The Orioles’ commitment to analytics as a significant aspect of their rebuild has led to Mike Elias’ first hire since being chosen to head the baseball operations department.
Sig Mejdal is joining the organization as assistant general manager, analytics, a move that had been anticipated since news broke last week that Elias was the choice as executive vice president and general manager. Only the title had to be determined.
The press release issued today by the Orioles stated that Mejdal (pronounced MY-dell) will report directly to Elias and “oversee all aspects of the club’s growing analytics effort while assisting and advising Elias in all manner of Baseball Operations decisions.”
“Sig Mejdal is one of the most experienced and accomplished analysts working in baseball today,” Elias said in a statement. “To have him join our Orioles organization is a major moment for this franchise, and I look forward to him charting the course for all of our forthcoming efforts in the analytics space.”
Mejdal, 52, just completed his 14th season in the majors, most recently serving as special assistant to the general manager, process improvement with the Astros. He supported the development, implementation and monitoring of improvement initiatives throughout the organization, according to the press release.
Mejdal joined the Astros in 2012 and organized the team’s analytics department from its inception, which makes him a perfect fit in Baltimore. His work with the Astros included data and player analysis and involvement in the amateur draft.
He’s credited with playing an integral role in Houston’s ascent from the worst team in baseball to champions in 2017, with the club drafting more major league players than anyone else during his tenure.
Mejdal allowed his contract to expire in order to pursue other opportunities, which led to today’s announcement.
Before embarking on his current career, Mejdal had worked for NASA as a biomathematician in the Fatigue Countermeasures Group - studying the sleep patterns of astronauts on the International Space Station. He received his bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and aeronautical engineering from the University of California, Davis and master’s degrees in operations research and cognitive psychology from San Jose State University
Not your typical baseball hire.
Mejdal started out as a quantitative analyst for the Cardinals in 2005 and spent seven years in the organization, finishing up as the team’s director of amateur draft analysis. He worked as their senior quantitative analyst in 2008.
The Cardinals would select more players in the draft who reached the majors than any other team, an honor that carried over to the Astros upon his arrival.
The Orioles are in the process of revamping their analytics department, which has been underutilized in the past. Sarah Gelles, director of analytics and major league contracts, left the organization to join the Astros.
Note: The Orioles announced that they agreed to terms on minor league contracts with infielders Jace Peterson, Chris Bostick and Zachary Vincej and right-hander Jeffeson Medina. I reported on Peterson’s return earlier today.
Bostick has appeared in 35 major league games in three seasons, including two this summer with the Pirates and 13 with the Marlins. He’s 11-for-43 with three doubles.
Bostick, 25, is a career .272/.337/.413 hitter in eight minor league seasons since the Athletics drafted him in the 44th round in 2011. He’s played second base, third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions.
Vincej, 27, went 2-for-4 with an RBI this year in his only game with the Mariners. He was 1-for-9 with five strikeouts last year in nine games with the Reds. He’s a career .268/.335/.359 hitter in seven minor league seasons.
Vincej can play shortstop, third base and second base.
Medina, 24, spent the summer with Single-A Modesta in the Mariners’ system and went 5-3 with a 3.73 ERA and 1.341 WHIP in 39 relief appearances. He averaged 4.2 walks and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Medina is 27-34 with a 3.96 ERA and 1.425 WHIP in seven minor league seasons.