By Dawn Hatfield
ARCANUM — Roy Baumle, a 13-year-old seventh-grade student at Arcanum-Butler Middle School, took his job shadow experience to a whole new level this year by visiting both the Cincinnati Reds and the Dayton Dragons on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
Baumle loves numbers and easily heralds math as his favorite subject, earning math awards the past two years in school. He is also a baseball player who has poured nearly a decade into the sport already during his young life. Where Baumle’s two passions collide is in his high level of interest in sports analytics.
Baumle’s father, Greg, a “numbers guy” himself, explained realizing his son’s potential on a family vacation to Colorado last year. He found Roy sitting at a desk in the hotel room with his phone out, writing down stats during his free time. Roy had decided to compare some of the most famous baseball players of all time to see who was truly the best hitter. “He ran four different players’ stats—Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, etc.—and wrote them all down on multiple sheets of notebook paper to compare and see who actually was the best hitter. He was doing this for fun,” said Greg Baumle. “Yeah, like a hobby!” Roy’s mother Gretchen Baumle added. “He is just really into stats and was taking a deep dive,” Greg concluded.
When Roy brought home information from school about a job shadow opportunity during the 2022-2023 school year, it seemed setting up a day to dive into sports analytics would be a perfect fit. Greg set about making this happen and found that it wasn’t incredibly difficult to do once he contacted the right people within the Reds’ organization.
On the morning of May 17, Roy and his mother met with Mickey Mentzer, Director of Data Systems and Development, who took them on a tour of entire stadium where Baumle admitted his favorite part was standing on the field and visiting the Reds’ dugout.
Baumle was also able to meet some young interns in the analytics department and learn about their experience. Baumle was surprised to find that a job in analytics doesn’t revolve 100 percent around the computer as analysts also spend time each day in the scouting process, watching players. They have very long days during the season as they stay for all the games as well.
Baumle said it is a job he could envision doing later in life but also explained there can be several thousand applicants for every one or two job openings at Great American Ballpark and recognizes the intense level of competition.
That evening, Roy and his father visited the Press Box during the Dayton Dragons game. Baumle was able to meet long-time broadcaster and Director of Media Relations Tom Nichols and fellow broadcaster Patrick Geshan. Baumle was struck by the sheets and sheets of information posted in the box where the announcers keep track of and communicate each player’s personal stats.
One thing the Baumle family members were surprised to learn is just how closely the Reds watch the Dragons and their players. Mentzer of the Reds checks how Dragons players performed following each game. There is a system of “green and red,” where each plate appearance is graded from one to 10. Using green for a “good grade” and red for a “poor grade” makes it easy to take in a sweeping overview of any one player’s performance. “It makes one appreciate just how hard it is go get into MLB,” Gretchen said.
Whereas many young baseball players dream of standing on an MLB field to play someday, Baumle hopes to find himself working more behind the scenes. “If I couldn’t do analytics, broadcasting would be my second choice, but I’d say analytics, for sure—just because I really like it,” Baumle said of his future career goals.
The Baumle family would like to extend a huge thank you to the Cincinnati Reds and the Dayton Dragons for making Roy’s job shadowing day a tremendous success. “Both organizations were super!” the family said.
Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.