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The Auburn baseball analytics team includes three Harbert students all majoring in
business analytics. Left to right are senior Boston Smith, sophomore Peyton Sower,
and junior Ryan Crawford.
Don’t let the name fool you. Boston Smith is all about Auburn, and the numbers proved it long before he took up an interest in analytics or the university’s baseball team.
The Harbert College of Business senior comes from a family of six boys—he is the second youngest—and it is a family rich in Auburn sports connections.
“All but one of [my brothers] have attended/are attending Auburn University,” he said. “Both of my parents attended Auburn, as well. My dad, Ted Smith, was a quarterback here at Auburn from 1969-1972.
“He was Pat Sullivan’s backup during Sullivan’s 1971 Heisman-winning campaign. He was also on the famous 1972 ‘Amazin’s’ football team that beat Alabama in the ‘Punt Bama Punt’ Iron Bowl, 17-16.”
“One of my older brothers, Slade Smith, played baseball at Auburn from 2010-2012 and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers where he played in the minor leagues for five years,” he said.
Boston Smith himself has played on the baseball diamond most of his life, including two years of Division I ball at University of Tennessee-Martin before transferring to Auburn, where he gave up his playing career to combine his love of the game with his major in business analytics.
Since September 2022, he has served as an analyst for the Auburn baseball team, carefully studying the pitching trends of both the home team and opponents.
Oh, and the name Boston?
“It is a family name, my great-grandfather’s, but I always get comments about it whether it’s if I’m from Massachusetts or a big Red Sox fan,” said Smith, who is from Birmingham.
Math is fun
According to Smith, he first thought of numbers as fun while taking a math class when he was young.
“My interest in analytics started whenever I was excelling in math during grade school,” he said. “I enjoyed my math classes and was able to apply the concepts to baseball statistics. This branched out into a passion for baseball analytics as I continued to play at the college level, becoming more exposed to the growing world of baseball analytics.
“Since then, I have also been learning as much as I can about other analytics industries.”
Harbert has opened the doors to several opportunities on and off campus that have confirmed his desire to stay in the analytics field once he graduates from Auburn in May.
“Last summer I had the opportunity to work as an investment banking summer analyst for Performance Trust Capital Partners in Atlanta,” he said. “This was an invaluable experience for me. Throughout my time in the Business Analytics program at Auburn, my eyes have been opened to the different avenues one can take in analytics.
“I chose to pursue an internship in the finance world, specifically investment banking. During the internship, I conducted quantitative and predictive modeling of banks across the Southeast,” Smith said. “I worked on identifying trends and patterns based on available data and assessing the current and future market value for potential acquisition and/or mergers.”
A prior internship allowed him to work with his other passion, baseball.
“Two summers ago, I was an operations intern for the Birmingham Barons, the AA minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox,” he said. “This was another invaluable experience for me. This internship was very hard work as I worked up to 60-70 hours a week working stadium operations.
“Some of my duties included managing the warehouse staff, setting up for events, conducting catering and concession services,” he said. “It taught me how to work with people from all walks of life. I also loved being around the baseball stadium every day.”
Smith praised Harbert for its meaningful career fairs that it hosts, saying he tries to attend every one of them.
“I believe the Harbert College of Business does an exceptional job providing students with outside resources to help them in their careers,” said Smith, noting the value of internships, scholarships and guest speakers, which enhance student career opportunities.
Scouting the Tigers
The 2023 season has arrived for Auburn Tigers baseball, and that means Smith will be spending time again learning at the ballpark.
“I aid in collecting Trackman data for each pitch thrown in scrimmages/games. I use this data to interpret and create analysis reports for our pitchers,” he said. “These reports include scrimmage statistics, pitching metrics, and some of my thoughts on how we can help them improve.’
“I also watch opponent’s film and help create scouting reports for our players. I watch opponent’s pitchers to see what pitches they like to throw, how each pitch breaks, and what each pitcher is best at so that our hitters are well prepared.”
Yet, one of his favorite Auburn experiences was at a different kind of playing field.
“My favorite Auburn memory so far has been beating Texas A&M at home this past football season in Coach Caddy’s first home game as head coach,” Smith said. “The atmosphere with Coach Caddy leading the team out of the tunnel was incredible. Jordan-Hare was rocking, and I had great seats in the student section with all of my friends.
“My favorite thing to do is swag surf, and boy, did we have an awesome time swag surfing after taking the W for Coach Caddy.”
After graduation, Smith plans to pursue a job in financial analytics and wealth management/financial advising.
“I would love to be in the Southeast and work for a company that is passionate about helping families and clients,” he said.