Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Peter Gammons: The new, new thing better than Moneyball

I have a curare solutin’ BB gun at my ready for the first writer that pulls a Killer B’s for Billy Beane/Billy Burns.

Back in the Moneyball Summer, Billy Beane used to say, “whoever hits the most homers usually wins,” and could live without stolen bases. But while the movie was superb, it was, in reality, fiction, or semi-fiction. “All movies are,” Beane said when the film was released. “Thirteen Days” wasn’t the way it really was, either.

“In our market (and a park that brings new meaning to Flushing Meadows) there isn’t one way to do anything,” Beane says. “Trying to compete is about always trying to stay ahead of the curve, always adjusting, always trying to find undervalued ways to win. That’s all.” He also probably wouldn’t have been so open to creating a goofball, laughing gashouse gang and handed them to a manager who is cerebral and exceptionally logical.

“There is no set way to doing anything, in baseball or business,” Beane says. “Hey, I’ve grown to really like stolen bases. I don’t like the concept when guys get thrown out, but when they don’t get thrown out, I like them.” Billy Burns, who is in the Billy Hamilton/Micah Johnson class of speed, in three years in the Nationals organization stole 125 bases and was thrown out 17 times. Going into the weekend spring training games, he had more stolen bases than all but six teams in Arizona. So Billy isn’t as big as Ken Burns? He is a switch-hitter, every infield ground ball turns opposing infields into British roundabouts and he has the range of Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry. “I have to be honest,” said another American League GM. “I’d never heard of him.” One A.L. scout joked that “I thought he was the manger’s kid the first time I saw him in the Nationals organization.

...Beane, like Andrew Friedman in Tampa and some of the other unconventional small market general managers, is forever searching for a different way to look at and approach the business. It has worked, and once again the Athletics are the real team to beat in the American League West, with a jackrabbit named Billy Burns, a $10M closer and the intellectual flexibility to be able to take stock of what doesn’t work and keep searching, as Lewis once wrote, for the new, new thing.

Repoz Posted: March 08, 2014 at 10:11 PM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: oakland, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 08, 2014 at 11:04 PM (#4668475)
Burns has a few things going for him that Hamilton doesn't: (1) a consistently high minor-league walk rate; (2) a BA over 300; (c) he Ks about the same as he walks; (d) he's already played some CF. However he is one year older, has even less power (ISO of 68! 1 HR in over 1100 PAs!), seems to already be playing some LF in the minors and probably isn't quite the base stealer Hamilton is (at least he's never put up those sorts of SB totals). One suspects that if Beane thought Burns was anywhere near ready, he wouldn't have extended Crisp and traded for Gentry.

I'd never heard of Micah Johnson -- it's early yet (age 22, nothing above A+) but he might be the best of this trio because he's flashed a little bit of power with an ISO of 130 and 46 XBH last year.

Articles like this make you think writers are wishcasting (never!) and have forgotten that Omar Moreno and his lesser counterparts weren't actually very good players. It's true, take 10-20 of these guys and you'll eventually find a Luis Castillo (29 career WAR, consistent 3-WAR player at his peak) or Bill North.

As to the SB, the 2013 A's were 11th in the AL with a mere 74. Crisp was the only one with more than 10. Unless the A's put both Gentry and Crisp in the lineup frequently, I wouldn't expect many SBs from them.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
dirk
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogMiami Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki on hitting 3,000, the 'real' Hit King and Lou Piniella
(17 - 3:04am, Jul 31)
Last: vortex of dissipation

NewsblogOTP 2016 July 25: Card Shark - Bikini trading-card king Brian Wallos expands his empire to politics
(2275 - 2:57am, Jul 31)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogMLB warned Yasiel Puig and threatened him with a fine over Vin Scully cleats - CBSSports.com
(19 - 2:35am, Jul 31)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 7-30-16
(102 - 1:17am, Jul 31)
Last: Bote Man makes baseball fun again

NewsblogTrade Deadline: Latest news and rumors | MLB.com
(37 - 1:05am, Jul 31)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogSource: Phillies, Rangers in 'pretty deep' trade talks about Vince Velasquez | CSN Philly
(4 - 12:18am, Jul 31)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogUmpire rushing Matt Wieters into box draws Orioles catcher's ire in loss to Blue Jays - Baltimore Sun
(43 - 11:01pm, Jul 30)
Last: Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer

NewsblogRick Porcello stops Boston Red Sox losing streak with complete game - Boston Red Sox Blog- ESPN
(6 - 11:00pm, Jul 30)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogTeams Rarely Receive Equal Value When Trading An Ace - BaseballAmerica.com
(14 - 10:32pm, Jul 30)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogMLB Games Are Slow Again, And It’s Helping Older Hitters | FiveThirtyEight
(1 - 9:49pm, Jul 30)
Last: Cblau

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1995 Discussion
(30 - 9:29pm, Jul 30)
Last: Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet

NewsblogOT: 2016 Summer Soccer Thread
(1531 - 9:20pm, Jul 30)
Last: Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun)

NewsblogWashington Post: Nationals Execute Historic Triple Play
(4 - 3:28pm, Jul 30)
Last: Bote Man makes baseball fun again

NewsblogChris Sale talks about White Sox suspension | MLB.com
(79 - 2:06pm, Jul 30)
Last: Bote Man makes baseball fun again

NewsblogMinor league teams & managers brawl in front of hundreds of kids
(15 - 12:16pm, Jul 30)
Last: Zach

Page rendered in 0.1480 seconds
47 querie(s) executed