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  • #16
    The Boston Red Sox front office has been more influenced by Beane's style than any other exec in baseball, and they've had some nice postseason success. The difference is that they are one of the richest teams in baseball. Still, the Red Sox are probably now the most sabermetric organization in baseball, and sabermetrics is the driving force behind Beane's approach to managing his tiny budget.
    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

    - Alvin Dark

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    • #17
      It is far easier to pull the wool over someone's eyes in a playoff series than in a 162 game season. Sample size, sample size, sample size. What can make a difference, however, is that if a team proves itself incapable of playing smallball, it will hurt itself in the playoffs, because teams are much more evenly matched, resulting in a higher percentage of close games and tight situations that often call for a one-run strategy. In the long run, the Moneyball approach will be successful, but to win a playoff series requires some versatility in strategy. That is why Baseball Prospectus developed their Secret Sauce formula to attempt to answer their question: "Why Doesn't Billy Beane's S#$% Work in the Playoffs?" The formula isn't flawless by any means, heck, the Phillies were ranked 12th in MLB this year. It simply tries to find out what formula in building a team works best in the playoffs.

      http://www.baseballprospectus.com/st...php?cid=280104

      The definition can be found in the book "Baseball Between the Numbers" if anyone's interested. Sorry for going a little off-topic with the plug. Back to Moneyball.
      "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

      - Alvin Dark

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by NY16CATCHER View Post
        As for playoff success, I do belive that the failure of the A's and the lack of any other stringent adhearant to the moneyball forumula to have anything remotely resembling playoff success is a strong indicator of its shortcomings. If this formula was so strong and so correct, it would be applied by far more MLB teams than it is. The fact of the matter is that its all about winning at that level, however you can.
        Then how do you explain that the A's had more playoff success (in terms of wins) than the Twins, a team the plays winning "small ball"? The A's are 11-16 (.407 W%) and the Twins are 5-16 (.286 W%) since 2000. Head-to-head the A's are 5-3 against the Twins with each team winning one playoff series against the other team. And the so-called Moneyball system is applied by others teams, the Red Sox for one. As to why more teams don't do it. Simple: bias. But Actually more teams do apply it than you realize.

        The AL central was no picnic from 2000-2006. Cleveland had some excellent seasons as did Chicago in 06.
        Sure there were some good teams that competed against the Twins. But you stated that the A's played in the weak division and the AL West was no weaker than the AL Central during that time period.

        If you want to compare records, I think you should add the last 2 regular seasons to the results column. Add in the 07 and 08 Twins and the picture is quite different.
        In '07 the Twins were 79-83 and the A's were 76-86. In '08 the Twins were 88-74 and the A's were 75-87. Only in '08 were the Twins clearly a better team. From 2000-08 the A's have a far better record.

        The reason I hold up the Twins is admittedly a personal bias to some extent. I am friendly with a number of Twins scouts and front office people and I have a great respect for their knowledge, approach and understanding of the game. I also greatly admire their minor league system and the style of baseball that is taught at their minor leage level. And I think they are a fair counter argument to the A's in terms of budget, market size, etc.
        I have great respect for baseball people and scouting. I pour over lots of scouting reports especially Baseball America. I've leaned quite a bit from scouting folks. That doesn't mean everything they do is 100% correct or that no one should ever challenge their mode of thinking of how they look at players.

        You make an interesting point regarding context and I am just wondering if you see the same contradiction I do in a couple of your statements. You agree the focus on numbers is too strong in terms of their influence on the draft in the moneyball formula, yet you claim that Beane and staff does view them in a context, then you interject your own personal experience with the hiring process of young professionals and the struggle of how you put their GPA and college experience in the right context when viewing them as part of the hiring process. Seems to me that evidence and logic would suggest that just as you struggle with finding the right context for your profession, I think Beane struggles with context for his as well.
        How is this a contradiction? Beane doesn't just look at numbers. And this is clearly stated in the book. Why people continue to put up this strawman I have no idea. Let me ask you this. Why do scouts put so little emphasis in stats at all? It seems to be traditional scouting puts too little emphasis on stats. In the book one of the socuts who scouted Billy Beane said he never once looked at any of Beane's stats. Don't you find that extreme?

        As for your brief observations on professional scouts, I'll admit another bias. My grandfather and uncle were professional scouts for several organizations over the years, serving in capacity ranging from amateur scout to crosschecker to professional scout to advance scout at the MLB level. I don't think the layperson can genuinely make an in depth observation of the role a scout plays and what it is exactly a scout does until they have either spent a tremendous amount of time in extremely close proximity or study of one or until they've done it themselves.
        This seems like the "I'm a professional and your not" argument. It just closes the door for dialogue and the opportunity to learn from others. Granted, I'm not a scout by any means. But I have read several book by scouts over the years and pour over the Baseball America scouting reports for years know. I understand the basics of what they look for in terms of rating a players tools on the 20-80 scale and I like to ask questions to many people. And scouting is not some mystical super-secret Jedi endevear that only tobacco spitting former minor leaguers are capable of doing. The actor who portrayed "Squiggie" on "Laverne and Shirley", David Lander, is a baseball scout for the Seattle Mariners.

        To me, without the scout interjecting his personal experience and observations, the scout is providing nothing but stats and rather meaningless observation.
        And that's the problem. Personal experience introduces inherent bias that can hold a player back depending on how a scout was taught about how the game is "supposed" to be played. That is a weakness and not a strength in my opinion.

        A good scout is able to put his observations into context (there is that word again) and relate them to other players who have played or who are playing in an organization, is able to identify players who will perform or who have the potential to perform well in the structure and methodology of the organization, who can fill a role or need, etc.
        Like I said before the A's look at other things besides just stats.

        It's not just the speed on the radar gun, or the pitchers time to home, or any of the other wide variety of data a scout selects. It's how does the player interact with others, what is his baseball knowledge like, is he coachable, etc. All important factors that are in many ways subjective.
        They did NOT take that into acount when the Billy Beane was scouted at all. Even the scouts admited this in Moneyball. They just saw the "wheels", the "hose", the "good face", the jaw-dropping power that Beane had and started dreaming about the superstar Beane will blossom into. Also every team gives players physcological tests to get a feel for a player's personality. This certainly is not something that only tradtional scouting teams do.
        Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 11-10-2008, 06:28 PM.
        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

        Comment


        • #19
          This is gettin' good - keep it coming guys. I appreciate reading about both points of view.
          "I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it." - Sandy Koufax.

          "My name is Yasiel Puig. I am from Cuba. I am 21 years old. Thank you."

          Comment


          • #20
            Perhaps we should have a multiple choice poll to go along with this thread. Topics could include:

            Whether the Moneyball strategy (in this case the on-the-field sabermetric approach) is a poor one to use come playoff time.

            Whether Beane and the A's front office underrates scouting.

            Whether Beane wheels and deals so much because he is forced to by the A's small budget, or because he is a cutthroat with little to no regard for players and fans (you'd need to shorten this).

            And anything else you can think of.
            Last edited by AstrosFan; 11-11-2008, 11:06 AM.
            "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

            - Alvin Dark

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
              Perhaps we should have a multiple choice poll to go along with this thread. Topics could include:

              Whether the Moneyball strategy (in this case the on-the-field sabermetric approach) is a poor one to use come playoff time.

              Whether Beane and the A's front office underrates scouting.

              Whether Beane wheels and deals so much because he is forced to by the A's small budget, or because he is a cutthroat with little to no regard for players and fans (you'd need to shorten this).

              And anything else you can think of.
              On of the thngs I want to make clear is that there is really no such thing of "Moneyball strategy" to playing the game on the field. What the A's do is nothing new. Earl Weaver ran his Orioles team in a very similar fashion. In Alan Schwarz' book, The Numbers Game, Baseball Lifelong Fascination with Statisitics, one chapter is devoted to Earl Weaver use of statistics to detemine in-game decisions. If anyone is/was a "Moneyball" person, Earl Weaver was. During games weaver carried index cards with him that had various situational stats that helped him make in-game decisions.

              Also, the book's focus is not on how the A's play the game on the field. The focus of the book is how the A's evaluate players and the methodology used. As Michael Lewis stated in the preface what the A's did was basically a "science experiment" to discover new baseball knowledge. Lewis documents how the A's went about their "science experiment" and how traditional baseball people reacted to it.
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                On of the thngs I want to make clear is that there is really no such thing of "Moneyball strategy" to playing the game on the field. What the A's do is nothing new. Earl Weaver ran his Orioles team in a very similar fashion. In Alan Schwarz' book, The Numbers Game, Baseball Lifelong Fascination with Statisitics, one chapter is devoted to Earl Weaver use of statistics to detemine in-game decisions. If anyone is/was a "Moneyball" person, Earl Weaver was. During games weaver carried index cards with him that had various situational stats that helped him make in-game decisions.

                Also, the book's focus is not on how the A's play the game on the field. The focus of the book is how the A's evaluate players and the methodology used. As Michael Lewis stated in the preface what the A's did was basically a "science experiment" to discover new baseball knowledge. Lewis documents how the A's went about their "science experiment" and how traditional baseball people reacted to it.
                I've been preaching that in every thread about Moneyball, including this one.

                Originally posted by AstrosFan
                The revolution, as has been discussed before, was not in finding new ways to evaluate ballplayers, but in applying proper tools of evaluation to finding inefficiencies in the market, and thus enabling a low-budget club like the A's to win.
                However, on the field strategy is brought up in a few spots in the book, and is something that people are interested in discussing whenever the book is mentioned.
                "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

                - Alvin Dark

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
                  I've been preaching that in every thread about Moneyball, including this one.
                  Kepp preaching it, bro!


                  However, on the field strategy is brought up in a few spots in the book, and is something that people are interested in discussing whenever the book is mentioned.
                  That is true. I consider those portions of the book to be incidental to the major theme of the book. Lots of teams don't play "small" ball usually because they don't have the right players. Yet, because the A's don't play "small" ball for different reasons they get hammered for it.
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    The A's get hammered because after the book came out, there was resentment toward the team and especially Beane, derived from the belief that the content of the book was controlled by Beane, who used it as a vehicle to promote his conviction that he is smarter than everyone else in baseball. It's a false assumption, but people actually believe that.
                    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

                    - Alvin Dark

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      OK, lets move on to Chapter 1: The Curse of Talent. To me the personal Billy Beane story is the more fascinating part of the book. For those who do not know, as an 18 year old in 1980 Beane was one of the top high school players in the country. He was considered a superior prospect to Daryl Strawberry. The Mets had the #1 pick in the 1980 draft. Chapter 1 chronicles the scouting of Billy Beane. He was an INCREDIBLE athletic talent. The firt part of the chapter details how stunned the scouts were when Beane out ran Cecil Espy, Darnell Coles, and several other top prospects in a 60-yard dash. Coles was a sprinter that had already signed to play wide receiver at UCLA. Epsy was considered even faster than Coles. Yet on that day Beane blew them all away running 6.4 seconds. Pat Gillick was there and he just couldn't believe what he saw. So he had them run again and Beane beat them all again quite handily. Beane had off-the-charts speed, freakish HR power, and a powerful throwing arm.

                      Beane wanted to go to Stanford on a baseball/football scholarship even though he hadn't played football since his sophomore season. The Stanford baseball coach asked the Stanford football coach to give Beane a look. The football coach was duly impressed and agreed to sign Beane to be the air-apparent to John Elway. Because of Beane's desire to go to Stanford he fell in the baseball draft. The Mets picked Starwberry #1 but they had three first round picks so they picked Baeane later in the first round. Beane decided to sign with the Mets after thinking long and hard. He still wanted to go to Stanford to get an education but the Stanford admissions department found out he signed with the Mets they pulled his admissions. He signed for $125,000 but lost all of it on a bad real estate investment deal.
                      Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 11-13-2008, 07:37 PM.
                      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Anyone? *crickets chirping*
                        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Bump
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by NY16CATCHER View Post
                            The pefect anti moneyball success story that has a small dollar, small market parallel is Minnesota. They steal a base, they sacrafice runners over, they play classic, textbook small ball, which Beane and moneyball supporters claim is terribly flawed yet have enjoyed significantly more success than the A's have over the same time period. They apply the same concept to home grown talent being the primary way for them to have competitive talent and subscribing to a certain style of play, but its a style of play that has been proven over time to be successful when executed correctly, with the right players and coaches.
                            The Twins of that era actually are a great example of the Moneyball principals at work. They couldn't compete with the Yankees and the White Sox and the Red Sox for top line starting pitchers and middle of the order run producers. They just decided to emphasize defense and small ball and relief pitching and developing young players (pitchers primarily), since those were undervalued in the market at the time. Which is just what Beane and Alderson did, except they decided to emphasize OBP since they deemed that to be undervalued at the time.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by mwiggins View Post
                              The Twins of that era actually are a great example of the Moneyball principals at work. They couldn't compete with the Yankees and the White Sox and the Red Sox for top line starting pitchers and middle of the order run producers. They just decided to emphasize defense and small ball and relief pitching and developing young players (pitchers primarily), since those were undervalued in the market at the time. Which is just what Beane and Alderson did, except they decided to emphasize OBP since they deemed that to be undervalued at the time.
                              That's a good point. I've been trying to explain that "Moneyball" is not really about how the game is played on the field. It's about how players are evaluated. Yet, people keep posting that "Moneyball" is about not stealing bases and drawing lots of walks. h
                              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                                That's a good point. I've been trying to explain that "Moneyball" is not really about how the game is played on the field. It's about how players are evaluated. Yet, people keep posting that "Moneyball" is about not stealing bases and drawing lots of walks. h
                                I agree. Everything you hear in the media is "Moneyball is about using OBP and that weird Bill James stuff to build your team". That's not really what I got from the book. The basic message to me was "If your finances are limited, it doesn't make sense to go after the same kind of players that the Yankees and the rest of the big market teams are trying to build their teams around. To compete, you have to do things differently". You can't just try and build your lineup out of 5-tool players with guady BA and HR numbers and your pitching staff with 20-win starters with filthy stuff.

                                Neither the Twins nor the A's could afford to go out and get the A-Rod's, the Beltrans, the Clemens, and the Mussina's of the world, so they had to figure out a different way to build a team. For the Twins it was young players who would buy into a system that stressed the fundamentals that didn't have to be super talented to succeed. Things like strike 1, going the other way, aggressive baserunning, and good defense. And focusing on the minor leagues so that you can always restock your major league team with cheap talent, as opposed to relying on free agency and expensive veterans.
                                Last edited by mwiggins; 12-29-2008, 01:04 PM.

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