CBS Sports recently interviewed Jonathan M. Judge about how his work at Baseball Prospectus (a leading sabermetrics website) intersects with his legal practice. He also discusses Deserved Run Average (DRA), a mixed-model metric he developed that could change baseball analytics.
As a 41-year-old litigation partner at Schiff Hardin, Jonathan believes that analytics are an important component of cutting-edge legal advice. He applies his statistics knowledge to government fines: Evaluating historical data for statistical equivalence and fairness, he can then advocate for more reasonable penalties on behalf of his clients, and better contest whether a penalty is warranted at all.
After hours, Jonathan turns to baseball. He thinks that existing statistics are not answering the real question people want to know—instead of mere summaries of the outcomes of plays on which the player is one participant, fans want to know each player’s most likely contribution to those plays. DRA focuses on pitcher performance. Historically, pitchers are tougher to analyze than hitters because of myriad variables, significant room for error, and incorrect assumptions about the elements a pitcher can control. By using mixed modeling to determine DRA, Jonathan attempts to control for these factors. Jonathan says that when it’s possible to isolate a player’s individual contribution, numbers get more reliable and more accurate in forecasting what comes next.