Recruiting with talent or statistics?

In the world of sports and athletics, the influences of talented players and the work of sports analytics have become a game-changer for recruiters of various sports in the decision-making process of their recruitment practices.

When making a team, scouts are responsible for recruiting players who they feel are a perfect for their team. They evaluate the player’s talent and skill for that sport.

With the addition of sports analytics, this form of data analysis provides insight into an athlete’s performance statistically for coaches and recruiters to help them in their decision-making process.

Jesse Zepeda, assistant coach for baseball at California Baptist University, said baseball is becoming analytically driven.

“This sport is starting to migrate more toward analytics,” Zepeda said. “A lot of it still has to do with the pure talent of the players. Numbers will show you so much, but at the end of the day, it’s the player’s ability to execute and get the job done.”

In the process of recruiting, Zepeda said CBU’s coaching staff looks for talent. When looking for students at the college level, the coaches analyze the player’s bat speed, arm speed and overall strength.

“For us coaches, it’s not so much about the numbers statistically, even though we do look at their high school numbers,” Zepeda said. “We look at what kind of success they’ve had because that does speak to who they are as a player, but at the end of the day, we trust our eyes on the evaluation of players.”

According to Tristan Hildebrandt, senior public relations major and shortstop, using statistics is important in recruiting the best players but it is not everything.

“There are some things that you can’t really measure, whether it is someone’s heart, willingness, or how hard they work on their fundamentals of baseball,” Hildebrandt said. “In baseball, anybody can be the hero on any given day.”

While the use of sports analytics in influences recruiters with their decisions, the knowledge and “eyes on” capability that recruiters possess in finding a qualified player can never be completely replaced.

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