October 04, 2006

MoneyBall

There is a book called "Moneyball" that talks about the sport of baseball from a purely financial stance. It refers to an Oakland Athletics team from a few years ago, and the management that had one of the least paid teams in baseball win 100 games. The big idea behind it was that they created a financial metric that ranked each player based on things that were truly important, RBI's, On-base-percentage, etc. It turned out that some of the top ranking players were on the bench for other teams. They scouted and bought up those players and put together one of the most underpaid, overperforming teams of all time. It's a quite remarkable study about how to treat a game like a business in order to better win the game. It also makes me feel dirty.

3 comments:

Brent said...

Would someone please clue in the Tribune Company?

Unfortunately, Old School Hendry is still the GM.

(BTW, I think the average "moneyballer" would tell you that RBIs are overvalued, not undervalued. So are stolen bases.)

How about those A's, by the way...

Sabai said...

i'll concede the stolen bases. I'm curious to know your thought on RBIs. I understand that RBI counts are significantly altered by who is front of you in the batting order, but it also shows how you hit in clutch situations, no?

haha, go A's.

Brent said...

RBI doesn't give you a good picture of how a guy hits in clutch situations--you'd be better off looking at a ratio of RBI/(Left on Base). At least then you'd have a common point of view to make a valid comparison.

(Then again, most moneyballers don't value "clutch" stats because of the small sample size associated with them--"clutch" stats typically vary wildly from year to year).