Cornell University

May 12 2014

Pitching for Dollars

Sports Business Society hits “home run" at case competition

The hotly disputed topic at this year’s Diamond Dollars Case Competition: "Who is baseball's most valuable pitcher?"

ILR’s Sports Business Society executive board members came prepared to debate and walked away triumphant, with a tie for first place.

The victory in Phoenix, Ariz., was led by three from ILR -- Max Fogle '15, Alex Smith '15 and Jesse Sherman '15, along with team captain Matt Provenzano A&S '16 and Hudson Belinsky CALS '15.

The Big Red quintet was among 12 undergraduate teams, split into brackets of six tasked with ranking the top three Major League Baseball pitching assets.

Teams presented arguments to judges, who included former MLB pitcher Brian Bannister, front-office executives from nine major league clubs and representatives from MLB headquarters.

The 20-minute oral presentation and 10 minutes of Q&A served to illustrate criteria teams used to rank pitchers, walk through the process used, explain key evaluation factors and discuss risks involved in performance projections.

Teams had five days to come up with a plan to create a value projection model. They used the athletes' "surplus value," provided through their current contract values, and projected arbitration values (if applicable) in relation to market values.

In the end, Cornell and Loras College of Dubuque, Iowa, were named the winners.

"Our team took away so many valuable lessons from the Diamond Dollar Case Competition. Each of us got a glimpse into the vast amount of information that is available to us about the game of baseball," Sherman said.

"Perhaps more importantly, our team really bonded throughout the week, learned a lot about a topic we love and was proud to represent Cornell in the competition," he said.

The March competition wasn't all work; the team took in Arizona sunshine and caught some spring training games on the side.