After graduating from St. Mary’s College with an astrophysics degree and a math minor, Samantha Schultz decided to take her skills to the sports world. Schultz’s love of baseball compelled her to enroll in the Sports Management program at Columbia, where she found great success and opportunity. She landed an internship with the New York Mets and then worked with the San Diego Padres before her interest in pitching lead her to a new role perfect for her skills: pitching analyst for the Oakland A’s.
A’s general manager David Forst told The Mercury News that he hired Schultz because she spoke about pitching in a way he had never heard before. Her knowledge of both physics and sports management made Schultz a unique and undeniably qualified candidate for the job.
Now Schultz has joined a team of research scientists and analysts employed by the Oakland A’s who work with players to analyze and improve specific parts of their craft. She works one-on-one with players to translate the data of their pitches into concrete suggestions for technique. During bullpen sessions, athletes will experiment with changing specifics such as grip or angle, while Schultz follows the movement on an iPad and identifies which methods are most effective.
“One of my biggest strengths is to take this complicated stuff and put it into baseball language. It’s not like I’m on the mound doing equations with the pitchers,” Schultz described to The Mercury News. “If I say, ‘OK, we need to get more gyro spin on this ball,’ what I might say to a pitcher is to roll it off your middle finger.”
Due to the pandemic, Schultz’s 2020 season was not able to be as hands-on or busy as she might have hoped, but she looks forward to the work ahead for this season. “I hope my career and story inspires any underrepresented group to get into baseball,” Schultz told The Mercury News. “Not just women and physicists, but anyone who has a passion for the game.”