Using FileMaker to win baseball games

Posted by Justin Hesser on July 9, 2014

Earlier this month, this blog covered the growing use of data analytics in the world of sports. MIT's Sloan Conference shows the impact that data and analytics have in the current athletic landscape. While this area has always been numbers driven, the analytics side is still fairly new and organizations are just starting to figure out how to optimize these systems.

A recent article from Fanside featured an interview with Oakland Athletics first base coach Tye Waller. The team has been on the cutting edge of this trend and the movie "Moneyball" showed a bit of what the organization was thinking at the beginning of the 2000s.

Now, the team is going even further and Waller spoke about how he used data and analytics through the use of a database he created with FileMaker that is able to be used on an iPad.

According to Waller, his database is used as part of the team's scouting. Back in the day, this was handled through conversations of guys you had seen play and those you hadn't. It was common for reports to be written on the same player multiple times over the course of a season. If that person had a long career, you could write near 100 reports, that contained similar data.

When he went into the front office of the San Diego Padres, he noticed the computer systems that were being used to compare players' strengths and weaknesses. When he went back to the field as a coach, he took the system with him through a FileMaker Go database. Over nearly a decade, he has compiled a list of roughly 5,000 players that includes their histories, statistics and notes about strengths and weakness.

"Now all I gotta do is make an adjustment on the players we play against," Waller said. "You can move the players around within the program so that the information follows them for whatever team they play on. I know that at least I've got a foundation about that player. All I have to do is look at a little video and see what I can notice about what has changed about him from a hitting standpoint, defensive standpoint or statistical standpoint and we're up-to-date."

The Athletics are currently one of the best teams in the league, so clearly something is working. This is just one way that a FileMaker database can be used to improve data gathering and analytics. With the help of the right FileMaker developer, any company can find the best way to improve overall operations.