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Flight #24
02-08-2006, 02:33 PM
Interesting postscript on the book from Murray Chass: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/07/sports/baseball/07chass.ready.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


It has been three years since the publication of "Moneyball," and it is worth assessing other matters the book discusses.
Several times, Lewis wrote about the Athletics' infatuation with Kevin Youkilis, a young player who had a high on-base percentage, the gold standard of Beane's player evaluation.
In limited playing time with Boston the past two seasons, Youkilis has compiled a .376 on-base percentage but has yet to show the Red Sox (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/sports/baseball/majorleague/bostonredsox/index.html?inline=nyt-org) he is ready to help them on a daily basis. They are planning to try Youkilis, a converted third baseman, as a platooned first baseman this year.
Jeremy Brown, an overweight college catcher but a high Oakland draft choice in 2002 because of his high on-base percentage, was viewed as a Beane type of pick. But he is still working his way through the minor leagues at 26, having spent the past three seasons at Midland, Tex., in the Class AA Texas League.
Scott Hatteberg was another on-base guy Beane found attractive. But after four seasons and last year's Oakland-low .334 on-base percentage by Hatteberg, Beane cut him loose as a free agent.
Two Beane disciples became general managers with other teams, Paul DePodesta with the Dodgers and J. P. Ricciardi with the Toronto Blue Jays (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/sports/baseball/majorleague/torontobluejays/index.html?inline=nyt-org).
"Moneyball" credited DePodesta with great statistical dexterity, but it didn't help him with the Dodgers, who fired him two years into a five-year contract after some highly questionable moves a year ago left them with a weakened team that won 22 fewer games than their division-winning team won the year before.


Ricciardi has fared better from an employment standpoint but hasn't finished first in four years. In fact, he hasn't quite done what Lewis quotes him as telling the Blue Jays' president, Paul Godfrey, in their interview that he would do.
"You are spending too much money," Ricciardi reportedly told Godfrey. "I can make you cheaper and better. It'll take a couple of months to make you cheaper and a couple of years to make you better. But you'll be a lot better."
Godfrey liked what he heard, but four years later, the Blue Jays achieved the same 80-82 record they had the year before Ricciardi arrived, and that performance followed a far worse season (67-94).
As for cheaper, the Blue Jays' payroll last season was $46 million, down from $65 million the year before Ricciardi took over. But this year, Ricciardi is operating on a budget $25 million higher, which means the Blue Jays won't be cheaper than they were when he interviewed with Godfrey.

Edit: Hope it's not too much from the article.....

gobears1987
02-08-2006, 02:37 PM
OBP is a stat that shows bad pitching. I mean look at how few walks the Sox gave up in the playoffs. The BoSox required walks to get people on for the big bats. Those people never got on so when Manny and Ortiz homered, little damage was done.

Ol' No. 2
02-08-2006, 02:43 PM
Interesting postscript on the book from Murray Chass: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/07/sports/baseball/07chass.ready.html?_r=1&oref=slogin



Edit: Hope it's not too much from the article.....I'm trying to remember...how many World Series have these Moneyball disciples been to?:o:

Iwritecode
02-08-2006, 02:50 PM
OBP is a stat that shows bad pitching. I mean look at how few walks the Sox gave up in the playoffs. The BoSox required walks to get people on for the big bats. Those people never got on so when Manny and Ortiz homered, little damage was done.

It's a combination of that and the ability to foul bad pitches off and not swing at pitches out of the strike zone. That's one thing the Red Sox did really well against St. Louis in the 2004 WS.

The number of times they swung and missed was amazingly low. From ESPN:

The St. Louis pitchers would throw 679 pitches in this series, and of those, the Red Sox swung and missed only 37 times; the Cardinals' starting pitchers produced only 17 missed swings in 369 pitches.

:o:

caulfield12
02-08-2006, 03:53 PM
I'm trying to remember...how many World Series have these Moneyball disciples been to?:o:

They just as easily could have written Moneyball about the Minnesota Twins franchise, as they had more obstacles to success than the As IMO.

Oakland is always going to be viewed as something of an anomaly, because they just happened to have Mulder, Hudson and Zito together at the same time. Too many analysts tried to extrapolate an organizational philosophy (think of the teams in the NFL that have tried to mirror the Patriots, or everyone going after pitching this off-season) when there were really ONLY a few examples of mostly fringe and minor league players that supported a theory. In all fairness, Blanton, mentioned in the book, has turned out to be a pretty promising selection for them from the college level, as well as H. Street.

Miguel Tejada is NOT a Moneyball type of player, but he is probably the best shortstop in baseball. The As philosophy started to break down simply because they could not replace that offense (Giambi, Dye, Damon and Tejada) with high OBP guys like E. Durazo and S. Hatteberg. Eventually, they would have to scratch like the Sox last year to score runs...and inevitably, Beanes string of luck with closers (A. Rhodes and Dotel after Koch and Foulke) started to run out and the bullpen struggled the last couple of seasons.

Terry Ryan deserves probably more credit in Minny, but he and Gardenhire are not the flamboyant, arrogant personalities that people buy books about...only if you win championships like Belichick can you get away with having such a vanilla charisma about you.

Flight #24
02-08-2006, 04:36 PM
They just as easily could have written Moneyball about the Minnesota Twins franchise, as they had more obstacles to success than the As IMO.

Oakland is always going to be viewed as something of an anomaly, because they just happened to have Mulder, Hudson and Zito together at the same time. Too many analysts tried to extrapolate an organizational philosophy (think of the teams in the NFL that have tried to mirror the Patriots, or everyone going after pitching this off-season) when there were really ONLY a few examples of mostly fringe and minor league players that supported a theory. In all fairness, Blanton, mentioned in the book, has turned out to be a pretty promising selection for them from the college level, as well as H. Street.

Miguel Tejada is NOT a Moneyball type of player, but he is probably the best shortstop in baseball. The As philosophy started to break down simply because they could not replace that offense (Giambi, Dye, Damon and Tejada) with high OBP guys like E. Durazo and S. Hatteberg. Eventually, they would have to scratch like the Sox last year to score runs...and inevitably, Beanes string of luck with closers (A. Rhodes and Dotel after Koch and Foulke) started to run out and the bullpen struggled the last couple of seasons.

Terry Ryan deserves probably more credit in Minny, but he and Gardenhire are not the flamboyant, arrogant personalities that people buy books about...only if you win championships like Belichick can you get away with having such a vanilla charisma about you.

In fact, the article cites Terry Ryan as an example of a successful small market organization (and one more successful than the A's when you look at meaningless things like championships and playoff series wins), with a different philosophy than Oakland, yet that is strangely ignored completely by the Moneyball book.

fquaye149
02-08-2006, 05:02 PM
It's a combination of that and the ability to foul bad pitches off and not swing at pitches out of the strike zone. That's one thing the Red Sox did really well against St. Louis in the 2004 WS.

The number of times they swung and missed was amazingly low. From ESPN:



:o:

What then do you make of high OBP guys like Adam Dunn who are also incredibly high backward K guys?

the fact is, OBP is both a measurement of discipline at the plate and a measurement of factors beyond the control of the hitter (pitching, umpire's strike zone)...

Let's agree on a middle ground here, fellas:cool:

maurice
02-08-2006, 05:12 PM
The "factors beyond the control of the hitter" even out over the course of a full MLB season. For various reasons, some batters still manage to walk much, much more often than others, though they all face the same pitchers and umpires. Often, a big part of the reason is that pitchers fear a particular batter's power. OTOH, plenty of undisciplined power hitters fail to draw many walks and plenty of low-power hitters manage to draw tons of walks, due to extraordinary plate discipline, a willingness to lay off pitches early in the AB, and the ability to foul off tough 2-strike pitches (instead of swinging for the fences).

jackbrohamer
02-08-2006, 05:42 PM
"Moneyball" played Ken Williams to be the village idiot and was remarkably unfair to him, now it's clear that Michael Lewis was the real idiot.

fquaye149
02-08-2006, 05:53 PM
The "factors beyond the control of the hitter" even out over the course of a full MLB season. For various reasons, some batters still manage to walk much, much more often than others, though they all face the same pitchers and umpires. Often, a big part of the reason is that pitchers fear a particular batter's power. OTOH, plenty of undisciplined power hitters fail to draw many walks and plenty of low-power hitters manage to draw tons of walks, due to extraordinary plate discipline, a willingness to lay off pitches early in the AB, and the ability to foul off tough 2-strike pitches (instead of swinging for the fences).

of COURSE. That is exactly what I just said. My point is, though, that against very good pitching (as in, shortened staffs, like in the playoffs) having a great eye won't necessarily translate to getting on base. Some OBPs can be fattened against bad pitching. Hitters with a good eye are going to have an advantage against everyone, yes. HOWEVER, with OBP, unlike with batting average, things like pitchers getting squeezed can effect the numbers and may NOT actually even out over the season.

It's foolish to say OBP has nothing to do with the hitter...but to refuse to acknoweldge that parts of it DON'T necessarily have to do with the hitter is equally foolish.

Tragg
02-08-2006, 05:58 PM
"Moneyball" played Ken Williams to be the village idiot and was remarkably unfair to him, now it's clear that Michael Lewis was the real idiot. Really a shameful performance by Lewis, although I think he was merely a ghost-writer for Beane.

Tragg
02-08-2006, 06:18 PM
The "factors beyond the control of the hitter" even out over the course of a full MLB season. For various reasons, some batters still manage to walk much, much more often than others, though they all face the same pitchers and umpires. Often, a big part of the reason is that pitchers fear a particular batter's power. OTOH, plenty of undisciplined power hitters fail to draw many walks and plenty of low-power hitters manage to draw tons of walks, due to extraordinary plate discipline, a willingness to lay off pitches early in the AB, and the ability to foul off tough 2-strike pitches (instead of swinging for the fences).
That's true, but don't you think some hitters are just really good bad-pitching hitters. It's hard to quantify, it's hard to prove. I thought some of the bashers we got rid of after 2004 were that way.

caulfield12
02-08-2006, 07:53 PM
Really a shameful performance by Lewis, although I think he was merely a ghost-writer for Beane.

He´s a pretty talented writer. The New, New Thing, Liar´s Poker and Next, The Future Just Happened are more about the financial markets. Liar´s Poker, about Michael Milken and the 80´s junk bond market excesses, was really what put him on the map. The story of Netscape and the browser wars with Microsoft is equally interesting.

I think he just was a little out of his element in terms of sports writing, and believed too much in everything Beane said (taking it at face value) instead of checking the facts. Old time scouts like Grady Fuson were also treated disrespectfully...it was this scouting that ended up landing for the White Sox the players of questionable character or unknown talents like Iguchi, Pierzynski and Everett, to go along with solid veterans in Dye, El Duque and Hermanson.

maurice
02-08-2006, 08:49 PM
Some OBPs can be fattened against bad pitching.

Just like AVEs can be fattened against bad pitching, and HR totals can be fattened against bad pitching, and RBI totals can be fattened against bad pitching, etc. There's no distinction.

HOWEVER, with OBP, unlike with batting average, things like pitchers getting squeezed can effect the numbers

Pitchers getting squeezed also affects AVE, HR, RBI, etc. A pitcher who is forced to pitch into a tea cup is far more likely to serve up a steady diet of get-me-over curve balls and fastballs right down the middle. Wackiness ensues.

to refuse to acknoweldge that parts of it DON'T necessarily have to do with the hitter is equally foolish.

I'll acknowledge that bad pitchers walk more batters and that bad umpiring sometimes results in more walks. However, it doesn't matter for all intents and purposes, because bad pitching and bad umpiring does not disproportionately favor high-OBP hitters in a statistically significant way over the course of a 162-game season and certainly not over the course of an entire MLB career.

With respect to the playoffs, a team with good pitching like the Sox is going to give up fewer BB . . . but they'll also give up fewer hits, HR, RBI, etc. That's what it means to be a good pitching team. Moreover, not all playoff teams have good pitching, as evidenced by the 2005 entrants from the AL East.

maurice
02-08-2006, 08:57 PM
That's true, but don't you think some hitters are just really good bad-pitching hitters.

Sure . . . they're called mediocre hitters. They do poorly against good pitching and good against bad pitching. These guys are a dime a dozen (unless they're valuable defensively). By contrast, good MLB hitters do good against good pitching and absolutely obliterate bad pitching. Over the course of a 162-game season, it roughly averages out and becomes apparent from the aggregate stats that, for example, a healthy Frank Thomas >>> Jose Valentin.

1951Campbell
02-08-2006, 09:26 PM
Interesting postscript on the book from Murray Chass:

Sounds more like a requiem for a bull**** theory to me.

wsox3505
02-09-2006, 10:46 AM
I read this article, and it’s actually really funny the selective parts that people pick and choose. I’ve never seen anything so polarizing. People love to bring up Jeremy Brown but how many teams have their first 5 draft picks turn into major league starters from any draft? Some are hits, some are misses. The first player the A’s took in the “Moneyball Draft” was Nick Swisher, apparently Murray Chass forgot to read that part. They also took Joe Blanton and Dan Johnson in that draft too, he must have missed those guys in there too, and they took Mark Teahan, who’s also a starter in the big leagues now at third for the Royals and the key piece in the 3-way deal that they sent Beltran to Houston for. So 4 of the first 5 guys they drafted are major league starters before they’re 25 years old. I’d say that’s a pretty solid draft myself, but I guess he might as well write about the one that isn’t, it makes his story better.

Go Wsox!!

ondafarm
02-09-2006, 11:06 AM
I have never seen consistently bad umpiring result in more walks. Whatever the strikezone that the umpire is calling will get identified and thrown to. Bad umpiring does result in a lot more hits however. If an umpire is squeezing a particular pitcher then normally the pitcher will take things down a notch and start lobbing it to the center of the zone. Even mediocre hitters can hit those pitches. I always watch the umpiring for the first few innings and early walks, unless they are truly worked for by the batter, are a sign to me that the umpire is not the best. Nobody starts a major league game and can't get it over the plate. It's how good their stuff is that determines who belongs there.

Flight #24
02-09-2006, 11:10 AM
I read this article, and it’s actually really funny the selective parts that people pick and choose. I’ve never seen anything so polarizing. People love to bring up Jeremy Brown but how many teams have their first 5 draft picks turn into major league starters from any draft? Some are hits, some are misses. The first player the A’s took in the “Moneyball Draft” was Nick Swisher, apparently Murray Chass forgot to read that part. They also took Joe Blanton and Dan Johnson in that draft too, he must have missed those guys in there too, and they took Mark Teahan, who’s also a starter in the big leagues now at third for the Royals and the key piece in the 3-way deal that they sent Beltran to Houston for. So 4 of the first 5 guys they drafted are major league starters before they’re 25 years old. I’d say that’s a pretty solid draft myself, but I guess he might as well write about the one that isn’t, it makes his story better.

Go Wsox!!

Actually, no. Jeremy Brown was selected because he was the prime example of a guy that Moneyball valued that other did not. Guys like Swisher, Blanton, etc were guys pretty much everyone valued.

FarWestChicago
02-09-2006, 11:16 AM
Actually, no. Jeremy Brown was selected because he was the prime example of a guy that Moneyball valued that other did not. Guys like Swisher, Blanton, etc were guys pretty much everyone valued.Excellent FOBB burn! :thumbsup:

Ol' No. 2
02-09-2006, 02:23 PM
Actually, no. Jeremy Brown was selected because he was the prime example of a guy that Moneyball valued that other did not. Guys like Swisher, Blanton, etc were guys pretty much everyone valued.Wasn't that the draft where Beane had something like 9 picks in the first 40? With that many top picks almost anyone could come up with 4-5 major league players.

caulfield12
02-09-2006, 03:12 PM
Wasn't that the draft where Beane had something like 9 picks in the first 40? With that many top picks almost anyone could come up with 4-5 major league players.

1999 Jason Stumm...15
Matt Ginter......22
Brian West.......35
Rob Purvis........45
Jonathan Wright.......64
Bobby Hill................66
Jon Rauch...............99

In all fairness, Stumm had injury problems...Ginter was overrated....West and Purvis never put it together, although I think West might have left LSU to come back to baseball?

Hill turned out to be a non-issue in terms of signing him (see Bobby Seay and AJ Hinch) and Rauch became one of the best prospects in baseball before the torn labrum derailed his career.

We also had Josh Stewart, Dave Sanders, Scott Hairston, Joe Valentine (I think he made our Top 10 prospects once or twice) and Jeff Bajenaru.

But the actual baseball productivity contribution to the White Sox at the major league level was pretty much ZERO...and this was coming into the season when the White Sox were rated as the best by Baseball America.

Tragg
02-10-2006, 08:28 AM
Actually, no. Jeremy Brown was selected because he was the prime example of a guy that Moneyball valued that other did not. Guys like Swisher, Blanton, etc were guys pretty much everyone valued.
The problem with your analysis is that you have have disregarded the crux of the various moneyball, sabremetric theories:

When the facts don't fit what the the model says they should be, adjust the facts.

Flight #24
02-10-2006, 09:22 AM
The problem with your analysis is that you have have disregarded the crux of the various moneyball, sabremetric theories:

When the facts don't fit what the the model says they should be, adjust the facts.

In the defense of the Beanie Babies, that's not really their approach. They rely on a much "tighter" scientific methodology.

When the results don't fit the model, that's because of luck. It's obviously true because if it wasn't luck, the model would have predicted it.

FedEx227
02-11-2006, 12:01 PM
Actually, no. Jeremy Brown was selected because he was the prime example of a guy that Moneyball valued that other did not. Guys like Swisher, Blanton, etc were guys pretty much everyone valued.

Yeah, if you actually read the book you'll find out he wanted to take Jeremy Brown much much earlier then he did, when he finally realized nobody had him on their draft boards.