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Math Prof., New Student 'Team Up' to Evaluate Luck in Baseball

Mitchell Stanek '21
Stanek

Mitchell Stanek '21 collaborated and published an article with a Davidson professor before he had even moved in to his first-year dorm room.

Stanek analyzed 10 years of Major League Baseball data alongside Math Professor Tim Chartier and Scott Teal, a senior data analyst for Tableau data visualization company. Together they determined that the Los Angeles Angels had enjoyed the best luck over that decade (2007-17) while the Oakland A's had fared the worst.

Read the full story.

The story behind the story illustrates Davidson's hallmark emphasis on close teaching and on strong research, to the benefit of students.

Over the summer, Stanek stumbled across the Cats Stats website. A baseball fan, Stanek reached out to Chartier, claiming his interest but also cautioning that he had no experience in applied math.

Tim Chartier
Chartier

"The best way to get started is to jump in!" Chartier replied. "We work as a team and collaborate. I had a question with baseball in mind so I shared it with him. I expected something back maybe in a week or more. Mitchell had something that very afternoon.

"I want students to see how much they have to offer. In our world, we must learn to be nimble. Mitchell did and we had a fun project together!"

Stanek plans to major in Economics with a minor in Applied Mathematics.

"It was cool to see the story out there," he said, "but it was honestly more fun working on the project itself."