The Shewolf in Seattle: A Look at Dr. Lorena Martin's New Lair

By Stevil, November 7th, 2017

 

Dr. Lorena Martin sporting volcanic glass encased in Mariner-teal she risked life and limb to obtain from within the depths of fiery Mt. Rainier.


Seattle is a city known for intelligence and cutting-edge technology as much as it is a city for quality coffee and music. While handsome devils, like myself, have long been producing informatical brilliance pertaining to statistical-based analysis within baseball and hardcore punk rock (yes, there is a relation, just ask Scott Radinski), there hasn't been a leader who could integrate advanced knowledge of the physical and mental aspects into a game plan that would allow the Seattle Mariners to potentially receive maximum production from its players while simultaneously preventing fatigue and injury...until now. Jerry Dipoto's wolfpack now has a shewolf to offer direction.

Meet Dr. Lorena Martin, the new Director of High Performance. A University of Miami graduate, she holds post-doctorates in epidemiology, biostatistics, and GIS spatial analysis, a doctorate in exercise physiology, a master’s and bachelor’s degree in psychology, spent 3 years of postdoctoral research at UC San Diego, was a faculty professor of statistics and sports performance measurement and analytics at Northwestern University, and worked directly for various professional sports organizations, most recently with the Los Angeles Lakers as their Director of Sports Performance Analytics. She's received all kinds of awards and recognition for her research and findings. She's even written a book called "Sports Performance Measurement and Analytics: The Science of Assessing Performance, Predicting Future Outcomes, Interpreting Statistical Models, and Evaluating the Market Value of Athletes".




Dr. Martin will have her hands full in Seattle. She'll oversee strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental skills. She'll oversee the entire medical department and she'll be responsible for coordinating the approach to physical and mental training as well. For a team that endured an insane number of injuries in 2017, this could prove to be Seattle's biggest offseason acquisition, as Lorena may help revolutionize the way the Mariners--and baseball in general--assess and address the well being of player personnel with timely rest and pioneering approaches. Think statistical analysis can only be applied to the plays on the field? Think again. Toronto implemented a Department of High Performance in 2016 with Angus Mugford at the reins. MLB teams are warming to modern methods of Sports Science.

This "wolfpack", as Jerry Dipoto calls it, is the current pitching staff. Comprised of multiple pitchers who have strong, or at least decent, fastballs and secondary pitches, but lack a strong third option (or out pitch) that's necessary to get through an opposing batting order a third time, plus starters with durability concerns and overworked relievers, something has to change. Paxton and Felix will likely need extra rest and care, leaving Leake as the only real durable starter in the rotation, and they can't lean on Vincent and Pazos every time the call to the 'pen comes early, nor can they keep asking Díaz to get 4-6 outs for a save. The fear is that finding formidable starting pitching won't be available at a realistic price and that Seattle will have no choice but to improvise and work with what they have. With multiple arms that can give the team 4 or 5 innings as-is, this possible wolfpack approach just might work, and Dr. Martin should be able to perfect player usage as much as is wolfly possible. Yes, that words actually exists...now.

One could argue that the Mariners' pitching has nowhere to go but up and couldn't possibly suffer the same number of injuries next season. But that would be stating the obvious and the goal here goes far beyond just improving upon the pitching in a tragic 2017.

Kyle Seager and Robinson Canó have played their share of innings in recent years. In 2017, Seager had very little rest in the first half and Canó played at less than 100% health for the better part of the season. Ben Gamel was pushed harder than ever in the second half and it certainly appeared that way in the box scores. Guillermo Heredia had injured (and re-injured) his shoulder, but with no clear alternative when Dyson went down (and eventually bowed out), he got the lion's share of the starts and the results weren't pleasant. Eventually, he went down as well and is now recovering from surgery.

The offense was tasked with carrying the burden of mass run creation, as the decimated rotation and bullpen were hemorrhaging runs, leaving virtually everyone burned out--pitchers and fielders alike. Even the goddamn moose was exhausted and exasperated.

Despite record-setting spending for the organization, their bid to reach the postseason fell short. They can't--and won't--follow the same process, and Dr. Lorena Martin looks like a solid solution for multiple issues at hand.

Welcome to Seattle, Lorena. Sorry for the mess, but we're confident you can help. Dipoto will spare no expense to get the Mariners where we want them, so be sure to send him every bill you can muster up. Just present the receipts and blame the players for your personal needs. The kind of care that you're offering applies to you, too.



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