Brian McBurney is not a player. He’s not in the farm system. He can’t hit or field for the Padres. But he does work with the team. Where you ask? McBurney is a software developer who has been working with the team when former General Manager Jed Hoyer hired him in 2011. He is in charge of baseball systems and writing software for the team. Basically, he’s our Jonah Hill from “Moneyball.” McBurney used to work for Lockheed Martin in New Jersey working on missile defense. He studied Computer Science at Drexel and is now a San Diego resident. Recently, Corey Brock of MLB.com did an interview with the Padres “Secret Weapon.”
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So what makes him so special? What is his job exactly? McBurney said
"“I would say the high-level view of what I do is use software and statistics modeling to answer baseball questions and provide information to decision-makers … whether that’s the general manager, the assistant general managers, coaches, advance scouting. Pretty much anytime I can provide an objective answer to a baseball question, I do that.” (h/t, Corey Brock, MLB.com)"
These defensive shifts in baseball don’t just come from memory or hunches from managers, they come from data and that is McBurney’s job, help the team win off the diamond. “I will provide diagrams, numbers, showing them that we should or shouldn’t shift. When the coaches put that in place and [the opposing hitter] hits right into the shift and we get out of a tough inning … that’s an amazing feeling. I had a direct impact on that play. I never would have thought I’d be in a position to do that. That’s awesome.”
McBurney reports on a daily basis to assistant general manager Josh Stein. Recently, McBurney took some scouting classes with former MLB players like former Friar reliever Clay Condrey and former 2x All-Star Dmitri Young to enhance his expertise at player analysis and reporting. McBurney is looking to stay in baseball and wants to be a lead in a department.