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Discussion on "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game"

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  • mwiggins
    replied
    Originally posted by spark240 View Post
    Those who have read my comments on broadcast revenue and financial fairness know that I believe small-city teams are getting cheated under the present system, and some kind of fundamental reform (not tweaks like "luxury tax") is more than justified.

    However, there has been sort of a silver lining in financial inequity just to the extent that some teams have been forced to "do things differently." Baseball is more interesting when teams are trying to win by differing strategies.

    That being said, I don't think a fundamentally unfair system is necessary to have a variety of team strategies.
    I think the current free agency with no salary cap system has not made it impossible, or I think overly difficult, for a small market team to thrive. Certainly it's much easier for the 2009 Minnesota Twins and Oakland A's to compete with the Yankees than it was for the 1949 Senators and A's to compete with the Yankees. The draft and the teams can lock up young players for 6 years really limits the big market teams from cornerning young talent like they used to be able to do. The Yankees have a lot more money than the Twins (actually, that's not true, but the Twins budget is much more limited), but the Yankees can't go out and sign Mauer away from the Twins. They can't sign sign Josh Hamilton, they have to make due with Damon in center.

    And the Yankees have proven that just buying the best free agents doesn't mean you'll win.

    BUT what the current conditions do make it impossible to do is for a small market team to keep their talent. The Twins or the Rays can draft better and develop talent better than the Yankees, but at some point most of their stars will leave and go to a big market team.

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  • Pere
    replied
    Originally posted by mwiggins View Post
    "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".
    Those who have read my comments on broadcast revenue and financial fairness know that I believe small-city teams are getting cheated under the present system, and some kind of fundamental reform (not tweaks like "luxury tax") is more than justified.

    However, there has been sort of a silver lining in financial inequity just to the extent that some teams have been forced to "do things differently." Baseball is more interesting when teams are trying to win by differing strategies.

    That being said, I don't think a fundamentally unfair system is necessary to have a variety of team strategies.

    Originally posted by parlo View Post
    I wonder what aspects of the game are presently undervalued.???
    Relief pitchers who are not "closers"?
    Last edited by Pere; 01-01-2009, 02:12 PM.

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  • parlo
    replied
    I agree with both of you. Moneyball was about finding inequalities in the marketplace (undervalued assets), and pursuing them. The example used at the time was OBP, which was a great example. Unfortunately, OBP is no longer undervalued.
    I wonder what aspects of the game are presently undervalued.???

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  • mwiggins
    replied
    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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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • mwiggins
    replied
    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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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Bump

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Anyone? *crickets chirping*

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    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.

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  • AstrosFan
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    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.

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  • AstrosFan
    replied
    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.

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • AstrosFan
    replied
    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.

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  • bhss89
    replied
    This is gettin' good - keep it coming guys. I appreciate reading about both points of view.

    Leave a comment:

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