Elizabeth Benn is a Senior Coordinator for Major League Baseball. Her role focuses on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives like Take the Field, a program designed to connect women who have a serious passion for working in baseball to the right network and information to help them achieve that goal.
“This isn’t just some cool thing to do on the side,” Benn said. “We target [women] who are already trying to get jobs in baseball, then we invest in them and give them a lot of time and individual mentorship that will help get them there.”
One way that Benn and MLB are helping women find opportunities in areas like coaching, scouting, and baseball operations is by pairing elements of traditional baseball experience with emerging technology and analytics. The growing use of data and analytics in baseball is what led Benn to invite members of the Rapsodo and Driveline teams to speak at their Take the Field event during the Winter Meetings.
“I think the increased focus on analytics and technology, and also things like biomechanics and eye-tracking, are opening the door for people who don’t have professional baseball playing experience,” Benn said, “If a candidate knows Rapsodo and has that on their resume, they’re going to get a lot more looks than someone who doesn’t.”
This season there are more women in baseball than ever before. There are now several are female coaches at the Major or Minor League levels, and most have an expertise in emerging tech or biomechanics.
Benn specifically mentioned Rachel Folden with the Chicago Cubs organization. Once an All-American catcher for Marshall University former professional softball player, Folden is now the Lead Lab Tech at the Cubs’ Spring Training complex and Minor League hitting coach.
“In addition to being a great softball player and coach, she’s also one of the most tech-savvy people in baseball,” Benn said. “That knowledge and those kinds of backgrounds are so valuable.”
As more women have found success in the game off the field, Benn believes technology is providing opportunities for girls on the field as well.
“We’re starting to see more girls in college baseball, and that has coaches seeing a whole new pool of talent,” Benn said. “It’s not a gimmick. Those players are legit, and coaches know it because the data doesn’t lie.”
To hear the entire conversation with Elizabeth Benn and learn more about opportunities for women in baseball, check out this episode of the Rapsodo Baseball Podcast.