Taking the classroom to the diamond

Statistics major Micah Daley-Harris is taking what he's learning in the classroom to provide cutting-edge analytics for the Carolina baseball team.

When Micah Daley-Harris arrived at Carolina as a first-year statistics major, one of his very first tasks was to send a quick email to legendary baseball coach Mike Fox.

Fox had been coaching the team since 1999, leading the Tar Heels to six College World Series appearances, but Daley-Harris had an idea that could set the team apart from the competition.

He wanted to bring analytics to Boshamer Stadium.

“I played baseball growing up and always wanted to play professionally, but when I realized that wouldn’t happen, I started trying to find other ways I could stay involved in baseball, so I got introduced to baseball analytics,” he said

For the past three years, Daley-Harris has served as the team’s director of baseball analytics, working with a group of other Carolina students to provide in-depth statistical analysis for the coaching staff.

Through the position, Daley-Harris and his team of 14 other Carolina students have helped bring the Tar Heels into a new world of analytics. The group collects and dissects play-by-play data to help the coaching staff make decisions on pitching, field alignment and scouting.

“Our two main areas are player development and advanced scouting,” he said. “We try to work with our guys to make sure that they’re aware of their own strengths and weaknesses so that they can use their strengths to the best of their abilities and work on their weaknesses so they can improve their game as a whole.”

With Daley-Harris’ breakdown down of the data, the Tar Heels advanced to a seventh College World Series last year and currently hold a 22-7 record this spring — ranking 14th in the nation.

Daley-Harris will graduate early this May to start an analytics job with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. As he prepares for a full-time career in baseball, he credits the statistics courses he’s taken at Carolina for elevating his game.

“It allows me to have a large toolbox of resources that I could use,” he said. “I would not be nearly where I am today without having the exposure to everything that I did in the classroom.”

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