When the Orioles introduced Mike Elias as the new general manager on Monday, one of the things that he said he would be doing is hiring people into positions that have not existed in this franchise. It didn’t take long for him to do it, with the team announcing on Wednesday that Sig Mejdal has been hired as the team’s assistant general manager, analytics.
Mejdal - whose name, according to the team, is pronounced “My-dell” - has been a colleague of Elias’s for more than a decade now, starting with the Cardinals and moving on to the Astros. As the rumor hit the public about the O’s hiring Elias, there was also a belief that he would bring Mejdal along with him. Mejdal left Houston at the end of October when his contract expired.
Coming off of a couple of years where the theme of a lot of stories written in the press about the O’s front office involved dysfunction and strife, it’s exciting in its own way just knowing that the boss and his underlings can bring an existing working relationship into the job.
The O’s release announcing the hire notes that Mejdal joined the Astros in 2012 and “organized the team’s analytics department from its inception.” As he will face the task of essentially building the O’s analytics team from the ground up, that’s an encouraging line to see on his resume. Under Elias, Mejdal “will oversee all aspects of the club’s growing analytics department” while also advising Elias on baseball operations decisions in general.
It’s not hard to make his past accomplishments sound impressive. In his time with the Cardinals, he advanced to the title of “director, amateur draft analysis,” and the Cardinals in his years there selected more MLB players than any other team. With the Astros, Mejdal’s title involved “process improvement” and during that time the Astros... selected more MLB players than any other team.
The Orioles need all the help they can get and this hire sounds like a big help. Unlike Elias, Mejdal is older and found his way into a baseball job later on in his life, including following after time at NASA where he was a biomathmatician. Mejdal turns 53 at the end of next month.
In the now-famous 2014 article where Sports Illustrated predicted an Astros World Series title in 2017, Mejdal features somewhat prominently, as does his new boss, Elias. None of it means that the Orioles will be able to pull off the kind of revival that the Astros did, but having two people in charge now who are veterans of that kind of climb up from the absolute bottom of the league is exciting.