball in high school. Since the summer after his freshman year at Lehigh, he has been tinkering with baseball analytics and applying the economic models and statistics that he’s learned in class.
Recently, inspired by several internships that includes a long-running stint with the Kansas City Royals, DuPaul has come to believe he can make a career out of his passion.
“I realized that if I could combine my knowledge of baseball with everything I was learning at Lehigh,” he says, “I could turn this into a career.”
DuPaul found a supporter in his adviser, James A. Dearden, department chair and professor of economics.
“He told me that since this was a difficult industry to break into, I’d have to work even harder,” DuPaul says. Dearden also advised him to augment his economics curriculum with computer science and statistics courses.
A Royal experience
Beginning in the summer of 2013, DuPaul interned with the Royals and continues to work closely with the team’s analytics department. The research the team provides ultimately plays a significant role in the decisions-made by the Royals’ baseball operations department.
“The projects that I have worked on—and continue to work on—deal mostly with player evaluation and forecasting of player performance at the major league, minor league and collegiate level.”
He says some of the more intense experiences from last summer involve the Major League Baseball draft and the July player trading deadline.
“It was an eye-opening experience working in Kansas City,” DuPaul says. “The size of an MLB front office is very small and decisions are made with input from almost everyone in the office.”
It’s an experience that will continue after graduation for DuPaul, who hopes to find a career with the Royals or another MLB organization.
Starting with a blog
It might help that DuPaul has already successfully made a name for himself in the elite world of sabermetrics. The term originates from the Society for American Baseball Research and its acronym, SABR, and has been described as the use of mathematical tools to better understand baseball. Bill James, a baseball writer and historian, said sabermetrics was “the search for objective knowledge about baseball.”
Along with the Royals internship, DuPaul launched a blog and started writing for trade publications like Beyond the Box Score and The Hardball Times. In the spring of 2013, he interned with Baseball Info Solutions, a national baseball analytics firm in Coplay, Pa.
“I started looking into [internships] my sophomore year but realized I just didn’t have the technical skills yet,” DuPaul said. “So I took more targeted classes at Lehigh—like econometrics—and got the internship my junior year.”
As a research and development intern, DuPaul worked with employees to deliver statistical results to major league teams.
“They would collect really interesting raw data and I would package it in ways that teams wanted to invest in,” DuPaul said. “It was so valuable to apply what I was learning at Lehigh to a real-world situation.”
Last year, one of DuPaul’s articles was nominated for an award by SABR. His piece, “Controlling the Strike Zone and Batting Average,” was recognized in the Contemporary Baseball Analysis category. Soon after, he won a scholarship to attend the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix at no cost.
“The conference was a great opportunity to make new connections with people in the industry and to strengthen connections I had already made online,” DuPaul said.
DuPaul credits Lehigh and his internship experiences with helping him pursue his passion.
“My classes and my internships reinforced each other,” he says. “When I would learn about a statistical model at Lehigh, I could apply it immediately at my internship, and vice versa. It’s great to be fully immersed in something you’re so passionate about.”
Updated on Monday, March 10, 2014