As director of professional scouting and baseball development for the Oakland Athletics, Dan Feinstein scouts amateur players, evaluates the organization’s talent, is involved in contract negotiations and arbitration cases, ponders trades and analyzes potential free agent signees.
His varied portfolio is news to at least one of the team’s players.
“I don’t doubt that he does a lot, and has done a lot, for the organization, but I don’t know to what extent,” catcher Derek Norris said of Feinstein during a recent A’s visit here.
For the past three years, Feinstein, 42, has been one of the prominent executives powering the Oakland approach to diamond success known as Moneyball under its guru, general manager Billy Beane.
There’s been plenty of success this season for the American League West-leading Athletics, who boast one of the best records in baseball and stand near the top of the league in team pitching and hitting. And they’ve been doing it with an assortment of players excelling in both the traditional and Moneyball statistical categories.
Beane employed the Moneyball strategy to enable his low-revenue Athletics to compete against richer clubs. Popularized by the Michael Lewis book “Moneyball” in 2003 and the 2011 film of the same name starring Brad Pitt, the plan has spread throughout the major leagues.
Moneyball aims to identify and acquire undervalued players by placing a premium on what were then newly minted statistics such as OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage), as well as walks, caught stealing, pitches taken and other measures.
...In 1995, he jumped at Beane’s offer to add videotaping to his chores. The following season it became his full-time job.
“I’ve been very lucky. I’ve been in the right place at the right time,” Feinstein said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in baseball who would tell you they look at their job as a job.”
Like anyone employed in a baseball team’s front office, Feinstein said, he aspires to “bigger and better things” professionally, including being a general manager. He added, however, “I’m extremely comfortable and thankful in the role I currently have.”
A key aspect of that role is the Major League Baseball draft, which was held last month. Eighteen of Oakland’s 40 selections were pitchers.
“That was by design,” Feinstein explained. “The only way that we’re going to have success at the major-league level is if we have pitching, and you can never have enough of it. It’s the single biggest asset we need to compete.”
Thanks to DW.
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