Both the Ravens and Orioles were praised for their belief in sports analytics by an ESPN survey that rated all four major sports leagues on their commitment to statistical analysis.
The Ravens were one of nine NFL teams rated as "believers," the second-highest level given in the NFL, though no team achieved the highest level. Nine teams were rated as "all-in" on analytics in Major League Baseball, with the Orioles a level down as "believers" as well.
While individual teams weren't ranked outside the top- and bottom-10, the Ravens were clearly darlings of the NFL section. The organization was lauded for both its ability to identify talent in the draft and free agency — a classic tenet of analytics use — and its commitment to analytics-based strategy during games.
The writer fawned over a quote from coach John Harbaugh during the season on why he went for a touchdown on fourth-and-short near the goalline, and how it didn't cost them points when the ensuing drive secured a field goal. But it starts higher than Harbaugh, with credit going to analysts Sandy Weil and Eugene Shen.
The Orioles were called one of baseball's pioneers in the use of statistical analysis, dating back to the days of manager Earl Weaver and Ernie Epstein in the front office, an approach that continues to some extent now. The piece points to Loyola University professor Stephen Walters, an advisor to executive vice president Dan Duquette, and Sarah Gelles, who oversees the analytics department, as a strength for the organization.
Both teams, it seems, have more work to do to reach the top of their sports, though the Ravens seem closer with a smaller pack of teams in front of them — if there are any at all.