operations analyst for the A's, Zaidi is the latest in general manager Billy
Beane's coterie of quantitative thinkers with comparatively thin baseball
r�sum�s--and a future candidate for a G.M. job of his own. Zaidi has input on
personnel decisions (which free agent projects as the best fit for Oakland?)
and charts each game's pitches and hits, then generates reports (why are the
A's struggling with runners on third and fewer than two outs?). He also works
on long-term analyses: One such study looked at how a player's position affects
his production as he ages; another examined the significance of spring training
stats for players with limited big league experience.
figuring out the right balance between performance analysis and qualitative
evaluation," says Zaidi, a Ph.D. from Cal. "The clich� is, 'It's not
stats, it's information,' and more front offices think of it that way."