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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Jewish Light: Here’s a Moneyball maven striking it rich for Athletics

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.

Repoz Posted: July 03, 2014 at 05:31 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: oakland, sabermetrics

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   1. Srul Itza Posted: July 03, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4742960)
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.”


That't actually pretty old-school, isn't it?
   2. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 03, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4742974)
That't actually pretty old-school, isn't it?

old-school is the new market inefficiency (just ahead of blue collar)
   3. Walt Davis Posted: July 03, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4742987)
That't actually pretty old-school, isn't it?

As stated sure. "You can never have too much pitching" must date back to whoever made the decision to move to a 2-man rotation. Question is whether he means they can't afford pitching on the open market and it's hard to find good pitching off the scrap heap. So they need cheap, drafted/traded pitching but will continue to find good offense/defense off the scrap heap. Not that that claim hasn't been around since at least Wayne Garland.
   4. Barnaby Jones Posted: July 04, 2014 at 05:45 AM (#4743125)
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.”


This passage is strange to me. 18 of 40 doesn't seem like a particularly high number of pitchers, especially if your are "designing" a pitching heavy draft. I would guess that going 50/50 on position players and pitchers is fairly standard.
   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 04, 2014 at 08:24 AM (#4743133)
Moneyball continues to be whatever anyone wants it to be.
   6. McCoy Posted: July 04, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4743148)
The issue is that no team or managerial group is going to adhere strictly to one philosophy. Ever. The goal is to win and they'll look at every way possible to win and implement what they can to win. The problem is that the A's are the Moneyball team so writers will view all of their actions through that lens.

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