Women In Baseball: Katie Krall Focuses On The Big Picture

Katie Krall is always looking to the future.

As a baseball operations analyst for the Reds, she might be considering the next game or opponent, or a move to be made. As an up-and-coming industry employee, she’s often also thinking about what her own future holds.

There’s no doubt Krall is excited in her role in Cincinnati, and her short-term plans include helping herself and the organization to several championships. But in the longer term, both with experience working in the commissioner’s office and now with a team, Krall also has her sights set on her own upward projection.

“I do want to be a (general manager) some day,” she said. “I definitely am intrigued by the notion of maybe being the first female commissioner, too. Working on the macro-level initiatives that impact the game as a whole.

“When I was there for a year and a half in labor relations and on-field operations, that was really extraordinary because you’re answering questions that are only being considered in one place.

“With the Reds, if we’re working on our defensive positioning or our matchup models—the Yankees, the Blue Jays—they’re all probably doing something similar, we all have the same goal: to win more baseball games.

“Whereas if you’re working on rule changes at the commissioner’s office, no one else is tackling that. And so you really have a unique position to impact the game seismically.

“For the time being, being part of the team and hopefully winning a few World Series rings, that’s definitely my goal. But I do like the idea later in my career of maybe transitioning back to (the commissioner’s office in) New York and shepherding the game and being part of that group that leads the industry into the next 30 or 40 years of the sport.”

Though Krall’s position with the Reds comes with unique challenges that are different from her experience in the commissioner’s office—like learning Cincinnati’s databases, the code review process, and building models—it is also accompanied by exclusive rewards one can only experience working with a team.

“I would describe my job as roster construction and asset valuation, thinking through who should we sign, how much should we pay them, and where should they play on the field,” Krall said. “One of the things that I really missed about working at MLB was not having a horse in the race and not being with a team.

“And so being involved in the really granular decisions of how can we optimize the players that we have, and who do we need to acquire to fill those gaps, that’s been phenomenal.”

Going through the day-to-day operations and roller-coaster of emotions that accompany working for a team is something that Krall certainly did not experience in the same way while in the commissioner’s office. But the connection through the passion on display in those moments makes it truly significant.

“I really love the camaraderie that comes from being with a team that’s doing well,” Krall said. “I’ve been super fortunate in my first season the Reds made the playoffs, and now we have an opportunity to reach the postseason again. Everyone working toward the same goal and having a unified purpose is really inspiring.

“The highs and the lows of winning or losing each day, it can be incredibly rewarding and it can also send you down in the dumps.

“But overall, you know that the people who are next to you—the analysts, the executives—you’re all fighting for the same thing. That’s what I love about it.”

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