James (Jay) Burke
Chief Data Officer and Scientist
Jay Burke has worked in the computer industry for 20+ years as a data modeler and analyst of the highest caliber. He obtained his Master of Science degree in computer science from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) with a concentration in artificial intelligence expert systems. His work includes doing large scale simulations at McDonalds plus similar efforts involving military transportation for the United States Army (MTMCTEA) at Argonne National Laboratory. Jay is also a huge baseball and saber metrics fan who has held season tickets with the Chicago White Sox for his entire adult life.
Baseball is experiencing a huge impact from technology in terms of making a wider spectrum of data available for analysis. These data points go well beyond traditional baseball statistics, saber metrics, or the Oakland Athletics’ approach to data analysis in what was coined “Moneyball”. Teams that are using a Moneyball approach that was common in the 1990’s are now obsolete and behind the competitive curve. Systems like TrackMan™, Rapsodo™, Edgertronic™, and KinTrax™ bring data including pitch speed, axis of rotation, horizontal and vertical movement, exit velocity, etc. to us at speeds up to 40k frames per second. There are more technology impacts on the horizon in terms of the development of new training devices, biomechanical feedback suits, and personal monitoring that make it difficult to predict how much our training methods may change over the coming years.
Gathering and tracking the data mentioned above plus player baseline analysis, video analysis, video overlay analysis, and various arm care, dynamic wake-up / warm-up, strength, and recovery plans will be key to our business in terms of measuring and demonstrating the effectiveness of our programs. It will also be important to see what the data may tell us in terms of recommending changes based upon the effectiveness of our approach and plans. We felt it was imperative to bring on-board someone like Jay, whose data analysis capabilities may well make a critical difference in our business over time. As a great example of what he is capable of doing for our organization, in 2013 Jay attended a baseball saber metrics convention (SABR). At that convention Cray, Inc. (aka Cray Computer, a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard Enterprise) demonstrated how readily available public data from MLB teams could be used to model how closely a baseball pitching prospect’s statistics and profile match current (or former) MLB players. Such a model could help MLB teams in their draft process as they may be looking for players “who are like” a current or former player, or could help teams evaluate potential upside of players going into the draft. Upon returning home Jay replicated this algorithm privately.
Jay has lived in the Schaumberg area for 20+ years, raising two boys and a girl with his wife Linda, acting as an instructor in Tai-Chi, and pursuing his other interest which is history.
The Illinois Baseball Edge Team
The Illinois Baseball Edge, Ltd. (IBE) brings age specific hyper-personalized training to overhead throwing athletes to improve their performance, reduce injury risk, and educate families and coaches in how to train and prepare the mind and body for competition.