We are delighted to report that Sungwoo Cho is the first winner of the Summit Consulting Fellowship. The Summit Fellowship is awarded to graduate students advancing economics through creative use of data. Sungwoo is looking at the use of robots/machines to call balls and strikes in professional baseball. He had data on all pitches in minor league baseball games from 2017 to 2022, data that he compiled by scraping MLB records. The data include the coordinates of every pitch as it crossed the plate, the umpire’s call, and other pertinent information. There are data on 54,000 games and 8 million pitches. One of the interesting results is that pitchers appear to change how they pitch (location of pitches) when a robot is calling balls and strikes, and batters take more swings. This suggests that the pitchers learn how an umpire calls balls and strikes and the umpire’s biases and pitch accordingly. With a robot making calls, there is no bias to exploit and they have to pitch “on target”.
The Summit Fellowship was established by Albert Lee, whose received his Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA in 1999 and is a current member of the UCLA Economics Board of Visitors. Dr. Albert Lee is the founding principal of Summit Consulting, a Washington D.C. based consultancy. He has extensive experience managing consulting engagements involving diverse teams of experts and professionals. At Summit, Albert has led a number of high-profile engagements and served as a testifying expert. Under his leadership, Summit was recognized by Inc. Magazine in 2015 and 2016 as one of the fastest growing firms in the U.S. Summit also earned the 2015 Seal of Distinction Award from WorldatWork Alliance for employee work-life balance. This year, Summit Consulting is celebrating its 20th year in business.