Cayden Garcia took lessons from Computer Science courses to Appalachian League internship
by Brian Magloyoan (B.A. ’15)
Combining his Computer Science studies at St. Mary’s University with his passion for baseball, Cayden Garcia made a splash with the Appalachian League, one of the longest-running baseball leagues in the history of professional baseball.
Named as the data coordinator for the Elizabethton River Riders, Garcia served as the technology liaison, tasked with managing in-game video operations and the technology needed for data capture.
“His internship this summer is where he’s getting a chance to use some of his computer science skills,” said Arthur Hanna, Ph.D., St. Mary’s Professor of Computer Science, and Graduate Program Director of Computer Science and Computer Information Systems. “It puts what he’s been doing in the computer science classes in a real-world perspective.”
Utilizing his computer science skills to write programs that measure data, Garcia gathered key information that assists with player development.
“I’ve written a few programs,” said Garcia, who is also minoring in Mathematics. “It makes sharing data with the guys pretty easy because I can whip up a program in six hours and show them what they need to see.”
Garcia, who is from San Antonio, credits his experience at St. Mary’s for preparing him for the opportunity to work with professionals from the Appalachian League and Major League Baseball.
“It helped with getting the internship in the first place,” he said. “The reason why they put me on projects with those guys is because of school.”
Hanna, his advisor, acknowledged Garcia’s work ethic as one of the reasons for his success.
“He’s very sincere and industrious,” Hanna said. “Those people make the best students because they know what they want and they are willing to work for it.”
“Computer Science professors, I haven’t had a bad one yet,” Garcia said. “All of them have been extremely helpful. They want the best for their students.”
“The biggest thing at St. Mary’s is the relationships you get to build with your professors,” he added. “Especially being in my major, having them there, ready to help out, it’s a big deal.”
Prior to arriving at St. Mary’s in 2021, Garcia recalls how collegiate baseball wasn’t in his plans.
“Honestly, I wasn’t even planning on playing college baseball,” said Garcia who graduated from Johnson High School. “It wasn’t until St. Mary’s called me for a visit. It was the only school to call me to play baseball.”
“Looking back at it now,” he added. “It was probably the best decision I’ve made so far.”
“The biggest thing at St. Mary’s is the relationships you get to build with your professors. Especially being in my major, having them there, ready to help out, it’s a big deal.”
After the outfielder suited up for the Rattler Baseball team for two seasons, Garcia transitioned to the coaching staff for the 2023 season, serving as an assistant recruiting coordinator and head of player development.
“He was one of the more valuable assets we had on our staff last year,” Assistant Baseball Coach Michael Cavazos said. “There were nights we would stay late before a road trip and go through film. Then I’d come back the next day and see that he’d ended up sleeping on the couch in the locker room.”
“There are late nights and early mornings,” Garcia said. “It’s a grind, but I’m the type of person who needs to be busy.”
Set to graduate in Spring 2024, Garcia hopes to one day work for a Major League Baseball franchise.
“Cayden is going to be a great representative of St. Mary’s when he leaves here,” Cavazos said. “He might develop some software that changes the game of baseball, or he might go into coaching.”
“I see no reason for him not to get to where he wants to go,” Hanna added. “He knows where he’s going and what he needs to do to get there.”