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The death of Moneyball???


Boy Howdy

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While I don't think that Beane is overrated, I will be watching closely over the next few seasons to see how they do. The A's have had a tremendous winning percentage during his tenure, but a good portion of that success has been from players that he didn't bring in (Hudson, Giambi, Tejada, Chavez). Last year was the first year that they didn't have one of their big three (Zito, Hudson, Mulder) and they finished 10 games below .500. This offseason they've traded their best position player and their best pitcher for a ton of prospects. I don't think they'll be as competitive as they were at the beginning of the decade for a few years, but Beane has earned the time to rebuild. Not all general managers have that benefit.

I came across this article. I found it to be worthwhile, and I've never seen this site before.

http://baseballevolution.com/guest/richard/rvzbeane1.html

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One problem with this: Beane shifted his focus towards defense a lot in the last few years. They have had one of the best defensive teams in the league the past two or three seasons, if I'm not mistaken, which helped their pitching staff and helped them compete despite terrible offenses.

Moneyball is NOT about OBP. I cannot stress that enough. It is about taking advantage of undervalued skills and commodities. The last few years, defense has been undervalued, so Beane has used it to his advantage. OBP is no longer undervalued.

Brown probably could have stuck around if he switched to another position, but I guess he just had enough. Being semi-famous from the book, with the added pressure, probably didn't help matters.

I absolutely agree with this and I've also noticed the quality of defense coming from Beane's teams.

I have a working theory on why Beane is putting a high price tag on defense. As far as I can tell, Beane has consistently traded pitchers with great numbers but average strikeout rates. Thus it's pretty clear that these pitchers benefit from a good defense (and the reduction in BABIP that they provide.) While the value of defense may not be all that great, the resulting overvaluation of pitchers can be worth a large, large amount, either in terms of talent coming back in trade or in terms of FA money saved.

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I absolutely agree with this and I've also noticed the quality of defense coming from Beane's teams.

I have a working theory on why Beane is putting a high price tag on defense. As far as I can tell, Beane has consistently traded pitchers with great numbers but average strikeout rates. Thus it's pretty clear that these pitchers benefit from a good defense (and the reduction in BABIP that they provide.) While the value of defense may not be all that great, the resulting overvaluation of pitchers can be worth a large, large amount, either in terms of talent coming back in trade or in terms of FA money saved.

That's a pretty good theory. It also allows his pitchers to look like workhorses, because they can pitch to contact more and throw a lot of innings (see Haren 220+ IP, Blanton 230 IP). The other reason they can pitch to contact is that spacious ballpark. Lots of OF space and lots of foul territory. And all that outfield space necessitates good defense. A lot of things coming together to support the use of strong fielders.

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That's a pretty good theory. It also allows his pitchers to look like workhorses, because they can pitch to contact more and throw a lot of innings (see Haren 220+ IP, Blanton 230 IP). The other reason they can pitch to contact is that spacious ballpark. Lots of OF space and lots of foul territory. And all that outfield space necessitates good defense. A lot of things coming together to support the use of strong fielders.

Yes and going along the workhorse theme, to the best of my knowledge defensive metrics that measure runs saved do not measure the indirect effect that outs have on allowing your starter to pitch more innings. You could probably assume that the outs would otherwise go to a replacement-level reliever. If that assumption is too much to make then you could split the difference between replacement-level and league average (it's an almost guarantee that the pitcher pitching for those outs will not be league-average or better.)

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I don't know that you've done this, but a lot of people like to give Schuerholz credit for being a great GM in Atlanta. It seems that a whole lot of their success was created by Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine (and he was only responsible for acquiring one of them). If Beane is going to be dinged for his big three, how come Schuerholz isn't typically dinged for his big three?

I realize that this is not really the point you're making... but about Schuerholz... he didn't build it (Bobby Cox built it) but Schuerholz did an amazing job of keeping it going... he seemed to have *exactly* the knack that Beattie/Duq/Flanny did not have: picking the right guy. It's amazing how many right decisions Schuerholz made. I don't have any clue about what he based his decisions on... his book is mainly cliche-mumble that doesn't say much... but whether it was his method-of-analysis or the seat-of-his-pants, he made a whole lot of right decisions that could very easily have been wrong ones... pretty remarkable, actually...

And the whole time, it broke my heart whenever he'd be on TV... because he's got a Baltimore accent, and he was working in the wrong place...

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I'm far from a Beane apologist, but you're off base on a few things.

Beane became GM prior to the 1997 season, Hudson was drafted in '97 - not to mention Mulder in '98, and Zito in '99. I don't know that you've done this, but a lot of people like to give Schuerholz credit for being a great GM in Atlanta. It seems that a whole lot of their success was created by Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine (and he was only responsible for acquiring one of them). If Beane is going to be dinged for his big three, how come Schuerholz isn't typically dinged for his big three? For the record, I don't think either should be dinged.

The As still had plenty of success after Tejada and Giambi left. By the way, he was a member of the Oakland FO when each was acquired.

While Beane seems to receive most (if not all) of the credit for the Moneyball approach, it was actually Sandy Alderson who developed the philosophy, and then taught it to his young Assistant GM - a guy named Billy Beane.

Ok, so Beane gets credit for bringing all those guys into the system. All GMs get credit even if that success is only theirs because they delegate responsibility to others, like scouting directors for the draft. But Beane has a higher sense of responsibility for the drafts that the A's have had since 2002, because that was the year that he took over the draft himself. Their farm system has started to go down hill since then, partly because they haven't taken enough risks with higher picks. With so many players drafted every year, sometimes you need to take a higher risk player with a higher upside. That way, if he turns out, you take a step up over the other organizations. The fact that more organizations are looking for the same stuff as Beane is doesn't help either.

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Moneyball is NOT about OBP. I cannot stress that enough. It is about taking advantage of undervalued skills and commodities. The last few years, defense has been undervalued, so Beane has used it to his advantage. OBP is no longer undervalued.

It's still pretty shocking that so many people get this so wrong so often. To this day you'll get people saying "Yea, Moneyball sucks because everybody knows you can't win with nine fat slow guys taking walks!"

Then again, a lot of people think Moby **** was just a cool story about whales.

(Can't we control this auto-censor thing?! When you can't type **** Howser, **** Allen, or Moby **** something is wrong!)

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Then again, a lot of people think Moby **** was just a cool story about whales.

(Can't we control this auto-censor thing?! When you can't type **** Howser, **** Allen, or Moby **** something is wrong!)

There's prolly a file somewhere with a list of words in it... that could be edited... if anybody knows where the dang file is. It could be anywhere.

Using a 1 for an i works.

Using an ! for an i doesn't.

Somebody not only put D-i-ck in that file, they also put D-!-ck in it too.

That somebody sounds like a *very* tightly-wound person to me ;-)

If we knew who it was, we could call him up and just say ****-****-**** over and over.

It prolly came that way from the vendor, that's my guess...

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I'm far from a Beane apologist, but you're off base on a few things.

Beane became GM prior to the 1997 season, Hudson was drafted in '97 - not to mention Mulder in '98, and Zito in '99. I don't know that you've done this, but a lot of people like to give Schuerholz credit for being a great GM in Atlanta. It seems that a whole lot of their success was created by Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine (and he was only responsible for acquiring one of them). If Beane is going to be dinged for his big three, how come Schuerholz isn't typically dinged for his big three? For the record, I don't think either should be dinged.

The As still had plenty of success after Tejada and Giambi left. By the way, he was a member of the Oakland FO when each was acquired.

While Beane seems to receive most (if not all) of the credit for the Moneyball approach, it was actually Sandy Alderson who developed the philosophy, and then taught it to his young Assistant GM - a guy named Billy Beane.

http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/oak/team/exec_bios/beane_billy.jsp

According to this, Beane took over GM duties in 1998 (well at the beginning it says in 1998, then later it says October 1997). That's why I included Hudson, but not Mulder and Zito.

Where did you find that he was GM prior to the 2007 season?

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Did a search, found his Wikipedia entry which said he was hired in 1997, but not the month. Because it was Wikipedia, and because it didn't list the month, I found an article (to which I no longer have the URL) talking about his relationship with Sandy Alderson. The article stated that he became GM in 1997, and listed Oakland's season-by-season record with him as GM - which included the 1997 season. Either way, if he wasn't the GM when Hudson was drafted, he was at least the Assistant GM.

Wow. It's surprisingly hard to find the details. By now, I pretty much expect google to tell me everything instantly.

After a few stabs, I found this, which says "Since he was promoted from assistant GM on Oct. 17, 1997..."

Evidently, he'd been Assistant GM since 1993. But don't ask me exactly when in 1993 ;-)

His predecessor was Sandy Alderson who left OAK for a big VP job at MLB HQ. Who knows when Beane really took over the daily decision making. No later than his promotion date, but it could have been sooner. I could imagine that maybe he was mostly running things for a while, with Alderson looking over his shoulder towards the end, but I'm just making this up...

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It's still pretty shocking that so many people get this so wrong so often. To this day you'll get people saying "Yea, Moneyball sucks because everybody knows you can't win with nine fat slow guys taking walks!"

Then again, a lot of people think Moby **** was just a cool story about whales.

(Can't we control this auto-censor thing?! When you can't type **** Howser, **** Allen, or Moby **** something is wrong!)

And I can't say mother****er! Come on!

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Could it be that they just liked Suzuki better? He's four years younger and put up similar numbers.

I always wondered why the A's didn't give Brown a shot instead of trotting Jason Kendall out there the last three years. Seems like Brown have matched Kendall's numbers.

Brown could have landed a backup job someplace for a few years if he had stuck around....unless he's just terrible defensively.

I believe Brown had a good shot at winning the A's backup job, actually.

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Beane =overrated. Stats can only take you so far, its defense, timely hitting and pitching that wins along with chemistry.

I will take a guy who goes 1 for 4 but the 1 hit is a game winner or rally starter over a guy who goes 2 for 4 with the 2 hits meaningless and makes outs with the game on the line.

Well according to Moneyball, defense is only 5 percent of the game, and timely hitters (or clutch hitting) don't exist statistically.

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