Billy Beane Newsbeat
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Nobody puts Billy Boy in the corner.
Miller said Beane told Donaldson if he couldn’t play he should go on the DL and Donaldson chafed. Then this:
“Donaldson told the manager he needed a blow, and [Bob] Melvin said, ‘You got it,’ ” the source said. “Then that night’s lineup came out and Billy asked, ‘Where’s Donaldson?’ “
When told what happened, the source says, an angry Beane demanded that Melvin put Donaldson back into the lineup.
“They got into it in the coach’s office,” the source says, describing a scene in which Beane lit into Donaldson, with the third baseman reiterating his need for a day off and petulantly calling Beane “Billy Boy.”
“Nobody talks to Billy that way,” the source said. “It did not surprise me in the least that he got rid of Donaldson.”
Moreover, last night Wendy Thurm linked to a pre-trade series of tweets by Donaldson in which he appeared to be taking issue with the A’s frugal ways too.
Friday, September 05, 2014
Somehow, I get the feeling this article was basically finished at least a couple of weeks ago…
Twelve years after the Moneyball season of 2002, any move GM Billy Beane makes is viewed through a kaleidoscopic haze of fiction and fact. His life can sometimes feel as if it’s based on a true story. Perhaps that’s why Beane, the object of so many conspiratorial whisperings, has largely retreated from public view. He turns down most interview requests and often escapes, in season, to his home on Oregon’s Deschutes River, where he seeks Walden-like solitude, a hermit with a fly rod… I really don’t want to gyrate through every pitch over 162 games when those individual games may have nothing to do with what happens in the end [Beane said]. I don’t want to make decisions based on micro-events; that goes against what we try to do here. I try to remove myself and hopefully make rational decisions. We don’t take the small sample size. Do you think Warren Buffett sits around and watches Berkshire Hathaway stock every day?”...
Beane’s fear of the Angels is justified—“They have the best player who has ever walked on the planet” is how he describes Mike Trout. Still, it’s hard to escape the notion that [Jon] Lester was acquired for more than a late-September push to either hold off or overtake a division rival. After all, the regular season hasn’t been the problem. Over the past three seasons, the A’s have the best record in baseball.
The postseason, though, that’s a far different story… “Every time I make a move here, given our marketplace, it’s seen as risky and bold,” he says. “And depending on how you view bold, it could be seen as foolish. When I signed Ben Sheets for $10 million in 2010, everybody said, ‘Oh, they’re all-in.’
“Here’s the way it works: Just assume that every move we make in the front office means we’re all-in. We can’t afford a five-year plan, so every move means we’re trying to win every game we possibly can. All-in—I never liked that term. For one thing, I don’t have that many chips to throw into the middle of the table.”
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Pitchers, by and large, are working lower. The called strike zone has followed them... Hitters are… swinging at more pitches in the lower third… Contact rates on pitches up have declined. Contact rates on pitches down have very slightly improved… here’s what this has led to: in 2008, hitters slugged 30 points better against high strikes than they did against low strikes. The next season, they slugged 51 points better. Fast-forward now to 2014, and you’ll observe that now hitters are slugging 10 points worse against those same high strikes…
Yet, pitchers continue to work down. It’s how they’ve long been instructed, and it’s where offspeed pitches are usually supposed to go… From a recent Business Week Astros profile:
advanced data yielded a useful insight: Major league hitters had become so adept at hitting low pitches that they were vulnerable to high ones. [Billy] Beane had discovered a particularly clever countermove. “Beane stayed ahead of the curve,” says [Astros pitching coach Brent] Strom, “by finding hitters with a steep upward swing path to counter the sinking action of pitchers trying to induce ground balls.”
Billy Beane put together a baseball team constructed to fight those low pitches… The Astros had Collin McHugh start to throw more elevated four-seam fastballs… McHugh is having an outstanding season out of nowhere…
So this is how we proceed in the league’s hunt for equilibrium. For years, pitchers worked to throw down more and more often… The league has started to respond… [and] now the league will eventually respond to the response, re-establishing the upper parts of the zone. McHugh is one example… And then, in time, there [will] just be a response to the response to the response. Look closely enough and there’s no such thing as equilibrium at all.
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