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Ready for the Majors: Williamson graduate catches dream job with the New York Yankees

by WayneTimes.com
May 7, 2022

Sport analytics major Mackenzie Mangos, Syracuse Class of ’22 is the  founder of the Sport Analytics Women Club and will join the New York Yankees as a quantitative analysis associate after graduation.

When it came to making the most of her Syracuse University education, Mackenzie Mangos knocked it out of the ballpark. A sport analytics major in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Mackenzie took full advantage of the program’s opportunities, focused on her goal of working in Major League Baseball and scored her dream job. 

After graduation in May, she’ll join the New York Yankees as a quantitative analysis associate in the baseball operations department. What more could a devout Yankees fan ask for—especially one from a Bronx Bombers-loving family with a dog named Jeter? 

“I figured I’d work for some business or consultant before even getting a job in baseball—let alone in player analytics with the Yankees,” she says. “It worked out great!”

Mangos shares her passion for baseball and statistics with sport management professor Rodney Paul, who established the sport analytics program and serves as its director.

When Mangos reports to Yankee Stadium, she will be ready for action. She fulfilled her graduation requirements in three years, completed minors in economics and information management and technology to complement her major, participated in baseball case competitions and prominent internships and published research. She was also named a 2022 Falk College class marshal, a role in which she’ll deliver a speech at the college’s Convocation and lead Falk graduates at Commencement. 

In bringing together her passions for sports and statistics, Mangos carved out a path that can serve as a model for other young women in the male-dominated, multibillion-dollar industry. One of three female sport analytics majors when she joined the program, she founded the student organization Sport Analytics Women (SAW) in fall 2020 to bring together female students with shared interests and increase opportunities for research projects and professional development. “Mackenzie’s impact on our program and the University will be felt for years after she graduates,” says Jeremy Losak ’16, assistant professor of sport management. “She has been a champion for women in sports and sport analytics.”

As SAW president, Mangos has grown the club’s membership from five to about 20 members and says the role was influential in her personal development. “The Sport Analytics Women club helped me grow tremendously in terms of communicating with different audiences and being confident in front of a big group of people,” she says. “It’s been very rewarding to see the club really take off.”

Among her accolades, Mangos was selected as a Berlin Scholar, an honor that awards a stipend, research experience with a faculty mentor, and other benefits to outstanding seniors in sport analytics. She served as a teaching assistant for Falk’s Berlin Sport Analytics Academy last summer, leading activities for high school students interested in sport analytics. She also worked as a research assistant for Losak and valued his mentoring and collaborating with him on projects, including one that examines the impact of college conference TV networks on fan attendance at football and basketball games. The first part of their research, which focused on football, was published in the Journal of Economics and Finance. “Mackenzie has been an integral part of my research team, leading data collection efforts and preparing presentation-quality visualizations,” he says. “She is a trailblazer in the sport analytics space and a future professional superstar. Her upcoming role with the New York Yankees is just the beginning.”

Mangos was a three-sport athlete in high school in Williamson, New York, captaining the varsity soccer, basketball and softball teams. Softball was her favorite and, as a catcher, she worked with a pitcher who threw 10 different pitches, a challenging assignment that led her to think about pitching patterns and batters’ history. “I knew that the combination of my passion for sports and math would make for a really cool career,” she says. “When I came across the sport analytics program at Syracuse, there was no doubt that’s what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.”

Good call. Once on campus, Mangos followed her game plan. She joined the Baseball Statistics and Sabermetrics Club and participated with fellow Syracuse students in Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Diamond Dollars Case Competitions, which challenge college teams to evaluate baseball operations’ issues, dive into data and offer solutions in a week’s time. “The SABR competitions are a great experience to apply everything we’re learning in class to something with that real-world feel,” she says. This spring’s SABR competition asked teams for ideas on how to shorten the game of baseball, which runs counter to the philosophy of many baseball enthusiasts. “Most of us are baseball traditionalists in this department,” says Mangos, who serves as director of programming for the club.

“Mackenzie has been an integral part of my research team, leading data collection efforts and preparing presentation-quality visualizations. She is a trailblazer in the sport analytics space and a future professional superstar. Her upcoming role with the New York Yankees is just the beginning.” —Professor Jeremy Losak

Along with mastering the intricacies of statistical computing, data visualization and managing databases, Mangos benefited from notable internship experiences. She was selected for the NBA’s Future Analytics Stars Program, which featured mentoring, networking and professional development, a group project and a workshop focused on the league’s player and business analytics. She also received a Women in Sports Tech Inc. fellowship that placed her as a business intelligence intern with KORE Software last summer. The company specializes in business analytics for the sports and entertainment industries, including fan demographics, and Mangos’ job was to pull information from databases and create interactive information dashboards for KORE clients. “I’d always envisioned myself working for a team,” she says. “In this internship, I’d be in a Zoom meeting working with a different professional sports team every day and was making reports for them, so it gave me a different perspective.”

Mangos holds a work-study job in the Falk admissions office, serves as a Falk Ambassador providing prospective students with information and as a peer advisor who helps incoming students adjust to college life. She enjoys assisting other students and sees it as a way to promote and build the program. 

With graduation approaching, Mangos is wrapping up her year-long senior thesis project. The topic has taken her back to her catcher days: She’s crunching data on whether home-plate umpires from one season to the next develop a bias against catchers who’ve previously influenced them with their mastery of pitch framing—positioning their mitts in certain spots to deceptively earn strike calls. “I’m super passionate about it,” she says.

Then it’s on to Yankee Stadium, where Mangos will put her love of the game and analytics skills to work. “It still feels pretty surreal,” she says. “I don’t think it’ll hit me until I show up on my first day.”

Story by Jay Cox

Reprinted with permission, Syracuse University 

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