Moneyball, the misunderstood.
The other day, an analyst, or expert, whatever one wants to refer to them as. Well, anyway, this “expert” stated that ‘Moneyball’ wasn’t simply showing us how to find that a slow, un-athletic player that can draw walks has value. It was showing simply how to find an “undervalued” player.
At the time of course, Scott Hatteberg proved to be undervalued.
Scott Hatteberg would not however, be undervalued in today’s game.
So it isn’t that ‘Moneyball’ doesn’t work anymore, it is simply that it has changed. There will always be ways to find cheaper contributers in the game of baseball.
The writer then went on to explain that defense is a lost art or whatever. And eventually, it will be something else that general managers overlook, except for a select few.
‘Moneyball’ is still very real. The perception that statistics are the only way to find baseball players, well, that is very false.
I am starting to understand more and more that Michael Lewis was simply a writer, not an expert on the game of baseball.
But did he have an “agenda” as some speak? Or was he simply ignorant to the fact that there were other ways to win baseball games, not just Billy Beane’s way. I mean, someone that isn’t exactly of expertise value on a subject, sits down, they learn things one way, and they might adopt it as the ONLY way to do things.
After all, it was the only style of baseball that was hammered into Lewis’ head for a long period of time. I doubt Lewis has ever come close to any other style of baseball as much as he did with Billy Beane’s style.
The fact is, is that the book was a great, great book, which opened many of our eyes. Anyone that said, “Statistics are the only meaningful way to evaluate baseball players.” Or, “Athletic players are useless.” Even perhaps, “Walks are more important than hits.”
Any of those above quotes would be completely and totally wrong. And the point of ‘Moneyball’ the style, rather than the book would have been lost.
I for one, value players that are cheap AND effective. Who doesn’t? There is a very valid point to comparing Josh Willingham to Jason Bay. It is not to say that Jason Bay is the inferior player, it is just to state that maybe a team could have used their resources better by grabbing Willingham instead of Bay. But then again, in this day and age, with the internet available, that comparison isn’t much of a secret to begin with.
But for example, 20 years ago, people would have most likely chosen a player like Mike Jacobs over a Hatteberg, because he has the ability to hit the ball out of the park more often.
Nowadays, however, we realize that Hatteberg was the more valuable guy. Getting on base was simply not looked at as much back in the day.
…And Mike Jacobs sucks.