As first base coach for the Oakland Athletics, Tye Waller embraces the use of data and analytics. He has made a significant contribution to the way that the A’s gather and organize their data through an iPad solution he created through ‘Filemaker.’ As a guy who has been around baseball for so many years, Waller has a keen understanding of how much easier his life is when he does not have to carry around stacks of three-ring binders of data on opposing players.
Having the data is only part of the battle, however. For as much as those of us on the outside looking in would like to think that it is simply a matter of having the most talent in the right spots thanks to the use of data, Waller emphasized the importance of interpreting the data correctly. He pointed out that teams have to know how to put that data to use, how to anticipate trends, and how to create an environment with the chemistry in which players will succeed.
Waller took the time recently to talk to FanSided about his Filemaker solution and the Athletics’ philosophy with the use of this data.
Hayden Kane (FanSided): Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about what you’re doing. Can you tell me more about your Filemaker solution for keeping your data and what motivated you to create it?
Tye Waller: I’ve been in baseball now for what seems a lifetime. Back in the day you scouted more through conversation about guys you played against or never played against. Over the years technology has advanced so much that you can compile information that gets you a better understanding of who the opponent is. When I got into coaching, I would be writing reports over and over; sometimes you write a report on the same guy five to six times over and over. You were writing 60-70 reports on some guys. I used to think there’s gotta be a way to save some time.
I went into the front office and was the director of player development for the San Diego Padres for six years. I saw these computer programs there that talked about a guy’s strengths and weaknesses. So once I went back on the field I started using those programs. Now I have 5,000 players in my database over the last seven to eight years.
Now all I gotta do is go in make an adjustment on the players we play against. 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.