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Ballpark Figure

As a student, Shingo Murata ’07 crunched numbers for wiffle ball games in Willets. 

Today, he manages operations for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, a professional baseball team in Japan. Compiling data from video and radar—as well as hypotheses from coaches and players—Murata and his colleagues statistically analyze the Golden Eagles, short- and long-term.

“When the coaches have questions, I can support it from the data,” says Murata. “When we’re talking to the players, we can give them confidence.”

Murata sees his own career as something of a curveball. In a spark of what he describes as Swarthmore’s “if it’s not there, try to make it yourself” mentality, Murata helped create—and obsessively run stats for—the aforementioned Indoor Wiffle Ball League, played against a cardboard strike zone in his dorm.

After Swarthmore, he revived this entrepreneurial spirit with Stats Ninja, an app that allows you to gather statistics about sports games you watch ... and finally prove whether your team really plays better when you’re sitting in the stands.

Although Murata’s a numbers guy who likes to make informed decisions, he also appreciates the role that chance played in his journey.

“I didn’t foresee coming to Japan and entering the field this way,” he says, “but I’m happy I did.”