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Seattle Mariners hire Dr. Lorena Martin as Director of High Performance

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Please hold the weed puns

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It's been a pretty mellow Monday online, but now we've got our first major move of the 2017 offseason:

This is a move that has been in the works for "nearly a year," according to Jerry Dipoto, who referred to sports performance analytics as the wave of the future at the Lookout Landing Night earlier this year. The position is entirely new for the Mariners organization, and is likely the first of its kind in MLB. According to the press release, Dr. Martin will be "responsible for coordinating all aspects of the Mariners physical and mental training approach of players and staff, including oversight of the entire organization's medical, strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental skills departments." It's a hefty list of responsibilities but if anyone is up to the task, it's Dr. Martin; as fellow writer Jon Tarpaulin pointed out on Twitter, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more qualified applicant for this position, or really any other job period.

Dr. Martin comes to the Mariners after a year as the Director of Sports Performance Analytics for the Los Angeles Lakers, and has worked as a consultant for tennis and golf athletes. She was also a Sports Science Evaluator and Consultant for Ripken Baseball, a Sports Psychology Coach for Athletic Mental Performance, Inc., and the Lead Statistician for the Kaweah Delta Hospital District. Her educational background began with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and minors in Spanish and Leadership, from the University of Miami, she went on to get her Master of Science from Nova Southeastern University, returned to U of Miami for her PhD in Exercise Physiology, and completed her postdoctoral research fellowship in Preventive Medicine at the University of California San Diego, where she earned three post-doctorates in GIS spatial analysis, biostatistics, and epidemiology. Impressed yet? Just wait.

Dr. Martin was also awarded a National Institute of Health/National Cancer Institute grant for her final two years as a postdoc research fellow. During her time in Miami she "specialized in the development of intervention/prevention programs aimed at reducing health disparities among the Hispanic population through physical activity" (per Linkedin). She is a published author and her book, "Sports Performance Measurement and Analytics: The Science of Assessing Performance, Predicting Future Outcomes, Interpreting Statistical Models, and Evaluating the Market Value of Athletes" is available on Amazon. [Side note: Who's interested in chipping in to buy her book? I'm thinking the next LL meet up can be at an all-ages pub where we sit in a circle and take turns reading chapters from the book. We could even do it good 'ol popcorn style to keep folks on their toes]. Dr. Martin has also been a professor at Northwester University and the University of Miami, and was an invited Visiting Researcher at NASA Langley. Somehow, beyond all of this, she has found time to be the Vice Chair of Southern California Diversity and Inclusion for the United States Tennis Association, and is a tennis player herself, having competed at the amateur, college, and professional levels. Oh, and she's also fluent in French and Spanish. Beyond her impeccable qualifications, I'm excited and proud to see the Mariners organization hiring a woman in a senior position within the front office.

Following a season that saw Mariners players miss a collective 438 days (more on that later this week), Dr. Martin is a welcome and much-needed addition to this front office.

Note: if you're curious about the field of sports performance analytics, and have some extra time to spare, I highly recommend this informative presentation Dr. Martin gave at the MIT Sloan Analytics Conference last year.