WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — After a year that many would consider a nightmare, a full season of baseball is back. That means a dream opportunity for a Purdue University sophomore who’s developed quite a following.
The start of the Major League Baseball brings Jeremy Frank’s favorite things: A traditional baseball season and the flood of player and team statistics it brings.
Frank, a data science major in Purdue University’s Department of Computer Science in the College of Science, is excited about the upcoming season after last year’s COVID-shortened year, which reduced the season to only 60 games, well short of the traditional 162 games.
He runs @MLBRandomStats, a Twitter account that features past and present baseball statistics and MLB commentary. It has grown to more than 67,000 followers.
For Frank, last year’s shortened season threw a curve ball at baseball’s statistics.
“Stats are really thrown out the window when you’re only looking at 60 games to play,” he said. “It’s difficult to get 80 hits in that span.”
Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner was the leader for the 2020 season, connecting on 78 hits.
And it’s not only stats like these that Frank shares with his mass of followers but also a love for numbers and what that information conveys. Data science stretches across several fields, calling for the use of scientific methods to extract knowledge from data and apply it to examine trends and problems across a wide range of areas.
It’s a field of study that Frank says has really helped him on his career path in statistics.
“It’s interesting and challenging, and I’ve been able to develop my data science skills tremendously. I’ve been able to use many skills I’ve learned in the classroom at Purdue when working with baseball data, and it will be really helpful to market myself to potential employers once I graduate.”
While last year’s statistics didn’t live up to expectations, Frank’s enjoyment of data science soared with the offer to work this summer as a data intern for Sports-Reference, a website providing sports statistics for every player in major professional sports.
The internship puts Frank in the middle of the baseball statistics he loves by working for a website that is a source for major media outlets and broadcasters.
Frank called it his “dream opportunity.”
“I’ll potentially be working on projects for them, but I’m ready for whatever they have for me,” he said. “It’ll be really fun to do that.”
He’ll work three months on the internship. It’s a step in the right direction for Frank, who hopes to continue his passion beyond college by working in baseball, possibly for a major league team or as a sports statistician. Besides Twitter and YouTube, he also is growing connections at Purdue as vice president of the Sports Analytics at Purdue club.
Frank began his @MLBRandomStats Twitter account in October 2015 as a freshman at Stevenson High School, near his hometown of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Followers check in to find out what he has to say about stats, analysis and the history of America’s pastime.
When the MLB season is in session, Frank prefers to live tweet or find statistics relevant to a particular game. But spring training this year hasn’t kept him from digging up some interesting data. He spends time during baseball’s offseason researching historical baseball statistics through various online databases.
Beyond social media, Frank has co-authored a book, “Hidden Ball Trick: The Baseball Stats You Never Thought to Look For From 1876-1919 (Vol. 1),” with Jim Passon, co-host of the “Romantic About Baseball” podcast. Passon and Frank initially connected via Twitter.