Cubs begin building their 'Carmine' system

Cubs begin building their 'Carmine' system
January 12, 2012, 8:15 pm
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Information is everything to Theo Epstein.

The Boston media liked to make fun of Carmine, the computer system used by the Red Sox and a main character in a Sports Illustrated profile timed with the release of the Moneyball movie last September.

Epstein has downplayed the influence, pointing out that virtually every business has a way to organize and manage data. The Cubs arent going to be run by a laptop, but they are looking for cutting-edge technology.

Bloomberg Sports, a leader in analytics, announced a partnership with the team on Thursday to design a new player-evaluation system for the baseball operations department.

It will include video and a statistical database and have mobile capabilities. It will presumably be the central place where Cubs personnel will file reports scouting, background, medical on their own players, opponents and potential draft picks and international signings.

When Tom Ricketts began searching last summer for someone to run baseball operations, the chairman explicitly wanted an executive who would embrace statistical analysis and modernize the front office.

At his introductory press conference last October, Epstein promised to build a research-and-development wing for his department, so that the Cubs could get ahead of the curve and find the next competitive advantages.

Epstein knows that the concepts behind Moneyball arent revolutionary. The professional tools designed by Bloomberg Sports are used by more than two-thirds of the 30 major-league clubs. The company also says its tablet products are accessed by more than 200 big-leaguers. The entire industry now essentially looks at the market the same way.

No one ignores the numbers, and everyone understands the importance of good scouting. That battle has already been fought. Its just a matter of degrees, which way you might lean on a particular decision. This information-management system is supposed to help guide them.

Nearly a decade ago after becoming the youngest general manager in major-league history Epstein got credit for surrounding himself with some old-school baseball guys in Boston and placing a high value on traditional scouting.

Carmine 2.0 wont be taking over at Clark and Addison.

Baseball organizations are made up of human beings, Epstein has said. Theyre not just robots that put up numbers. Theyre not commodities traded. I know (Ive) referred to a player as an asset. Thats business speak. Thats not what I believe.