Table of Contents I. II. Introduction Key People a. Henry Chadwick b. Bill James c. Voros McCracken d.
Branch Rickey and Allan Roth e. Eric Walker and Sandy Alderson f. Billy Beane Management a. Basic Strategy b. Exploiting the System c. Minnesota Twins d. Oakland A’s 1 3
Statistics 25 a. On-Base Percentage [OBP] & Slugging Percentage [SLP] i. On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage [OPS] ii. On-Base Percentage * Slugging Percentage [BRA/SLOB] b. Runs Created and the Pythagorean Theorem c. Isolated Power [ISOP] and Secondary Average [SecA] d. Fear Factor [FF] e. Defense Independent Pitching Statistics [DIPS] Baseball Fallacies a. Managers b. Baseball Strategies c. Clutch Hitting Criticisms of Moneyball a. Joe Morgan b. John Scheurholz c. Playoffs Conclusion Works Cited Appendix a. Figures and Tables 42
VII. VIII. IX.
54 56 60
Introduction Baseball is known as America’s Pastime. There is nothing better than watching a baseball game during a summer day. People in cities such as New York, Boston, and Houston would echo these sentiments. Their teams are perennially competitive. The New York Yankees won the World Series in 1996 and in 1998-2000. The New York Mets made a World Series appearance in 2000 and are always competitive. The Boston Red Sox won the 2004 World Series and are always a force in the playoffs. The Houston Astros made a World Series appearance in 2004 and traditionally assemble a respected team. (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/wsmenu.shtml) However, in contrast to cities like these, there are cities like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay. The Kansas City Royals won the World Series in 1986 and have had little return to prominence since. The Pittsburgh Pirates were a force to be reckoned with in the 1970’s and the early 1990’s, but they have basically been the worst team in baseball since then. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays became a franchise in 2000 and have seen little success. That can be attributed to them being in the same division as the Yankees and the Red Sox. (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/wsmenu.shtml) There is a common thread between the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Astros. All four of these teams have extremely large payrolls. This means that they acquire top talent because they have the money to spend. The Yankees and Mets had the best record in each of their respective leagues, the Astros fell just short of making the playoffs, and the Red Sox were well on their way to making the playoffs until many injuries hampered their cause.
Just as there is a bond between these teams, there is a bond between the Royals, Pirates, and Devil Rays. These teams have particularly scant payrolls. Their payrolls collectively are nowhere near the top payroll team, the Yankees. These three teams had three of the five worst records in baseball. Based on these observations, one would think that the only way to build a winning baseball team is to spend an exorbitant amount of money. The New York Yankees of 1996-2001 were dynastic and one of the greatest teams ever assembled. Nonetheless, it is my thesis that it is possible to construct a successful baseball team without having an astronomical payroll. Through the use of sound management and meaningful statistics, a winning baseball team can be assembled on the cheap. The main proof of this is the Oakland Athletics [A’s]. Payroll-wise, the A’s are much closer to Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay. In 1997, the A’s would have been akin to Kansas City in baseball. An article following the 1997 season noted the team, “finished 65-97 last season, a far cry from the glory days of pennants and Rollie Fingers and Reggie Jackson. In fact, it was the worst record in baseball.” (The Week That Was: Beane's Career Sprouts) The A’s won three consecutive World Series in the 1970s and another in 1989. At this point a change was needed. Sandy Alderson was the long time General Manager [GM] of the Oakland A’s, meaning he was responsible for acquiring talent and overseeing franchise transactions. Following the 1997 season, Alderson resigned as GM and Billy Beane, his assistant and a retired baseball player, was promoted. It was at this point things took off for the A’s. Following two years of steady improvement, the A’s made the playoffs for the first time in 2000 in nearly a decade. After this initial surge, the A’s proceeded to make
whereas the A’s were at $40 Million. “Henry Chadwick.the playoffs four additional times in the next four years and narrowly missed making it a fifth consecutive year. baseball's preeminent pioneer writer for half a century. paying $380. but the fuse of the bomb that is the system is Henry Chadwick. The Minnesota Twins have had similar success compared to the A’s with similar payroll and similar strategy. along with sound managerial guidance. Inventor of the box score. the A’s and Yankees both won 103 games. There are numerous statistics that can be utilized that will lead to success. author of the first rule-book in 1858. who is little known by basically everyone. Billy Beane has made the Oakland A’s matter again. chairman of rules committee in first
. primarily.4 million per win. (Baseball’s Secret Formula) Moneyball alone does not lead to success. Moneyball and Sabermetrics have led to finding hidden value and have provided the opportunity to build a winning baseball team without spending an astronomical amount of money. after a 2003 Michael Lewis book chronicling the 2002 Oakland A’s. Key People In the Moneyball-Sabermetric system. The Oakland A’s are not the only team to thrive by prudent spending.000 per win. A key component is a statistical foundation pioneered. The concept of winning without spending much money has come to be known as Moneyball. By analyzing these statistics. The Yankees at a payroll of $120 million paid $1. by statistician Bill James. In that 2002 season. Bill James and Billy Beane are the two most prominent names. This is known as Sabermetrics. Henry Chadwick was inducted in to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938. The inscription on his plaque paints an adequate picture of him. and others.
what makes a good cricket player does not make a good baseball player. His somewhat fallacious theories represent the foundation of modern baseball statistics and provide the foundation that allows for the Moneyball-Sabermetric system to flourish. it is clear that scoring 20 runs in 5 games [4 runs per game] is better than scoring 24 in 8 games [3 runs per game] in terms of an individual player. The former player scores fewer runs. (Schwarz 2004.htm)
Henry Chadwick was a British journalist who came to America and immediately took an interest in baseball. Chadwick wanted to rate the performance of each player in the box score. Chadwick did what he set out to do in that his box score was.baseballhalloffame. 7-10) Moreover. He crafted a box score that effectively painted the picture of a game. While fundamentally similar. Utilizing averages. Seeing similarities to cricket. but has more of an impact. Chadwick’s analysis was fit for his time. thus someone who could field the ball well was a great commodity. He placed the most emphasis on fielding and base running and almost no emphasis on hitting and pitching. he became immersed in this new phenomenon. as noted by writer Roger Angell. “a precisely etched miniature of the sport itself.nation-wide baseball organization.
. as he pioneered the use of averages.org/hofers_and_honorees/hofer_bios/chadwick_henry. His original box score was more detailed than the modern box score.” (Schwarz 2004. Great emphasis was placed on fielding mainly due to the fact that catching a ball was a feat of strength. 8) The problem was that Chadwick’s basis was cricket.”
(http://www. but it does not translate well to modern times. Civil War baseball is considerably different than modern baseball. Chadwick had the desire to chronicle what was happening on the field. Primitive baseball gloves were nothing like the gloves of today. This is not to say Chadwick did nothing for baseball.
and placed emphasis on concepts like Runs Batted In. If there is undervaluing. Bill James was not at the original meeting. A speechwriter for Senator Robert Taft. He did not invent the term sabermetrics either. He did not invent the use of statistics in baseball. Teams can utilize misperceptions to their advantage. Baseball management has formulated its opinions based on Chadwick’s initial thoughts. and at this point was not yet in the sabermetrics game.com/inflation/)] and sold it by taking out an ad in The Sporting News. (Schwarz 2004.westegg. The word sabermetrics comes from the acronym SABR. Bill James had revolutionized baseball. Bob Davids. The publication sold seventy-five copies and its most significant point was about the insignificance fielding statistics. Davids wanted to gather people to discuss baseball research. founded this organization. which is the Society for American Baseball Research. James did the publishing himself at a cost of $112. Chadwick ignored the value of concepts such as the walk.Henry Chadwick did many beneficial things for baseball. contradicting Chadwick’s notions. as the name implies. He always took an interest in statistics. but at the same time the flaws in his system allowed for small payroll teams to thrive. was a grass-roots campaign. 8-12) Bill James is synonymous with sabermetrics. if it can be called that.73 [roughly $370 in today’s money (http://www. teams can find bargains and exploit them. By 1977. and with the Abstract was making an attempt to spread his notions across Baseball America. 108-109) 1977 Baseball Abstract: Featuring 18 Categories of Statistical Information That You Just Can’t Find Anywhere Else was James’ first adventure into the world of baseball statistics. (Schwarz 2004. This publication. James’ problem with fielding statistics was that they
Every year until 1989.do not tell the whole story. fueled by his reading of Bill James’ works.1). which applied his methods to baseball history. The person would not know who did better without statistics (Lewis. Utilizing a statistical notion called a 2-Proportion Z-Test (See Figure 1. James published a yearly edition of the Abstract. 1978 Baseball Abstract: The 2nd Annual Edition of Baseball’s Most Informative and Imaginative Review. Another sabermetrician took on the task of analyzing pitching. The sequel. the . meaning he gets 3 hits per ten at bats and Player B has a batting average of . (Lewis. has four at bats per game for a total of sixty at bats. When the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. but the example is clearer with batting. Bill James wanted to spread the word about his philosophies. Figure each player. approximately 38% of the time. Voros McCracken was employed as a paralegal in Chicago. combined with other notions. further questioned baseball and expanded his fan base. Moreover. His ideas helped put them over the top. James has published three historical Abstracts. watching a fielder does not also tell the whole story. McCracken
. which he popularized with his new ideas.300 batter will get fewer hits. which is 2. James continues to be a force in the sabermetric world.75 hits per ten at bats. James challenged what was traditional baseball. (Baseball’s Secret Formula) James primarily dealt with hitting statistics. Player A will get more hits over time. but this would be indinguishable in the absence of statistics. on average. Bill James was a consultant for them. (Lewis. 73) In 2001. 68) With these two aspects.275. Say a person goes to 15 games. Similarly.300 batting average [BA] [BA = Hits/Number of At Bats]. This applies to fielding. He had a great passion for baseball. 73) Consider Player A who has a .
not yet the GM. Eric Walker was a former aerospace engineer that did consulting work for National Public Radio. Bill James may have
. Walker authored The Sinister
First Baseman in 1982. (Schwarz 2004. Bill James is synonymous with sabermetrics. 55) Moreover. This work echoed the sentiments of Bill James and many other sabrmetric principles. due to Roth’s observation that Robinson hit well with runners on base. Bill James did not necessarily introduce sabermetrics to baseball. McCracken is to pitching as Bill James is to hitting. 210) As maintained before. This was in 1982 when Alderson was general counsel for A’s. but he was not the person to pioneer this notion into baseball. despite a low batting average. Jackie Robinson was moved to fourth in the line-up. in which players earn points based on statistics compiled in games. Hall of Famer Roy Campanella was benched against the Cincinnati Reds because he historically hit poorly against them. In 1947. Roth believed that Walker was on the decline. heard Walker’s commentaries and was greatly intrigued. At the suggestion of Roth. Rickey hired statistician Allan Roth to perform statistical analysis on his Dodgers. which Alderson read and absorbed.decided to play fantasy baseball. he determined new ideas that showed what a pitcher needed to be successful. One of the first uses of statistics in baseball was by famed Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey. This was done by Eric Walker. former General Manager of the A’s. Roth’s ideas were wildly successful as Walker was out of baseball two years later. Allan Roth was basically the first sabermetrician of note. (Schwarz 2004. which is reserved for players who hit a lot. the Dodgers traded away Dixie Walker after a successful season. Through his research. Sandy Alderson. and Jackie Robinson was named Most Valuable Player the year he was moved in the line-up.
All signs indicated he would be a successful major league baseball player.popularized sabermetrics. power. but he did not assimilate well into baseball. Scouts would often pine. Beane was an exceptional baseball player. Beane. After his playing days were finished. Beane decided to eliminate his old-time scouting department [and the subjectivity] and replace it with a laptop and scouts that embraced his new philosophy. Something went wrong and he never fulfilled his extraordinary potential.” (Lewis. Paul DePodesta. and that culminated with a World Series title in 1989. along with his assistant. Alderson proceeded to start building the A’s based upon a statistical foundation.” (Baseball’s Secret Formula) Most of these tools rely on the subjectivity of the scouts. Beane worked behind the scenes eventually becoming General Manager in 1997. about to face the biggest decision of his life. By utilizing statistics. His statistics would not translate well. (Lewis. Billy Beane was a senior in high school. (Schwarz 2004. players were acquired based on the observations of scouts. With knowledge that he learned from Alderson [and transitively from Walker] and James. Billy Beane himself had all these tools. Billy Beane became Sandy Alderson’s assistant. but Eric Walker was the one who opened the door for this concept to professional baseball. “You have to see this guy…I know he can play. Learning from what Alderson learned from Walker. The problem with that system is that looks can be deceiving. 221) In 1980. Armed with this philosophy. In the past. 63)
. field. were able to find hidden values that allowed the A’s to be competitive. combined with his discovery of Bill James lead to foundation of what the Oakland A’s are today. arm. In 1993. Beane bucked the traditional baseball system. 31) Long time scout Eddie Bane says scouts look for “5 tools…hit. run.
but his system is all about finding value.000]. who were mostly drafted on potential. as the highest paid player of the 1910s was Tris Speaker at $18. (James 1989. The name is in reference to the collection of talent. To do this. A 1973 study indicated players with college degrees might have an advantage. he had to look for different concepts that allowed for him to exploit underestimates.000. Since people knew about key stats. (A's Select RHP Trevor Cahill With First Selection In Draft) Management The idea that money is tied to success is not a new phenomenon.The Billy Beane system was chronicled in Michael Lewis’ Moneyball. This is something Beane would not have dreamt of doing in prior years. Famed manager Connie Mack greatly desired to have a successful baseball club. he assembled what is known as the “$100. and Jack Barry at shortstop. An example of this is that Oakland traditionally drafted players who were in college during Beane’s tenure. Frank “Home Run” Baker at third base. As a result of this. The infield did not actually make $100. This forced Beane to do what his philosophy is founded on.” This infield consisted of Stuffy McInnis/Harry Davis at first base. the A’s drafted high school players with four of their first seven draft picks. Eddie Collins at second base. In 2006. It dates all the way back to 1910. The Athletics were quite remarkable in this stretch winning the World Series in 1910. especially with their high draft picks. and 1913.000. [18 * 4 = 72. 467) College players represented less risk than high school players. the sabermetric ideals became more popular. 1911. 000 Infield. which served as an insider’s look about the A’s system. and appeared in the 1914 World Series. The phenomenon of spending money
282-283) If we extend this period back ten years.go. (Wright. or 16 out of a total of 29. From 1936-1964. In his analysis of the best teams ever. the Yankees had a winning season (winning percentage > .500) every year for the thirty-nine years. (Wright.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default. from 1926-1964. G. 2001. They ranked second.to win a World Series was prevalent in each of the World Series from 1995-2000. 1995. 308) A team needs to win 11 games to win the World Series. The point remains that these Yankees were dominant. and first in payroll respectively. the Atlanta Braves won the World Series with the third highest payroll. 104. He hired and fired manager Billy Martin several times and he
. first. They were dominant because they spent a lot of money. The payroll rankings are reflexive of opening day payrolls. and then proceeded to get rid of all of their high-price talent in a fire sale. In 2000. In 1998.com/mlb/alltime/franchise?team=nyy) George Steinbrenner is the legendary owner the New York Yankees. 96-97) The Yankee teams of 1996-2000 were some of the best ever. the Yankees “struggled” by going 11-5.usatoday. 548) In 1995. including a World Series sweep. (http://sports. the Yankees won an astounding 55% of the World Series. and 2000. The Yankees won again in 1998. (Thomas. 100. He is known for two things. 1992. (http://asp.espn. only losing to a very dominant Pedro Martinez. The New York Yankees won the 1996 World Series with the top payroll in baseball. 1999.aspx) The Yankees have always fielded exceptional teams. In 1999. the Florida Marlins won the World Series with the seventh highest payroll in baseball. Scott Thomas ranks the 1998 Yankees as the second greatest team of all time. and capped it by sweeping the World Series. In 1997. adjusting the statistics. (James. the Yankees were 11-2. they went 11-1.
000.000.000. After this.00 $50. but there were mitigating circumstances surrounding that.000.000.00 $30.000. There were other changes that more or less cancelled each other out.000.00 -$20.00 $20.000. From 1998 to 1999.000. (http://asp. but the trend has continued even more. Their payroll decreased in 2006. As is evident in the graphs. and replaced him with Chien-Ming Wang who made $355. the payroll increased by just under $25 million. The Yankees cut ties with him after the season.2 in the appendix.000. Keith Law. This was evident in the Yankee Dynasty.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default.000. in 2006.000. the Yankees had pitcher Kevin Brown. former assistant to
.00 $100. the Yankees acquired more high-priced talent in players such as Bobby Abreu of the Philadelphia Phillies and Craig Wilson of the Pittsburgh Pirates.spends money like there is no tomorrow.00 $10.000.000.00
New York Yankees Increase in Payroll
The acquisition of Craig Wilson shows how free spending the Yankees are. The Yankees payroll in 1998 was just over $63 million.000.000. In 2005.000. After a modest increase in 2000.aspx)
New York Yankees Payroll
$250.usatoday.000. For instance. but that was the main reason for the decline in salary. the Yankee payroll increases more and more each year.00 $0. so they do not tell the whole story. their payroll exploded.000. To give a picture of who Craig Wilson is as a baseball player.000.00 $0.000. These numbers are reflexive of opening day payrolls. The data can be found in Table 1. the Yankees payroll continued to increase from a low of over $13 million in 2002 to a high of over $31 million in 2004.00 $150.000.00 $40.00 $200. and he made over $15 million.000.00 -$10. The graphs below show the Yankees payroll and increase in payroll from 19882006.
In 2007. The Yankees won all five games. In the series. At the time of his deal. his numbers with the Yankees were unimpressive. Even though this a small sample. and to be fair.aspx) These salaries are insane! The Yankees spend and spend because they can. The most important games the Yankees played in during the year were in a five game series with their rivals. Abreu had an additional year on his contract. batting .” (Law) Wilson is talented. but the Yankees did not need him and he did not contribute that much to them.com/mlb/players/stats?playerId=4593) Bobby Abreu has about five times the salary of Craig Wilson.go. owners have been spending
. He contributed basically nothing. Entering the series. he did not play in the entire game in all these games. Three Yankees make more than $20 million per season.5 game lead on the Red Sox for their division.espn. “Craig Wilson is a lefty-mashing power bat with some on-base skills and a little positional flexibility.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default. and the Red Sox collapsed following the series. He appeared in 40 games with the Yankees. The Yankees acquired him to get more offense. The point is that the Yankees did not need Craig Wilson. Craig Wilson was 1-11 [. Abreu will make $15 million. and the fifth Yankee to make $15 million or more. the Yankees had a 1. The same holds for Bobby Abreu. (http://sports. Ever since
the Cincinnati Red Stockings started paying players in 1867. He contributed absolutely nothing in the Yankees four playoff games because he was not on the roster of eligible players. ((http://asp.usatoday.212 with 4 Home Runs and 8 RBI.the Toronto Blue Jays’ General Manager. Using $10 million per season as a basis for a player to be paid a lot. noted. They acquired him because they had the money to do so. the Boston Red Sox.091] with two walks and three runs scored. it made Abreu the tenth Yankee to make more than that.
In recent years. The Twins have the same structure as their top three of Torii Hunter. Teams like Oakland and Minnesota have only so much money to spend. and through free agency. (Weiss. Almost all of the rest of the A’s make considerably less than this. Both the Twins and the A’s have utilized all three of these strategies to achieve great results. Both teams have done this with sound managerial decision making. nor any other high-priced talent. The A’s highest paid players were Jason Kendall at just under $11. Jason Giambi was a dominating force for the Oakland A’s up to the 2001 season. this practice has not been all that successful. The rest of the payroll is similar. When he became a free agent after that season. Eric Chavez at $9. In 2006. What these teams have to do is get the most bang for their buck. through the draft. Brad Radke. 11) This more often than not leads to success. and Barry Zito at just under $8 million. the Oakland A’s and the Minnesota Twins. but have had excellent success with drafting and trading. The Twins do not have as much of a history with free agents. The A’s could not afford to spend the money Giambi.5 million. this trend has been bucked.5 million. Two teams have emerged as small market contenders. through trades. he commanded at least a $100 million contract. From 2001 on.as much money as possible to win. The undervaluing of players usually results in picking up free agents cheaply and bargains can be the results of trades and the draft. There is a model that small market teams tend to follow. There are primarily three ways to construct a team. The A’s have the system down
. They need to take advantage of players that are undervalued and look for bargains. and Johan Santana parallel the contracts of the Oakland three. the Twins were 19th overall in payroll and the A’s were 21st [out of 30].
” (James and Neyer. 194) These two philosophies together ensure that a team will not overspend for a player. but if a better player comes along.” and “Know exactly who you want and go after him. “Know exactly what every player in baseball is worth to you. Yankee fans could not imagine the Yankees without him.” (Lewis. “The day you have to do something. They paid too much and Davis did nothing. he is not going to receive maximum value for him. (http://asp. Derek Jeter is synonymous with the Yankees. you’re screwed. 193) This means a team is not married to a player. This applies to signing players as well. he is going to overspend for him. change is always good. 193) This “ism” applies more to trades.” (Lewis. A team can acquire who is best for their team and can do it at a price that is satisfying. He is the captain of the Yankees. if the GM figures he has to trade for someone. there is no reason why the Yankees should not part with Jeter.
.perfectly. Likewise.usatoday. but the Royals thought they absolutely needed him. saying. Royals’ management overvalued his performance. 472) He was lucky.aspx) Billy Beane has a list of rules that he tends to follow when he acquires talent. Storm Davis went 19-7 in 1989 and was promptly signed to a lucrative multi-year contract.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default. If a General Manager figures he has to trade someone. You can put a dollar figure on it. It also assures the maximizing of talent. and the Twins are not bad at it either. “No matter how successful you are. For example.” (Lewis. “Davis was a veteran pitcher who knows how to win. An example was following the 1989 season.
they would love to have him. He is a great pitcher. Using these players is building a team on the cheap.5 Million contract for his next three years. The draft is very important for a team that minimizes cost. but after that the Twins took a turn for the worse. Often scouts refer to a player having a “good body” (Lewis. $16. $240. 31) This rule applies more to the drafting of players. which is still peanuts compared to the monster contract he will get this off-season in free agency. In the last year he won the AL Cy Young as the league’s top pitcher.000. Following their World Series victory in 1991.
.aspx) The A’s cannot afford Barry Zito anymore. 22) The players a team drafts are cheap and in the first six years when a team has the rights of a drafted player. the Twins were a combined 528-699. so long as he performs well.“We’re not selling jeans here. Barry Zito of the A’s exemplifies this. they will be paid far less than they are potentially worth. the draft is about getting the most out of players when they are still paid “baseball’s equivalent of slave’s wages” (Lewis. Zito made $200. the Twins had a fairly good season in 1992.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default. Zito then received a 3 year. the Twins improved to a modest 85-77. Babe Ruth was no Adonis. and $500. However.” (Lewis. Those Twins were not the frugal Twins of today.430 win percentage and they finished an average of 25 games out of first place.000. (http://asp. The Minnesota Twins have assembled a team on the cheap. In 2001. 31) Beane’s contention is that it does not matter what a player looks like. but still fell short of the playoffs. From 1993-2000. Ideally. In his first three years.000. but he very well might be the greatest baseball player ever. This is a . They rose to prominence in both 1987 and 1991 winning the World Series.
Bud Selig would have none of this. and they followed that up by winning the World Series in 1999 and 2000. and again in 2006. There was a strong feeling that the only way success can be achieved was through spending money. The majority of their players were acquired through crafty dealing and through the draft. 4) Thankfully for the Twins.espn. Prior to 2002. the effects of the Yankee Dynasty were at an apex.3]. 1998 asserted the Yankees’ dominance. the Twins made the playoffs each of the next three years. they were not contracted. but the fact that they won three World Series in five years was fresh in the minds of those people in power in baseball.(http://sports.com/mlb/alltime/franchise?team=min) The Twins were starting to surge. A commission was called together in 2000 to examine what could be done to rectify the situation. they would be taxed. If a team has a player that they
. The Twins were on the top of the list of teams to be removed from baseball. competitive balance would be restored. They won World Series in 1996. In 1997. this surge would have been able to fully blossom. The committee suggested that there should be sharing of revenues amongst the teams and if a team wants to spend and spend like the Yankees. They lost the 2001 World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks. They won a playoff series in 2002. Selig thought there were too many teams in baseball. Prior to the 2002 season. The Yankees of 1996-2001 were unstoppable. he suggested that two teams be contracted. (Zimbalist. the Yankees hit a bump in the road losing in the first round of the playoffs. Examining their 2006 roster shows how the Twins were built [See Table 1.go. and by eliminating two teams. In the season immediately following the contraction talks. but if Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig had his way.
and Boof Bonser. they are usually on their first contract. Pierzynski had moderate success in his three seasons in Minnesota before he got traded. Joe Nathan. The Twins received a remarkable return on their investment.J. those that were drafted by the Twins are on their first contracts.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=7504)]. but they do not trump the Johan Santana-Jared Camp deal. Pierzynski to the San Francisco Giants for the above three players. The Eric Milton-Carlos Silva/Nick Punto deal was another solid deal for the Twins as Silva and Punto are key cogs in the Twins system and Eric Milton has fallen off from the success he had with the Twins. Johan Santana is arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball. As of this point in time.go.
. In particular. All the Twins got in return was the third place finisher in the 2006 Rookie of the Year [Liriano. the deal that netted Francisco Liriano. the Twins got far more out of Francisco Liriano. so long as they outperform what was given up. He won the 2004 and 2006 AL Cy Young Awards as the best pitcher in his league [being unanimously selected in both cases] and Jared Camp is nothing. The trades that the Twins made were very successful. and hence paid less. and would have won barring injury (http://sports. Joe Nathan. Pierzynski could have possibly given them. and hence paid less. With the exception of Brad Radke and Torii Hunter.drafted on a team. The above two trades were quite good. one of the best relief pitchers in baseball [Nathan].J.espn. who went 12-3 with a 2. the Twins sent catcher A. Transaction impacts do not have to be eternal. who are veterans. and Boof Bonser in three seasons than A. In 2003. He did nothing in San Francisco and was released after the 2004 season. and another pitcher that has great potential after making his debut this year [Bonser].16 ERA.
Both were potential AL Most Valuable Player candidates in 2006. Ryan Howard of the
. Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer were two of the Twins’ draft picks on their roster. The aforementioned Johan Santana was also an MVP candidate. The Marlins immediately traded Johan Santana and cash to the Twins for Jared Camp. Santana finished just behind Mauer in seventh. Liriano. That is efficient. Nathan. In the 2006 season. Derek Jeter was second in the AL MVP race. To further examine the point.ca/baseball/mlb/teams/Min) The Twins were able to thrive on a payroll that was approximately one-third of the Yankees payroll.000 and Joe Mauer made $400. Mauer finished sixth in the race. Not only did the Twins make sound trades. A little less than forty percent of the Twins’ roster was acquired via trades. ESPN writer Rob Neyer cited the criterion for the Rule 5 Draft.” (Neyer) With the first pick of the 1999 Rule 5 Draft. In almost all cases the team received something useful for something that was of lesser value. Justin Morneau made $385. Justin Morneau was the 2006 AL Most Valuable Player.000. Johan Santana was picked second by the Florida Marlins. (http://www2. Pierzynski made. and Santana is a dominant force. Jared Camp never pitched in the Major Leagues.J. and Bonser collectively made about what A. the Twins selected Jared Camp. More or less the same result occurred in the National League.Every year baseball has what is known as the Rule 5 draft. and that is building a team on the cheap. or if he was 19 or older when he first signed a pro contract and this is the third Rule 5 Draft since he signed.sportsnet. they also were able to draft well. “A player not on a team's Major League 40man roster is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if: the player was 18 or younger when he first signed a pro contract and this is the fourth Rule 5 Draft since he signed. and picked up a first place vote.
A former Tampa Bay executive commented on the deal saying. Their low payroll brethren. who has yet to appear in a Major League Baseball game.4. Prior to the 2003 season. “After the way Billy took Lidle from them. J.1% of the vaunted second place finishers. and is full of potential. Albert Pujols finished second. the Twins may not be able to afford Morneau and Mauer. (http://asp. the A’s acquired starting pitcher Cory Lidle from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays without a significant return. and what the Twins have done is maximizing value by utilizing their draft picks. they’ll never deal with him again.P. A. who won the 2003 Rookie of the Year.Philadelphia Phillies. “a shark…It’s not just that he’s smarter than the average bear. This can be done through the draft. The second place finishers made a combined $34. The combined salary of the winners was $740.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default. This deal is broken down from the A’s perspective in Table 1. Hinch. a player much like Morneau. General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays describes Billy Beane as. About thirty percent of the Twins roster was drafted. what they are doing with Ryan Howard. or roughly 2. Berroa is
. If a team is going to be built cheaply. the Twins are smart with their transactions. 113) Other teams fear this relentless individual.” (Lewis. a former Rookie of the Year who did not do all that much afterwards. and Angel Berroa.aspx) Though the Phillies are not a penny pinching team. Riccardi. it’s about constantly creating new stars.000.usatoday.J. He’s relentless–the most relentless person I know. and thus there is an ability to import talent. are in a word.6 million. Ryan Howard was a fifth round draft pick. won the MVP. but that is not the point. 204) He terrifies them. The A’s traded away in the deal Ben Grieve. It may be the case that when their initial contracts expire. shrewd.” (Lewis. (Minnesota’s Morneau named AL MVP) In a word. the Oakland Athletics.
Isringhausen was brought in to be the closer for the A’s. Isringhausen emerged as a premier pitcher while in Oakland. Grieve is currently retired and at the end of his career.the only player whom the A’s gave up that has shown any future value. Hinch has seen very limited time in the major leagues.ca/baseball/mlb/teams/Oak) The A’s dominant philosophy in acquiring players was “to find bargains: young players and whatever older guys the market had undervalued. Although Isringhausen was established. Isringhausen became overpriced he was allowed to pursue free agency. Mark Ellis. (Lewis. the A’s did not have a need for a third baseman. a minor league third baseman to the Blue Jays for Billy Koch. 125) After losing Isringhausen. though their impact was definitely felt. Mark Ellis is still a key cog in the A’s machine. his loss was not a significant blow to the A’s. McMichael was a solid major league pitcher for many years. however. and thus the A’s cleaned up. The A’s. However. Isringhausen was toiling in the Mets’ minor league system. 119) One of the first major moves Billy Beane made was to acquire Jason Isringhausen in mid-1999. In the traditional Oakland A’s fashion. Taylor was ineffective the moment he was traded to the Mets. he struggled to stay in the major leagues. (http://www2. This transaction is indicative of the A’s philosophy on trades. cleaned up in this deal receiving Johnny Damon. Greg McMichael. Beane traded Billy Taylor for Isringhausen. and cash. Damon and Lidle had brief stints with the A’s. Eric Chavez was emerging as
.sportsnet. Beane traded Eric Hinske. The closer is traditionally used to record the most important [usually the last three] outs of the game.” (Lewis. Today baseball fans know Jason Isringhausen as one of the most effective relief pitchers in baseball. and Cory Lidle. In 1999. Hinske would be the 2002 Rookie of the Year.
Beane took a bit of a gamble with the acquisition of Dye. Chad Bradford was a pitcher toiling around in the Chicago White Sox organization.sportsnet. when his value was increasing.ca/baseball/mlb/teams/Oak) There are many more crafty deals that the A’s made to enhance their team. and replaced by Huston Street.sportsnet. He offered a minor league catcher [Miguel Olivo. It is actually overvalued.an upper echelon third baseman. the A’s traded him to the Chicago White Sox for Keith Foulke. the prospects did not pan out. his first year in Oakland. Bradford was one of the best relief pitchers in baseball while he was with the A’s. another closer. winning the Rolaids Relief Award as the top relief pitcher. as the prospects were highly touted. This obviously tips the scales in
. Dye put the A’s over the top in 2001 and was a very important part of the A’s offense while he was with them. However. the A’s got amazing results for very little money. and the A’s exploited this. Billy Beane coveted him. he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Jay Payton. Foulke became too expensive to re-sign after the 2004.ca/baseball/mlb/teams/Oak) The A’s traded three prospects for Jermaine Dye in 2001. 126) Billy Koch also took off when he was with the A’s. (http://www2. (http://www2. The role of closer has high value in baseball. Dotel was hurt. When Koch was becoming too pricy. who is currently a journeyman] for a minor league pitcher. This shows the inherent flexible needed for a team on the cheap. Beane beat around the bush until he got White Sox GM Kenny Williams to name Bradford. who has been a solid contributor to the A’s. By continually not overpaying for a closer. in true A’s fashion. Again. so the A’s acquired Octavio Dotel. a draft pick. His value to the A’s was much less than the salary the A’s paid them. (Lewis.
For most of Beane’s tenure. and Tim Hudson. Barton is minor-league catcher who is laboring in the A’s system. 81) Meyer and Thomas are still in the A’s minor league system. He is crazy. Louis Cardinals for Dan Haren. (A's Acquire Haren. the team cannot afford to pay.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/teams/Oak) Milton Bradley has always been viewed as having great potential. Tim Hudson was dealt to the Atlanta Braves for Dan Meyer. Cruz was dealt for another pitcher. and Juan Cruz. it was written. Eventually. He had shown flashes of brilliance with the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers. Haren and Calero are both impact players for the A’s. or let them cash in elsewhere. Two Other Cardinals) Prior to the 2005 season. trying to make the club.
. teammates. Hudson did not get the return on the investment the A’s might have hoped for.” They were three elite pitchers in Barry Zito. but even if the prospects had panned out somewhat. “Bradley has a long history of off-the-field problems that includes run-ins with managers. he had what was known as the “Big Three. Mulder was traded to the St. (Schuerholz.” (Urban) Bradley was well worth the trouble as he had a solid season for the A’s and was a significant force for the A’s in the postseason. They must get some kind of return on the investment. Haren is a starting pitcher and has sufficiently [but not completely] replaced Hudson [Mulder is a left-handed pitcher. The dealing of Hudson was a necessary evil of the low payroll system. In an article summating the trade. and Daric Barton. Kiko Calero.Oakland’s favor. There is one problem with Milton Bradley. but Mark Mulder certainly did. Charles Thomas. Beane decided to do some dealing. Mark Mulder. fans and police. (http://www2. the A’s still got value out of Dye. seeing that he could not re-sign all of them to long-term contracts.
Hatteberg was a catcher. Bobby Kielty. The first batch of these signings occurred prior to the 2002 season. and thus hurt his catching career. (Rangers Drop Fourth Straight) The A’s saw something in Scott Hatteberg. The A’s are also good at signing players. He reached base consistently and contributed to the A’s offense while he was on the team. (A's Acquire Haren. the A’s cannot afford to pay their salary. They cannot afford a Tim Hudson and a Mark Mulder. He suffered an injury that severely hampered his throwing ability. Jason Kendall. His claim to fame was hitting into a triple play and a grand slam in the same game. 163)
. Looking at Table 1. Hatteberg became a dominant force while he was with the A’s. The A’s specialty was what Paul DePodesta deemed as “warts…everyone knows he has warts. The A’s signed Scott Hatteberg and acquired David Justice. 149) In other words.4. Scott Hatteberg never showed all that much potential. but in reality. (Lewis. Even though Hudson and Mulder have great value. Two Other Cardinals) The above are numerous examples of the A’s ability to trade. He was allowed to become a free agent by the Colorado Rockies. The A’s jumped on Scott Hatteberg like white on rice. Justin Duchsherer. so they have little value for them. The A’s were able to profit off of Mark Mulder’s value with Dan Haren and Kiko Calero. there is nothing wrong with them. who are considerably cheaper than Mulder.Hudson and Haren are right-handed pitchers] and Calero is a quality relief pitcher. players are perceived as having something wrong with them. Kirk Saarloos. All were acquired via trade and were acquired at a minimal cost for the A’s. They can afford a Dan Haren and a Dan Meyer. This diminished Scott Hatteberg’s value. and Mark Kotsay are all key players for the A’s. and the warts just don’t matter.” (Lewis.
He made a paltry $500. it was the belief of the A’s that a hitter’s ability to get on base [which is necessary to score runs] is preserved while a player ages. they could not afford him past this season. He was a perennial All-Star and he was married to Halle Berry. Nevertheless. Derek Gentile writes about Frank Thomas.000 for Frank Thomas sounds insane.000 last season. but Thomas was perceived as broken. Thomas. but as the
. David Justice’s one year with the A’s was quite successful. David Justice was a very good ballplayer. (Lewis. 68) He won back-to-back MVP awards in 1993 and 1994. they won the clinching game 1-0 on a David Justice home run. He finished fourth in the MVP race. when the Atlanta Braves won the 1995 World Series. The A’s picked him up for a very cheap price because he was thirty-six years old.270 with 39 Home Runs and 114 Runs Batted In. In Baseball’s Best 1000. Frank Thomas is arguably a Hall of Famer.David Justice had a great reputation prior to the 2002 season. He signed a two-year contract worth just over $18 million. if healthy.” (Gentile. and it paid off. He missed significant time in the previous two seasons with injuries. Frank Thomas: Big Hurt Baseball. As much as the A’s would have liked to keep Thomas. The A’s cashed in on Thomas’ undervaluing. The A’s were willing to take that gamble. but David Justice did not have the impact of Frank Thomas. (Blue Jays Sign Thomas for Two Years. $500. David Justice at thirty-six is nowhere as appealing as David Justice at twenty-six. “Here’s a guy who for the first eight years of his career was just kicking ass and taking names. For example. $18 Million) All Frank Thomas did in 2006 was hit . Frank Thomas has a video game named after him. is a dominant force. 149-150) The signing of David Justice was meaningful.
they are able to fight the current. That basis is statistics. The Athletics and Twins are trying to paddle against the current. Writer Charles Faber notes. Zito. One of the most powerful statistics is the Runs Created formula. they can only cash in on it for so long. and Hudson expendable as they are both very good starting pitchers and they were drafted. a seemingly impossible task. Nick Swisher is becoming an elite player. yet effective.necessary evil of the system. a team cannot just instinctively know who to sign and who not to sign. and that is done through the draft. Eric Chavez is one of the A’s best players. Joe Blanton and Rich Harden in part made Mulder. It was ((Hits + Walks) * Total Bases)/(At Bats + Walks). Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona notes.” (Faber. but the main focus is to create runs. New stars need to be created. 3) Getting hits. The draft provides for a chance to create new stars. driving in runs. “You have to use every bit of information at your fingertips and make the best of it. There has to be some basis for it. This formula was proven to predict a team’s
. However. and hitting home runs may be part of a batter’s job. Bobby Crosby and Huston Street won the Rookie of the Year Awards in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Armed with smart decision-making. and he was drafted. and he too was drafted. and
the A’s are exceptional at doing that. The A’s drafted all of the aforementioned “Big Three”. and they were drafted.” (Baseball’s Secret Formula) Statistics are that information. “The fundamental purpose of batting is to produce runs for the team. Statistics There are a wide variety of statistical measures that can be utilized in order to assemble a successful baseball team. The original Runs Created formula was simple.
let us examine this formula applied to the Oakland A’s 2006 season: At Bats 5500 Singles Doubles 966 266 Triples 22 Home Runs 175 ÷ Total Hits 1429 6150 Walks 650 = Total Bases 2264 765. Contrary to this notion. the A’s lost three key players. Predicting something that already happened is a bit trivial. A more technical version of the formula has numerator (Hits + Walks – Times Caught Stealing + Times Hit By Pitches – Times Grounded Into Double Plays) * (Total Bases +(. (Runquist. (http://sports. It would appear that the A’s would have their backs against the wall. an extremely accurate prediction. the A’s would have won their division.342439
Runs Created =
2079 * 2264
The Oakland A’s scored 771 runs in the 2006. If the Seattle Mariners did not have such an unremarkably good season. In 2001. DePodesta deduced that the A’s needed to win 95 games to make the playoffs again. even more overall accuracy can be obtained. the Oakland A’s won 102 games and made the playoffs. 44-45) The reader may wonder what the point of the statistic is. 329-331) For example. To do this. (James 2001.52 * (Sacrifice Hits + Sacrifice Flies + Stolen Bases) and denominator At Bats + Walks + Times Hit By Pitches + Sacrifice Hits + Sacrifice Flies.espn. one can in fact use the runs created formula to predict what will happen in the future.com/mlb/Statistics/Team/playerstats? team=oak&seasonYear=2006&seasonType=2&pagetype=batting) With further modifications to this formula.go. Consider what Paul DePodesta did before the 2002 season.runs total within 5%.26*(Walks – Intentional Walks + Times Hit By Pitches) + (. After the 2001 season. he reasoned that the A’s needed to
. so this measure was off by less than one percent.
the more you would score runs. This concept is what is known as the Pythagorean Projection. as his fourth law of management is “Your most precious possessions
. Period. and won an impressive 103 games. (Lewis. “The more you don’t make outs. the A’s scored 800 runs. Three outs and you’re gone. Analysis lead to the conclusion the A’s would score 800820 runs. The end. It predicts winning percentage. In 2002. allow 650-670 runs and win 93-97 games.” (Baseball’s Secret Formula) Eric Walker echoes this sentiment. DePodesta’s analysis was incredibly accurate and the runs created formula allowed for projection of the future. which over 162 games is 97 games won. OBP is how often a player reaches base. 124) Bill James derived the Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball in an attempt to predict the future. (Runquist.600 winning percentage. The extra six games won can more or less be attributed to luck. Utilizing the Pythagorean Projection along with runs created and history allows for a team to assemble in a way that can lead to success. “But there’s one number everyone knows and agrees with: three. On-Base Percentage [OBP] and Slugging Percentage [SLG].outscore their opponents by at least 135 runs to win 95 games. For the A’s numbers in 2002. Utilizing the adage that history repeats itself. 35) According to Bill James. allowed 653 runs. the actual run totals translate to a . The formula for OBP is [Hits + Walks + Hit By Pitches]/[At Bats + Walks + Hit By Pitches + Sacrifice Flies]. DePodesta examined the A’s past performances to project their outcome for the 2002 season. (Jones and Tappin) There are two key statistics that fuel the system. 215. cf Walker) Famed manager Earl Weaver also agrees.” (Schwarz 2004. A team’s winning percentage is approximated by [The Number of Runs Scored]² / [(The Number of Runs Scored)² + (The Number of Runs Allowed)²].
on offense are your twenty-seven outs. Robinson Cano made up for his lack of ability to walk by getting more hits. it does not count in this formula.espn. Adam Dunn does not hit for average.com/mlb/statistics) The difference between Cano and Dunn’s batting average is significant. as runners score after reaching base. in order to have a similar impact. Adam Dunn had the 159th [out of 160 that qualified for the batting title] highest batting average in baseball [. whereas . In 1982. This is not a catchall formula as there are ways a player can reach base without it being attributed in this formula. 52) This was a full two decades before anyone had heard of Moneyball.200 is known as the Mendoza Line].234].342]. but walked 112 times. but Cano had the fourth highest batting average in all of baseball [. “the most underappreciated offensive statistic in the game. Dunn and Cano had the same OBP [. Cano gets a hit ten percent more often. Eric Walker’s preliminary writings first described the myth of average being superior to OBP. This follows the main concept of creating runs.go. 39) Getting on base is the result of not making outs. (http://sports. but he has a good perception of the
. Without walking.” (Walker.300 is considered exceptional. a batter needs remarkably high batting average.365]. This is evident in the 2006 season by Adam Dunn of the Cincinnati Reds and Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees. If a runner reaches on a misplay by a fielder [error] or when another runner makes an out [fielder’s choice].200 and under is considered awful [. but the two players are on base the same amount of time. and thus have the same opportunity to score. batting average is used to measure a player’s hitting ability. but he only had 18 walks. save for home runs. Anything over . Walker called walks. Traditionally.” (Weaver.
There is a similar statistic to SLP called Total Offense. he continued his
. would imply more runs would score. Jeff Francoeur of the Atlanta Braves and Omar Vizquel of the San Francisco Giants. along with Runs Created. The more a team could get on base. (Lewis.” (Faber. but Dunn closes the gap in OBP. If a player hit a home run every at bat. Total Offense includes walks and hit by pitches in the numerator and denominator.000. he must first get on base. 36) Paul DePodesta analyzed what statistics were most closely associated with successful baseball. slugging percentage will be greater than batting average and most of the time greater than on-base percentage as well. 35) It is a measure of how much a hit is accounted for. it is [(Number of Singles) + (2 * Number of Doubles) + (3 * Number of Triples) + (4 * Number of Home Runs)] ÷ At Bats. 127) The significance of these two statistics. because it is not a ratio. 51) To an extent. (Runquist.000. Slugging Percentage is Total Bases/At Bats. the slugging percentage would be 4. He debuted during the second half of 2005 and set the league on fire. 3) Dunn getting on base allows for the opportunity for more runs to score. Jeff Francoeur is an up-and-coming star in baseball. On the surface. we can compare two players at the opposite ends of the spectrum. To examine this notion. can be measured by examining two players. and thus can still get on base. (Runquist. It is a weighted sum. Cano is at an advantage because his propensity to hit singles can more directly drive in runs. and get on base with more than just a single. Those were On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage. at the age of 22. “For a man to round the bases.strike zone.” (Walker. To put it in a more expansive form. Slugging Percentage could be over 1. but “a run is a run is a run. Cano appears to be the better hitter. Unless a batter hits a single in every at bat. In 2006.
He was never Jeff Francoeur-like at any point in his career. the television statistics do not paint the whole picture.espn. 30 home runs.go.295 Batting Average.000]. 4 Home Runs.389 SLP.330 batting average. Vizquel had a more impressive . 4/4 = 1. If a team had a 1.000 OBP. but a more pedestrian . Vladamir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fell just short of this plateau by . Slugging Percentage. meaning those that are shown when he hits during the game.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=4306) Most people would conclude that Jeff Francoeur had the better season. OPS [On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage] is another statistic. A 1.torrid pace. 29 Home Runs. a . The television statistics are more or less a standard for rating players. (Freese. His television statistics. 1) Albert Pujols of the St. (http://sports. A 1. According to Freese. (http://sports. and Runs Created.espn. we need to introduce On-Base Percentage.290 [less than Omar Vizquel’s batting average]. every runner would get on base. and 100 RBI signify an elite player.361 OBP. so this evaluation has some merit.00002 of a point. but an impressive . Louis Cardinals reached that plateau this year.000 SLP. were . It is clear that slugging percentage is inheritably less valuable than OBP. Magic Numbers.000 OBP is much better than a 1. and thus an infinite amount of runs could score. While this is true on some aspects. and 58 Runs Batted In. Jeff Francoeur had a scant OBP of .go. It is a simple sum
.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=7594) Mel Freese uses these three numbers to rate baseball’s best hitters in his book. Vizquel’s television statistics were .000 SLP could result from the first batter hitting a HR [4 total bases] and then the next three batters making outs [4 At Bats. Omar Vizquel is 39year-old veteran shortstop. To get the whole picture.449 SLP. Both are elite players. and 103 Runs Batted In.260 Batting Average.
This results in most of the difference in the runs created. Through manipulation of the Runs
. would result in the better hitter. Omar Vizquel actually created about 5. and so on].5 more runs than Francoeur.and high value for this implies the batter reaches base constantly and does so in a more productive manner [logically a double is better than a single. and thus had the better season. remember that the basic formula is an estimate. the Total Bases need not to be multiplied right away. The difference between Francoeur and Vizquel’s OBP * SLP is minor [. More runs created. thus the Runs Created Formula is OBP * SLP * At Bats. we see that Jeff Francoeur created 83.18 runs.025]. There are better formulas that take into account more statistics. we appear to have a contradiction.4 runs.742. contrary to the television numbers. Vizquel had a higher OPS in the traditional measure. he was able to counteract Jeff Francoeur’s ability to get more extra base hits. SLG * At Bats = Total Bases. By properties of multiplication. Using the basic runs created formula [(Hits + Walks) * Total Bases] ÷ [Walks + At Bats]. but DePodesta proved that OPS is not the best relation between OBP and SLP. If a more technical formula of the version is used. By substitution. The proof of this is in OPS. but the difference lies in the fact that Jeff Francoeur had considerably more at bats than Omar Vizquel. Although the basic Runs Created formula is a good estimator. by definition. However. Omar Vizquel’s OPS was . where as Vizquel created 80. Due to Vizquel’s higher OBP. Jeff Francoeur’s OPS was . a flaw is generated.750. so therefore Runs Created is Total Bases * [[Hits + Walks] ÷ [Walks + At Bats] [which is the formula for OBP]. Total Bases * OBP. If we tie this into runs created. Since SLG = Total Bases/At Bats. Francoeur played in an additional 9 games and walked 23 fewer times resulting in an extra 72 at-bats.
OPS is the sum of the two statistics. OBP. The idea of correlation in statistics is a measure to see how related two things are. the higher the value of this statistic.628 AVG . (Lewis. Francoeur was impressive by hitting singles. and SLG are the important statistics.Created formula. It is called Batter’s Run Average [BRA] or SLOB [SLP * OBP]. The closer the correlation coefficient is to 1. 129-130) This talk of on-base and slugging percentage makes one wonder how this is applicable to winning baseball games. and OPS. The most handsomely paid players will have the best statistics.554
As is shown in the table. 128) There is another application of OBP and SLP. he could not out hit Vizquel’s ability to get on base.578 OPS .aspx) How OBP [and SLP] were
. he discovered that one point of SLP is actually worth three points of OBP. Analysis can be performed to see what statistics most relate to winning. Just like OBP. This has the same intrinsic value of OPS.655 SLG . A 2003 study showed correlation of statistics to winning: Correlation with teams winning percentage HR . 11.625 BRA . (http://asp. and home runs better than Vizquel. the stronger the correlation. doubles. Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox led the league in 2006 in OBP and made over $18 million. the better. The product of the two is also useful. That difference is magnified even more by DePodesta’s conclusion. This can be applied to baseball statistics. Although. (Ross. and thus a team should utilize these statistics.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default. OPS.usatoday. BRA. SLP.387 OBP . especially on the cheap. We examined BRA in the above section as Runs Created is basically BRA * AB. triples.
. According to Alderson. among others. and then discovered Bill James’ ideas. but had the Oakland A’s had nine Scott Hattebergs. Scott Hatteberg was signed rather cheaply and he was an OBP monster. The A’s made several decisions based on Walker’s ideas. McGwire and Dave Henderson were powerful hitters with good OBP. Transactions made by the A’s also reflected the new ideas. Following a flicker of success in 1992. Players that entered the A’s system were now encouraged to maximize OBP by being disciplined while hitting.” (Baseball’s Secret Formula) Alderson was shrewd in building the A’s and finding bargains. the A’s proceeded to struggle until Beane replaced Alderson in 1997. and Rickey Henderson reached base constantly. Eric Walker was hired by Sandy Alderson in 1984 to help make personnel decision. Scott Hatteberg was signed for under $1 Million in 2002. (Schwarz 2004. 221-222) Beane knew of Walker’s work through Alderson. Nick Swisher was drafted by the A’s in 2002 and has been consistently reaching base in his first two years as a professional.utilized was the fact that they were undervalued by baseball until recently. and trading for Rickey Henderson. signing Dave Henderson. there existed players that were “undervalued because they displayed the kind of sabermetric strength that didn’t always translate into traditional evaluation. and the system was reborn. These included drafting Mark McGwire instead of Shane Mack or Oddibe McDowell. very few baseball people knew the significance of OBP and SLP. Until Michael Lewis’ Moneyball was published. He proceeded to implement Jamesean ideals from the top of the organization to the bottom. The use of On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage is not just restricted to Moneyball. These results culminated in a World Series victory in 1989 flanked by World Series appearances in 1988 and 1990.
(Runquist. ISOP is Slugging Percentage – Batting Average. by performing the subtractions. This would be to hit for average [Robinson Cano] and everything else [Adam Dunn]. Moreover. his secondary average is [253 -165 + 18 + 5 – 2]/482 = . the more runs that are going to be generated.would have outscored the New York Yankees. the more extra base hits a player has. 36) Moreover. Secondary Average [SecA] is an attempt to measure every thing else. 390-91) These facts in themselves are not that surprising. there will be a drop-off in secondary average. Bill James notes a batter can do two things to help his team. 186-187) There is another statistic that ties into slugging percentage. which has a similar value to ISOP.183 [even though Cano’s slugging percentage is actually higher than Dunn’s]. and that is Isolated Power [ISOP]. For second basemen like Cano. (Lewis. it is [275 – 131 + 112 + 7 -0]/561 = . there exists a statistical measure called Secondary Average. (James 2001. For Robinson Cano.256 versus Cano’s . The undervaluing of OBP allowed for the A’s to acquire players at a low cost that produced many runs. The formula for SecA is [Total Bases – Hits + Walks + Stolen Bases –Caught Stealings]/At Bats.469. The intrinsic value of ISOP comes from the undervaluing of Slugging Percentage. ISOP = (Doubles + 2*Triples + 3*Home Runs)/At Bats. It is SLP without factoring in singles. The higher the isolated power. It is usually at least a . Decomposing the formula yields [Singles/At Bats + Doubles/At Bats + Doubles/At Bats + Triples/At Bats + Triples/At Bats + Triples/At Bats + Home Runs/At Bats + Home Runs/At Bats + Home Runs/At Bats + Home Runs/At Bats] – [Singles/At Bats + Doubles/At Bats + Triples/At Bats + Home Runs/At Bats].060 difference
.226 and for Adam Dunn. Dunn also has the higher ISOP at .
Dunn creates more runs as well through his walks and home runs. and I found two major flaws. (James 2001. These players. a team can thrive. In the initial analysis. Pujols was 54th
.com/mlb/statistics) If I conducted a poll as to whom the most feared hitter in baseball was. triples. struck out. My initial thought was that I could use this percentage to quantify fear. It quantifies extra-base hits [doubles. It is true that a portion of time a batter strikes outs due to trying to do too much. When examining Adam Dunn in the previous section.” I ran my initial analysis on the batters that qualified for the batting title.go. I hypothesized that it was probably hard to pitch to Adam Dunn because most of the time he hit a home run. 390-91) Isolated Power should also be higher in Dunn’s case.espn. or walked. To use a baseball cliché. By acquiring OBP and SLP [and hence ISOP and SecA] players. I realized there was a hole in the system. If you calculate the percentage of time that Dunn achieved these events. My instincts were basically correct. Adam Dunn had the highest value of this percentage. Cano and Dunn have different offensive skill sets. I believe the number one answer would be Albert Pujols.[Cano’s is . One last hitting statistic is my attempt to derive a statistic. of which Dunn hits more.116]. and it has more emphasis on home runs. Upon further evaluation. but they both are valuable assets. Strikeouts could be used to quantify fear. were an undervalued commodity. home runs]. he is trying to “knock the cover off the ball. (http://sports. especially five years ago. Of those with a minimum of 502 plate appearances [the number necessary to qualify for the batting title].4% [(40 Home Runs + 112 Walks + 194 Strike Outs)/(561 At Bats + 112 Walks)]. but they do not tell the story. Different players bring different abilities. it would be about 51.
2681388 Carlos Beltran 510 41 95 0.284153 Albert Pujols 535 49 92 0. but he was 154th [out of 160] in strikeouts. 3rd and 19th respectively.go.3033973 Travis Hafner 454 42 100 0. The final formula is
The higher this number is. the more afraid of the batter the pitcher should be.overall.2914369 Manny Ramirez 449 35 100 0. I eliminated strikeouts from the equation.2717703 Lance Berkman 536 45 98 0.com/mlb/statistics) To correct this flaw.espn. Pujols had very good home run and walk percentages. The fact that he was 7th in strikeout percentage drove up his Fear Factor considerably. The aforementioned Adam Dunn is percentage points behind
. No one in the Top 10 is out of place.2654545 Frank Thomas 466 39 81 0. and has more potential of getting a hit. Examining the Top 10 in Major League Baseball for the 2006 season. The batter is putting the ball into play more.2621572 We have a reasonable measure of who is subjectively feared in baseball. Having such a low percentage of strikeouts is a very good thing. but yet he would be 27th overall. The other flaw of the system is a terrible player can be ranked high if he has an excessive number of strikeouts. as home runs are a more concrete sign of fear. Player AB HR BB FF Jason Giambi 446 37 110 0.3018051 Jim Thome 490 42 107 0.3043165 David Ortiz 558 54 119 0. I also weighted home runs more than walks.2917923 Ryan Howard 581 58 108 0. Geoff Jenkins of the Milwaukee Brewers wishes he was half the player Albert Pujols is. (http://sports.
Frank Thomas for being in tenth. The data for all those who qualified for the batting title is in Table 1.000. He walked an astounding amount of times while hitting an extraordinary amount of home runs. was initially drafted in 1992 by the Oakland A’s. Thomas is not significantly more feared than Manny Ramirez.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default. (http://asp. In 2006. No pitcher wanted
. However.238 in 2006 and Thomas made $500. Jason Giambi. $252 million contract] was 19th.usatoday. and the A’s capitalized on that fear.aspx) The A’s advantageous selection does not stop there. When Barry Bonds was setting records. on the cheap is to maximize fear. the best way to acquire talent is to acquire
players that are undervalued.com/sports/baseball/salaries/default. (http://asp.aspx) The key for a team. Swisher made just over one percent of what Rodriguez made [$335. Thomas made roughly 3% of what Ramirez did. Nick Swisher was drafted. he was 16th in FF. the 2006 leader in FF.727].279. Moreover. Ramirez made $18. 000 versus $25. As noted before. Those highlighted before were either drafted or acquired via free agency cheaply as they were perceived as defected. and they need to do that in the Moneyball fashion.5. Frank Thomas was coming off of injury plagued seasons. yet he was more feared in this measure. he was greatly feared. Frank Thomas was acquired very cheaply by the Oakland A’s this past season. yet Thomas
was far more than 3% of what Ramirez was.usatoday. He was feared. a player can utilize fear to put himself in a better position to succeed.
This is another way teams can obtain players on the
cheap. Beside his own innate ability. As explored earlier.680. They drafted Nick Swisher 13th overall in 2002. the Quarter-Billion Dollar Man Alex Rodriguez [Rodriguez signed a 10 year.
to face Bonds from 2000-2004. He averaged 174.4 walks per year, including an astounding 232 in 2004 [Bobby Abreu led the league in 2006 with 124] and averaged 51.6 home runs per year including the single season record of 73 in 2001. Bonds utilized fear, and teams can find players that are feared without having to pay an arm and a leg for them. (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=3918) My Fear Factor parallels Eric Walker’s Power Factor [PF]. Walker’s Power Factor measured “what a batter achieves when he hits the ball.” (Walker, 73). Like FF, PF measures what could happen. This is also a measure of fear. The approximation for PF is (3 * Home Runs)/H + 1.227. Since I included walks, I needed to use plate appearances as a base. Needless to say, fear can definitely be used. Statistical analysis does not just apply to batting. Pitching can also be subject to analysis. Voros McCracken primarily did this work. McCracken’s biggest contribution to the sabermetric world was DIPS. DIPS is an acronym for Defense Independent Pitching Statistics. McCracken derived two statistics to help him formulate his system, balls kept out of play, and hits per ball put in play. Balls Kept Out of Play is defined as [Home Runs Allowed + Walks + Hit Batsmen + Strikeouts]/Total Batters Faced. Hits per Ball Put in Play is [Hits Allowed – Home Runs Allowed]/[Outs + Hits – Strikeouts – Home Runs]. He hypothesized that for a pitcher to have a good season, these two measures had to be minimized. Some of the best pitchers in baseball, Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, and the like, always had a good balls kept out of play percentage. They gave up few home runs and walks, and struck out many hitters. However, McCracken concluded that the second percentage was primarily luck based.
His base case compared Omar Daal, then of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Chuck Finley, then of the Anaheim Angels. (Schwarz 2004, 210-213) To give a picture of this comparison, history would view Chuck Finley as a slightly above average pitcher and Omar Daal as a slightly below average pitcher. In 1999, Omar Daal had what would be considered an outstanding year. He was 16-9 with a 3.65 ERA. Chuck Finley did somewhat worse going 12-11 with a 4.43 ERA. Logic tells us that Daal had a better season, but it is not necessarily the case. Comparing their hits per ball into play percentage, Daal’s was 26%, which is quite good, and Finley’s was 30%, which is quite bad. Four percent might not seem like much of a difference, but a pitcher makes approximately 35 starts per year. Let us say on the average, a pitcher faces 30 hitters in a game and will strike out seven of them, walk three of them, and allow a home run. I believe these are fairly conservative estimates, but they will suffice. With
these numbers, a pitcher will give up approximately an extra hit per game, and the extra 35 hits per season could make or break a pitcher. McCracken then approximated what would have happened if Daal had similar balls put into play numbers. (Schwarz 2004, 214) McCracken derived Finley would have had the better season with similar luck. Daal’s apparent success was due to luck. All other things being equal, Daal would have basically had Finley’s numbers, a 12-11 record with 4.62 ERA. Finley would have a noticeably better season, going 14-10 with a 4.11 ERA. The next season provided vindication for McCracken’s theory. Finley did better by going 14-11 with a 4.17 ERA. All Omar Daal did in 2000 was lead the league losses, going 4-19 with a 6.14 ERA. Daal lost some of the luck he had in the previous season, and Finley gained some. What
McCracken’s system emphasizes was unless a pitcher has an extraordinary ability to strike out batters, he can only be as good as his defense allows him to be. (Schwarz 2004, 214) Nonetheless, the ultimate goal for a pitcher is to minimize the amount of balls put into play. McCracken found several measures that help minimize this amount. A pitcher who primarily throws knuckleballs [Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough, and Tim Wakefield, for example] has a significant advantage over a non-knuckballer. A lefthanded pitcher also has a slight advantage over a right-handed pitcher. A pitcher who allows more fly balls than ground balls will have a lower hits per balls put into play average. This actually is counterintuitive because there exists a certain mentality that you cannot hit a ground ball out of the park, so less damage will occur that way. Simply put, a fielder has more of an opportunity to catch a fly ball than a ground ball. (McCracken) Utilizing six statistics, and whether a pitcher is a knuckleballer and what hand he throws with, a DIPS ERA can be calculated. If one takes the number of batters a pitcher faced, the number of home runs allowed, the number of walks allowed, intentional walks allowed, strikeouts, and hit batsmen, an ERA can be calculated. The formula is a bit complicated, but in thirteen relatively simple steps, we can compare pitchers on a more equitable level. Utilizing this notion, a team can pick up a pitcher cheaply who apparently had a bad season. Since this is independent from year to year, an apparent down year does not represent a trend. (McCracken) For example, Oakland signed starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza for the 2006 season. In 2003, Esteban Loaiza nearly won the Cy Young Award as a member of the Chicago White Sox. In 2004, Loaiza was dealt to the New York Yankees during the season, and
Subtract this number from Runs Created [but omit this for pitchers] and then divide by three. The A’s signed him for a decent price and received a modest returned on their investment. figure out how many earned runs he would allow had this been his ERA [divide ERA by 9 and multiply by innings pitched]. With almost any mathematical formula that is precise. multiply this by 1. find the average ERA for his league [be it American or National]. he had a decent season. For offensive Win Shares. many factors have to be considered.50 and subtract 1. so they were able to reap the rewards of Loaiza’s skill. Loaiza had horrible luck in 2004. In 2005. but the A’s had a remarkably good defense in 2006.00. Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs hit three home runs in 2006. 48% of Win Shares are awarded to offense [hitting and base running].he was used sparingly because he could not get anyone out. but there is a more concise version. James had always sought to put a value on a player. For example. Win Shares for fielders are added
.]. (Arneson) One last statistical analysis is through Win Shares. Take this number and subtract the actual earned runs allowed. Win Shares are award at a rate of three Win Shares per one team victory. 35% are assigned to pitching. Win Shares is fairly new concept invented by Bill James. Count the outs made by each batter and divide by twelve. (James 2002. Add saves and divide by three and this is Win Shares for pitchers. 14) To find pitching Win Shares. but the perception of 2004 still remained with him. This results in a long formula. and the remaining 17% is awarded to fielding. Then. use the Runs Created formula to generate the runs created by each player [including pitchers. This represents offensive Win Shares. as pitchers do bat [and sometimes contribute to the offense] in the National League.
Again. Theoretically. 533) Win Shares can assigns value.” (James 1997. “Of the twenty-five greatest managers of all-time. This was alluded to in discussion of Henry Chadwick. Bill James defines that the role of a manager “is to organize the work of all the members of a baseball team.” (James 1997. The 2003 Florida Marlins won the World Series over the New York Yankees and did not have anywhere near the talent that the Yankees had. One of these is the emphasis that is placed on the manager. 14) Win Shares represent the value of a player. and that is helpful for running a baseball team cheaply. The manager must be able to command respect of his players. let them go. but there are more fallacies. sign him. 7) A team can win with lesser talent. Frank Thomas had the third most Win Shares of anyone in the 90s. (James 2002. Win Shares are greater than or equal to zero. it is easier to know what the player should be paid. According to Bill James. but this will provide a reasonably accurate prediction of Win Shares. If a GM knows that value of a player.based on number of games played at a certain position. I cite Frank Thomas as an example. (James 2002. but in fact are fallacious. a player gets credited with a Win Shares. If a player has great value that falls through the cracks. at least eighteen were alcoholics. After these calculations are performed. slight adjustments and rounding may be necessary to preserve the three to one ratio. If it is not worth breaking the bank on a player. 8) I do not know of a job where one can be an alcoholic and still be successful. for every 24 games at catcher. motivational speaker Tony Robbins could manage a team successfully if he knew how to fill out a line-up card.
. For example. Baseball Fallacies Part of what allows the system to thrive is things that are believed to be true. but the A’s signed him cheap.
Little was pushing his luck in the seventh inning leaving in Martinez. but Little left Martinez in the game. Knowing that Little was aware of Martinez’s ineffectiveness after pitch 105. Martinez gave up a home run and two singles. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox were tied three games apiece. Martinez yet again was allowed to stay in the game. Pitch 123 was a Jorge Posada double scoring Williams and Matsui and tying the game.555 OPS and after the 6th inning. The Red Sox had a 4-1 lead going into the top of the seventh inning. In the seventh inning. the game can manage itself. (Schwarz 2004. batters had a . History had clearly shown that Pedro Martinez starts to struggle after the sixth inning and after he throws 105 pitches.845. 248) Pitch 110 was a Derek Jeter double. The Red Sox pushed across a run in the eighth to make it a 5-2 game. batters had a . Red Sox manager Grady Little was well aware of Martinez’s history. especially when utilizing statistics. In reality. Boston went on to lose the game in extra innings. OPS jumped to .There is a perception that a manager has to make elaborate moves in order for a team to succeed. but he would have death wish leaving Martinez in the eighth. batters. Grady Little then went to the mound. as Martinez had reached 100 pitches. The numbers suggested that Martinez should be removed from the game. Red Sox ace pitcher Pedro Martinez was on the mound.758 OPS. He got the first batter out. batters had a . For pitches 1-105. resulting in a run scoring. but that was when history finally reared its ugly head. Pitch 115 was a Bernie Williams RBI single. Martinez was sent out for the eighth inning.574 OPS and after 105 pitches. The Red Sox had information that for innings 1-6. If Little
. one would think Little was taking Martinez out of the game. An example of this is the 2003 ALCS. Pitch 118 was a Hideki Matsui double.
what Morris came up with was still correct.138 runs.had not blatantly ignored the data he was presented. but the A’s knew about it beforehand. This concept is flawed. Boston could have gone to the World Series. the team will decrease its expected run
. a team can expect to score . 249) Another managerial mistake is the emphasis on the advancement of runners. Writer Alan Schwarz chronicled Carl Morris. For example. the team can expect to score 1. This analysis uses Markov Theory. who derived how many runs.” (Lewis. and Harvard thinks it’s original. if a batter doubles to lead off an inning. Morris formulated the following table as to expected amount of runs in given situations. The data in the table is based on the 2001 AL season. conventional baseball wisdom is to advance the runner to third. on average a team would score in a given situation. Examining the lead off double. and Net Expected Run Value proves it. (Schwarz 2004. Beane said. with a runner on second and one out. “We knew this three years ago. 191) Nevertheless. If the runner is moved over to third.
(Schwarz 2002) For example. a Harvard professor. which calculates probability while factoring in prior outcomes.720 runs. This reaffirms that outs are a scarce commodity. This came into the mainstream in 2002 with an article in Harvard Magazine.
As one can see.907 for having a runner on first and the run itself scoring]. and also increase the expected run total. The greatest difference in baseball is between a runner being on base and being out. it would turn out to be a goldfish. “The number of additional runs that result from runners advancing on outs is very small. Cano can advance the runners further with a hit. having runners at first and third. Joe Morgan. If the batter singled. and John Scheurholz. Bill James stated.515. the expected total would increase to 1.762.907 [. 191) Being a clutch hitter implies that a hitter has a whole different approach when the game is on the line. 293) Outs are a scarce commodity.920 runs. “It’s…luck. 250) Billy Beane said. A team will get more runs in the long run by not giving up outs. One last fallacy is the notion of clutch hitting. The best hitter is going to get out at least 65% of the time. Both contribute in different ways. so it all comes down to luck. A hitter really is not trying any harder to get a hit in a clutch situation. General
. However. Criticisms The system of the Twins and especially the A’s has two major critics. the total would increase to 1. “Clutch hitting is supposed to be a whale of a matter…if you got a line on it. They should not be wasted and NERV proves that. so clutch hitting is a fallacy. NERV shows how both contribute. a former major leaguer who is now a broadcaster.” (James 1997.total to . Bill James said in 1982. Dunn is increasing the expected value of runs. Recall the discussion of Adam Dunn and Robinson Cano. the expected runs scored would be 1. By getting on base.” (Lewis. the advantage is to hit and not give up runs. A hitter is fundamentally trying to get a hit every time. if the batter drew a walk. If the runner scored.” (James 1989.
Morgan made a point as to how the A’s eventually lost to the Twins because of their inability to advance runners.go. 272-273) We know that NERV disproves this notion.Manager of the Atlanta Braves. Scheurholz has issues with the A’s method of acquiring players. Bobby Crosby advanced the runners forward. (http://sports.
. Runners on second and third are score more easily than runners on first and second. Morgan has issues with how teams like the A’s play baseball on the field. They have good pitching and try to hit home runs. In the 2002 postseason. They are still waiting. Both are traditionalists and have their perception of what baseball should be. I remember watching a game this season between the A’s and the Texas Rangers that Morgan was analyzing. They don’t use speed and don’t try to manufacture runs. The A’s are very big on playing “station-to-station” baseball. He believes in moving runners over. you’re still going to be sitting there…The A’s lose because they are two dimensional. the Rangers’ Hank Blalock doubled to lead off the inning. Kevin Mench. Conventional baseball wisdom would suggest the next batter. This is conventional baseball wisdom. but Morgan still maintains this criticism. but what happened next was contrary to the statement Morgan made in the 2002 playoffs. “You sit and wait for a three-run homer. They wait for the home run. driving in a run. In the bottom of the second.com/mlb/recap?gameId=260528113) He appreciated the small ball aspect. Morgan believes in playing “small ball”.” (Lewis. and Dan Johnson proceeded to ground out to second. Hits will move the runners around base. In the top of the second inning. Morgan complemented the A’s for being able to manufacture the run. Eric Chavez walked and Bobby Kielty singled.espn.
39) This is supported by NERV. and they got it. The Rangers waited for the three-run home run. scoring another run. Speculation during the broadcast was that Mets
. loading the bases. Mench struck out. (http://sports. scoring another run. 2006.com/mlb/recap?gameId=260916111) Earl Weaver’s Fifth Law of Managing is. against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. scoring a run.com/mlb/recap?gameId=260528113) Another example of bucking conventional baseball wisdom was seen in a game the A’s played on September 16. creating a second and third with two outs situation. and then Aaron Heilman. as the Rangers went on to win the game 4-3. but did not complement the Rangers anymore than the usual praise for a home run. that’s all you get. Moving runners over detracts from the team’s expected run total.go. The A’s were tied with the Angels with two outs in the top of the seventh. (http://sports. The A’s patience was rewarded. An example of this is Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. “If you play for one run. The New York Mets were down 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth. Frank Thomas proceeded to draw a walk. Milton Bradley walked. was scheduled to hit next. and also drew a walk. The first two runners reached base. The situation calls for a pinch-hitter. Jay Payton then singled. A batter like the high-priced Alex Rodriguez might have been overaggressive and not capitalized on the situation.should advance Blalock at any cost. Morgan was quick to complement the A’s inning. Brad Wilkerson walked and Rod Barajas grounded out.espn. a pitcher who does not hit much. This inning for the Rangers is more or less the basic strategy of the A’s.go. The A’s scored three runs by being patient.” (Weaver. and that would appear to be a blow to the Rangers. The A’s had runners on first and second. Eric Chavez was up next.espn. Waiting for the three-run home can work. Jason Botts then proceeded to hit a three-run home run.
and a team has as much as it can with these outs. The Mets could have easily lost in extra innings. The three run home run Cliff Floyd could have potentially hit would have won the game. Eric Walker backs this point up. 45) Those two runs would not have won the game. “Don’t play for one run unless you know that run will win a ballgame. Weaver’s Sixth Law reemphasizes this. He believes in the way baseball was played.” (Weaver. 216. Morgan’s career showed the principles of the A’s
. Yet.Manager Willie Randolph would use another pitcher. and current Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Herman Edwards is famous for saying. Randolph decided to take the statistical approach and sent up power hitter Cliff Floyd to hit. “You play to win the game.” (Schwarz 2004. and were denied a trip to the World Series. being the former ballplayer. Tom Glavine. What is ironic about Joe Morgan’s criticism is that he would be perfect in the system. though it did not pan out. which Morgan did quite often. which Morgan also had. cf Walker) Outs are scarce commodities. to advance the runners over with a bunt. as they did not score any runs. Morgan is blatantly ignoring the success of the A’s system. The system stresses getting on base. lost the game. Advancing the runners represents playing for a tie. (Salisbury) Former New York Jets Head Coach. That would represent traditional baseball strategy. This did not work out for the Mets. It is concession of potential runs scoring. Bunting
runners over is not run maximizing. Hello! You play to win the game. Morgan. and being discipline at the plate. The fact that it did not work in this case is not an indictment of the system as a whole. There is no proof that bunting the runners over would have resulted in a Mets victory.” (Hench) Randolph was correct in his strategy. “By always playing for the most runs he
[the manager] will…gain back more than he loses. is a traditionalist.
Barry Zito does not throw hard. Ben Sheets is a better than average pitcher. “We’re not
. in 2001. and he does not produce the results that Zito does. In recent years. For example. the Braves have flourished under Scheurholz’s tenure. the Braves were a spendthrift team. From 1991 – 2005. Scheurholz is a traditionalist and does not believe a team can be assembled by a computer the way Michael Lewis’ Moneyball implies. the observer would pick Ben Sheets. Ben Sheets does. but Scheurholz places more emphasis on the scouting department. He trusts his scouting department to recruit players necessary. 30-32) Scheurholz is not completely against the system. It is obvious that Schuerholz had a hand in it just like Billy Beane had in the A’s success. but he is not as good as Barry Zito. Hands down. Billy Beane made the A’s take Barry Zito. However.system. He became GM in 1991. Ben Sheets looks like a ballplayer. Scheurholz made key acquisitions. Barry Zito won the 2002 Cy Young Award. as he concedes that all teams use statistics. One of Billy Beane’s acquisitions philosophies stated earlier was. but he cannot see the merits of the system. fourteen division championships. the Oakland A’s could have drafted either Barry Zito or Ben Sheets in the first round. Fourteen seasons. The Braves were coming off their seventh straight losing season. John Schuerholz is the General Manger of the Atlanta Braves. looks can be deceiving. fourteen playoff appearances. (Scheurholz. He would be the perfect player in the A’s system. the Braves have been a bit wiser with their moves. the Braves won their division and made the playoffs. Barry Zito does not look like a ballplayer. Schuerholz’s major beef with the A’s system is that it places too much emphasis on statistics. In the 1990s. The Braves have had much success since Scheurholz took the reins.
(Scheurholz. Scouts are much more into “selling jeans”. Jaret Wright was struggling just to stay in baseball. The problem is that no one really knows about the Mexican League. He was an established major leaguer for over a decade. so they would have no problem with Franco’s age. and was great for the
. he was toiling in the Mexican League. The A’s acquired David Justice in a similar situation. but it paid off well for the Braves. He started the seventh game of the World Series for the Cleveland Indians. Drew.D. If a team like the A’s had known that Julio Franco still played. they would have no problem signing him. In August 2001. (Lewis. and thus had no need for a first baseman like Franco. The San Diego waived Wright.
Wright was a solid contributor in the last part of the 2003 season. They also had Jason Giambi at this point. he was tearing up the Mexican League. By the time 2003 rolled around. Just like the A’s. In 2001. the Braves acquired Jaret Wright. Franco had faded into obscurity. the Braves acquired Julio Franco.427. (Lewis.selling jeans”. they let him go to the Mets. Scheurholz points to three moves that the Moneyball team would not make. Built to Win. However. 31) The looks of a ballplayer do not make a difference. In 2004. hitting an impressive . (Scheurholz. 40-44) Julio Franco was forty-three in 2001. Scheurholz contends the Moneyball team would have not made the moves. when Franco became too expensive to keep. and the Braves claimed him. 39) In his book. 41) Jaret Wright was a hot commodity in 1997. I contend that Scheurholz is actually following the Moneyball system with these acquisitions. when it is the results that count. the Braves acquired J. In August 2003. Scheurholz contends that no one would ever sign a washed-up forty-three year old. The move was somewhat unexpected.
but that’s not what would discourage a team like Oakland. Yes. The problem is when a team has a low payroll they can only gamble so much. Both teams saw undervaluing.000. In other words. the A’s acquired Ray Durham in the 2002 season and let him go after four months. Then.D. this is exactly what happened with the A’s and Frank Thomas. That makes him attractive to a team like Oakland. is using Moneyball concepts.2 million gamble is not financially viable for a low payroll team. Scheurholz. 44) He maintains they would not. Drew immediately following a 2003 season in which he missed 62 games with two different ailments. as he never made it through a full season. J. Drew was perceived as broken. so ineffectiveness and mental problems are not a deterrent for the A’s.D. The A’s acquired pitcher Scott Sauerbeck after the Indians released him due to
ineffectiveness and a drunk driving arrest. 43) Scheurholz posed the question. J.D. This is another Moneyball move.2 Million gamble is financially viable for a team like the Braves who have a greater payroll. had a rather pedestrian .2 million in 2003. and coaxed just 36 walks?” (Scheurholz. (Scheurholz. J. Likewise. whether he knows it or not. Drew. when the price was too much.374 on-base percentage for a feature hitter. and exploited it. but not why. 44)
. a $4.D. (Scheurholz. Then the he went to the Yankees who paid him an astronomical amount of money.000 gamble in Frank Thomas or a $1. “Would the green eyeshade boys have gone after outfielder J. Drew’s statistics are not of the model.Braves in 2004. I agree with him. The Braves were taking a gamble on J. A $500. He always got hurt. In addition. Drew made $4.D. they let them go and pursued other options. A $4.000 gamble in Scott Sauerbeck is financially viable for a team like the A’s. (Lewis. This acquisition for the Braves is the same transaction as the A’s acquisition of Frank Thomas.
and eventually the World Series. according to Beane. The Wild Card is the team with the best record that did not win its division. My job is to get us to the playoffs. the Boston Red Sox lost the first three games of the ALCS. the test is always more accurate when more data is collected. It is usually an inferior team compared to the rest of the teams. (Ross. the probability of a team losing the first three games of the series and then winning the series is about 6. 98) This is assuming the teams are equally likely to win the series. The Red Sox defied the odds and won the ALCS. A baseball season is 162 games.” (Lewis. the A’s had never won a playoff series. There is a reason for this. when one does a test to determine if a set of data resembles the population. which had never been done before in baseball. one of the biggest criticisms of the A’s system is the playoffs. 275) In statistics. and all that transpired in the 2006 postseason shows how much luck is involved. In Texas Hold ‘em. The results of the World Series since the Yankees won in 2000. What happens after that is fucking luck. who is a dominant force.Lastly. The sample size is too small to conclude. the player holds two cards. Statistician Ken Ross notes if teams are even. The Anaheim Angels. In 2001. Florida Marlins. It is safe to say to that the Red Sox and Yankees were equally likely. This is tantamount to poker. In 2004. the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series after Luis Gonzalez blooped a single on a drawn in infield off Mariano Rivera. Joe Morgan was vocal in this criticism. The Diamondbacks lucked out to win the World Series. The best team does not always win. Until 2006. and then five cards
. “My shit doesn’t work in the playoffs. and Boston Red Sox won the World Series as Wild Cards. The first round of the playoffs is five games.3%.
Moreover. What put the Cardinals over the top was the fact that Detroit forgot how to play defense. a previously dominant force ceased to be an effective pitcher. the score was tied 1-1 in the eighth inning. Occasionally. It was what got him a big contract with the Mets. a catcher who is primarily known for his defensive abilities. hit a two-run home run to put the Cardinals ahead 3-1.are put into play. Everyone would expect
. Beltran put up insane numbers against the Cardinals in the NLCS. The World Series was between the Detroit Tigers and St. Prior to the start of the postseason. and the Red Sox went to the World Series. The player then makes the best poker hand. the Chicago White Sox won the World Series on luck. the series with the Cardinals went to seven games. Carlos Beltran came up in the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded and two outs. Yadier Molina. There were many more lucky situations in the postseason. In the seventh game. There were two contributing luck factors. Pierzynski magically reached base on a strike out. A player wins because eventually luck will win out. This has probability of roughly 5%.J. Then there is the entire 2006 postseason. In 2005. the Mets. the New York Mets lost two of their top pitchers in Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez to injury. Both teams backed into the playoffs. could not overcome the Cardinals. there will be a situation where a player needs one of two cards on the fifth card to win the hand. who were the best team in the National League all-season. they could not do in the World Series. Their pitchers on several occasions could not perform the simple task of throwing to a base. In 2004. Louis Cardinals. A job they could probably do blindly. Without Martinez and Hernandez. A. Brad Lidge. Luck finally won out.
and not Yadier Molina would be the hero. Luck was a contributing factor in the playoffs for Oakland. (White) Oakland finally won a playoff series in 2006. If one stated that a player would hit a game winning home run. 100% of people would say Carlos Beltran. Mark Kotsay hit a fly ball to center. there has been a unique World Series victor each year. It was going to be a clean single. A pitcher hitting a home run is basically luck. This put the A’s ahead 4-2 and gave them command of their series. 2005 against Steve Trachsel. In Game 2. Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan hit a home run. Suppan hit exactly one career home run. The playoffs are all luck.go. who is one of the best center fielders in baseball. The Red Sox won the 2004 World Series after hiring Bill
. (http://sports. Since 2001.Carlos Beltran to do something in that situation. and the score tied at two. but center fielder Torii Hunter. spend. The planets must have aligned for the Cardinals. and it was going to be either Yadier Molina or Carlos Beltran. spend. The pitcher he faced in Game 3 of the NLCS was Steve Trachsel.espn. (Salisbury) In Game 3 of the NLCS. and the lack of the postseason success is not an indictment of the system the A’s and Twins run.com/mlb/recap? gameId=261004109) Conclusion The Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics are two teams that have changed the course of baseball. The ball went by him and Kotsay circled the bases for an inside the park home run. with a runner on first and two outs. Carlos Beltran struck out looking. After the Yankees won the World Series in 2000 it appeared that the only way to victory was to spend. decided to dive for it. but there is more to this. It was September 10.
It is now the case that money does not guarantee happiness. the two highest payroll teams would play in the World Series. the AL West order of finish was inversely related to payroll. When the 2006 playoffs started. The
Philadelphia Phillies recently signed Adam Eaton to a 3 year. Cleveland Indians. The Cincinnati Reds. Adam Eaton’s claim to fame was stabbing himself in the stomach while opening a DVD package. (Rushin) By finding hidden value. with the smallest payroll. The Twins and A’s have fielded competitive teams for the past five years and show no signs of stopping. with the largest payroll. The Red Sox had the number two payroll in baseball in 2006 and they missed the playoffs. In 2002. They are not the only teams to surge ahead without money. The A’s and Twins have won the unfair game. They had no need for him. “The Art of Winning an Unfair Game”. Neither of them made it there. and that did not earn them a playoff berth. but had the means
to acquire him. $24 million contract. utilizing statistics.James and utilizing Jamesean ideals. and making sound managerial decisions. 270) The Yankees spent gobs of money on Kevin Brown. Other teams can win the unfair game as well. Milwaukee Brewers. like the Yankees with Bobby Abreu and Craig Wilson. Michael Lewis’ Moneyball is subtitled. finished first. it was a foregone conclusion that the Yankees and Mets. teams can thrive without money. The Texas Rangers. The A’s. Jaret Wright. and Toronto Blue Jays have shown moderate success with moderate payrolls in recent years. The Houston Astros acquired high price player Aubrey Huff for no real good reason in 2006. and Carl Pavano and none of them contributed greatly for the Yankees.
. finished last. Spending money does not guarantee success. (Lewis.
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Appendix Figure 1.. 401.1 This statistic determines the probability of the .7125)[1/60 + 1/60]) Z = -.275 . we see the probability is approximately .3821 or a little more than 38% Source: Larson and Farber. Z = (. inside cover.2875)*(.275 hitter.300 hitter having fewer hits than the .30 Using a Z-chart.300)/(√(.