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MLB diversity program sends 21 to SABR event

Attendees learn baseball operations, could lead to jobs with clubs or Commissioner's Office
MLB.com

Major League Baseball's MLB Diversity Pipeline Program has provided scholarships to 19 students and two Commissioner's Office interns from diverse backgrounds to participate in the 2018 Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Analytics Conference, the organization announced on Friday.

"With the diversity pipeline program, we're proud for the second year in a row to bring students here to Phoenix for the SABR Analytics Conference, for individuals that are interested in baseball operations and having a career in parts of analytics and other parts of baseball operations," said Tyrone Brooks, senior director of the Front Office and Field Staff Diversity Pipeline Program.

Major League Baseball's MLB Diversity Pipeline Program has provided scholarships to 19 students and two Commissioner's Office interns from diverse backgrounds to participate in the 2018 Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Analytics Conference, the organization announced on Friday.

"With the diversity pipeline program, we're proud for the second year in a row to bring students here to Phoenix for the SABR Analytics Conference, for individuals that are interested in baseball operations and having a career in parts of analytics and other parts of baseball operations," said Tyrone Brooks, senior director of the Front Office and Field Staff Diversity Pipeline Program.

In addition to covering the costs of attending the conference, the participants were able to meet with front-office members from the Royals and Indians at their respective Spring Training sites.

"[Meeting the executives] was a really informative opportunity for the kids to get a chance to get to learn about the different careers within baseball operations," said Brooks.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The 2018 group includes 13 African-Americans, including several from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Four are student-athletes from Morehouse College. The number also includes Jackson State pitcher Mark Watson, who has thrown 15 1/3 innings at the college level this season, as well as Arizona's Malcolm Holland, who played parts of four seasons (2011-14) as an infielder in the Dodgers' system before returning to college.

Brooks highlighted the fact that in the first year of the program, six of the 12 scholarships went to women, including Julia Prusaczyk, a Tufts chemical engineering student who turned a successful internship on the Statcast™ data team into what will be a full-time job with the Cardinals once she graduates this spring.

"It's just a great chance to really delve deep into learning and see how analytics is being used as part of the game," Brooks added. "It's a big part of the decision-making process now at this stage in the game. Data and information is so valuable to every team, so we're trying to do the very best we can on this end, as part of the diversity pipeline program, to help give individuals the tools they need to really help themselves have a career in this game for the long term."

"This fellowship is unique and special because it's the first foray for us into making a dedicated initiative around really changing the pipeline, to include more people of color and women, especially in the Office of the Commissioner and the club side," said Renee Tirado, MLB's chief diversity & inclusion officer, when the program was announced in 2017. " We're looking at the future, we're looking at the business, and we know we have to be cutting-edge to get the best talent possible."

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.