Ricky Benichak is a baseball operations intern with the Cincinnati Reds. A native of Bethany, CT, he relocated to Ohio following the completion of his Bachelor's degree at the New York University Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, and a two-year stint as a finance intern with MLB Advanced Media. Ricky was kind enough to share some of his experiences and future aspirations with MLBTR.
My responsibilities with the Reds
One of the greatest perks of a baseball operations internship, at least in my experience, is that every day presents different challenges and experiences. If I had to identify what a normal day would look like, it would be something like this: update the statistics for our BATS video software, chart a game using that same software or capture pickoff moves to help our Major League coaching staff or players for an upcoming series, compile advance scouting reports, and work on research assigned to me by my bosses. I would say about 30-40% of my workload consists of research, some targeted by my superiors based on the needs of the team, some targeted based on my own interests. I have used that time to further look into the ROI of international players, waiver claim and DFA analyses, valuation of farm systems, and aging curves for defensive abilities.
My internship started back in January, so the definition of a normal day has changed greatly over that time. At one point, my days consisted of arbitration research, eventually becoming spring training-based assignments, preparing for the Rule 4 Draft, and now that the season is over two-thirds through, I’m looking forward to what hopes to be a deep playoff run for the Reds.
My favorite work experience
I think my “welcome to baseball operations” moment was fittingly my first day with the Reds, back in January. Having relocated to Cincinnati only a few days earlier, I was getting adjusted to my new life in a new city, and still, work was among the biggest of my worries. I worked in finance for MLB Advanced Media for the past two years, so I didn’t know what to expect of my first position with a team. Hours into my first day, I was sitting in an arbitration conference between Reds baseball operations staff members. With the deadline to exchange figures a few days away and a potential hearing weeks away, it was early on in the process. It was more of an opportunity for the team to establish parameters on the desired salary of its arbitration-eligible players and to formulate the statistical arguments to hopefully get to these figures. I recall reading about the procedures of arbitration, but until I experienced it firsthand (although this was not a formal arbitration hearing), I never fully grasped the extent of research that goes into it. Like a game of chess, you want to think a few steps ahead, recognizing that your own strategy includes an understanding of the moves that can be used against you.