OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: Moneyball
Can someone please explain to me the philosophy of moneyball. As far as I know it has alot to do with OBP So what are we doing if we get a runner on first? We hope to get a hit so they advance to second or third. Then we have to hope again we get the runner to score. When a team is stuggling like ours sometimes you need to produce runs. Stealing bases, bunting, hit and run. I know these are dirty words in B.B.'s mind but it probably won the playoff series for the Red Sox last year. Dave Roberts-game 4? How about the year before when we beat Boston, I think it was game 1- Ramon Hernandez bases loaded bunt? I would just like to see a little less "Moneyball" and a little more "Billy Ball" Your feedback would be appreciated. Thank You.
Simply stated, Moneyball values a player based only on statistical evidence, rather than unsupported or overvalued attributes.
How a player looks is an unsupported attribute. Beane cites himself as a guy that looked the part of a geat prospect, but didn't have it. Jeremy Brown, on the other hand, should have what it takes, but doesn't look the part.
The stats will tell you that OBP is the best predictor of runs scored. Heretofore OBP has been overlooked as an attribute to value a player (more on that later). Attributes such as speed and power are important, but overvalued by the marketplace, making the cost of such players greater than their worth. The value of defense gets lost, as the stats are quite murky as to performance. This is evidenced in the subjectivity of official scorers in determining errors.
Michael Lewis has recently admitted that the market has adjusted to the importance of OBP, undoing the cost advantage that the A's had enjoyed. This means that the A's can no longer get better players cheaply, as the market returns to equilibrium. Their only advantage now is do a better job in scouting and signing new players for their farm system. If other teams pay as much attention as the A's do in evaluating new players, that advantage may some day be lost as well.
I'am so sick of hearing about Moneyball. When I hear Moneyball I think of Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street. Gecko asks the whereabouts of one of his investment bankers and he is told that he is giving a lecture. Gecko's response is something to the effect of "He's losing a million a minute and he's lecturing others how to invest".
While Beane has been doing book signings and motavational corporate speeches, the Florida Marlins won the World Series in a year in which their team salary was lower to that of the A's. Also the Minnesota Twins eliminated Beane's team in 2002 with roughly the same salary. The Twins have also been to the playoffs only one less time in aprox the same time period.
To sum it all up. Sacto has a legitimate beef. I would venture to guess Beane has become looked upon by the other GM's (sans his cronies) like the guy in a classroom that can't keep his mouth shut regardless of how fundementaly inacurate he is.
Case in point the ego of the Jeremy's. Bonderman & Brown.
| By asch on Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - 11:16 am:|
Basically, even if you have a bunch of guys gettin on base, you need someone to hit you in...unfortunately, we don't have that quite yet.
I have to believe we are pretty close to leading the majors (or close to it) in LOB.
Moneyball isn't simply about stats.
It's about finding value where others have missed it.
So if people are judging the way a player looks, you look at his stats. If people are looking at batting average, you look at on-base-percentage. Etc...
If everyone catches onto the OBP thing, then you need to find something new that is important but overlooked. Moneyball means being forced to stay one step ahead of the competition because you can't simply "buy" your way to success. Hence the "Money" in the title.
The book is absolutely genius and is relevant to many other aspects of our lives.
I think what I got from the book was how BB and DP were able to put together a contender within a very low budget structure. They looked for players to fill in their offensive gaps only, usally players who came cheap because of their lack of other skills or bad track records on defense and fundamentals.
By using offensive stats regardless of the individual skills and talents of players involved, they focused on outscoring the opposition with a team as a whole.
Money ball to me is station to station baseball:
call me in october
but forget about me in November.
I agree with Chris. Money transends baseball.
What I took from it that use in my professional life is "look at the data" Too often decisions are made based upon gut feelings and not data driven.
Phoneyball will be scoffed at in retrospect for its pompous arrogance. Nobody has figured out baseball in over 100 years, and Beane obviously hasn't. That's what makes the game interesting.
| By yc2578 on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 11:52 am:|
The term Moneyball has been so overused that it's lost all meaning.
| By muddlehead on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 12:30 pm:|
i think it's safe to say the moneyball era has ended. whatever it once meant is irrelevent now. like billyball in 1980 and '81, relegated to the pleasant thoughts section of your local memory bank.
oh, and how did it end? because a certain team could not afford to keep its home grown stars at home. not through any fault of bb.
That's absolutely how it ended, but it's how it began that Beane receives undue credit for. If it wasn't for MHZ producing such a stellar period of starting pitching together, the A's fortunes would have been similar to that of the Royals or Tigers. Beane's offensive philosophy has been an abject failure over several seasons, but is only now being noticed because of the absence of the Big Three (and Tejada).
The breakup of the Big Three has nothing to do with the A's poor performance. Pitching is fine...the problem is OFFENSE!
Here is where the A's stack up in the American League:
Runs scored - 120, Dead last
Hits - 271, 13th out of 14
Doubles - 49, 13th out of 14
Home Runs - 22, Dead last
Total bases - 390, Dead last
RBIs - 115, Dead last
Batting Average - .235, Dead last
OBP - .313, 10th out of 14
Slugging - .338, Dead last
This is not a slump, it's a lousy offense. We will be battling it out with Seattle to stay out of last place unless Billy makes some moves. The first move should be to replace Macha with someone who can light a fire under their collective asses.
Moneyball makes no attempt to figure out baseball. It's only about trying to stay one step ahead of the competition.
How many of you who are criticizing Moneyball have actually read the book? If you're going to put something down, at least know what you're talking about.
| By milo on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 04:06 pm:|
>The book is absolutely genius and is relevant to many other aspects of our lives.
At best, it's a decent book with way too much filler and Beane hero worship. There is a saying: "If you torture the data long enough, you can get it to admit to anything".
Lewis starts with the premise that Beane is the best and smartest GM in baseball, then carves the stats to make it seem so. How many of the guys Beane has drafted over the last 5 yrs. were huge surprises in MLB? Not many. And his trades? Good, but at the end of the day, pretty mixed results. The A's have won, quite simply, because they drafted three of the best young starting pitchers in baseball, using high draft picks for two of them. This fact that gets amazingly little mention in Lewis' book. If you take the big 3 out of the equation, all of Beane's number-crunching and philosophizing don't add up to much.
And bottom line here -- Beane's drafting and trading has led to 0 pennants and 0 WS rings. And it's not surprising -- every year, this team has a glaring weakness, so for all the time and money Beane has spent, he's delivered nothing in October. And ultimately, that's what organizations, fans, and players are after.
So in that respect, Moneyball has been a pretty questionable philosophy with only modest results...and certainly not worthy of all the attention Lewis heaped on it.
Does anyone really think Beane is a better GM than someone like Pat Gillick, who won five American League East titles and back-to-back World Series titles. And his Orioles reached the ALCS in two of his three years there.
I read Moneyball and thought it was load of S. If this was the way to TRY staying one step ahead of the competition they failed simply because they never won it all.
| By asch on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 05:03 pm:|
Well whatever it is, I think BB deserves credit for putting together a team that has been competetive for many years with a paltry payroll. Yes, some other teams have low payrolls too - but some have been HORRIBLE - Tampa Bay - and some haven't done much more than us Minnesota. So, I am still glad we have him - he's definitely better than most GM's. Why do I say that? Look at the results. This is a KEY year for us - we knew we wouldn't be raging winners this year. But look at the positives:
Haren has shown he can be a good pitcher - he needs seasoning. Calero was lights out before he got hurt. Cruz has a ton of potential. Barton is the best hitting prospect in the minors possibly. And we have those guys for a while. This is the year where Haren gets seasoning - this is the year (hopefully) that Cruz get his seasoning and Street gets his. There is alot to look forward to.
Time will tell if what we got back from Mulder and Huddy were good packages....but make no mistake, they had to be traded.
I certainly have read the book and I totally agree with finley.
Nobody in over 100 years has been able to dominate and figure out how to win the big prize consistently with or without MONEY
Baseball will humble anyone and no one is bigger than this game.
| By muddlehead on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 05:51 pm:|
would you be willing to bet the mortgage - from this point forward with what we've seen so far this season - that our a's will continue to be better than the other low payroll competition - the next 2 years or so - royals, pirates, drays, brewers? not me. i love the a's and will always support them. but, this version seems bereft of good baseball players. harden is a good pitcher. chavez a good player. crosby a good one. blanton looks solid. i count 4 players who could go to another team and either start or come close to that ability. ouch.
| By muddlehead on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 05:58 pm:|
oops. forgot kotsay. up to 5. probably our single best player right now. my bad mark.
| By asch on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 07:23 pm:|
Hmmm...our players who would start on another team?
Byrnes: a bet a ton of teams would STILL love to have him.
Scutaro/Ellis: a bunch of teams need starting middle infielders
Durazo: I am sure a bunch of teams need a lefty DH
I am not saying those guys are the best, but there are a ton of teams that would love to have them, that I am sure of.
You are right on asch. All Moneyball states is that with a low budget team you have to find players with value that others have overlooked if you are to be competitive. That means finding hidden value that other teams don't pay for (OBP), and taking on players that have value, but also obvious flaws (a guy who can hit but has poor defensive skills or is slow). This approach is used not only in picking up experienced players, but in drafting prospects as well.
The key is finding a way to compete without paying market price. Being competitive is NOT necessarily getting WS rings.
Now, three years later, the A's cannot expect to get the big OBP player cheaply, as the market has taken this into account. I believe this is the reason the A's are no longer playoff bound, but should continue to remain reasonably competitive. If a new ballpark succeeds in bringing in sufficient revenue to increase the salary budget significantly, then we can expect to see the A's in the playoffs once again.
| By okplayer on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 10:08 pm:|
such fickle fans
I agree with you Lil' and Finley, no one has, or will, figure out baseball. But I don't think Moneyball was suggesting that anyone had.
I think another important lesson from Moneyball is to focus on the process and not the results. By focusing on the process, the results will follow.
Look at the A's, they have been successful (winning season) the past 6 years. No other team in our division can say the same. Even the Angels peaked by winning the WS but then tanked the next year. The A's have had consistent (disappointing in the play offs) results.
I think that the fact the A's have been a second half team also testifies to this. The process takes some time to get going but once it does it is effective.
| By rocket on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 08:35 am:|
moneyball view from a NY writer..
The Mariners obviously don't have their act together, and it's hard to say whom or what the Athletics miss most; is it Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder or the steroids that fueled them for 15 years? Moneyball, my eye. Muscleball was more like it.
Yeah...like the A's players were the only ones who juiced up for the last two decades.
Moneyball or Muscleball...the juiced players have been a common factor in all of baseball. The difference being that skilled and talented players when juiced performed at a higher octane production.
| By dansward on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 11:08 am:|
The Moneyball philosophy also led the A's to focus on college pitchers while others were going for high schoolers and hitters. So there is a link between Moneyball and the run of outstanding pitchers.
Yeah, like Jeremy Bonderman. Woops.
| By dansward on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 11:52 am:|
No, like Hudson, Mulder, Zito, Harden, Street, Blanton, etc.
Harden a college pitcher? I guess if you count Central Arizona JC. Come on, Harden was nothing other than a stroke of luck, not a stroke of genius, just like Hudson. He was drafted in the 17th round! With all the guys they draft and those they sign in Venezuela, the DR and elsewhere, they are bound to get a few lucky bounces.
Every squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Too bad Billy hasn't found any nuts who can hit worth a lick.
I credit Billy Beane for drafting college pitchers and above all drafting pitchers rather than just throwers.
The drafting was a great part of what the book Moneyball described, and Billy definitely has to be given credit for ending a pitching drought for the A's of over 20 years.
Sandy certainy was a total flop with his 4 aces drafter out of high school: Dressendorfer, Zancanaro, Van Poop and Peters. Of those four, only two reached the majors, with one blowing the arm after a few games (Dressendorfer) and the other taking 10 years to develope into a reliever of sorts. That was in 1990.
Prior to that the A's had no home grown pitching since 79, (Mike Norris) and one has to credit Finley for that one.
I totally dislike sacrificing defense and fundamentals for offense and Billy's philosophy does have a tendency of turning his teams into one dimensional bunch of jocks. (thank goodness they kept Washington on board to fix the infield)
But I don't think the drafting and success Billy
had with the pitching comes from luck.
Of course, it seems Bonderman was the exception, but he has been right a lot more than wrong with the drafting of pitchers IMO.
| By rocket on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 04:06 pm:|
Billy Beane has done very well drafting players,
and done pretty damn good picking up guys from
the scrap heap, and trading for guys at the end
of their contracts. Where he has not done so well
is signing FA, or guys who he acquired in trades
and then signed them to extensions.
| By rocket on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 04:17 pm:|
The luck part was having 3 starting pitchers develop together to be frontline in such a short period of time.
| By eyleenn on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 08:47 pm:|
The timing was indeed a rarity.
| By eyleenn on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 09:12 pm:|
Exactly which 15 years of "muscleball" is Jon Heyman of Newsday referring to? Is he implying that the current-day A's are juicing?
| By washfan on Saturday, May 14, 2005 - 12:14 am:|
I think were up to 6, I am sure Kendall could start for many other clubs.